Keep in mind that some GA kits have multiple ‘virtual’ mics, plus routing to stereo effects such as stereo reverb.
The idea is to emulate how a kit might behave on a real world stage, in an open studio, or even in an isolated ‘drum cave’. You get to control how much stuff those Ambiant mics pick up, plus it’s possible to use sends to emulate other types of bleeding across various mics.
There’s more. Some kits have deep scripting in the virtual mics that can trigger or ‘gate in/out’ extra layers for special effects like…pounding a kick drum or tom might also stir up enough air in the room to make the snare strings ‘vibrate’ against the bottom snare head. Tambourine clappers might tinkle/shake a bit if you really pound hard on a kit. Foot pedals might squeak, creak, or click. Etc.
On a real kit you’d hear something like that extraneous snare vibration through the bottom snare mic during a tom riff in the least, even though you never hit the snare directly! So, some kits might require more experimentation and fiddling to see what all ‘goodies’ they might be hiding that can be worked into, or out-of a mix.
A kit will typically have at least one mic directly on each drum. Some kit pieces might have a pair of mics (one for each head). Or, various options on how the snare, kick-drum, and hi-hats are miced up. It’s even conceivable that some GA kits might give you ‘options’ on the brand/make/type/positioning of individual pieces and microphones (typically selected by right clicking a kit piece in the kit macro editor tab)!
Direct kit piece mics might have some effects on them like gates, saturation, compression, or dynamic envelope shapers.
Add to these direct kit-piece mics, one or more overhead mic for cymbals and stuff. Plus other room mics or shell configurations intended to introduce ‘natural’ reverb or extreme ‘damping’ effects.
Each of these ‘mic channels’ might then go to various ‘groups’ which can have even more mixed effect chains on them that might spread, ping-pong, or add ‘chorus/reverb’ effects across the entire stereo feed of the kit’s main outputs.
So, if you need extreme panning precision, you have some options.
You can go through the plugin and remove sends to virtual overhead mics and such. Adjust the various group routings to exclude the kit piece you want isolated, and correct things from there.
I’ve loaded a kit called “Isolated” from “The Kit SE” library.
I’ll click on the center of bass drum in the instrument macro. I can see right away that this bass drum is set to send signal to the room and overhead mics.
Because of this, no matter where I pan the drums, those other two virtual mics are also going to pick it up! So, even if I pan the kick drum hard left in the mixer tab, tapping the kick drum pad (or the drum in the macro editor) is going to bleed over both speakers!
So the first thing I’ll need to do if I want true isolated panning for this bass drum is turn those two ambient mic sends all the way down to zero.
Next I’ll go to the Mixer/Agent tab, and pan that kick drum hard left.
No more bleed! Kick drum ONLY comes from the left channel.
It’s possible build up a fancy mic set in a new group, or even a new output for the kick drum. Or you can just make a chain of isolated effects just for that drum to give it ambiance again. You could also use sends to bleed room or overhead signals back into that kick drum channel. Options galore.
If you right click the kit slot you’ll find that there are also options to extract a GA kit across the Cubase mixing console.
This provides an alternate way to view and work with kit routing and effects.
Instead of fiddling with the mix and effects from the plugin UI, you can work with it directly in the Cubase mixing console. Just be advised that it can unfurl a LOT of channels to your Cubase mixer! The good news is that Cubase gives you something like 3 consoles to work with (hide and display thigs for 3 instant workflows), plus you can store even more variations as ‘Work Spaces’.
Also be aware that in the initial GA UI mode you can activate new ‘outputs’ for GA,
and isolate a pad’s output to any output or group you desire.
Be aware that if you want to unfold this across the Cubase mixer as describe above you should save a copy of the kit with your changes first.
There’s more yet…
Don’t forget that you can automate pretty much every control in GA in real time using VST automation lanes, or learned MIDI CC events. (Right click a control in GA, and assign to automation for a VST lane, or learn a CC if you want to use something like an external MIDI controller directly).
Right click the Room Send encoder pot and Assign to New Automation.
Right click the pot again and Show “Kick.Room” Automation Track.
And now you’ve got a visible VST automation lane in Cubase to draw in whatever tweaks you might want to apply to this control as part of your sequence.