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mdiemer

Is It Impossible To Make Good Midi Renditions Of Classical Music?

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, mdiemer said:

Thanks very much for that, Tezza, it was very informative. I just made the discovery that I have my monitors too close together (about 20 inches, should be 3 feet - I must have forgotten about that specification when I moved stuff recently. It sucks getting old). 

So, I'm going to fix that, experiment with the crossover on the subwoofer and see how it goes. I may also have to look into room treatment, as has been suggested by many here and elsewhere. Supposedly also there's a way you crawl around on the floor, looking for the right spot for the sub. I may have to relocate my baby grand (anybody need one?).

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. 

Edited by Amicus717

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I recently started a thread over on the Ning forum called " Good mid priced sample libraries" Because honestly I don't think you need to go get the most expensive libraries. Lots of people there are buying the VSL stuff. Granted VSL make good libraries I just think you can make great mock ups using far less. A trained ear might hear the difference.

Here's one I recently made using a set of SONiVOX libraries. I bought Brass, woodwinds and strings plus the 88 as a bundle for 20.00 US. The strings are a little grainy but that has more to do with the way I mixed it. The 88 was a big surprise. It is pretty amazing! I also used the 8dio solo violin in this. When I bought it for 20.00 I didn't think I would ever use it. The cello is Cinesamples Tina Quo though. Even that wasn't terribly expensive on a deal. Originally this mix was too hot. I had to bring the levels down for this kind of music when not in a movie context. I think I managed to get pretty close for someone who isn't a pro.

As others have said it has more to do with the room. The best monitors in the world won't help you if you aren't hearing things correctly. Even with lots of correction on my space mixes often come out bass shy and I have to work on the bass. This is because my space still isn't totally right. If it were me I would probably take the subwoofer out or have it set VERY low if your mixing room is small. JMOP.

I am not as particular about instrument placement unless it affects how the sound will be. Some who mix for this are very particular about that. Sometimes I am, but only if the context fits.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Amicus717 said:

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. 

Thanks Rob. I have the BX5a speakers, which do not have any freq or eq knobs, just a volume knob. I may experiment with wall placement as you suggested. Right now, they are on little stands I made, about 11" high, including foam pads. They are about 4.5" from the wall, but the tweeters stick up above a shelf. The bass however are lower than the shelf, so they can benefit from the reflections.

I just discovered that I had the subwoofer crossover set very low. This may be another casualty of recent cleaning and failure to ensure the settings were not changed. Unless I was stupid enough to actually set it that low. Anyway, I am looking at starting over, basically, with this mix. first task is to set up the speaker system correctly. I now have more separation between left and right. I need to research how to set the sub crossover now. I know that 80 is often a starting point, but for studio monitoring I probably need something different. I do think I need the sub, these little guys just don't have enough bass. Just keeping you folks informed, so you know I haven't given up. although it's tempting.

Edited by mdiemer

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46 minutes ago, mdiemer said:

A quick question: What level should I set the volume knob for the BX5a monitors? Halfway?

I'm pretty sure I need the subwoofer. The woofers in the BX5a's are just 5".  I read that below 6" you need a sub.

By the way, I found this article helpful:          https://ask.audio/articles/7-mistakes-to-avoid-when-setting-up-studio-monitors

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. .

 

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12 hours ago, Starise said:

I recently started a thread over on the Ning forum called " Good mid priced sample libraries" Because honestly I don't think you need to go get the most expensive libraries. Lots of people there are buying the VSL stuff. Granted VSL make good libraries I just think you can make great mock ups using far less. A trained ear might hear the difference.

Here's one I recently made using a set of SONiVOX libraries. I bought Brass, woodwinds and strings plus the 88 as a bundle for 20.00 US. The strings are a little grainy but that has more to do with the way I mixed it. The 88 was a big surprise. It is pretty amazing! I also used the 8dio solo violin in this. When I bought it for 20.00 I didn't think I would ever use it. The cello is Cinesamples Tina Quo though. Even that wasn't terribly expensive on a deal. Originally this mix was too hot. I had to bring the levels down for this kind of music when not in a movie context. I think I managed to get pretty close for someone who isn't a pro.

As others have said it has more to do with the room. The best monitors in the world won't help you if you aren't hearing things correctly. Even with lots of correction on my space mixes often come out bass shy and I have to work on the bass. This is because my space still isn't totally right. If it were me I would probably take the subwoofer out or have it set VERY low if your mixing room is small. JMOP.

I am not as particular about instrument placement unless it affects how the sound will be. Some who mix for this are very particular about that. Sometimes I am, but only if the context fits.

 

Very nice piece, Tim. That violin is pretty good. I have heard stuff done with nothing but Garritan P/O that sounded incredible, so you're right, you don't necessarily need high-level libraries. I only consider what I have to be mid-level. I still use some Garritan, too. Especially woodwinds and harp. 

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Overall gain can be set using pink noise if you use the K-system. Studio One has a pink noise generator built in. Cakewalk does not but you can get them for free online.

MNoiseGenerator by Melda HERE. You can also get a DB meter app if you have a smart phone.

