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Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

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Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby goodkeys » Sat Feb 06, 2016 5:19 pm

Hello everybody

With the wealth of great nebula libraries I'm a bit stuck on choosing the right ones for my specific need. The discussions and descriptions tend to be focused on popular genres, so there's good information about which preamps might be suited for drums, which microphone for vocals, which console for edm and so on.
What I can scarcely find are information about which libraries to choose for orchestral music, even though these needs are a bit different. Usually you would want a natural and clear signal, and leave all the dynamics intact. Anybody has some favorites she/he would care to share? Also, what would your mix chain look like for orchestral music? Again, there are interesting discussions about mixing and mastering chains for other genres. But orchestral recordings usually are quite different. For one, the instruments of the orchestra are not miced individually. Sometimes there's even only a decca tree without any additional mics. More commonly, some spot mics are added on solo instrument, or some room mics to capture the hall.

In this light, how would you go about creating a nebula mix chain for orchestral music? Would you insert only one group of plugins on the master bus, or different chains on busses? Which effects would you use? Any hints and suggestions welcome.
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby ceemusic » Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:53 pm

It all depends what sound you're after, your system & what sounds the best to your ears.

For any orchestrated parts I might do I like using something like Honey, White or Ivory on stems or mix bus using gentle use broad strokes.
Because of high cpu plus GB's of loaded sample library memory I use DMG's Equilibrium or eQuick for eqing individual instrument tracks.

I'll also use one of Alex B's consoles. MFC would be an excellent choice.
Line In's on individual tracks or sections, (strings, perc, winds etc.) then an instance of the Clean Group Bus followed by an instance of the Clean Mix bus.

The 2 mix out gets imported into Studio One with a mastering chain consisting of Pearl, White, Ivory, Equilibrium, Magenta, Ultramarine, Alex B's GMC, MFD & Ozone Advanced.
Usually just a bit of eqing from one of them plus any limiting.

Of course there's lots of choices that work just as well for different circumstances or styles of music.
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby botus99 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:07 pm

I recently did a "remaster" of an old vinyl from the 70's with someone's high school orchestra. I remember that I used both Henry Olonga's and AlexB's Millenia preamp at certain points in the chain.

AlexB's GMD made an appearance too (I really need to get the console to complete the set haha).

Everything ceemusic said should also yield some great sounding results!
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby RJHollins » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:12 pm

The MFC and it's eq MFeQ are really nice. I'd even add the dynamics [MFD] ... which I also have.

I prefer to be discreet when working on 'classical' projects, so to be aware of add coloration.

Neb/Acqua have nice choices, from IVORY, SCARLET, to GREEN. AlexB-MMeQ [seems to work for many sources].

Even the 'Pultec' design [which was originally meant for the classical recording.

CDS's TAPE library, R2R, is another handy tool.

So are several of the Reverb libraries out there. [sometimes rooms need a very slight enhancement].

I also use iZotope-RX for spectral editing and cleanup. DMG's Equilibrium is still used for fixing problems, mostly surgical.

Right now testing DMG LIMITLESS to adjust Mastering level. This may replace current fav.

hope this helps.

==== edit === mis-type :oops:
Last edited by RJHollins on Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby zabukowski » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:59 pm

Right now testing iZotope LIMITLESS to adjust Mastering level. This may replace current fav.


I guess you are talking about DMG Limitless ... it's awesome :)
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby RJHollins » Sat Feb 06, 2016 9:16 pm

ah yes ... DMG LimitLess ...

thx for spotting ZAB ... will edit post. :oops:
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby goodkeys » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:27 pm

Great suggestions so far, thanks all.
Being subtle is indeed a primary concern. I'd like to create a chain that mimicks an analog recording chain, but without adding too much coloration or even compression.
Currently I'm thinking of something like this: 1. Preamp
2. Mic emu (depending on the situation. I'll do without it when specific mic coloration is unsuited)
3. Console line in
4. Console group bus in
5. Console Eq in
6. Eq
7. Console mixbus in

After that I'll use R2R Studer 30ip if wanted. Does this sound like a realistic chain? Do you have particular suggestions for each step of the chain? Modern Flagship console was already mentioned and will be one to check out. Would the Modern White Console be good for orchestral as well? And what would you suggest for preamps and mics? Eq's are not a problem, I'm well equiped there.
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby SWANG » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:18 pm

hi there. regarding console and eq options, may i throw this rarely-discussed-but-still-highly-regarded console/eq library?
http://cdsoundmaster.com/site/cds-software-online/Q8neb.html

just the right blend of transparency and unimposing personality. i've used it on just about all of my projects including chamber and quartet sessions.
Last edited by SWANG on Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
ok, bye!!!
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby basaristudios@gmail.com » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:25 pm

One thing to note...on Strings and external instruments in
general...why would one need a Preamp, a Mic and a Channel in?
Haven't the original Strings already gone thru these 3 steps?
I mean, in a way better way already then Nebula. Summing should
start at a Group and Master Level, all the way to Channel Input
is already done by real Hardware while recording. I mean of
course we can do anything but that is OCD and realistically.
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Re: Programs and mix chain for orchestral music?

Postby Sheikyearbouti » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:30 am

goodkeys wrote:Hello everybody

With the wealth of great nebula libraries I'm a bit stuck on choosing the right ones for my specific need. The discussions and descriptions tend to be focused on popular genres, so there's good information about which preamps might be suited for drums, which microphone for vocals, which console for edm and so on.
What I can scarcely find are information about which libraries to choose for orchestral music, even though these needs are a bit different. Usually you would want a natural and clear signal, and leave all the dynamics intact. Anybody has some favorites she/he would care to share? Also, what would your mix chain look like for orchestral music? Again, there are interesting discussions about mixing and mastering chains for other genres. But orchestral recordings usually are quite different. For one, the instruments of the orchestra are not miced individually. Sometimes there's even only a decca tree without any additional mics. More commonly, some spot mics are added on solo instrument, or some room mics to capture the hall.

In this light, how would you go about creating a nebula mix chain for orchestral music? Would you insert only one group of plugins on the master bus, or different chains on busses? Which effects would you use? Any hints and suggestions welcome.


I'd try to not have to use any processing - any. If you can record it well, than this is enough of mixing.

But often this is not possible or one just makes small mistakes, or you could be forced to use mics that had some limitations.

I'd use shelf EQ cuts to remove proximity (spot mics) and add low end for distant directional mics.

I'd often use some EQ's "air band" to compensate for the HF loss at distance for the main mic setup (this is probably the most common processing I use, but with great care). I'm talking 15-40kHz or similar shelf. Some mic though have this shelf build-in...

I'd use verbs from Nebula on sends. If you have real room impulses sampled at different distances/widths, it could be beneficial to setup a few sends and use that to create a little more depth (spots can take more early reflections). But ideally, don't use any reverb if you can record it that way.

I might (with great care) use some kind of mojo/preamp instance on the master bus to add some sparkle. But often my musicians don't like it - especially classical classical. Less is more! The more contemporary would agree with a valve or transformer colour, but if it gentle.
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