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Amicus717

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Everything posted by Amicus717

  1. Amicus717

    Winter Moon

    Hi treesha, I enjoyed this one. Nice sounds, and a good mix - I could everything cleanly, and the balance is nice. I'd call this a hybrid type piece for sure -- the kind of piece that could play over a montage in a movie or similar. From that perspective, the drums as currently recorded would work just fine, to my ears. Rob
  2. Thanks, HS! Appreciate the kind words and the listen.
  3. Thanks, Bapu! Appreciate the listen. This piece needed that pounding, pulsing thunder to move it along and I'm happy how it turned out. But it took a bit of work to not let it overwhelm everything else. Rob
  4. Hey Wookie, Like this one a lot. In regards to the vocal parts, I kinda like where they are currently situated in the mix -- sort of deep inside the soundscape and haunting the music, rather than leading it from the front, so to speak. I think that kinda matches the vibe of the music overall, and I think it works. Just my five cents. Rob
  5. This is a really good song. Nice vocal work, also. Really enjoyed listening to it. The one element that didn't really grab me was the drum sound, in particular the snare - a little too thin and kind of anemic, or something. That's just a personal matter of taste, though. Rob
  6. Hynpotic and fascinating all the way through. Like Tom, I found the second half more arresting and more unpredictable, which is an element I really enjoyed. But overall, very nice work. I'm curious if you composed all this on paper first, or it came together during the recording of the parts, or how you created the music. Thanks, Rob
  7. Amicus717

    All Along

    I liked this a lot. Very nicely put together. The soundscape is huge and all-encompassing -- which I like -- and despite the large number of instruments and the complexity of the arrangement, I thought I could hear all the details. I particularly liked the guitar sound that entered at 4:45 - really nice. Rob
  8. Kaustub, I think that's pretty well done! Your music is synced beautifully with the action; didn't override or otherwise obscure the essential audio ingredients of the clip; and is present enough to set a tone but not so forceful that it intrudes. Rob
  9. Hi folks! Wookie - Thanks! Yeah, I think there is a bit of mud in there, for sure, and I want to clear it out without gutting the impact of the piece. I will experiment! Treehsa - Thanks for the kind words, appreciate it. I've always understood this kind of stuff -- orchestral in general tone and scale, but employing a lot of synth and sound-design stuff -- to be classified as hybrid orchestral or hybrid-symphonic and similar. Seems to define it pretty well Deering Amps - Thanks! Appreciate the listen and the kind words. emeraldsoul - Thanks, and appreciate the kind words and the input. I think adding some more high sparkle would potentially be very helpful. As for the violin (it's actually a fidule -- a medieval/Renaissance progenitor of the violin), yeah I've been wondering about its placement in the soundscape. It does have a fair amount of reverb applied in the mix, but it's a very dry sample library and tends to stand way out front. I sort of like that, actually, but also wonder if I need to tame it a bit. I will experiment. bjornpdx - Thanks for the listen and the kind words! Appreciated, as always. Yeah, Eduardo's libraries are flat-out awesome. I use them a lot. They are geared for a pretty specific kind of sound and vibe, but they excel at it. They are well built and well-designed, but you will need to learn how to work his libraries, as they have have a LOT of details and quirks, and are loaded with ways to tailor the sound: finger noises, instrument noises, fret noises, etc, -- all which can be turned up or down or off, depending on what sort of vibe you want. Plus, the patches have all sorts of keyswitches for different articulations, accents and ornaments, etc. I cannot recommend them enough, but you gotta take the time to learn them if you want to get full value out of them. Also worth noting that they run in Engine 2.0, as opposed to Kontakt. Some folks don't like that, although I personally have no problem using Engine. It has its quirks, but I don't find it any harder to use than Kontakt, and I like it a lot more than Play. As always, YYMV Thanks for the input, everyone! Rob
