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Stop panning overheads! Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Stop panning overheads!

It seems almost as a cardinal sin within the recording community to keep the drums mono with minimal panning.

Listen to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgK_Er7WZVg

The thing that people dance to is the groove. Nobody cares if the thing is panned at all really.

Are we overdoing it with close micing everything?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetones View Post
It seems almost as a cardinal sin within the recording community to keep the drums mono with minimal panning.

Listen to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgK_Er7WZVg

The thing that people dance to is the groove. Nobody cares if the thing is panned at all really.

Are we overdoing it with close micing everything?
Cool song but I would have liked it better if the drums went from mono to panned at some point to change things up. They actually sort of did when the stereo flange/phase thing came in. I don't hear drums mono (maybe because I'm a drummer) but to each his own. There are no rules!
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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imloggedin's Avatar
 

No.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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jmikeperkins's Avatar
Panning overheads is not restricted to close micing drums. I have always thought some of the best drum sounds were recorded by the 3 mic Glyn John technique and the 2 overhead mics in that method are generally panned hard right and left. On a broader point, many recordings with technical limitations and outright defects are loved by the public despite these issues. However, as an engineer, you don't set out to make recordings with limitations and/or defects because of that fact.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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I didn't listen, but I like mono drums.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
I've been digging using a mono overhead lately, but it's not for every song. Context is king. I think it's fine to challenge anything that people are doing because they think they're 'supposed to'. It's important to be intentional about how you go about recording. The same applies for using compression, reverb etc...
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetones View Post
It seems almost as a cardinal sin within the recording community to keep the drums mono with minimal panning.
you should have been around in the 70's and 80's!

Back in the day, I used to not only pan the overheads full left and right but the toms as well. The drum set image in the mix was as wide as your speakers were set up. I cringe when I hear it now. I keep my drum kit narrower these days, sometimes mono overhead, but like PDXOR, I am a drummer myself and I simply don't hear drums in mono. I still pan stuff, just a bit more reasonably.

From what I am hearing, the trend in the 21st Century is clearly away from the super-wide drum kit that spans the full soundstage, though there is probably not much of a trend towards making the kit totally mono. Some people do it as a faux-retro thing, but few do it 'sincerely', so far as I have noticed.
thoroughly unremarkable drum sound, IMO. If you like the music, you like the music. Even this song 'cheats' its own mono vibe idea with panned guitars and echoes.


Quote:
The thing that people dance to is the groove. Nobody cares if the thing is panned at all really.
IMO, this works against your argument. If "nobody cares", then what's wrong with panning the drums anywhere the engineer thinks they sound best? Would the dancers instantly stop dancing if the song suddenly broke out into stereo? Frankly, the song you posted is not what I would call a booty-shaker. It probably has more hipsters listening to it, than dancers dancing to it.

Quote:
Are we overdoing it with close micing everything?
we are not
first of all, taking close mics and the panning of those mics are separate issues. As is how loud you mix them. I bet this stuff is just as "worked on" in its own way as any record out there.

Everybody and his brother pays lip service to 'minimalistic' this and 'naturalistic' that, but in the end, what most artists and their fans want requires a degree of control over the sound that is highly unlikely with one microphone. It's all an illusion. I think of it like a motion picture makeup artist who spends two hours every morning making the star of the film look like she's "not wearing any makeup".

the idea that that movie has more "integrity" than a movie where you can tell there's makeup on is silly. It's the exact same thing, just pitched to a different audience. Very few really want "natural" - they want "naturalistic". That's our job, really, if you think about it.

Last edited by joeq; 6 days ago at 05:32 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetones View Post
It seems almost as a cardinal sin within the recording community to keep the drums mono with minimal panning.

Listen to this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgK_Er7WZVg

The thing that people dance to is the groove. Nobody cares if the thing is panned at all really.

Are we overdoing it with close micing everything?
I like a wide stereo overhead pan....

But I totally get where you're coming from. The mono drums makes to stereo guitars larger.



Notes taken.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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dcwave's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
I like a wide stereo overhead pan....
The mono drums makes to stereo guitars larger.
.
not entirely mono. but narrow panning for sure
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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vernier's Avatar
Last time I panned was 1979. Must do more, thanks to this thread.
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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PdotDdot's Avatar
I have generally gone with trying to make the drums sound like I am sitting behind the kit so I pan them accordingly.

That said, once I have enough of the mix to work with I may change that as I will salt to taste if you know what I mean.

Rule number one - obey ALL rules.
Rule number two - there are NO rues.

