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Your description suggests that you are not using audio mapping to get your 2 mono channels into 2 mono tracks. This avoids the fill left or right, and may give you more balancing options.
You can then use track levels to get each track close. I don't know how compressor will work here, but it might. You can then create subclips that you can use in other sequences. What version are you using (CS3/4?)? There were problems in the past with long subclips.
So, where do I "map" my sources?
Instead of the stereo target track in the timeline, I create two mono tracks, then I'm able to execute an edit from the preview monitor into the two tracks, and all three (V,Mono-L,Mono-R) will be linked?
OK, so yea- mapping is what I needed.
I select the clip in the bin. Go to the menu Clip>Audio Options>Source Channel Mappings
Then I select the radio button: Mono
I created 2 mono tracks in the timeline, and simply targeted them with the audio from preview, and it worked perfectly!
My confusion started because I have been using Final Cut Pro for some time now, and FCP sees every audio track as mono.
I KNEW there was an easy solution... THANK YOU!
Excellent! Keep in mind that you must map audio before you put the clip in a sequence; once used, it's too late.