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Trends in mixing drums (snare centered or slightly panned?)
Old 16th May 2008
  #31
TRW
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Mono rocks.... fukk this panning malarky! LOL

I'm with DirkB FWIW.

-T
Old 16th May 2008
  #32
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BlueSprocket's Avatar
 

If it sounds good, it is good. I've listened to tons of great recordings with stuff panned all over the place. Oddly enough, I just finished a record, where because of how the drummer setup in the room, the snare was to one side in the room mics. I'm a comfort fanatic, if the drummer wants to setup one way in the studio...I refuse to stop him. I solidly believe that a mediocre recording of a great take, cause the player felt good, is infinitely better than a great recording of a half-a$$ed take. Anyways, I digress.

At mixdown, the guitar player in the band (who fancies himself a hobbiest recorder, rock on) noticed the snare panned toward the right. He said, "wow the snare is to the side...THAT SOUNDS SICK!" Everyone loved it. If it sounds good (and the client likes it) its perfect.
Old 16th May 2008
  #33
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Listen to 60's french pop a la france gall etc. That music often has crazy panning like all the drums hard left, and the bass guitar and strings hard right. Sometimes I've tried to emulate that style. Then I'd only use 1 overhead mic and basically do a mono mix of the drums, and pan them all 50-80% left.
Old 16th May 2008
  #34
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themikesonata's Avatar
 

I agree that the snare should really be driving in the center because otherwise a balanced mix is sacrificed. HOWEVER, although I feel and really hear the snare in the center I sometimes toss it just the slightest tiniest hair off center to keep that natural ideal.
I guess I am of two minds on this one and will simply follow the rule of using my ears and doing whatever sounds good.
Old 16th May 2008
  #35
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In reply to james: I always measure snare so that it is in the middle. Somehow it rarely is 100% centred though. It sounds centred enough but panning the close miked snare so that it fits reveals that it isn't. I wouldn't sacrafice a good drum sound with the right balance because of the snare not being 100% centred. I rather move mics to have the ride not too loud etc.
Even great drummers can have dificulties getting a great balance to tape because microphones are stupid.
Old 16th May 2008
  #36
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I found a couple of my early projects last week. I didnt have almost any gear, only 2 mics! A 414 and a d112. I was surprised how good the drums sounded!

Mono overhead plus BD. No phase issuesheh

Now I just go for a good centered image from the overheads, usually ORTF or AB. Snare dead center.

Then I´ll un fix it in the mix if I feel it works...
Old 16th May 2008
  #37
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I place some stereo system (overheads, room mics, recorderman style) to capture the whole kit with bassdrum and snare in the center. I then pan the close mikes to match their equal in the stereo system.

How do you guys do it?
If your snare is off center in the stereo system, where do you place your close mikes?
Off center to the other side to create a counterpart? Now that I think of it I think I'm gonna try it, it may sound cool.
Or do you try to get in into the center at mixing time? Not a good Idea, I think.
Or do you not care about the position and pan the close mike to wherever the snare is?

I also think the whole naturalistic approach with drums panning like this or that is difficult because if you're standing in front of the band you don't hear any panning. I think it's more natural to create some diffuse stereo image by reverb, delay and / or phase issues.

Just my humble €0,02.


Claus
Old 16th May 2008
  #38
Gear Nut
 

I start with my overheads and Bass Drum mic. I balance the kit by moving the OH mics so I get a Balanced pickup of the toms, cymbals. Then wherever the snare comes up in that image is where I pan the mic. Same with the tom mics. If you start with the overheads and then just fill in the image, you can't go wrong
Old 16th May 2008
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outlaw Hans View Post
In reply to james: I always measure snare so that it is in the middle. Somehow it rarely is 100% centred though. It sounds centred enough but panning the close miked snare so that it fits reveals that it isn't.
Heh, that phenomena is weird. Most of the time it is because the drummer isn't hitting center mass all the time.

I find that backing the mics up 3-6 inches can reduce that issue a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outlaw Hans View Post
I wouldn't sacrafice a good drum sound with the right balance because of the snare not being 100% centred. I rather move mics to have the ride not too loud etc.
Certainly not. Ultimately lthe sound is what counts. However, I like to have my cake and eat it too... sometimes it can take 20 minutes of messin' around to get it where you want it.