  10. Sigh, I really have to get Omnisphere. I am beginning to suspect my composers' toolkit is not complete without it...
  11. Hi folks, Here's a new composition. It is a bit of a departure from my usual stuff - this is more of a hybrid-orchestral piece, and it's something of an experiment, and a rough draft that I'm still working on. The music is a gift, and is being written for a friend of mine (the "Bjarn" in the title, of course) as a short theme/motif for a Norse persona he portrays in a historical re-enactment society he belongs to. I am trying for a sort of dark ages/pagan vibe -- think of it as the sort of scoring you'd use for a stormy sea voyage in an epic movie about Vikings, or similar: Part of my interest in writing this was to explore the Dark Era library from Eduardo Tarilonte that I picked up a few months ago. Like most of Tarilonte's stuff, it's pretty awesome, and I wanted to compose a piece that took advantage of it's particular kind of sound. I'm happy with the results, so far, although this sort of music is blunt force trauma compared to the stuff I usually try to create, so I'm not too sure about the current mix - I worry it's a bit thick and boomy. Any feedback on that (or anything else) would be greatly appreciated. Libraries used: Dark Era (Shamanic chanting, Inuit Vocal Rhythms, various Throat Singing Patches and percussion patches including Roman Tympanum, shaker, frame drum) Era II (Fidule - the solo instrument that plays the main melody, a few sound design patches and pads, Tavern Singer shouts) Forest Kingdom II (Shamanic Chanting) Epic World (Female Temple Voices patch) Era II: Vocal Codex (Heroica female legato voice) Cinesamples Voices of War: Men of the North (Vowel Morph, Shouts) KeepForest Vikings (Acoustic Rolls, Cello loops, Shouts, Viking Hits) Albion ONE (Easter Island Hits) NI's Rise and Hit 8Dio Lacrimosa Choir As mentioned above, this one is still very much a work in progress. Thanks for listening! Rob
  12. lol. Your post is better -- more detail. My post was the "I gotta beat Larry to the punch" version - short and to the point...
  13. Info here: https://www.orchestraltools.com/store/collections/48
  14. Yeah, I have Da Capo. I use it fairly often, although not it's full set of patches -- just the string patches, and mostly because I like how they sound when dialed low on the mod wheel. They have a nice, quiet rasp that works as a sort of sordino-ish patch, and they see use in my template for that reason. I reviewed Da Capo in a post on the old Cakewalk forum: http://forum.cakewalk.com/Bought-Sonokinetic39s-Da-Capo-library-quick-first-impression-m3425007.aspx One thing I didn't mention in my review - there are no trumpets in the brass section. Just Horns, Trombones and Tuba. It sounds ok, but I have no idea why they didn't include Trumpet, which always struck me as a bit weird. The Woodwind Ensembles are probably their most polished multi-sampled library -- very configurable, and they sound pretty good. That have become my goto for woodwind ensemble patches. Just FYI...
  15. I have a few of their libraries -- including two phrase based ones: Grosso and Vivace. The other ones I have are the various Ostinato libraries, and the more traditional multi-sampled libraries like Da Capo and Woodwind Ensembles. The phrase-based libraries have their moments, and every now and then they offer up exactly what you need to fill a gap in an orchestration. But that doesn't happen often enough for me, and aside from those instances, I find the phrase-based libraries are generally a bit awkward to use. I much prefer their multi-sampled ones (both Da Capo and Woodwind Ensembles are currently present in my main template, and I like them a lot). Your mileage may vary, but that has been my experience.
  16. I'm trying to remember where mine were dialed to, and I can't remember offhand. I think I sort of played around with the whole gain setup in my system, from sound card to software to speakers, and tried to set stuff at moderate levels along the way - I didn't want any one part of the chain to be cranked too high, and wanted everything sort of running its comfort zone, for lack of a better phrase. .
  17. Depending on the age of your BX5s, there may be some frequency adjustment and dB switches on the back that can be used, also. The original BX5's had them, but I think they slowly phased them out in the later models. I also found that the distance from the wall behind the BX5's made a big difference in the amount of bass I could hear coming from the ports on the back.
  18. Mike, I am wondering if the subwoofer might be a bit of overkill in your setup -- at least in regards to mixing? Maybe others wiser than I (and that would be a lot of people) can correct me on this, but my understanding has always been that for small project studios like mine -- where small room size creates built in bass problems right from the start -- subwoofers tend to cause more problems than they are worth. Have you ever tried doing your final mixes on just the monitors without the sub? I used to use BX5 monitors (they were my previous set, in fact), and they are perfectly decent small monitors. Just a thought...
