Mixing Orchestra bottom end

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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 7:02 pmMultiband compressor, yes, dynamic EQ no.

I consider them much the same thing.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by Sam Inglis »

The Elf wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 1:14 pm At any point in time only one instrument should be allowed to dominate that low end. Your job is to decide which one and make it happen.

In an orchestral context, surely that depends on the composition? If the composer has doubled a low part on more than one instrument, they've presumably done so for a good reason.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by The Elf »

Sam Inglis wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:34 pm
The Elf wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 1:14 pm At any point in time only one instrument should be allowed to dominate that low end. Your job is to decide which one and make it happen.

In an orchestral context, surely that depends on the composition? If the composer has doubled a low part on more than one instrument, they've presumably done so for a good reason.

If they've doubled it then they can effectively be considered one instrument. You could say that the composer has 28 parts all 'doubling' the low end - something has to give, however you cut it. Maybe you HPF one of the parts to keep the low end tidy, but allow the double to 'speak' in the upper frequencies. Or you leave both as they are and accept the hit on headroom.

Which example are you thinking of?

We can go looking for examples to break any generalisation. How about every every cello and bass simultaneously playing different notes? I'm sure it exists somewhere. Most rock bands have only one bassist, but I bet we can find an example of two or more.

My point still essentially stands.

And, as I said, 'others will do it differently'. So what's your approach? And how would you deal with the doubled part?
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by Arpangel »

When you say "mixing" is it literally that? I had to mix an orchestra, it was a 24 track Samplitude project, it was great, as all the sections were close mic'd as well as a stereo pair on the whole band.
If it’s a stereo mix, that’s a real pain in these circumstances, I’d be wary of too much extreme EQ, you’ll find it’ll suck the life out of things, especially the bass, a bit of wayward dynamics isn’t such a bad thing.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by ManFromGlass »

Yes literally mixing.
Part of the problem is that I am using samples. Each library brings it’s own room sound. Some even have their own reverb built into the interface, which I turn off. So part of the challenge is not only dealing with each section’s low end but also room tone.
Close mic’d instruments will never sound like an orchestra in a hall from a listener sitting in the audience perspective, which is the sound I have in my head. I’ll never achieve that with samples but I’ll aim for it.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by The Elf »

ManFromGlass wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 1:11 pm Close mic’d instruments will never sound like an orchestra in a hall from a listener sitting in the audience perspective, which is the sound I have in my head. I’ll never achieve that with samples but I’ll aim for it.

Some of the spiffy (e.g. 8Dio and Spitfire) libraries have multiple mic's to blend with, from close to distant.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by tea for two »

ManFromGlass wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 1:11 pm Yes literally mixing.
Part of the problem is that I am using samples. Each library brings it’s own room sound. Some even have their own reverb built into the interface, which I turn off. So part of the challenge is not only dealing with each section’s low end but also room tone.
Close mic’d instruments will never sound like an orchestra in a hall from a listener sitting in the audience perspective, which is the sound I have in my head. I’ll never achieve that with samples but I’ll aim for it.

If it helps at all the visualisation of orchestra in a large hall with drums right at the back.

So heavy bass drums taikos should sound as distant thunder.

ManFromGlass wrote: Fri Aug 12, 2022 1:10 pm I’m working on a partially orchestral film project that requires huge bass drums, low loud brass, lot’s of low strings.

Here's a track with Japanese Kodo drummers and Orchestra starts with lowish strings, thereafter strong Brass for some kind of reference to what you mention
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NZfeUPKSPQA
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by blinddrew »

The Elf wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 10:22 pm
blinddrew wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 7:02 pmMultiband compressor, yes, dynamic EQ no.

I consider them much the same thing.

Indeed, I've been wracking my brains to remember why I decided I needed Nova rather than just using ReaXComp and I remember now it's because Nova allows an external sidechain but XComp doesn't.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by Wonks »

Obviously they aren’t exactly the same. A dynamic EQ will still apply the EQ if the signal isn’t loud enough to trigger the dynamics, whereas on a multi-band EQ with the same dynamic settings, the sound remains unchanged. But with thresholds set lower so the compressors are always working, they are reasonably similar.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by Sam Inglis »

The Elf wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:27 am
If they've doubled it then they can effectively be considered one instrument. You could say that the composer has 28 parts all 'doubling' the low end - something has to give, however you cut it. Maybe you HPF one of the parts to keep the low end tidy, but allow the double to 'speak' in the upper frequencies. Or you leave both as they are and accept the hit on headroom.

Which example are you thinking of?

We can go looking for examples to break any generalisation. How about every every cello and bass simultaneously playing different notes? I'm sure it exists somewhere. Most rock bands have only one bassist, but I bet we can find an example of two or more.

My point still essentially stands.

And, as I said, 'others will do it differently'. So what's your approach? And how would you deal with the doubled part?

I guess what I'm saying is that in the first instance, a congested or over-rich low end in an orchestral track may well be an arrangement issue, not a mixing issue.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by The Elf »

Wonks wrote: Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:32 pm Obviously they aren’t exactly the same.

Take a look at Waves C6. You can apply static boost/cut *and* compression/expansion to a band. To me that's pretty much both an EQ and a frequency band compressor, or, at least, as close enough as makes no difference in use.

I think of it as dynamic EQ, because I tend not to use multi-band compression per se, but if there's a genuine difference it's not one I recognise.
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Re: Mixing Orchestra bottom end

Post by Sam Inglis »

I would say there are a couple of differences between a multi-band compressor and a dynamic EQ, at least in their traditional incarnations. One is that in a dynamic EQ you can have overlap between bands, which is not really possible with a conventional multi-band compressor. The other and probably more important one is that the crossovers in a multi-band compressor are active even when isn't actually doing any compression. A multi-band compressor is always applying a set of steep filters to the signal to chop it up into different frequency bands, regardless of whether compression is active in those bands. That will inevitably introduce phase shift, or pre-ringing in linear phase designs.

Thankfully there are modern plug-ins that cover the same ground as both, without the filtering artifacts -- I'm a big fan of FabFilter Pro-MB for example.
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