Drum Recording Question


I am getting ready to record my band’s new CD. Basically the drummer records his drum tracks at his home studio using Pro Tools. He then send me a STEREO mixdown audio file for each track. All tracks he gives me are stereo except the two Overhead tracks he must pan hard left and right so only one side of the stereo Wav appears. I then import each track to my Cubase 7 on separate tracks.

My question is this good to do with STEREO tracks or should I ask him to give me just the MONO Wav files? Whats the best bet for recording the drums.

Any inout or tips are appreciated


Mike Pelle

This does not make any sense. If taken literally, that would mean that he has two mics on each drum, to get a stereo image of each drum. Two mics on the snare (snare in stereo) two mics on the kick (kick in stereo) etc. Where this is possible, it is highly unlikely. What he is probably doing is one mic per drum. This will give you a MONO audio file for each track. And don’t come back and say, “no - it’s really stereo” - b/c you can’t have a stereo track with one signal/one mic.

That’s how you typically record drums: one mic per drum (each drum in mono), and then stereo OHs (two mics - one to each of two tracks that are then panned).

Only one side of the stereo Wav appears? That makes no sense either. If it’s panned l/r, there are two sides. Those, of course, being l and r. What do you mean that only one side appears?


Only one side of the stereo Wav appears? That makes no sense either. If it’s panned l/r, there are two sides. Those, of course, being l and r. What do you mean that only one side appears?

It’s pretty obvious he has recorded mono tracks, panned them and then exported stems via his stereo bus (or using a stereo export setting)…so this is why audio on the hard panned o/h only shows on one side.
Of course you are correct that there is no stereo information on any of the files.

It’s perfectly workable to use those files though to avoid any confusion or problems mono converting, I’d get him to send mono…Not a PT user but whenever I’ve seen people consolidate and export stems it looks pretty simple to do as a batch…maybe your drummer should check for a tutorial if he isn’t already doing this.

Hello, also use Pro Tools with my Cubase. If he records in mono, ask him to give you mono. Ask him to give you everything in mono. This would be the best way. …1 track, 1 mic, then 1 file recorded… This will also “half” the file size. Hope this helps.


I would ask him to send the following:

Kick - mono
Snare - mono
Hi-hat - mono
tom mix - stereo mix
OH - stereo mix
Ambience (if recorded) - stereo mix

He will know the drum playing better than you do and if he is sending you the tom as a stereo file, the you don’t need to spend time balancing the tom levels, which can be a nightmare if he doesn’t play them much. Before a take I normally record the drummer playing some toms to have something to set the tom sound to, during the mix later. I’ve done recordings where the drummer only hit the toms a few times during the entire song and then it can take a long time work out the to sound when it time to finalize the mix.

I also prefer to have the OHs as a stereo file to work with and you can always separate it into two mono files if you need to some one channel editing.

But it’s all about personal preferences of course.


You can record a mono source to a stereo track and have it record to both sides.

Right - but the result is mono. Not stereo as the OP said they were.

Obvious? I beg to differ.


Thanks for the responses. i really apppreciate it. Sorry for being a bit unclear. yes the drummer did record each track with one mic. I guess after recording each track he mixed each track down to a stereo WAV file.

So to me when i loaded these tracks to CUBase i needed to set up stereo tracks and the WAV image was a stereo WAV. I guess i was expecting the mono WAV image for the single mic recording.

Im ok with working with these but just want to make sure there was not some problem being that each track was mixed down to a stereo file. I did ask him if he can just give me the mono tracks (except for toms - thats seems like a good idea) .

Wanted to make sure mixing with these tracks would not be problematic since in the past I would record the drums with a portable 8 track recorded and then dump the tracks to CuBase.

Thanks to all

Mike Pelle

From my experience, Protools by default exports stereo tracks. If you have two separate drum overhead tracks, then it is obvious that they are likely left and right mono tracks that were just exported as stereo tracks by Protools. Nothing really to worry about. The same info is on both L and R. You can still pan them just like a mono track. May be an issue if you are using mono inserted effects on individual tracks though. Maybe.

You can either forget about worrying about it, send him a message asking him to export mono files, or do a batch export in Cubase with ‘Mono Downmix’ checked and start from there. Either way, I don’t see why it would be problematic.

Ok sounds good…thanks to all for the responses.


When you import the files, after selecting the files to import, Cubase opens a dialog box called “Import Options.” Put a checkmark in the “Split Channels” item. Cubase will open all the files as mono, but you’ll still have a track for BOTH sides of the original file. Just remove the redundant tracks and you’ll be able to mix without confusion. The only channel you’ll have to be careful with are the O/H mics, just be sure to remove the empty channel, then pan the remaining one full R or L according to which one it is.

You should get a position map from your friend so you’ll be able to pan the individual drums into the correct position so they’ll match the stereo position they occupy in the O/H’s.