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Quicktip: Panning Drums for a cleaner Mix

Quicktip: Panning Drums for a cleaner Mix

Although we might have the feeling these days, that drum machines, kick generator VSTs and percussion samples & loops of all kinds have been around forever, they have all been modeled after a real drum kit one day.

Most producers know, how a fat kick has to sound or how to EQ a snare to make it pop, but without the understanding of how a drum kit is played, miced up and mixed, fundamental basics of drum sounds are simply lost. In many modern genres that does not really matter, because music is and always will be free in how it is written and recorded. But there are certain tricks to enhance the impact of your drums and make a lot of room in the mix, when you know a little something about panning it right.

Tip 1: imagine sitting behind drums

Most of us have been sitting behind a drum kit one day - being it in a store or drunk after a show or a band rehearsal. So now imagine hitting the crash cymbal: you actually have to move to the left or the right, depending on which crash you want to hit. This already indicates, that space has to do a lot with drumming.

Tip 2: proximity

How do you know how far you should go with your panning? Well, by imagining how far you would have to move to hit.

Kicks and snares are usually on “zero” directly in the middle, whereas claps can have a wider spectrum, when a layered sample is also spread across the horizontal sphere on maximum 15L and 15R.

Hihats for example should have some panning to one side only - exception: you use different hihat sounds, then you can pan left and right to get a nice stereo feeling. the same goes for crash cymbals.

Toms are a topic on their own, but maybe so much: try to install a panoramic progression from left to right, when you use more than one tom sound.

YouTube Tutorial on Drum Programming for Melodic Techno

Keywords: drum programming, melodic techno, headroom, drum samples, clean mix, ableton

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