#1
Somebody told me they didn't like the panning on one of my mixes. The reason why I panned my drums left and right is because I have a 2 bus mixer with 6 drum mics. On the mixer each is panned differently in the order of snare, toms, floor tom, bass drum (straight down the middle), overhead left, overhead right. On the recording software I have the drums set up to record 2 tracks hard left and hard right. I also make an additional 2 more cloned compressed drum clone tracks because otherwise the drums are too quiet when I track bass and guitar.

Even as far as the bass guitar and bass drum pedal goes.. I had to pan the bass guitar 5 to the left in my recording software to give room for the bass drum. I spent a lot of time trying different methods of recording. Some things work for isolated drum tracks that don't work for full mixes.

The focus right now is on panning my drums properly, getting them loud enough with what I have, and not cutting too much through the other instruments. When I pan the drums left and right, and clone those left and rights once more it cuts through the guitars great. If I do a single track down the middle like somebody told me to do you can't even hear the drums. Turn them up more through the mixer and it clips. What I have done now is as loud as I can go without clipping and without taking up too much space for the other instruments. If I am doing anything wrong let me know. It is better to look like a dumbass on a forum than look like a dumbass when I send out demos. It's gotta sound as tight as possible.
Last edited by NWD2100 at Jan 6, 2015,
#2
Give us some examples and we'll be able to give some more practical critique I'll give some general advice on how I work with drums though if its helps

As a general rule I have my kick and snare central, I pan my hi-hat ever so slightly right (between 5 and 10 degrees) - Overheads I tend to hard pan left and right, but sometimes bring them in a bit depending on whether its appropriate or not for the track (the drum kit doesn't always have to sound 50 feet wide haha)

As far as your toms go, don't be afraid to pan these so long as they're not heavily panned, just a few degrees can make a big difference without it being too overpowering, I like to let my drum overheads do most of the pan work and then keep everything else panned within + or - 30 degrees.

As I say these are just general rules I work by, these might not necessarily work for some kinds of music, a lot of Hendrix tracks and older productions like to have all the drums in just one speaker and guitars in the other, this tend to be because they've been remixed from mono into stereo but it can work really well (listen to the second side of Electric Ladyland by Hendrix and you'll see what I mean) - for a good example of some unusual panning on modern drums I'd seriously recommend listening to Massive Bereavement by a band called Oceansize, listen to the way the snare rolls and kick drum alternate between left and right speakers but remain perfectly balanced, it might be some food for thought
Last edited by EatShreddies at Jan 7, 2015,
#3
I pan my drums as if I am looking at a drum kit from the audience. I love stereo drums. For a really nice example watch the YouTube video of Alan Parsons song "All Our Yesterdays" with Simon Phillips on drums. It's a lot of toms panned really well.
#5
For live drums, it always depends on the song of course, but I would probably most often go for a half pan. Having any single piece of a kit panned hard left or right, doesn't sit well for me. A stereo room mic is alright though, but That's sort of subtle usually.

For getting your kick to shine through the mix, there are a number of things you could do, from EQ, mid-side or otherwise, to compressing for a more punchy kick, to multi band sidechain compression to duck your bass a little at the kick frequencies you want.

Sometimes what makes your kick pop, can be frequencies that are a bit higher up, and a little boost there can help, or low passing your bass, which you should do anyway. High pass and low pass almost everything, including every piece of your kit.

otherwise, useless crap that you can't really hear will be taking all of the snap out of what you do want to hear.

You want to pan with consideration to pockets for your instruments, but you also want it to sound balanced, and natural. There are lots of ways to do that, in lots of situations, with lots of different pan setups.

I, more often than not, like to keep everything for my rhythm section sort of center, but panned slightly. I like a wide stereo crash though. Just going a little off center can make a big difference.

You can also try to mix in mono, get it as good as you can, using whatever techniques you can, and then use pan to improve it further.

There are a lot of tools at your disposal, and everything matters from cutting through the mix, to volume, to stereo balance. There's always a number of ways to get it sounding good. The limitation is really basically the quality of the sound you recorded.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 7, 2015,
#6
No. Fantastic idea to pan. Unless you end up with the kick in both left and right speakers.

The way I pan drums is this (0 being middle and 100L and 100R hard left and hard right respectively):

Kick: 0
Snare: 15L or R depending on audience or stage view
Hats: 10L or R
Floor tom: 60L or R
Mid Tom: 45 L or R
High Tom: 30 L or R
Overheads L and R: 75-85L or R
Room L/R: 100L or R
Room M: 0 w/ stereo imaging
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
#7
Quote by Rickholly74
I pan my drums as if I am looking at a drum kit from the audience. I love stereo drums. For a really nice example watch the YouTube video of Alan Parsons song "All Our Yesterdays" with Simon Phillips on drums. It's a lot of toms panned really well.

I usually do this as well, but I learned recently that the 'traditional' way of panning drums is to do it from the drummer's perspective. Very strange in theory, but every drummer I know swears that the majority of music is done that way and it's VERY noticeable to them when you flip it.

I still do it my way though haha
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#8
I too have had drummers say that the correct way is to pan like you are sitting behind the drums but I don't go with that. I always go with the idea that I am sitting in the middle of the first row at a concert and I pan everything like that. When we mix live sound we don't pan as if we are sitting at the drums so why do it when recording. i guess it's just a matter of taste. Neither one is wrong.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jan 7, 2015,
#9
Quote by Rickholly74
I too have had drummers say that the correct way is to pan like you are sitting behind the drums but I don't go with that. I always go with the idea that I am sitting in the middle of the first row at a concert and I pan everything like that. When we mix live sound we don't pan as if we are sitting at the drums so why do it when recording. i guess it's just a matter of taste. Neither one is wrong.

Exactly, they both work. I listen to a lot of live recordings, so that's what feels most natural to me.

Fun-related fact that I thought of from your post- front row is a TERRIBLE place for sound, you want to mix as if you're standing at FOH or the front row of a balcony. I know you probably don't mean it as you wrote it, but figured I'd throw it out there. Best seats in the house are never the front row (unless you like getting sweat and spit from the musicians on you, in which case go for it!).
Telecaster - SG - Jaguar
Princeton Reverb, Extra Reverb
P-Bass - Mustang Bass
Apogee Duet 2 - Ableton Suite
#10
You are so right. The worst concerts I have ever attended were ones wher I was up close and was getting too much stage volume and not enough PA. Good observation.
#11
you probably should pan, to give a depth and ambience feel, but NOT hard pan, cause then it feels un-natural. besides, you dont want to isolate lets say, the hats from the right channel (being hard panned in the left). a good start is think of +/-50% of either side as your top pan, not more of that (being +/-100% a hard pan)
#12
I do everything drummer perspective. Live too. But that's just me.
I've bought, sold, and traded more gear than I care to admit.
#14
I took some time and listened closely to some of my favorite producer/engineers last night and I was surprised. It seems that I hear most drum mixes and stereo image as if you are sitting sitting behind the drum kit not facing it. At least that's how it seemed to me with headphones on. The tom rolls were most often left to right with the hit hat left of center and the snare and kick centered. Great question.