I was wondering if anybody is using divergence while mixing in 5.1.

I have mixed 10 feature films in 5.1, but I have never used divergence when panning. At first I didn't use it because I was afraid it would mess with the 2.0 version. But I'm not that concerned about 2.0 anymore with 5.1 in nearly all theatres.

Anyway I mix without using divergence.

What are your experiences?

  • I don't know if this is stupid question but what's divergence in mixing? Jul 4, 2012 at 23:08

4 Answers 4


I've used divergence to good effect on feature documentaries. The narration can be diverged slightly across LCR (30% maybe) to give it a different soundfield to centre channel only dialogue and interviews. It's particularly useful in sports documentarie, where the archive material may have a commentary on it which needs to be heard, but still to feel distinct from the main narration.

I does affect the subjective balance of the the LtRt and M downmixes, so I have an LtRt monitor path that I can switch to for comparison during the mix.

  • I have also done the same. If your material is narrator heavy and your intention is the "voice of God" or "voice of authority", divergence really helps to distinguish the VO from the Dialogue. I did this a bit for nature docs as well. Jul 6, 2012 at 22:18

Ive use divergence across the front to put a small amount stereo music into the Centre channel - it also comes in handy when you want to smear something, like a drone or ambience. The other thing is that is effects dolby processing - which is predicated on unique information in channels to be down mixed and upmixed - so it can make drastic differences to things like your surrounds when they are LtRt processed and blown back up.


I don't like to use divergence. A lot of people seem to related to it in terms of "I've widened/spread this sound a bit", which for me only seems kind of true if you are sitting in the sweet spot. As soon as you are off the axis things tend to fall to that side.

So instead I rather try to generate a true stereo signal from a mono source and either mix the two or just use the stereo. Whatever works.

But divergence never felt comfortable for me. So I also only used it very seldom.

  • can you get divergence past 100% ??
    – georgi
    Jul 4, 2012 at 9:54
  • not that I know about it. but depending on the manufacturer there are different ways of seeing it, which means on one desk 100%might mean 0% on the other. plus some have a similar control called focus. and by widening a sound by divergence I relate to putting some signal also into L and R channels in addition to C by using divergence. some people think this widens the signal. I think this is a misunderstanding of the term widening, because it does not create any sort of stereo information.
    – user891
    Jul 6, 2012 at 9:23

Offsetting the divergence can also help with automating pan moves by hand. Especially when using knobs instead of a joystick, where you have separate controls for FRONT/REAR and LEFT/RIGHT, sweeping a cue across the surrounds can be a pain. Setting the divergence could allow you to automate an airplane passing from the surrounds to the center using only the F/R knob. I have used this method with the Pro Tools panner specifically, I'm not sure if it's equally useful in other DAWs and consoles. Cheers, ~Matt

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