So you’ve download your drum tracks and your not quite sure how to pan your drums so that they represent a real sounding drum kit. There are several schools of thought! You can pan them from the audience perspective or you can pan them from the drummers perspective. To simplify the idea let’s use the drummers perspective. The first thing to do is bring up the overheads with overhead 1 panned hard right and overhead 2 panned hard left. Listen to the stereo image of the drum kit. You should match the panning of each drum track to the corresponding location in the stereo image. For example, if tom 1 is at the 2 o’clock position in the overheads then pan tom 1 to that position. This will give greater separation of the drums in the stereo field and not smear the stereo image of the drum mix. I bring up all of the drum tracks to fit into the overhead image then I slowly bring up the room mic’s to ad depth.
Things to consider when it comes to drum tracks panning. Do I want the drums to have a wide stereo image or should I confine them to a smaller area of the mixing stage. Maybe you might only want to pan the overheads at 9 and 3 o’clock or less. Do want a defined drum sound with added room depth? Try hyper compressing the room mic’s using a fast attack to reduce transients and a timed release to reduce compression pumping. There as many variations as there are songs so have fun and experiment!