Below I have written a simple tutorial on drum panning. This step by step tutorial can be applied to both live drums and electronically processed drums. Every drum kit is different and will need to be panned correctly according to how your kit has been mic’d up. This particular tutorial is based on a recent drum recording session I recorded for AA Samples, which can be found here. When panning drums always pan from the position of the audience from the listeners point of view not the drummers position.
Think of yourself stood in front of the kit looking on to the drums from a central position. Map out your drums and mic positions with a pen and paper or using such program as paint.
Split your kit into 3 parts, mono, pan left and pan right.
Pan each stem in your drum recordings accordingly to the image you have created. In my particular image I have created I will be panning as follows.
Kick ( mono )
Snare ( mono )
Middle Tom ( left 5% )
High Tom ( right 5% )
Floor Tom ( left 15% )
High Hat ( right 15% )
Splash ( right 15% )
Overheads Left / Right ( left 50% / right 50% )
Room mic ( right 100% / left 100% )
By panning your drum mix correctly, this will allow you to create a realistic drum mix as though the listener is standing in front of the drum kit how the drums are intended to be heard. Never pan your drums from the drummers point of view pan your drums to the listeners point of view. Every recording engineer has their own style of recording and mixing. This is simply my personal preference how I panned the live drums I have recorded in this session. Panning depends on how the recording engineer has mic’d up the kit and the mic placement. This type of drum panning can be applied to electronically processed drum mixes and can create a nice wide natural sounding mix instead of flat mono digital overly clinical drums. I hope this tutorial helps and if you’d like to download the 4.5+gb of live drum recordings in various BPM’s you can do so via our sample site here.