How would you pan a drummer in the mix that has both high hats and the ride on the same side?


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Hi all, I have been recording music for about 15 years now, but primarily as a piano player and singer. I’ve finally decided to learn another instrument and I bought an acoustic kit a couple weeks ago.

As it turns out, after 20+ years of piano (and being cross dominent in both hands and feet), playing open handed with my hats and ride on the left is what feels most comfortable. My drummer friends think it’s fantastic and have told me not to change, but I am worried if I record like this, my mixes won’t have that cool stereo effect when the drummer usually switches from hats on the left to playing the ride on the right.

Below is a video of me practicing. I’ll note I had some pads I bought and low volume cymbals on. This isn’t out of fear of disturbing people really (my recording studio is in a detached building on my own property), but moreso to help protect my own ears and completely remove the anxiety of my neighbors faintly hearing me practice the same part 100x while they are outside on their patio. Again, I’ve only been at it for a couple weeks so I am aware my playing is not super tight.

When I do get better and start recording, how should I pan myself in the mix?

Well, it’s totally up to you. You could just experiment if it’s important to you but as a recordist I have always tried to record what a drummer gives me and being very honest the placement of cymbals always spills everywhere anyway. If you like hat and ride together then that’s fine. You presumably have an alternate cymbal or two the other side? I’ve know drummers who have two rides and I hear the tone difference but unless they’re alternating the image shift is minimal anyway as my drums are never wildly panned anyway so always limited in movement unless it’s for effect. If you like it, do it.
The only problem I see is that you have the HH, ride and snare on one side and I assume one kick in the middle. I see two crashes on the other side but is there one on the left? If not the issue I see is a lot of stuff happening on the left side and not much on the right. I like crashes on both sides especially when I hit two at once. When I mix drums I like to have them spread across the stereo field with the kick in the middle.
I've recorded drummers with a similar setup. You can do two things:
1. Record the stereo image as it naturally is (listeners won't care)
2. Close mic the hat and the ride separately and pan the ride to the other side. You will probably have to pay with it to get it to sit right in the mix, but it can work.

This largely depends on the style of music. Styles that favor more natural drum sounds will probably work better with you just leaving the stereo image as is. It will take a certain amount of (over?) Production to change the placement of the ride.

Also, if the genre calls for a more natural drum sound, no one will be expecting anything hard panned.
My first instinct is to say that it will be your music so you should follow your own artistic choices.
Also, bear in mind that if you were recording in mono, everything would be central anyway or if you were recording mono drums, the entirety of the drum sound would come from one place anyway.
It's also true that cymbals will splash everywhere regardless of where it's placed ~ but that's not a convincing argument for me because even though they are being picked up by multiple mics, they still have a place point from which they are strongest.
Speaking personally, I just like the hat to one side, the ride to the other. I have the cymbals placed across the pan spectrum and I just dig the effect of various cymbal crashes coming from wherever the drummer has chosen to hit them.
After just two weeks, you can't expect to get your setup right too quickly.
I got back into drumming in 2003, and am still moving things around.
There are plenty of aspects to work on to get your skill level up, which may require adjustments to the kit.
I recommend the video DVD 'Creative Control' by Thomas Lang, which is excellent tuition. Check out his Youtube channel.
You don't say how you intend to mic the kit. It could be a single mic, or mics everywhere giving you more scope on panning.
Trial and error is my route.
Drumming is an interesting journey, and I hope you share your journey with us.
At the moment, I pre-mix my drums down to stereo, and record that.
I would try various setups where you don't use standard wide-panned over-heads
Recorderman would be a good candidate.
I'd be tempted to try putting the stereo mics in an X/Y configuration between the hat and ride (facing sideways) So you'd still get stereo between those two, but then the rest of the kit's stereo image would be more like the drum kit was rotated 90 degrees sideways.
When I do get better and start recording, how should I pan myself in the mix?
Just use multiple microphones - and put the HiHat and Ride mics opposite of each other - then pan to you hearts content - in terms of a sound - just decide how you want the drums pictured - facing the drums or from the drummers point of view - then record according to the visual -