Soundtoys PanMan


Rhythmic auto-panning with cool classic features, new tricks, and analog color – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX

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When it comes to panning, we have it made in the digital age. Prior to this, we had to either control the panning by hand with knobs, or by using a unique device such as the PanScan or Spanner, which were automatic panning devices. These unique devices are generally out-of-fashion these days due to their technical limitations, but our good friends over at Soundtoys are aware that there’s a certain charm and unpredictability about these effects units that is lacking nowadays. They’ve gone ahead and recreated this type of effect for the modern-day user with the PanMan plug-in, which additionally has some unique applications that take panning into unexpected areas.

Classic Auto Panning
The plug-in interface is pretty straightforward. You have a meter that displays where your panning is at any point in time. Your primary controls allow you to limit the panning effect to a certain portion of the stereo field, and control how smoothly the panning moves from place to place. You can also adjust input and output gain to make the signal hotter or softer from this menu. The main modulation type is LFO, which uses a low-frequency oscillator with a rate (or speed) control that keeps the panning moving in a constant motion. Additionally, you can set various panning patterns.

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In Depth

Things really start to get interesting when we open up the tweak menu and try some different modulator types. The tweak menu provides some interesting controls, including modulation controls that affect the main parameters. These allow your dynamics or volume levels to impact the rate at which the modulators move, meaning it’ll get more pronounced as the volume moves past the threshold setting.

Modern and Musical
The other modulator types allow for panning patterns that have arguably never been possible before. Two of our favorites were the Rhythm step and rhythm shape modulators, which allow you to sync the panning to the beat of your song and creates customized panning patterns. The additional groove control in these modes lets you push the panning rhythm slightly ahead of or behind the beat in order to match the groove. Additionally, there are ping-pong and step modes that require “Triggers” to begin the panning process, which happen when the volume crosses a set threshold. The random mode, which is entirely unpredictable, can also be a very fun thing to try out from time to time.

This plug-in can be applied in a multitude of ways. While putting it directly on a vocal or instrument track can be pretty cool, we found it just as useful (if not more so) when we put it on an auxiliary send containing an effect. For instance, you may not want your guitar tracks to pan back and forth consistently, but adding this just below a reverb plug-in on an auxiliary input will move that reverb across the stereo field in very interesting ways without changing your dry signal. We found it equally effective with delays and other effects as well, and also by simply duplicating a track and putting it on that while balancing the dry and affected signals. Overall, there are a lot of really cool and interesting applications of this effect, and as such it’s a worthwhile investment in your mixing palette.

Main Features:

  • Automatic panning plug-in based upon old hardware auto-panning units such as PanScan and Spanner
  • Create panning effect patterns that are synched to your song’s tempo
  • Six Different panning modulation modes with various triggers and oscillators including LFO, step sequencer, random, volume triggers and more
  • Recreates features from PanScan hardware, including “trigger divider” which lets you set trigger parameters that adjust panning
  • Use rhythm step or rhythm shape modes to create customized rhythmic panning patterns and waveform shapes; utilizes Soundtoys’ innovative Rhythm Editor modulator
  • Use volume trigger threshold to let your tracks dynamics control the panning effect
  • Seven different styles of Soundtoys’ famous analog saturation


  • Global Input and Output gain controls
  • Each mode contains:
    • Left/right offset, stereo width, and pan smoothing controls
    • Direction buttons which control panning directions; left-to-right, right-to-left, and back-and-forth
    • Visual Panning Meter
    • 7 modes of analog saturation
  • Standard “Tweak” Menu Controls
    • Threshold, Attack, and release controls,
    • Offset, Width, and Rate modulation amount controls
    • Envelope or gate mode switch
  • LFO Panning Mode
    • Rate (speed) control (in Hz)
    • Standard Tweak Menu Controls
  • Rhythm Step Mode with Rhythm Step Editor
    • Control panning in rhythm steps, with rhythm (note or bar), step, and tap tempo or MIDI sync controls
    • Standard “Tweak” menu controls
    • Additional Tweak controls include Rhythm Step Editor with visual interface and bar number, beats/bar, bar selector, smoothing waveform shape control, and shape presets
  • Rhythm Shape Mode with Rhythm Editor – for syncing to MIDI
    • Rhythm (bar/note) control (anywhere from 1/64th note to 16 bars, with dotted and triplet options)
    • Standard “Tweak” menu controls
    • Rhythm Editor includes visual interface, with controls for bar number, beats per bar, bar selector, grid control, and shape preset controls
  • PingPong Mode
    • Trigger (Volume Threshold) lets track dynamics trigger panning
    • Trigger Divider sets number of times dynamics must cross threshold for panning to occur
    • “Tweak” Menu controls include a filter (high or low-pass, with off switch), Cutoff frequency and gain controls – exclude frequency ranges from activating trigger
  • Random Mode generates panning patterns at random
  • Random Step Mode uses trigger divider to generate random panning patterns

Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz

System Requirements:
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
Supported Hosts:
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
Other Requirements:
• Free account.