I just hate being in the situation when it's mix time that I'm kicking myself for something left undone. That feeling bums me out.
Old 29th October 2008
  #40
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I like my drums to be audience perspective. Snare slightly panned to the right toms following along towards center, slightly left and so on. I like my OH hard panned audience perspective as well... I feel it sounds like you are actually experiencing the band performing.
Old 29th October 2008
  #41
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I sometimes pan the snare slightly to the right and kick slightly to the left if I want to create a little more movement in the kit. Im talking barely noticeable, but it can add interest to the kick/snare rhythm especially if it is a slower song.
Old 29th October 2008
  #42
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Because the kick and the snare aren't really fighting for space in concerns to frequency I like them both in the middle.

Still more unusual recordings can have things panned anywhere, that is what helps keep things interesting.

But current popular recordings don't need that kind of treatment.
Old 30th October 2008
  #43
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When mixing I pan the stereo overheads as wide as I want the drums for that particular tune and then pan all the close mics (should I be using any, I like to record drums with 3 mics in total room allowing) so they coincide with the oh.
Old 30th October 2008
  #44
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"Inner Mounting Flame" was basically the band's (Mahavishnu Orchestra) live club set at that time.
I imagine that because it was on Columbia and their jazz department handled that record it was a pretty quick session.
A great session, but a pretty fast session (no pun intended!)
It was one or two sessions at most.

There doesn't seem to be much over-dubbing, but the B3 stuff was probably OD'd because Jan Hammer's electric piano stuff is two handed while the B3 is wailing away and the Leslie is being sped up an slowed down.

The hi-hat is pretty loud in that drum mix, so it pulls the snare over towards it I think.
I need to listen to this record again for this.
I have played it jillions of times over the years, but I can't recall the drum panning.
I do know that the drums sound like they are really EQ'd and REALLY pushing the mic pres!
The same thing is going on with the "Birds of Fire" recordings that were cut in NY.
The Trident sessions sound entirely different on that record and on the "Lost Trident Sessions" release.

I guess I'll be listening to "Inner Mounting Flame" tonight.
A good enough reason!

Hey... no one mentioned that on "Dance of Maya" the entire band is OD'd upon itself except for the drum track and the bass.
The back half of the song has the entire band except for Billy Cobham and Rick Laird (bass) OD'd playing both of the songs melodic figures over the drum/bass.
One melody is the "boogie" in 9/8 and the other melody is the heavy/spooky poly-rhythmic, arpegiated 1st half melody.
I have never heard that done except for this song and on a few cuts of the "Lifetime" record with John McLaughlin,Tony Williams and Larry Young.
Over-dubbing the band twice over themselves playing completely separate parts is pretty rare.
Maybe the dual trio of King Crimson gets close, but that is one band with two drummers, bassists and guitarists playing pretty much at once.
Old 30th October 2008
  #45
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10-35/100 to the right and if anyone tells you to go to the left, they are wrong.
Old 31st October 2008
  #46
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I'm a drummer who's getting into home recording and last weekend I tested different overhead placements, experimented with ORTF, XY and Recorderman.
I don't like XY because it leads to a too much strong center image that isn't realistic, so for me it's a shootout between ORTF and Recorderman.
I have a 5-toms kit with plenty of cymbals, so overhead placement is a key for the drum sound I'm trying to achieve.

ORTF: great imaging, great cymbals balance and capturing, louder rack toms, weaker overall drumkit(including hi-hat), so more suitable if you're gonna close-mic every drum and have those louder in the mix. ORTF2 works better than ORTF1.

Recorderman: more natural imaging, great overall balance, stronger kick/snare/toms, stronger hi-hat, "swishy" cymbals, close mics gonna be "accent" mics.

Every inch movement leads to a different feeling, slightly changes in panning too, so there are endless combinations......

No matter how you position them, if you're looking for a balanced drum sound you'll always end up with a slightly panned kick and snare.
Even with Recorderman method, if you keep a perfect distance between kick/snare and mics, the shoulder mic will always capture more "attack" from the bassdrum and less "crack" from the snare, because of its angle and height.
Even with ORTF2 the kick will be more present in the right mic.

