There is currently no way to do this except manually. The only timesaving may be that if you work on the files in more than one session, you may save them as Audacity projects, which will save the track panning states in the project.
However, a programmer is currently working on recording profiles such that if you were recording eight channels, you could set the panning on each recorded track. Note this does not modify the pan of the audio stream as it is being recorded, but sets the pan for subsequent playback, mixing and export.
Otherwise of course you can create some macro or AppleScript to do the job.
I don’t agree this being close to Record Profiles. Of course it touches the preset of created tracks, but I’m not sure whether we should share code with normal capture here.
To solve this specific problem I would either modify the AUP file (as you suggested) or do a quick-and-dirty hard-wired patch to set pan for 8 import channels…
@Arun: If you need some help on this, please tell me - but I don’t have any knowlede about AppleScript…
I merely wondered if the idea of Record Profiles was extensible to an “Import Profile”. We already have a feature (set in Import / Export Preferences) to normalize on import.
For example, I could see that people importing multi-channel files might want to mute the subwoofer channel, or force channel type of the first two channels (FFmpeg-imported multi-channel files always import with all channels mono), or force the names of the tracks to something pre-ordained that describes their mapping.
Whether the code should share the non Audio I/O parts of record profiles or not would be up to someone developing it to say.