I've been doing some reading recently on mixing, and I'm finding that much of what I read regarding panning is contrary to what sound good to me. I find that the more I experiment with utilizing the entire stereo spectrum, the more I prefer mono. While I'm sure this is partly due to my own inexperience with mixing, I find that the same holds true for professional recordings as well. When I hear an instrument panned off-center, it's distracting to me. I feel like there's something missing on the other channel, even if it's not panned all the way to one side. It's okay if there are, say, two acoustic guitars playing the same chords, one panned hard left and one hard right, but it only works if they're normalized and EQed similarly. Otherwise, I spend the entire song distracted by what my brain perceives as an "empty" spot on one side. This is particularly distracting on many 1960s recordings - the best example is the Beatles' "This Boy". It's a great song, but the guitar is panned to one side and the vocals to the other, which drives me nuts. Ultimately, I've found that I prefer mono mixes about 80% of the time. Stereo feels like a gimmick, or some sort of effect that is rarely used in a beneficial fashion. Does anybody else feel this way?