Wednesday, April 9

How to pan drum instruments?

In my recent post "Creating Realistic Stereo Image with Panning",I have mentioned that the whole drum instruments can be panned somewhere -25 to +25 settings.

There is a commenter on the post asking how to pan snare in the drums. In this post I will give my approach on how to pan drum instruments and parts (snares, toms, cymbals and hi hats).

Panning properly drums can create a very realistic drum sound in stereo.

Below are the most important components of a drum kit and it's panning settings:

a. Kick drum - "0", this means it is panned to the center. The reason for this, is that the drum set is placed in the physical center of the stage and kick drum is in the center of the drum set. Below is how the band looks like playing live on the stage and take note the drum set is in the middle.

b. Snare- "+12.5 +6.25 right", this means it is panned very slightly to the right. It is because looking at the real drum, it is located in the physical center between the hi-hats and to the center of the kick drum. Some engineers pan the snare to the center, but I do not recommend this since a significant frequency response of snare can drown the vocals.

c. Pedal hi hat- +25 "+12.5 right", this the farthest right of the drums.

d. Crash cymbal- +18.75 +9.375 right", it is located in the physical center between the snare drum and the hi hat.

e. Toom right - +6.25 "+3.2", again very slightly off center to the right.

f. Toom left -6.25 "-3.2", the pair of the other toom but this one panned to the left.

g. Floor toom- "-12.5" -6.25, panned to the left and located in the physical center of the ride cymbal and the kick drum.

h. Ride cymbal- "-25" -12.5 panned to the left, this is the leftmost part of the drum set.

So stereo drums needs around 8 tracks in the multi-track recording with each of the parts in the different panning settings for realistic stereo placement.

If you do not have real drums but has a recording mixing software, I suggest to read my post about producing real drum tracks without needing real drum kits.. Then try to experiment panning settings for drums as mentioned on this post.

If you have problems in the process, please inform me by commenting on this post. Thank you.