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Hatstand

opinions required

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Hi There, I don't normally post songs but I was looking for opinions on this one. I am not an orchestrator so have no idea whether I have the balance right on this mix.

If anyone with orchestral experience wants to suggest anything. it would be most welcome. If not enjoy anyway hopefully.

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1 hour ago, Hatstand said:

I am not an orchestrator

Me too neither so I can't help there, other than to say it sounds pretty good.
Hopefully those with orchestration backgrounds can help you move it forward...

t

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the recording sounds real fine.i used to play in a horn band for 25 years and i did all the arrangements and no i don't read music.i have also done songs in same vain as.ya don't need to do anything to this. on 2nd thought crescendos and decrescendos on different instruments and different places.jack c.

                what vst plugins did ya use for this as well as vst plugins effects comp,eq,-----verbs,delays.

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On 1/31/2021 at 5:58 PM, jack c. said:

 

               

what vst plugins did ya use for this as well as vst plugins effects comp,eq,-----verbs,delays.

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Hi Jack, threw the kitchen sink at this one :)

Not really, most of the tracks just required high pass and compression, apart from the horns which had some dynamic eq. A couple were widened with Polyverse Wider and had Slate Fresh Air on the flute. Used Vocal Rider on the choir and Pancake for the riser.

Busses had the pro channel buss compressor on them but only just hitting. I ran a buss with an R4 plate reverb on it and a buss with a waves IR using Royal Festival hall Row K seat 22 as the IR for a longer reverb and used track sends to blend it in .

The vocals had H delay on the first vox and another reverb on the vocal buss with an extra plate using a touch of Pro channel Breverb and R Vox was also on the vocal buss.

Oxford Inflator on the pre-master fx with additional pro channel modules enabled for  light CA-2A compression and gain control followed by Tape.

Note with Tape you get the best results IMO raising the Rec Level so that it peaks around +1db and then reducing the PB Level back to match to the same gain when bypassed.

pc.png.505d9e21af0cc154d4a371e98dd75b37.png

Edited by Hatstand

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This is really good hatstand   it has enough ethnic versimilitude to make it legit.  I noticed that it was slightly too squashed for my taste (too much compression) .   It also might brighten up if you put a smiley eq on the mix bus.  

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3 hours ago, David Sprouse said:

This is really good hatstand   it has enough ethnic versimilitude to make it legit.  I noticed that it was slightly too squashed for my taste (too much compression) .   It also might brighten up if you put a smiley eq on the mix bus.  

Cheers David, I was hoping you would give it a listen. Agree re: the compression but the drums and impact hits needed something to keep them under control.

I did the mastering in Ozone 9 and did play with the smiley face but felt it lost some of the definition and character of the horns and cellos.

Thanks for the positive comments.

 

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Hi Hatstand - this is a great composition but I agree, it does sound somewhat squashed. Did you master an exported wav file or stick Ozone on the mix bus?

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1 hour ago, daryl1968 said:

Hi Hatstand - this is a great composition but I agree, it does sound somewhat squashed. Did you master an exported wav file or stick Ozone on the mix bus?

Hi Daryl, exported 48/24 wav then mastered in Ozone separately down to 41/16 with dither. Compression was very light apart from the drum buss and you can see in the screenshot that the CA-2A was barely breaking a sweat. It could be that the maximiser on Ozone was hitting too hard. No overs that I could see and the headroom isn't maxed out (aimed for -14 LUFS with -1db ceiling). Perhaps the other thing could be the Inflator which is giving that squashed vibe.

I will try backing it off and see if it makes a difference. I do like what it adds to the sound characteristics though.

My bread and butter is normally mixing and mastering different genres than orchestral/soundtrack, hence why I value the opinions of the people on here.

Thanks for your thoughts.

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15 minutes ago, Hatstand said:

Hi Daryl, exported 48/24 wav then mastered in Ozone separately down to 41/16 with dither. Compression was very light apart from the drum buss and you can see in the screenshot that the CA-2A was barely breaking a sweat. It could be that the maximiser on Ozone was hitting too hard. No overs that I could see and the headroom isn't maxed out (aimed for -14 LUFS with -1db ceiling). Perhaps the other thing could be the Inflator which is giving that squashed vibe.

