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I was watching a video where a person made a supersaw by layering the same sound and panning it once left and once right. A center-panned sound already outputs to both left and right channels, so what's the purpose of this?

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    If it is only panning to left and right. it would be the same as it mono but most people tend to do more than panning. e.g when I pan my guitar to the left, I can still add stereo widening or enchancer effect to make it different with the right. Most mixing engineer slightly make the left & right to be different because they want the wider stereo sounds. – Ronald Sep 13 '16 at 5:11
  • @Ronald the OP is talking about synth layering. To some degree, it's like using two guitars, one panned hard left, the other hard right. – Marc W Oct 20 '16 at 13:00
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This is because one stereo separated super saw (6-9 voices) will have the same phase drift in both the speakers.

However, when layering the sound with itself and pan one to the left and one to the right, you get 2x the same sound, but each having a different phasing to them (since the phases have a factor of randomness added to them by your DAW to make them sound "nice" and "crisp"), thus creating more detail, more phasing, and with that, more depth to your sound.

I suggest looking up SeamlessR's explanation on phasing for more info.

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  • thanks for pointing that out, I lost words there, I chanced it to something better (I think), if not, feel free to suggest any formulation @MarcW – Grey Oct 21 '16 at 6:27
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    In addition to "phase drift', it's common to de-tune the two instances slightly, which results in your ear being able to distinguish the two left / right synth instances, making the overall sound much wider and fuller. – Skarik Oct 24 '16 at 22:57
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As the question is "why would you" I'll offer another answer without covering the explanation as to why it works: if you have some vocals, for example, you can make the sound appear to come from both speakers instead of in the centre by giving the sound on one channel the tiniest of time delays - it's enough to have the desired effect without the difference in timing being enough for the listener to sense that they are technically out of time with each other.

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