  19. Happy to help out in any way, Mike! I've been the beneficiary of a lot of help in this forum, also. One dude you may want to reach out to is Tapsa. He's been very helpful and generous with his time, and as a legit pro, he knows what he's doing. He's offered me some great help and encouragement.
  20. I think Three Easter Scenes are very nicely composed, Mike. I really like them. The one thing that first struck me when I was listening through, was that they might benefit from more dynamics, both in the general music and also in the playing of the specific lines. For example, the string lines in the opening few mins came across as sort of dynamically flat and kind of stiff. I also personally prefer the panning to be not quite so far left and right. This particular recording sounds pretty hard panned in my headphones, and I find that kind of artificial and actually a bit hard to listen to -- when the violins are panned too far left, for instance, it always makes me feel like something is missing on the right side that I should be hearing but can't. It actually creates a sense of tension and makes me feel like I'm being prevented from hearing the whole recording. Sort of. When the grand piano took over at the 3:05 mark, it filled the sound field very nicely and to my ears made the whole thing easier to listen to. But nonetheless, I found the music very intriguing and held my interest all the way through. I liked it a lot.
  21. Totally, those videos are great. Also, Michael Patti's videos over at Cinesamples, are also very good. The Cinesamples folks have some tutorials that offer some nice insight into working with MIDI and mixing samples. You are far too kind, and thanks I worked very hard on those, and I was happy how they turned out. It would be proper to mention in this thread that Tapsa Kuusniemi, one of our merry band here at the Cakewalk forum, has been extremely helpful with this orchestral stuff. He's a pro, knows his s#@*, and has made a ton of really great suggestions and pointers in regards to my music. In particular, he often takes me to task for not having enough dynamics across my music (which I appreciate greatly), and his repeated reminders have really made me focus on that aspect of my composing and recording. I think that played a key role in helping me get my music and mixes up a notch in quality.
  22. Don't you mean "I'm taking the Sith on that one"...? Sorry. I'll see myself out...
  23. Hi Michael, I totally know where you are coming from -- I do only orchestral music; I'm 100% midi; and over the years I have struggled to get decent mixes. I figured I'd write up my own approach to recording my symphonic music. For what it's worth, over the past two years I have gotten results that I have generally been happy with, and thought maybe some elements of my approach might be useful. However, I am also an amateur with tons of things still left to learn, so take all this with a grain of salt, too. For my stuff, I usually use only one reverb on the mix. I have found Nimbus to the absolute best reverb out there for classical/symphonic stuff. It is easily the most open and airy reverb in my arsenal, and to my ears gives the orchestra some really nice air but doesn't thicken the overall mix too much. I add Nimbus as a send, and give the majority of patches and sampler instances the same general settings -- to my ears it gives a unified sense of space if the instruments all run through the same reverb. I may vary the amount that gets sent to Nimbus from section to section, depending on what I'm writing, but it is never more than a few percentage points. FWIW, I believe Nimbus' smaller brother, PhoenixVerb is on sale for $10 over at the Deals forum -- which is an absurdly low price for a top flight, neutral and clear reverb, and I'd totally recommend you grab it and try it out. I have a ton of reverbs (I have something of a weakness for them), but the only one I fire up these days is Nimbus. I haven't touched the others in years. In my opinion, it is THE software reverb for Orchestral stuff. I also put a lot of work into building my orchestral template, and I have deliberately selected instrument patches that inhabit similar sounding acoustic space (or can be made to do so, using various mic mixes). I've also spent hours fine-tuning the template so that each instrument in the entire symphonic assembly sits where I want it to across the acoustic landscape. I use a really broad mix of libraries: 1) Orchestral Strings: AlbionONE (sustains, tremolo, short articulations and pizz); 8Dio Anthology Strings' legato patches for dramatic lines; Sonokinetic's Modal Runs; Hollywood Strings Gold runs patches; Sonokinetic Da Capo's legato string patch (for really quiet passages, as I like the sound of their strings when the mod wheel is dialed really low); Palette's Trill patches; NI Symphony Series Ensemble Strings Harmonic patch 2) Woodwinds: VSL solo woodwinds, all from the Synchronized Special Editions; Sonokinetic Ensemble Woodwinds Standard Edition 3) Brass: VSL solo and