Here's a video on getting set up. TBH I have changed my levels a bit and need to do this again. I found a setting over time that worked for me when mastering. The K system is  hard science Bob Katz came up with. Bob is a world renowned mastering engineer and I had the opportunity to interview him back when I was podcasting. Bought his updated book called Mastering Audio which he signed!  

Mastering levels are not the same for classical music as they are for other genre. Classical music is generally mastered for more dynamics which often translates to lower volume. Even if you don't calibrate your system you can put a levels meter like the one in Ozone or TRacks to see what the signal is doing at the master. This is similar to flying an airplane using only the instruments because without some kind of calibration you wont hear the music the way it's coming off the master. Hope this helps.

 

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Posted (edited)

Some plugin makers use a flanger to simulate the timber difference in multiple instrument applications with the same part. Per same instrument but keep the flanger mix more toward the dry side since you only want to sound like the timber harmonics are swelling.  Reverb is not a necessary component in an orchestra composition and is only a byproduct of the stage.  If you are looking for depth you can use a filter or equalizer to reduce bass > mid and little to the high.  But most importantly in your listening environment you need speakers with a flat frequency response (which practically means your natural speaker equalizer contortion to the audio) which is natural as possible.  Then other peoples magnets or speakers you play your tunes in will colorize the frequencies from their disability to be as natural as possible.  sometimes speakers come with amp chips which modulates frequencies in stereo images but it really doesn't do good as you are trying to hear your product and not someone elses!... . .  Maybe this can work, and also sometimes the microphone is at the body for those instruments so you may want to lower the 350 hz approximate area frequencies some(if the instrument sounds like it has full body). 

     Good luck.. .. .

Edited by vst power user

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17 hours ago, vst power user said:

Some plugin makers use a flanger to simulate the timber difference in multiple instrument applications with the same part. Per same instrument but keep the flanger mix more toward the dry side since you only want to sound like the timber harmonics are swelling.  Reverb is not a necessary component in an orchestra composition and is only a byproduct of the stage.  If you are looking for depth you can use a filter or equalizer to reduce bass > mid and little to the high.  But most importantly in your listening environment you need speakers with a flat frequency response (which practically means your natural speaker equalizer contortion to the audio) which is natural as possible.  Then other peoples magnets or speakers you play your tunes in will colorize the frequencies from their disability to be as natural as possible.  sometimes speakers come with amp chips which modulates frequencies in stereo images but it really doesn't do good as you are trying to hear your product and not someone elses!... . .  Maybe this can work, and also sometimes the microphone is at the body for those instruments so you may want to lower the 350 hz approximate area frequencies some(if the instrument sounds like it has full body). 

     Good luck.. .. .

Interesting remarks. Some of the libraries I use are totally dry, so reverb is necessary or they sound dead. A concert hall is configured to create reverberations, and allow everyone to hear the music regardless of where they are sitting. If there is another way to produce this effect without reverb, I am not aware of it. With a library like East West Symphonic Orchestra, the samples already have reverb baked in. You can get away without adding any. But most sample libraries do need some reverb. 

I will try your suggestion of a cut at 350hz, that may help. I am making slow progress. Artificial panning is the source of some of my troubles, as well as lack of EQ. There are all kinds of opinions on whether to use it for orchestral music (same for compression). As in most things related to computers and music, good results can be achieved in many different ways. I have shied away from EQ as it's so difficult, but I am now taking the time to study it more. I contacted the creator of Cinematic Strings, who gave me a good tip on a couple simple adjustments to make that library sound better.  He also advised me to stop using CC7 and 11 for volume adjustments. Not sure how I'm going to deal with that one, however.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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On 4/28/2020 at 9:13 AM, mdiemer said:

Interesting remarks. Some of the libraries I use are totally dry, so reverb is necessary or they sound dead. A concert hall is configured to create reverberations, and allow everyone to hear the music regardless of where they are sitting. If there is another way to produce this effect without reverb, I am not aware of it. With a library like East West Symphonic Orchestra, the samples already have reverb baked in. You can get away without adding any. But most sample libraries do need some reverb. 

I will try your suggestion of a cut at 350hz, that may help. I am making slow progress. Artificial panning is the source of some of my troubles, as well as lack of EQ. There are all kinds of opinions on whether to use it for orchestral music (same for compression). As in most things related to computers and music, good results can be achieved in many different ways. I have shied away from EQ as it's so difficult, but I am now taking the time to study it more. I contacted the creator of Cinematic Strings, who gave me a good tip on a couple simple adjustments to make that library sound better.  He also advised me to stop using CC7 and 11 for volume adjustments. Not sure how I'm going to deal with that one, however.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Only need to make a correction.  As I said looking for "depth" I incorrectly stated and meant "distance" because sometime you may want a section have less presence.  And for the 350hz, I forgot to mention samples...usually it is the samples that can get too much body(if it sounds extra full in sound) but in synthesizers you can experiment in the frequency range area and give it a raise for presence, if that's your intention.  One last thing as I used the symbol: >, I meant it as a general math utility in comparison as it comes to the bass and mid frequency toward the distance factor.

                             Perhaps I will hear your music in the future...

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