Here’s a simple Mind Hack I use occasionally when I’m having trouble dialing in a tricky mix with lots of tracks.
Simply get your mix close enough in mono and “then” spread your pans and continue to tweak. Be aware that you may have cut a little more lows and low mids than needed. Just sneak those freqs back in a little if needed. When you begin panning after getting it close, you’ll hear an amazing amount of space and clarity that would have been more difficult to achieve by panning very early in the mix.
It’s darn hard to do, but this technique will force you to work your frequencies, dynamics and FX in a more disciplined way and make your pan position choices a little easier to make. Remember that records up until the late 50’s were in mono, so this is not a difficult thing to do especially if you consider Count Basie’s Orchestra and the great bands sounded HUGE in mono.