I will try backing it off and see if it makes a difference. I do like what it adds to the sound characteristics though.

My bread and butter is normally mixing and mastering different genres than orchestral/soundtrack, hence why I value the opinions of the people on here.

Thanks for your thoughts.

what sort of levels are the mix before master? Why use dither and reduce down to 16 bit? Soundcloud excepts 24bit wavs 

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Hello " Hatstand"

So these kinds of mixes often aren't as complex as they seen since you often are mixing sections of instruments rather than individual instruments. Not always but often.. Often these sections come with some canned reverb in the samples. In addition reverb is added in the plugin. This is probably one of the largest hurdles with these kinds of mixes for me. Too many tracks with some reverb can get muddy and there's often too much low end and low mid information to deal with that can easily accumulate. Some tracks need to "bite" while others are more in the background. It can be difficult to measure the amount of bite or hi mid to hi energy to add. Then there's the need to make tracks from different libraries sound as if they are all coming from the same source.

I think you did pretty well with this. I tend to divide genre with orchestral music between real life symphonic orchestra and cinematic music. Cinematic music usually has the powerful drums and horns designed to add urgency and punch to the track while the orchestral music written by composers for real orchestras might be written per instrument and generally has a feel more similar to the classics. I would see this track as cinematic music. Would make a great soundtrack for a film. 

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1 hour ago, daryl1968 said:

what sort of levels are the mix before master? Why use dither and reduce down to 16 bit? Soundcloud excepts 24bit wavs 

Hi Daryl to answer your questions, export of mix was at max of -6db. The reason for bringing it down to 44.1/16 was because it was also going to other places, so safer to drop to the lowest common denominator. I don't normally put stuff on Soundcloud (if I do it is normally private) as you can see from the profile. but as this mix was not in my comfort zone, I thought I would take advantage and elicit views from this forum.

 

Starise thanks for the comments, yes you are totally correct regarding the cinematic direction. It is aimed to work well coming out of a TV or games console as opposed to high end audio (although I did do a surround mix which works well with the impacts and risers). The use of the plate reverb and the IR were purely used for when the instrument was dry. On some tracks I did not add any additional reverb (Tuba, Trombone, Clarinet).  I only added reverb to specific tracks to make everything (hopefully)  sit in the same spatial space.

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Sounds good to me as well, although I do agree re the slight over compression - if I read it right, did you have inflator and CA2A and Tape on the master bus for mix down? That could be the issue before Ozone - on all tracks, I mix into a bus compressor only - I use The Glue but any good bus compressor works - and I keep it pretty light

But I do like the track - good job

Nigel

 

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3 minutes ago, Bajan Blue said:

Sounds good to me as well, although I do agree re the slight over compression - if I read it right, did you have inflator and CA2A and Tape on the master bus for mix down? That could be the issue before Ozone - on all tracks, I mix into a bus compressor only - I use The Glue but any good bus compressor works - and I keep it pretty light

But I do like the track - good job

Nigel

 

Cheers Nigel nice to hear that coming from you. Yes I think perhaps in hindsight the inflator is overkill for this genre. I am so used to using it on more contemporary stuff it is like an addiction :)

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I like it.
Seems like it's in between cinematic and orchestral. I think it needs a "fuller" sound if you're going for cinematic, a bit more reverb and more lower end eq for more drama, like I know what I'm talking about.
Reminds me of the band Deep Forest that used ethnic voices in their mixed genre music.

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Hi all, once again thanks for your comments. It turns out I was heading in the right direction as it is aimed at an Anime audience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxbelTTsjE

this is a good example so supposedly I wasn't far off the mark so all good.

Finding out more about this genre is opening my horizons as to what is considered to be "popular" a sort of modern day Spaghetti western and we all know where Ennio Morricone went from there so there is hope that my ears haven't failed me....yet :D

 

 

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Hi Hatstand,

To my ears, this track is a good foray into orchestral/hybrid scoring type music. 

In terms of offering a useful critique: while I do orchestral and hybrid-cinematic stuff exclusively, I'm also still learning the ropes, too. So take all this with a grain of salt :)

I like the overall style and motifs in the piece - very cinematic, and would be great for a montage or an extended opening credit sequence, or similar. I also like the mix of traditional orchestral sound and the ethnic vocal stuff. Works great.

