A Quick Guide To Panning Drums -- Audience vs Drummer's Perspective

General A Quick Guide To Panning Drums -- Audience vs Drummer's Perspective

Whether you like panning your drums in an audience or drummer's perspective just make it sound good already.

It's all that really matters at the end of the day. The rest of the talk is subjective opinions — a case of different tastes.

To those of you who aren't familiar with the audience or drummer's perspective mixing, I will hereby give you a quick rundown of what this means in basic terms.

Audience Perspective Panning: means you grab your mouse, touchscreen whatever, and move the panning knobs of each and every drum sample in a mix towards the direction of how you'd hear these sounds if a drummer was playing in front of you.

Drummer's Perspective Panning: means you kinda imagine yourself as a drummer sitting on your throne, then proceed to pan your drum samples like how you'd hear them while jamming.

For example, in the context of audience perspective panning I am essentially saying:
  • Kick/Bass Drum = 0% center
  • 808 Kick/Bass Drum = 0% center
  • Snare Drum = 0% center
  • Ghost Snare Drum = 0% or 13% right
  • Clap Sample = 0% center
  • Closed Hi-Hat Cymbal = 9%, 24% or 38% right
  • Splash/Crash Cymbal = 38%, 62% or 79% right
  • Ride Cymbal = 38%, 62% or 79% left
  • China Cymbal = 38%, 62% or 79% left
  • Floor Tom-Tom = 38% or 62% left
  • Mid Tom-Tom = 24% or 38% left
  • High Tom-Tom = 9% or 24% right/left
Obviously, in the case of a drummer's (or player's) perspective panning, you have to do quite the opposite of what's listed above.

However, if there are a few drum samples in a mixing session it probably makes more sense to narrow down the degree of panning e.g. if you are working on a song with only a kick drum, snare drum, closed hi-hat and open hi-hat -- you don't want both of your open or closed hi-hat panned beyond 25% right/left unless that is your personal taste.

And if frequencies of a closed hi-hat are colliding with a snare drum you may simply filter them out and make room for your snare to shine through with airy brilliance and watery punchiness.
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