I know this is mainly an electronic percussion forum but thought this might apply here...I've posted it to the Microphone forum but thought I might get more feedback from drummers here.
When recording a drumset, do you mic/mix it from the "drummer's perspective" (ie toms panned high/left to low/right, hats on left, ride on right) or from the "audience's perspective" (ie the opposite of drummer's perspective)? As a drummer I've gravitated towards the drummer's perspective, but I was thinking about it and wondering why anyone would do it from the audience's perspective? I don't believe in the audience's perspective because in reality, in the perspective of the audience, the drumset is almost completely mono. Think about it...if you sit at a drumset you're basically surrounded by the drums and cymbals (to a lesser or greater extent, depending on the size of the kit) but if you're sitting in the audience, you're far enough away from the kit that it basically appears to be coming from one source. Even if you're up pretty close, any stereo imaging you perceive will be minimal; unless you're standing on the kick drum, you're not going to hear anything way off to one side or another.
So what gives? Should we redefine our terminology? Should we change "audience perspective" to mean "mono"? Or should we change the name of what we now call "audience perspective" to, say, "left-handed drummers' perspective"? I don't have the answer, and I'm not even saying the traditional "audience perspective" is wrong (lets face it, there's nothing natural about the way most drums are recorded in most modern pop music), it's just a slow Labor Day and I've got too much time to think.