Orchestral reverb spacing

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Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Gone To Lunch »

Is there any way I can simply pause a signal for a specific no of milliseconds in Digital Performer ?

I am trying to use one reverb for an orchestral piece, but I want to try feeding that reverb from 3 intermediate aux busses, Front, Middle and Back, so I can put the reverb sends from the various instruments into these as appropriate to try and mimic the concert space a little. Thus Strings sent to front, Perc sent to back etc ?
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

This is something I do a lot with orchestral arrangements. I'm a Cubase guy, but hopefully the principle applies.

I create a number of effects channels, and into these I place delays set to different time values according to how much pre-delay I want ahead of the reverb. Then I create my reverb effects channel and I use a send from each of the delay channels to feed the reverb channel.

Now all you need to do is send from any source to any of the delay channels and you will pick up that delay that will feed the reverb.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Martin Walker »

What a sensible approach Monsieur Elf! :clap:

And although I daresay you use your ears to determine the delays for each project, presumably you could instead calculate the theoretical distances to the audience from each section of the orchestra, so that violins could perhaps be ten feet away (10mS delay) through to the percussion section maybe 20 feet away (20mS delay), and so on.

How many different delay times do YOU typically use in your projects? I would have personally thought no more than four 'depth settings' would really be needed.

Delay time presets could also be created for smaller chamber orchestras through to full on massive spectacular performances with a huge orchestra backed by a vast choir.

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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

Four delay times is usually plenty to create the depth I'm looking for, but... I typically use more 'feeder' delays, since I am often also playing around with EQ too. I may feed the reverb a darker delay channel from cellos than from violins, for example - or sometimes I just may want to de-emphasise an annoying resonance.

It would be worth adding a mention of wet/dry mix levels here too. I set the reverb for 100% wet, but occasionally I may need a smudge of one of the delays itself (not a 'realistic' effect, but still...). To this end I will often send from a feeder delay pre-fader, then I can use the feeder delay's own fader to creep it in if needed.

A bit of minutiae here, but the OP can ignore it!
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Gone To Lunch »

The Elf wrote:This is something I do a lot with orchestral arrangements. I'm a Cubase guy, but hopefully the principle applies.

I create a number of effects channels, and into these I place delays set to different time values according to how much pre-delay I want ahead of the reverb. Then I create my reverb effects channel and I use a send from each of the delay channels to feed the reverb channel.

Now all you need to do is send from any source to any of the delay channels and you will pick up that delay that will feed the reverb.

This is exactly what I am trying to do, and for the same reasons, so it looks like my problem is that I don't know how to use the Delay plugin in my Digital Performer....
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Wonks »

Set it 100% wet, set any feedback level/regeneration to 0 and chose a time delay mode where you can enter it in ms. If there are different modes e.g. tape, analog, digital, then select digital. Make sure any modulation or wow and flutter effects are turned off,
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

I've never used DP, so I can't help, but this is a pretty basic requirement of any DAW.

How are you trying to achieve it, what are the results, and what problem are you hitting?
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Gone To Lunch »

Thank you Wonks, that was enough for me to grasp how my Delay works in DP.

I have been able to use four auxes with delays of 0, 15, 30 and 45 msec, to space the instruments from front to back, all going in to same reverb

I also have an Aether reverb in which early and late reflections can be switched separately, so I am also trying using just the one LR on the main rev bus, with four ERs set to the same four settings, each on their own aux bus.

Both seem to work ok, but increasingly it seems the problem is really the arrangement itself.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Gone To Lunch »

Gone To Lunch wrote:
I have been able to use four auxes with delays of 0, 15, 30 and 45 msec, to space the instruments from front to back, all going in to same reverb

I have subsequently found that delays of 10,15,20,25 sound a whole lot better.

The effect on the orchestral blend is quite remarkable in that it seems to gently increase the separation of the instruments, but without violating the blend.

Fascinating stuff.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

I typically end up with bigger values than those, but I do it by ear without reading the actual values. The 'front' of my orchestra often ends up in the 80/90ms region.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Moroccomoose »

I am trying to achieve a similar thing, but I am using a rompler (Proteus 2000 virtuoso) but I am putting the delay in as a MIDI effect because I am only using a stereo output. I was wondering if I was missing any subtle effect doing it that way?

Basically I have delayed and panned the MIDI to suit the orchestra pit then I send the stereo output of the whole thing to a reverb.

