Mixing double drums: How would you pan them?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by bouldersound, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I'm mixing a project with two drummers on most of the songs, much like The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers etc. I've been pondering my panning approach and, though I've kind of got it figured out, it would be useful to hear what others have done or think they would do with two kits before I settle on something.
     
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Each drummer could be on their sides (at certain degrees) but keep the snares and bass drums in the center..
    Others might say how ever it sound good to you ;)

    Here's a good exemple :
     
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense.

    I think the snares are panned in that mix. It sounded like kicks were centered and otherwise each drummer was panned across his half of the stereo field in mirror image, audience perspective on the left and (what would be if he had a normal kit) drummer perspective on the right, with the hi-hats arbitrarily panned out wider.
     
  4. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I don't think there is a wrong way to mix it but many ways to fail with the performances.. if both drummer aren't right in time it will clash really fast..
    One thing that can help is to have very different sounding drums. (well it's just a thought ) ;)
     
  5. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

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    The song I kissed a girl has double drums on it.. I mixed them individually in stereo one at a time..
    Bussed each kit to their individual groups and then panned each group left and right maybe 30 to 40

    https://www.reverbnation.com/TheRecordingMonster
     
  6. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    I did not know GD did that, but I'm also very much not a fan of them. I love AB though.

    Could you just try to copy the panning of those two bands? Or is it that like me you can only tolerate 2 min of GD ;) Or are the drums too diffused to extrapolate the mixing info you want?

    No matter what, I don't envy the task you have before you.
     
  7. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    That's not Katy Perry? ;)

    I really like the tune. Why double drums for that though? That seems doable for a single drummer no?

    I love that singer's tone.
     
  8. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, the first time I heard the Dead I thought it was weak and too country. I eventually discovered that they cover a pretty wide range of styles and, in person, could be far more brawny at times than was apparent on the recordings. "The Other One" live sometimes made me worry for a venue's structural integrity.

    Basically, I've never analyzed the drum panning of either of those bands. And I doubt it's consistent, especially the Dead since they were around so long and had so many recordings. But I suppose I could go and have a listen.

    The mixing has been a challenge but a real joy. It's a truly special project and to get to mix it is an honor. The musical styles are very familiar to me, drawing from the Dead, Allman Brothers, The Band, the Stones etc. so I've got those imprinted patterns to guide me. Things like levels, eq, dynamics I have pretty clear in my mind, but the panning isn't something I really memorized since I was so seldom listening from the optimum spot for stereo image.
     
  9. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    I once had a moment just like that, except it was "That's not Jill Sobule."
     
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I've only once recorded and mixed a set with two drummers. In one drum solo of the set, the two drummers kicked crotchets alternately, so that event determined that the mix had to be the whole of each kit positioned either side of centre, as they were on stage. The vocals and the bass guitarist fitted neatly dead centre (gratefully).
     
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the options I've considered, a more or less literal presentation. A kind of optimized audience perspective is my default, and I'd almost certainly go that way if it were live and/or there were a video. I'm just not sure I like the asymmetrical result for this project.
     
  12. Brother Junk

    Brother Junk Active Member

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    Mine as well, not that it means much. I've mixed about 40 songs lol.

    I kind of just assumed that's how everyone did it though no? Vocal center, drums with various panning, but kick centered, instruments in various degrees of left and right. One song I did, I made it sound like the guitarist was walking along the stage. I just automated the pan very slowly during his solo. I thought it was clever.

    How is this coming?
     
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    There are two main camps with drums panning, audience perspective and drummer perspective. As a live sound engineer I spend most of my time making it right for the listeners and panning things opposite of what they see would be weird. Drummer perspective seems vaguely antisocial and selfish to me, as if he's playing purely for his own amusement and doesn't really care about people who might be listening.

    It's a massive project, too much for one CD, but it's coming along. Now that I'm starting the last few songs I've got a process in place and things are moving faster. And we added some broadband absorbers which helped me get to the right sound faster, without having to check elsewhere as much.
     
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  14. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I also do live shows from time to time and mostly outside work.
    Usually I barely pan instruments because on 5000 people, not a lot of them are dead center from the linearrays. Even on smaller venue I often consider mono setups to avoid problems. It would be sad to walk to the left side of the room or field and loose the hihat because it's fully panned to the right. Of course, in a small hall or with satellite speakers, I venture more in stereophonic mixes.
    So this is why live and studio mixes are very different for me. In studio my aim is people in cars, livingroom, with headphones or earbuds..
     
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  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    Obviously you have to accommodate the room. Club gigs, which is mostly what I did, are different from concerts. People are there to socialize so leaving some areas out of the coverage was actually part of my method. I would angle the speakers in for overlap (and to keep the pattern off the walls in narrow rooms), so even the people on the left could hear things on the right. Some live mixers get all wound up about interference/cancellation between the two speakers covering the same area, but I think they were reading too much into measurements made with a single mic. Human hearing can distinguish two sources if the angle is wide enough. So, yeah, if the situation allowed for it I would pan drums, toms anyway, accordingly. Guitars are different because amps tend to have narrow projection. If there's an amp tearing the heads off one side of the audience but essentially missing on the other side I would fill in that side with the PA.

    Toward the end of my time providing sound for club gigs I was ramping up to cover wide rooms with four mains. The two covering the middle of the room would be mixed in stereo while the outer pair covering the sides would be a sum of that mix. Down the middle it would be stereo and as you move laterally it would transition to mono.
     
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