the Panning of Drums

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by wafuradio, May 10, 2004.

  1. wafuradio

    wafuradio Guest

    For years i have been panning the drums in my mixes from the drummer's perspective. So when you are listening to a mix, it is like sitting behind the kit.

    Now i have been told that it should be from the audience perspective, like you are standing in front of the kit when listening to a mix

    How are most engineers panning the drum kit in their mixes... is it from the drummer's or the audience's perspective?

  2. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    I often use the audience standpoint for panning drums. However, like most everything else about this craft it's highly subjective.
  3. krazydog

    krazydog Guest

    Totally subjective!
    Tell that person all your past recordings was a left handed drummer & therefore is "correct". :roll:
    Do what you think is cool or what your client wants.

  4. captaininvisible

    captaininvisible Active Member

    Jan 31, 2003
    The thoughtful folks at Yamaha kindly pre-panned all the drum sounds in their RX21 drum machine from the drummer's perspective.

    So I just reverse the outputs :D
  5. Sckid Marq

    Sckid Marq Active Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    I do it from the drummer's perspective. I personally want feel as if I'm in the band when I listen to music.
  6. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    Audience perspective!
  7. Skeetch

    Skeetch Guest

    I think you'll begin to see from the responses so far that it's, well, ya know. Which color is better - red, or blue?
  8. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    I am actually a panning freak, and I usually know how I am going to pan a song almost from the time I start recording it. When I was working pro I listened to a lot of albums, and realized I had been panning drums from the drummers perspective for years, and that all commercial albums at the time did it from the audiences perspective. So I switched. These days, whenever I hear drums that are panned backwards it sounds unnatural to me.

    It makes sense that a record should be like a stage that you are watching (or listening to).

    But the truth is, it doesn't really matter. If for some reason you have a mix where it sounds better the other way - the ceiling isn't going to fall down because you pan them the other way.
  9. Sen

    Sen Guest

    Audience :)
  10. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    By the way - they are backwards (drummer's perspective) on the Zoom HD recorders, too. You would think that when making a commercial product someone would think to ask "which way do most hit records do it?".
  11. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    My drummer is left handed so you tell me!
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    "usually" it's audience perspective but it doesn't matter.

    When I'm getting sounds many times I record it as drummers perspective for me and the drummer (it's wierd in the cans to have it audience perspective when your playing drums). Then when I final mix, I flip it around.
  13. jodyjfk

    jodyjfk Guest

    I pan according to the old Phil Spector perspective: MONO! 8)
  14. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    I once heard that people are accustomed to movement from left to right, and thus swing better to tom rolls moving in that direction as well.

    After doing some tests, I think I personally agree. But then again, it could be just placebo at work.
  15. Duardo

    Duardo Guest

    If you think about it, "audience perspective" is really often are you close enough to the drums if you're in the audience that you hear them in any sort of stereo at all?

  16. BladeSG

    BladeSG Guest

    I agree with the mono principle for drums. Very rarely I might pan the hats slightly right but only if it's a funky 16th pattern.

    Then again each to their own, whatever works is good too!
  17. I always pan from the drummer's perspective- i think that the listener enjoys the sense of "being" in the band or "standing backstage" - it makes them feel as if they're more involved in the music- more imerssive, if you will.
  18. musicalhair

    musicalhair Guest

    Hey Wafuradio, are you a drummer? I would never have thought to pan from the drummers perspective. I do it from the audiences' perspective for the most part. Snare and kick are basically right down the center-- skewed slightly off to get movement in the "boom, chick, boom, chick" or something like that sometimes. But I like the cymbals and toms going wide, so I play with the panning of the overheads depending on what the drummer did and what the song calls for. I favor the four mic technic so that is about it.
  19. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    Like I said, I am something of a panning freak - and when I was doing more sessions I always tried to set the bed track players in my room in the same position I planned to pan them - drums & bass middle, two rhythm instruments at opposite ends, etc. That way any ambient reflections in the room stayed truer to form. Same with overdubs if I was doing a large horn session, for example.

    "If you think about it, "audience perspective" is really often are you close enough to the drums if you're in the audience that you hear them in any sort of stereo at all?"

    You are basically correct, but a lot of live concerts now have stereo mixes and the drums are usually panned audience perspective when they do.

    But also speaking psychologically about live shows - a promoter once said to me "most people listen with their eyes," and I think it would cause a mental disconnect in a live setting *if* the mix is stereo, to have them panned the opposite way from the way the drummer appears to be playing. Therefore, if I had a lefthand drummer in a live situation, I would probably pan them left to right.

    And the tendency for people to naturally want events to occur left to right (because we read that way) I think is valid, and that is why I think drums sound "cooler" going the other way - it's like "wow, that drummer can play backwards!" I know it seems silly, but it a real thought process I went through.

    And if you think about it, it is "backwards" to pan drums from the audience perspective when we pan pianos from the player's perspective - like I believe 99% of us do.
  20. wafuradio

    wafuradio Guest

    i am not a drummer... but i always loved getting behind the kit and "playing". when i started recording music, i wanted to capture in the speakers what i heard behind the kit... recording from the audience's perspecitve never crossed my mind. it is very interesting to read how everyone else is trying to present drums to the listener.
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