I suppose a 'less instant' way to do it would be to print each individual MIDI instrument to audio then set up the spatial arrangement as Elf describes.

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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Sam Spoons »

I think the subtle difference comes from the different delays relating to the different distances from the audience each section of the orchestra sits. Violins (at least the front row) maybe 20' closer that the percussion, brass in front of the percussion and woodwind in front of them?
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Moroccomoose »

Hi Sam,

Yes, I get that is the phenomena trying to be modelled, I was wondering if there was some impact in applying the delay at the MIDI as opposed to applying the delay to the audio subsequently produced by the MIDI.

Out of interest, I am actually using Track delay slider as opposed to a MIDI delay plugin. But this makes it quite difficult to AB the delay impact.

My delay times are more in line with Elfs than the OP's. I put piano and percussion at 125ms with horns at around 70ms. front row strings at zero delay and the second row strings at 40ms (Double basses at 70ms)

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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Sam Spoons »

Sorry, teaching granny to suck eggs there :blush:

I guess it depends whether the delay applied is to the track (audio or midi) or the reverb send (which is what the OP suggested) if the latter it needs to be applied to the audio via a post fade send, simply delaying the track will achieve a different effect.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Moroccomoose wrote:I was wondering if there was some impact in applying the delay at the MIDI as opposed to applying the delay to the audio subsequently produced by the MIDI.

What you're trying to achieve is a difference between the arrival time of the direct sound, and that of the first reverb reflections since that's what defines how close the source sounds and how far from the walls it seems to be!

So the delay has to be inserted between the sound generation and the reverb processor. If the reverb processor is within an instrument and you can control the pre-delay time with MIDI, then great. But just delaying a MIDI instrument isn't going to do what you need to do!
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

No - delaying the MIDI is to misunderstand what this is about.

This is not about delaying the sources themselves (though go ahead and try that if you like...); rather it is about delaying the onset of reverb.

Delaying the reverb is about suggesting to the ear that a source is closer, or further away from the initial reflecting surfaces. By reducing the time between source and reverb you place a source closer to the reflecting surfaces, and by increasing the time between source and reverb you place a source further away from those reflecting surfaces.

Since a lot of orchestral reflection comes from the front wall of the hall - which the orchestra is closest to - then by manipulating the onset of reverb you create a rough illusion of a source being closer to, or further away from that wall, and, hence, the 'audience'.

Combined with a bit of EQ (sounds further away will have their highs dampened), then you can achieve a degree of front-to-back illusion.

Hugh and the utensil beat me to it - and I used more words, so they win!
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Moroccomoose »

There are two things at play here... the relative arrival times of the direct sound and the onset of reverb.

I think my method should work to impart delay on the direct sounds based on their distance from the listener as the rompler will play the instruments with their respective delays. - I thought this would be the significant factor in giving the perception of depth.

The onset of reverb delay is the missing piece to my setup, so I need to have a think about how I can do that. Maybe I can handle within the rompler fx section. this is not ideal as it is not so easy to setup and recall.

Alternatively, I will have to print the midi to audio so I can set up the reverb properly. In which case I would probably set everything up in the audio domain and strip the delays out of the MIDI

I will have a play.

addendum: I think for me this issue is more about handling post rompler fx from a multi-timbral synth with a stereo output.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Moroccomoose wrote:I think my method should work to impart delay on the direct sounds based on their distance from the listener as the rompler will play the instruments with their respective delays. - I thought this would be the significant factor in giving the perception of depth.

I think it's more likely to give the impression of an orchestra that can't play in time! :-)

Alternatively, I will have to print the midi to audio so I can set up the reverb properly. In which case I would probably set everything up in the audio domain and strip the delays out of the MIDI

You don't need to 'print the midi to audio', the sources can still be live Midi instruments. You just need to configure the DAW mixer to route the audio from those MIDI instruments to one or more reverb processors via suitable delays to create varying pre-delays.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Moroccomoose »

You don't need to 'print the midi to audio', the sources can still be live Midi instruments. You just need to configure the DAW mixer to route the audio from those MIDI instruments to one or more reverb processors via suitable delays to create varying pre-delays

There is the rub! The rompler (in my set up) only has stereo out and is playing all of the orchestra instruments. So to affect each section's reverb individually, I would have to print the audio. Alternatively, the rompler has spdif out, sub out 1 and sub out 2 which could be set up as 3 stereo or 6 mono channels. Sending each section to one of the mono channels which in turn is sent to a particular reverb delay channel (Per Elf's setup). Routing the instruments within the proteus virtuoso is a bit tedious!
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Moroccomoose wrote:There is the rub! The rompler (in my set up) only has stereo out and is playing all of the orchestra instruments.

