mixing drums - perspective

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by d franko, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. d franko

    d franko Guest

    OK. When mixing drums, do you mix from the drummers perspective or from audience perspective, as in if you were facing the drummer. I have a tendancy to mix from drummers perspective as I am a drummer. Does this seem odd to non-drummers?
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    either way is fine.
  3. OTRjkl

    OTRjkl Guest

    I agree,

    EXCEPT in the case of a recording of a live performance - especially if your mix will be merged with a video.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    d franko,
    It would also depend on what perspective you are mixing the rest of the band in. Especially in a live situation, if the guitar amp is to the left of the drummer (audience perspective) and you have the floor tom panned right (drummer perspective) any spill from the guitar amp that the floor tom might pick up will be on the wrong side. Phase problems perhaps? It's possible. Just keep the panning consistent on all the instruments. I personally like the drums from an drummer perspective with the toms moving left to right as the drummer rolls through the toms, hi rack tom to the floor tom. It bugs me to hear the floor in the left. However many records are mixed this way. It's a matter of preference. .... Fats
    Tannoy, Dynaudio, Blue Sky, JBL, Earthworks, Westlake, NS 10's :D , Genelec, Hafler, KRK, and PMC
    Those are good. …………………….. Pick one.
  5. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    I agree with Fats, I mix drums from an audience perspective, since I usually try to picture the band playing in front of me as if I was standing at a live concert; somebody posted a similar topic a while back and a reply to my way of mixing drums was that at a live concert you really can't tell the way the kit is panned if you don't look at it; this can be true, but to minimize phasing issues I try to stay consistent with panning.

    Following this first question I would like to add one: if you record OHs with a stereo pair, how open do you pan them in mixing? Usually stereo techniques like XY or ORTF need to be panned all the way L and R to truly represent the wideness of the stereo image without phase issues, but in the case of drums oHs I really hate it when I hear a ride cymbal in the left speaker and a Hi-Hat in the right one, as if the kit was 10' wide.

    What do you guys think?


  6. Brandy

    Brandy Guest

    cause i am a drummer, too - i like it having the hi hat on the left, and the ride on the right. i have little problems to mix proper if the drums are "inversed"

  7. Matt Hepworth

    Matt Hepworth Active Member

    Oct 12, 2001
    SLC, UT
    Home Page:
    Maybe I'm less versitile, but for me the toms go Left as smallest rack to Right floor tom. Hats on the left, ride on the right. It feels wrong to me to even hear a mix done the other way - it just doesn't jive. I'm not a drummer, but drummer's perspective it is for me.
  8. Sebatron

    Sebatron Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    i usually mix with hats on left ...floor on right
    i occasionally play drums but i mix this way because i think the performers perspective is relevant.
    What about Piano,would you pan the tops on the left? :(
    No-one stands behind an upright, so it's got to be performers view.

    ...but then again just turn the dials 'till it sounds goode. :D
  9. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    St Louis
    I'm playing the devil's advocate here, but what if the drummer plays a left handed set. Do you reverse pan things to make it sound "normal"? Just curious

  10. twiddler

    twiddler Guest

    Funny you should mention that...

    I'm a left handed drummer - a fact I always thought came in handy coz it discouraged other drummers from playing my kit.

    I tend to pan the drums the way I'm used to hearing'em, HH on the right, Ride on the left. But often I use an FX plugin or my DM24 mixer to narrow the stereo image because I like to "localize" the drums in one hypothetical spot within the stereo spectrum, rather than have them wall to wall.

    It depends on the style of music of course. For me, when I want a more "natural" sound I narrow the panning, and when I want the uber-processed pop/metal thang, (which I admit, isn't often), the wider the better. But I'm left handed, so how can you trust anything I say?
  11. themidiroom

    themidiroom Active Member

    Apr 20, 2002
    St Louis
    Ha ha ha. I used to be left handed, but my parents had me taken off to some strange place and they re-programed me.

  12. Hey Fats...
    "I personally like the drums from an audience perspective with the toms moving left to right as the drummer rolls through the toms, hi rack tom to the floor tom. It bugs me to hear the floor in the left" (hey I'm getting old .. did I read this wrong?!)

    Left to right is the drummer's perspective, not the audience, eh? Ah.... now the real question would be the overhead pan .. I have (for some unknown reason) heard many people mix and/or track the overheads opposite of the toms .. not sure why, but that drives me crazy.

    Most times, I'll find hard left (hi hat side, right handed drummer setup), and hard right (ride cymbal, right handed drummer setup)for overheads.
    Actual hi hat, maybe @9:OO, one tom at 11:00, two top toms: 11-2:00, floor tom, down the middle (yep the middle), or if you must, at 3:00, kick and snare down the middle.
    The overheads give the set some space, the tighter "actual set" some drive, and the floor down the middle is under the idea of a bass drum, it'll get more power at 12-1:00 .. and it will not sound like you think.. try it, I was surprised when I did.
    My thinking is that spreading out the toms over all creation (left to right) is very unreal and unnatural. I have yet to have anyone say to me.. wow, you did this or that, they just say .. great drum sound.. and that's what I like.
    Just one more perspective, on rock drums, I guess.

    oh yeah.. twiddler .. I had to learn on a left handed drummer's set .. 8 months before I got a real right handed set .. it was a whole 'nother thing that I'll always remember and be glad I did .. like playing a guitar upside down left handed...
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    You busted me on that alright. A silly typo mistake. I edited my post to avoid confusion. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Fats

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