In terms of mix, I got a sense of emptiness in the centre of the stereo image. The strings are panned to one side, the horns to the other, and the remaining instruments sort of float around the mix but don't seem to have enough presence to fill out the rest of the soundscape. The vocals occupy that middle space partway through the piece, and then the percussion comes in pretty strong, so that helps.

But I'd recommend moving the strings and horns in from the margins and more towards the middle. Not too much; they still need to be spread across the soundscape so they don't get in each other's way, but I've never been a big fan of panning orchestral sections too hard to one side or the other, as I think it sounds unnatural and distracting. If I'm adding hybrid elements (ethnic vocals, or electronic sounds etc) to a track, I may sometimes pan them pretty hard, but only in small amounts, and usually to draw the listener's attention to an esoteric element that doesn't last long and is there to produce a specific effect.

In terms of the overall acoustic space in the recording, it sounded a bit congested to my ears. I'd recommend a more spacious reverb sound, if possible. It also sounded a bit too compressed and lacking in dynamic range -- which is an issue that I've had in my recordings, also. Possibly this is over-compression in the mix, but it could also be addressed in the arrangement, too. For example, the string ostinato that pulses throughout the piece doesn't really develop or expand after its initial statement, so it might be nice to evolve it as you get deeper into the music. From what I could hear, the ostinato is all basses/cellos and maybe violas? I have found that expanding that out by adding violins to the ostinato can add energy, bite and excitement to the sound. 

Same with the brass parts -- it's mostly horns playing their motif, and the other brass instruments making a tonal bed for them, but it might be nice to expand that a bit by doubling the motif on trumpets later in the piece. 

These are just spitball suggestions, as I have found orchestral arranging to be incredibly sensitive to changes and really unpredictable - adjusting one arrangement detail can sometimes make a piece click, or completely throw it off in unexpected ways, or both! But I'd start experimenting with that sort of approach and see what happens.  

For my own orchestral stuff, I am something of a plug-in minimalist -- aside from my instrument VSTs, I use very few audio plugins or processing in my projects. My current template loads up with exactly one processing plug-in: a single instance of Nimbus reverb that I create as a send. All my instruments and sections use it, and I dial in different amounts depending on how much I want to push instruments back or move them forward. I use a pretty broad selection of libraries, and when I built my template I used the settings within Kontakt, VSL and Engine for each library in order to position and/or eq the instruments so they occupied the same basic acoustic space right out of the gate.  I have found that one reverb works great in that setting, and doesn't clog up the soundscape.

Of course, that approach depends on what libraries you happen to have on hand. I've got a ton -- way more than I'll ever need, frankly -- so I have lots of options to choose from, and that makes it easier to assemble a basic template that sounds good. I'd be curious to know what libraries you use. 

I do sometimes end up adding other plug-ins to polish the sound by the time I get to a project's finish, but rarely more than a couple of EQ instances and maybe a compressor or limiter (usually for solo instruments, and on the final mix), and sometimes a tape emulator for some analog mojo. In terms of EQ, I usually only need it for clearing mud or boomyness, and I almost never add anything and just do minimal cuts on a pretty wide Q for the sake of overall clarity.

As I mentioned above, take all this with a grain of salt -- I'm just describing the stuff that has worked for me, and much of that is really just based on my own personal tastes and preferences. 

But I figured I'd offer my two cents, and maybe you'll find a nugget or two of useful info in it :)

Best,

Rob

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@Amicus717 Thanks for taking the time mate. In regards to the panning, I was trying to keep to the orthodox orchestral soundscape apart from the bass which I kept central rather than in the traditional position. A few people have mentioned the dynamics which is strange as I used very little compression apart from on the percussion bus. Will need to look at it again. Similar to you I didn't use a lot of plugins at least on the tracks. I did use two reverbs and did originally start with a more ambient space for the IR but found the overall mix lost a bit of definition.

Cheers

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No expert but I enjoyed the listen, thought it sounds good and it's a cool track. I could very much imagine that in a movie soundtrack.

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