:-)
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Yeah Different strokes but I can't really get down with this. I love hard panned overheads and L/c/r panning in general. I often use an ORTF pair as the overheads, and since they're spaced similarly to one's ears would be, panning them left and right sounds very natural to me. Even in a wide spaced pair it isn't unusual for me to hard pan them, with the toms being panned in to match wherever they happen to fall in the overheads alone. When I sit behind the kit I hear it in stereo so I'm not sure why it'd seem odd to pan them. I'm not a slave to naturalism or anything though. I am not a fan of mono drums generally speaking, but I don't have any hard and fast rules about it and would certainly do it if the situation called for it. Depends on the aesthetic the client goes for.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
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IanBSC's Avatar
It's a different philosophy: are all the drums together just a single mono element of a mix, that you compress or distort together, and pan wherever is necessary? Or are the drums a complex array of sounds and ambience, the key to building a sense of space and stereo soundstage within a mix? If you want a sense of being in an actual room, it's hard to do that without panning. Obviously not an issue if you are doing a two-dimensional sound collage where everything is direct and in your face, or if you don't mix for headphones.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 
Space1999's Avatar
 

Step One: Set up a drum kit in your live room
Step Two: Wake up the drummer and have him play drums while you stand 10-15 ft away
Step Three: Realize what a drum kit sounds like and that no one listens to a drum set with their head on the snare drum and toms or with their head in the kick nor do they listen to the cymbals duct taped to the ceiling
Step Four: Listen to every Led Zepplin record ever made and realize that it made sense that John Bonham would literally punch anyone in the face who dared to get close to his drum set with a mic.
Step Five: Stay Calm and Carry On (my wayward son)

pat
Old 6 days ago
  #15
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Hardtoe's Avatar
Mono and wide are both good...

depending.....

boring but true

Last edited by Hardtoe; 6 days ago at 08:00 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #16
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TimFoster's Avatar
^ Ya... I think that about says it all.

What surprised me most about this thread... is that there’s a Tame Impala song I actually like.
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Stop panning my panning of overheads.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

Good post!

Being a session drummer for many years, I would want to naturally pan the overheads and toms they way I hear it. OTOH, everybody else on earth is not hearing it that way.

If you are listening to a drummer 6 feet away or 100 yards away at a big concert, the perspective is always going to be different.

I guess there is no hard rule on panning. Do what makes the mix interesting.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetones View Post

The thing that people dance to is the groove. Nobody cares if the thing is panned at all really.
There are some people that actually LISTEN to music.
Old 6 days ago
  #20
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffLee View Post
There are some people that actually LISTEN to music.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
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Sigma's Avatar
i usually pan to the kit [overs toms room] left 60% right 40 % so gtrs spread full L/R and the drums are tucked into them
Old 6 days ago
  #22
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Another variation is to make the drums super wide and mix the guitars in almost mono.

Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Lownotes's Avatar
 

Make me.

Old 6 days ago
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post
..Being a session drummer for many years, I would want to naturally pan the overheads and toms they way I hear it. OTOH, everybody else on earth is not hearing it that way.

If you are listening to a drummer 6 feet away or 100 yards away at a big concert, the perspective is always going to be different.

I guess there is no hard rule on panning. Do what makes the mix interesting.
Good post! :>)
I always figure the only one close enough to hear a kit anywhere near 'wide ..is the drummer
Having said that, partially due to my home recording situations, I've evolved a 'low and from the sides main kit pair. Record them to dual mono pair, then will set their pans to best suite the mix (per song in some cases.
I've found I can go full wide, all the way into mono. I don't generally use the two extremes, but there's definitely useful and different range of tone and vibe throughout.
Old 6 days ago
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffLee View Post
There are some people that actually LISTEN to music.
You're not supposed to listen to music. You're supposed to feel it. You do listen to sounds, however.
Old 5 days ago
  #26
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Scott View Post

If you are listening to a drummer 6 feet away or 100 yards away at a big concert, the perspective is always going to be different.
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
I always figure the only one close enough to hear a kit anywhere near 'wide ..is the drummer .
While I may not hear it as wide as I mix it, I think I am aware of the physical positioning of the drum kits elements in all small and medium sized venues. If you blindfolded me I could tell you if the drummer was set up lefty, for example, just by my perception of the high-hat and the floor tom and their early reflections.

In any case, it is rarely 'reality' that any of us are going for. In the OP's example track, the 'reality' would be a band where everyone is positioned in the middle of the stage except for a guitar amp all the way on the right and a cabinet with only guitar echo all the way on the left.

So much for "realism".
Old 5 days ago
  #27
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kennybro's Avatar
That stereo field is so massively jammed up with flying, shifting panned stuff, mono center drums is the only choice. This is about context, not whether or not to pan drums in general. If drums were panned out in this mix, they'd get lost in the labyrinth.
Old 5 days ago
  #28
Gear Head
 

I guess its a question of space. If there are heavy guitars on each side i would happily narrow it down. If there is not much going on on the sides, I dont see the point.
Old 5 days ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagetones View Post
You're not supposed to listen to music. You're supposed to feel it. You do listen to sounds, however.
so not only you want to tell everyone what to do with overheads, but also you want to tell how to "properly" listen to music? Take it easy
Old 5 days ago
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

When I get other people's stuff to mix and bring the overheads in toward the middle, the power of the kick and especially snare usually suffers at least a little. Less pop, less thump. Less "music" in the sense that some people here seem to be talking about. In a fairly current GS mixoff thread where you can download and mix the tracks for a great throwback song called "Me and Mona Lisa," the drums are samples and the overheads still have that issue to a degree.

For that reason, it's one reason anyway, in my own stuff I use a single overhead. Which, in my small room, might not exactly be "overhead," it might be 7 feet away and pointed at the bounce off a wood-y wall, but there's only one.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 5 days ago at 06:18 PM..
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