Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

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enterthechrispy
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Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

Post by enterthechrispy » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:42 am

Is there anything you look out for when you finish an orchestral piece and start mixing? Even when I feel confident in pieces that I compose it starts to become a blur when it comes down to mixing, especially when I start fiddling with mic positions from different libraries and reverbs and the like. Anything helps, and thanks in advance for your time and the reply!

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ttully
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Re: Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

Post by ttully » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:44 am

A friend of mind who is a famous producer/mix engineer told me the secret.....
..... here was his answer.......

I turn the knobs til it sounds good.

And that is exactly what he does!
Let's remove some bass from that....lets add some high end to this....
Let's pan this more to the left...... add some more reverb to that....
Make this a bit quieter......
Just keep listening and A/B to mixes that you know are good.

I know it's not the answer you want....you want specifics.... hard to give because each
track is different.
But it is ....the answer!

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Re: Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

Post by Len911 » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:43 pm

I don't do orchestra, though I've wondered occasionally about panning. I found a good quote that starts to answer my question, " Now lets take the string section and make it as real as possible by panning each individual instrument into its proper place. In this example, we will need to pan our violins to the left of centre, the cellos to the right of centre and the basses we will need to place in the centre. The reason we are placing the basses in the centre is because in real life the bass frequencies tend to envelope an entire room so by placing that section in the middle we can create that feeling." https://www.loopmasters.com/articles/23 ... ereo-Field

[highlight]because in real life the bass frequencies tend to envelope an entire room so by placing that section in the middle we can create that feeling[/highlight]
So if it's the frequencies, why not pan the bass freqs to the center and leave the other freqs of the inst to where they would be seated? If that was done with all instruments it would seem more realistically perhaps, that should also solve the issues
of balance in a recording. Maybe it's the non bass freqs of the instruments that define their seating position ?

Brainworx has a feature called mono-maker on many of their plugins. it's a threshold control that sets the freq by which all freq below the threshold setting are panned to the center,leaving the remainder freqs to where the instr is panned.
Here's a demonstration on a kick drum https://www.pro-tools-expert.com/home-p ... -kick-drum
https://soundcloud.com/huck-sawyer-finn
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Re: Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

Post by mojobone » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:27 am

It's hard to give really specific advice on this subject, cuz pretty much every developer of orchestral libraries provides a different set of tools. My best mixing tip for everything else is to get the sound at the source; do that and the music mixes itself; however, when you're doing orchestral mockups, you don't get any help from world-class musicians in a room or on a soundstage. You need to be really familiar with how all the instruments work and you need to work really hard at getting a realistic 'picture' of where all the voices are placed in your virtual space. That is, unless you're doing hybrid-orchestral or trailers, in which case, you can throw all that out the window. Probably the best help is to use a reference track, so that you have a roadmap for your mix. Rather than write a dissertation, I'll point you toward my favorite resource on this subject, which is the V I Control forum. There's tons of great advice on getting the best from your orchestral sample libraries, there.
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Re: Are there any general tips for mixing orchestral pieces?

Post by NaeDae » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:46 pm

My mixing tips after years of ruining the hell out of mixes and then figuring out how to not do that:

-Too many instruments will sound muddy and difficult to distinguish, so less is typically more.

-Use good high-quality libraries where most of the mixing on individual instruments is done for you.

-Don't do your own EQ or compression unless it's for an experimental sound-design purpose.

-Do your final mix in a separate session than when you created the music.

-Leveling is 99% of mixing.

-Move fast while mixing and avoid working for more than 20 minutes.

-Re-listening to the track will eventually make your ears "numb" to what actually sounds good, and you'll trick yourself into over-doing things like EQ or compression (see rule 1).

-When leveling, keep in mind that the mix needs to sound good on both speakers and headphones at any volume. Put headphones on, turn the master sound very low, adjust the instruments' volume until they sound good to you, then turn the master volume louder, and adjust anything that stands out. Next, check again if it sounds good quiet. Next repeat this process while listening to your mix on speakers if you have them. Lastly I typically check on headphones to make sure nothing stands out as sounding different than what I wanted.

-Sound-staging (panning) is also important. Use ambeo orbit and some good convolution reverb to get a natural sound (if you're rich, just buy altiverb). Keep in mind that too much reverb can make things blend into the background when played on speakers.

-Lastly. think of panning as painting with sound in space. There are traditions, but there aren't a ton of rules ultimately.

Have fun!

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