Ah.. yes... I see the problem! :)
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Moroccomoose wrote:I think my method should work to impart delay on the direct sounds based on their distance from the listener as the rompler will play the instruments with their respective delays. - I thought this would be the significant factor in giving the perception of depth.

I think it's more likely to give the impression of an orchestra that can't play in time! :-)

I thought it, but you said it! :lol:

The idea has some merit in theory, but in practice I do suspect you'll just end up with a wonky orchestra.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Gone To Lunch »

Hugh Robjohns wrote: What you're trying to achieve is a difference between the arrival time of the direct sound, and that of the first reverb reflections since that's what defines how close the source sounds and how far from the walls it seems to be!

So the delay has to be inserted between the sound generation and the reverb processor. If the reverb processor is within an instrument and you can control the pre-delay time with MIDI, then great. But just delaying a MIDI instrument isn't going to do what you need to do!

So far so good, but where does the reverb send level, from the audio, figure in this ?

The depth is being faked by the different delays, say 15, 30, 45, 60 - so do the send levels from each audio source need to vary also ? Or can I just set all the send levels to 0 and adjust the faders of four delay aux buses ?
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

I wouldn't be so prescriptive - a bit of creative tweaking and careful listening is all that's really needed.

Lift a reverb and it will make the source seem as if it generating more power to be bouncing from the walls, lower it and it will seem softer and more intimate - but this will work best when other parts, with different levels of send (and EQ) help to create the context.

TBH I didn't realise this was all such a black art! :lol:
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by ManFromGlass »

going deeper into thy blackest art -

How do you make an instrument like the xylophone which has a bright sharp attack, sound like it is at the back of the hall?

Use your longest verb?
Roll off hi frequency information?
Nip a bit of the xylophone note attacks off with a plugin?
Or?
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

ManFromGlass wrote:How do you make an instrument like the xylophone which has a bright sharp attack, sound like it is at the back of the hall?

Short pre-delay (if any), roll off the highs. Thassit!

No 'longest reverb', since we're talking about one reverb with multiple feeder delays in these examples.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by ManFromGlass »

D’oh!
Of course. Got it now.
But my stubborn brain is saying in theory that xylophone at the back of the hall is very close to the back wall of the hall so virtually no delay for the reflections but you are talking about the reflections reaching us in the audience. :think:

I need to play with your system a bit as I’ve never successfully figured out how to get bright instruments with sharp attacks sound like real instruments at the back of a real hall.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Wonks »

You could play with this calculator to work out how much to cut with EQ at different frequencies for different distances.

http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-air.htm

I'd decide how far away from the instrument I wanted to be, then I'd plot out a graph for different octaves and then EQ for the relative attenuations at that distance. I'd take the temperature as between 22-23°C and around 55%rH.

Where it becomes more difficult is the attenuation of the reverb frequencies if you are using a single reverb. You could try adding a different EQ into each of the delay paths, but in reality, the reverb sound is taking many paths of many different lengths, so will have a real mix of HF attenuations. Hopefully, a good reverb algorithm should take that into account.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

Still a bit of confusion I think...

ManFromGlass wrote:But my stubborn brain is saying in theory that xylophone at the back of the hall is very close to the back wall of the hall so virtually no delay for the reflections

Yes, that's it! So from the audience perspective we will hear the reflections at practically the same time as the source - so a very short (if any) pre-delay will help to create this illusion.

Anything at the front of the orchestra will exhibit a much longer pre-delay, and likely produce a weaker overall reverb (though I often fudge this to generate power and excitement in a mix!) - it will also be brighter and louder.
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by Dr Huge Longjohns »

Alternatively, get a reverb like Altiverb that lets you place the sounds on a stage or in a room exactly where you want them. You can get a similar but a lot less sophisticated effect with non-convolution verbs like Waves Truverb which has a 'distance' parameter and Eventide's SP16 which I just bought which has a similar control. (It's fantastic.)
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Re: Orchestral reverb spacing

Post by The Elf »

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Alternatively, get a reverb like Altiverb...

But you need a different instance for every placement. I find that the overlaps get phasey and cluttered. I prefer one reverb for a convincing single space.
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