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Recording drums - panning?


DerekDrums

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Hey everyone, my two new SM-57s for my rack toms should be coming some time next week. I'm just curious on tom panning. I have 5 toms, 4 rack toms, I'm putting 1 in between my 8" and 10", 1 in between and my 12" and 13". When I get money for another one, I'll mic the floor tom. Anyway, on all my other recordings at http://www.mp3.com/DustinDerek it's just been bass/snare/overhead miking. I've never done any panning really, but now that I'll have tom mics, I'm going to be doing some rack tom panning. But my question, is how do you pan? How you'd hear it from your set, or how the audience would hear it? I mean, do I want the high toms panned to the left more, and the low toms panned more to the right like I'd hear it? Or should I do the opposite, how my toms would be positioned from the audience's perspective? It could go either way, but what is usually the standard for panning? Thanks in advance,

 

Derek

 

http://www.mp3.com/DustinDerek

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Derek, there are no hard and fast rules about panning, it's just your taste. Some people like to pan from the drummer's perspective, others from the audience's. I've noticed that drummers who are engineers and producers tend to use the drummer's perspective. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif And actually, I like to use that myself on studio recordings. Kinda gives the listener the feeling of being behind the kit.

 

However if I'm doing a live recording, I usually pan from the audience's perspective. For example if one guitarist is on the right (from the audience's POV) and one is on the left, and I pan THEM that way, it would be goofy to hear the drum kit going the other way. So I try to stay true to the perspective of someone watching the show.

 

That's just my personal style though - like I said, no rules, do it however ya want!

 

--Lee

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Lee is completely right. It's all personal taste; just like salt & pepper.

 

I will say that I don't know too many engineers who like to pan the toms hard Right or hard Left. This was a popular technique back in the 80's and can be fun for the listener ... but by today's standards it would be considered over produced.

 

Typically (what I see and do at least) the toms are never panned harder than the 9 and 3 O'clock positions. This seems to give a realistic stereo image without over doing it. If the audience is in the room with you, they would never here one tom in one in only. Perhaps more of one tom in one ear than the other, but never totally isolated in one ear. The whole panning process is just to create some movement and interest to the listener.

 

I sometimes break this un-written rule for a particular mix on a given song. But if you want your drums to sound LIVE and/or natural, I think the 9 O'clock - 3 O'clock rule is a good one to start with at least. It all comes down to what you like and your own tastes.

 

 

 

------------------

Bart Elliott

http://bartelliott.com

Drummer Cafe - community drum & percussion forum
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Thanks guys! I think for studio work, I'll keep a behind the kit feel, but for live, like you said, do it for the audience's perspective. (No live shows planned for a while though, considering we can't find another bass player to replace our one we jam with, because he's gone to the Navy for 2 years.) I didn't mean I was going to pan hard left or hard right, that's why I said "to the left more" and "to the right more", I meant a little more than keeping them dead center. I wouldn't do drastic panning, because then the sound of the overhead picking up the toms would be too present on the other side of the pan. Anyway, thanks again for you guys' help! I really was hoping that it wasn't uncommon to put the toms in your perspective, I like that sound alot more, makes it seem like your right there. It's nice. Thanks again!

 

Derek

 

http://www.mp3.com/DustinDerek

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