ensemble brass, all from the Synchronized Special Editions; NI Symphony Series (for low brass) 4) Percussion: NI Symphony Series Percussion (for snares, bass drum, some timpani, tamtams, suspended cymbals, mark tree); VSL Timpanis; Kontakt Library VSL Glockenspiel; Hollywood Percussion Gold (for orchestral chimes); EastWest Storm Drum 2; AlbionONE's Darwin Percussion Easter Island Hits; August Forester Grand Piano from Kontakt Library 5) A various scattering of other libraries: Kontakt Library's VSL Harp, Lacrimosa Choir patches from 8Dio, Mercury Boys Choir Elements, Embertone Recorders, and a handful of Eduardo Taloronte's Era Libraries (Era II Vocal Codex, Dark Era percussion and flutes, some Forest Kingdom flutes, etc). If I need to push an instrument back or bring it forward, I usually start with the microphone mix settings built into the library in question, or the reverb built in the sample engine/library. This last point applied mainly to the original VSL Special Edition libraries, which were quite dry and center panned, and needed Vienna Ensemble's built in reverb to push them back into the acoustic space, and Vienna Ensemble's mixer and stereo width slider to position them properly across the acoustic landscape. When VSL released the Synchronized versions of its Special Editions, the reverb and positioning of the default mix for those instruments worked a lot better right out of the box, and they fit into my template's acoustic space with minimal adjustment. The only time I ever fire up a second reverb is for some of the Era patches, if I need to give them a particularly distant or washed-out sound (and for that I usually create a second reverb send with Valhalla's Shimmer). There were a few occasions where I tried using Wave's TrueVerb with it's early reflection room/space simulations, and would run various sections through it first in attempt to manipulate their positioning, but I never found it more effective than just whatever settings I could manipulate in the various libraries themselves. As far as getting good mixes is concerned, I bought the best monitors I could afford (a pair of Adam F7), spend a LOT of time with them so I have a good sense of their sound and how it translates, and when in doubt I tend to trust the ears of the engineers who made the samples. I rarely do much beyond the slight cutting of frequency here and there -- usually in attempt to clear out some mud and honk from the mix. I almost never add anything via EQ, and I usually do minimal compression unless I have a specific solo instrument that really needs to cut through the mix. And before I compress it, I usually try to clear space for the solo instrument by adjusting the orchestration first. When I have a final mix from Cubase (my main DAW for midi work), I usually take the exported track and bring it into Cakewalk and use ProChannel to master it (which for me usually means giving it a bit of boost using ProChannel's Concrete Limiter, and adding ProChannel's Tape Emulation and/or Console Emulation to give it some analog mojo). I have no idea if the above things are right or wrong, or outright heresy, but right now I get results I am generally happy with. I've linked to two tracks below, both of which were built using the exact template setup listed above. For both, there is only one instance of Nimbus reverb, very limited EQ, and Cakewalk's ProChannel Concrete Limiter and Tape Emulator over the final mix - basically just four plugins across two DAWs, and absolutely nothing else. To EQ these tracks, I used IK Multimedia's White Channel on the "Cut Boominess" setting, and dialed back the amount it was actually cutting by a fair margin. I find it effectively takes just a bit of thickness and smear out of the low end, and to my ears that seems to go a long way to clearing up the whole mix without gutting the bass. I find these particular mixes sound great on my monitors, very good on my iPhone earbuds and my bluetooth headphones, acceptable in my car (nothing sounds particularly good in my car, frankly, so its a good test), and the folks I've sent it to have never made a negative comment about the mix quality, so I assume it sounds decent enough on their systems. As I mentioned, I do not presume to have all (or any) answers to the various issues that crop up for us folks doing symphonic music on computer. But what I outlined above has worked for me, and I figured I'd offer it up as some potential ideas that may work for you as well. https://soundcloud.com/amicusaudio/the-soldiers-hornpipe-ver-4 https://soundcloud.com/amicusaudio/a-song-for-the-trillium-queen-adrielles-theme I hope some of this helps, or at least inspires some different approaches. But for what it's worth, I totally get how you feel, and I've ranted a bit myself on this topic. Good luck! And if you want to connect about this stuff -- send me tracks to listen to, bounce ideas back and forth, etc -- please let me know. We orchestral folks need to stick together Regards, Rob
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