For my personal taste a panned kick is definitely worse than a panned snare, so I'd go for a centered kick and slightly panned snare, and pan the close mics to match the overheads.

Always IMHO
Attached Thumbnails
Trends in mixing drums (snare centered or slightly panned?)-ortf1.jpg   Trends in mixing drums (snare centered or slightly panned?)-ortf2.jpg   Trends in mixing drums (snare centered or slightly panned?)-recorderman.jpg  
Old 19th February 2011
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnakeCained View Post
I got a few records by a band called "The Beatles" where the drums are all panned hard left or right

I've heard of them too
Old 20th February 2011
  #48
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There is of course no hard and fast rule on this. My personal preference these days however is to try to capture the drums with the same number of mics as I have ears, in this case, two; either with my two omni "crotch mic" technique, or with two cardioid overheads right above and slightly forward of the drummer's head. On mixdown, I pan from drummer's perspective, unless he/she is left handed, then I reverse. Why? Because the majority of people are righties, and when they play "air drums", even mentally, they will roll from left to right. Seriously. Obviously, either method results in the snare being slightly off center. I find this leaves a tiny bit more attention for the vocal. Kick drum does not occupy the same frequency range as the vocal. FWIW, I only pan the drums wide enough to have a little movement, not to image a 20 foot wide drumset. My 2c, YMMV.
Old 20th February 2011
  #49
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im a drummer and i hate **** in drummers perspective.
Old 21st February 2011
  #50
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An album I'm working on right now felt best if the snare was panned right a bit. It's a very open-sounding acoustic-based record. I don't think I'd like it on more polished pop music or heavier stuff, but who knows. I also have the acoustics panned a bit left and I dig the way it sounds.
Old 21st February 2011
  #51
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Sure, if you're mixing a single for some big chart star or whatever.

But if you're mixing an album though, would you really pan everything exactly the same way throughout? You wouldn't try, even for no other reason than curiosity/novelty, trying the snare or kick in a different place?

I think mixing every single track on an album with the inflexible rule that "this HAS to translate perfectly to a car or bar" is overkill. A club's not likely to be playing album tracks anyway. And in a car, well you're not exactly miles away from the opposite speaker. AnywayI always liked listening to Beatles tapes in the car, I really enjoyed hearing those partial mixes.
Old 21st February 2011
  #52
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LunchboxHo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnakeCained View Post
I got a few records by a band called "The Beatles" where the drums are all panned hard left or right
That was a limitation of technology at the time -- transition from stereo switching to pan pots
Old 21st February 2011
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceMix View Post
im a drummer and i hate **** in drummers perspective.
Yah, but you're a *bad* drummer...
Old 21st February 2011
  #54
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Most engineers I work with and myself never pan the snare. It sounds distracting if it’s panned and does not sound consistent. If it’s in the center, it will sounds full and even. When you pan, you lose 2dB and it just doesn’t sound right.
For creative purposes then it could sound great, but it depends on the song. If you listen to the song “Two Step” by Dave Matthews, you will hear two snares... but they are panned L and R and sounds phenomenal! You can do whatever you’d like as long as the song needs it and you feel it is right.
Old 21st February 2011
  #55
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If you're mixing through a stereo DAW channel try... one pan set to centre the other =/- 8-12 either side of the centre.
Old 21st February 2011
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceMix View Post
im a drummer and i hate **** in drummers perspective.
I mix in audience perspective - of a left-handed drummer.
Old 21st February 2011
  #57
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Personally I aim for a centered snare but there's a myriad of valid reasons why it can end up a little off center. Some have already been mentioned, but others might include what else is being recorded in the room while your tracking the drums. There's concessions to be made all the way down the line for the overall good of the track. I wouldn't get to crazy worrying about it.
Old 21st February 2011
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I mix in audience perspective - of a left-handed drummer.
LOL!
Old 21st February 2011
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceMix View Post
im a drummer and i hate **** in drummers perspective.
But then when you're air drumming through a tom fill its backwards!!!
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