Orchestral Template Reverb Question

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Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Aleks_O »

Hi everyone,

So I'm currently making an orchestral template and trying to make it as "real" sounding as possible.

I currently use Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra but after getting feedback from an animator, they said they loved the composition but thought the instruments sounded a bit too fake/"synthesized" (strange for Spitfire, but ok). After they sent a reference it was obvious what they meant was it was a lot brighter and there was a great use of reverb as oppose to the sounds of the actual instruments themselves.

So anyway, I purchased Altiverb 7 immediately and I'm hoping this is going to bring more "realness" to my mixes.

So I guess my question is, is it normal to send different groups of instruments e.g. strings, woodwind, brass, to different reverbs and how should those reverbs differ for each group? E.g. how should a reverb differ for the woodwind to the strings and so on? Altiverb has such an amazing array of presets and I really wouldn't want to not use it to its full potential.

Also, in a template, do people often put reverbs on individual instruments too, or just keep them in the return auxilleries?

Also finally, does anyone have any other tips outside of the whole reverb thing on how to make an orchestral template give you a more "realistic" outcome? I mentioned the reference they sent me was a lot "brighter" - is this down to exciters, for example? Because I'm aware you can't really EQ orchestral sounds too much..

Thanks
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by blinddrew »

For the non-reverb stuff, I've read on here several times that using articulations that really reflect how each instrument is played is key to getting a realistic representation out of them.
But I'll leave that to others to expand on.

On the reverb front, there are a few of us here who use various variations on a front-middle-back approach with a single reverb but different delays feeding into it.
So on one of my (non-orchestral) mixes I might try and create a soundscape that has the vocals upfront, guitars and keys in the mid-distance, and drums and bass at the back.
To do this I'll create a reverb track that has an appropriate sound and a bit of pre-delay that roughly represents the distance between the drums and the virtual back wall of the space the reverb is representing.
Then I'll set up three delay busses that all route to my 'back wall' reverb.
The back bus will have a short delay and an EQ that roles off a smidgeon of high and low shelf. Drums and bass get sent here.
The mid bus has a slightly longer delay and slightly deeper EQ shelves. Keys and guitars go here.
Finally the front bus has, guess what, longer delay and deeper EQ shelves. Vocals go here.
The longer delays and deeper EQ shelves represent the fact that the sound from a source at the front of the stage has further to travel to reach the back wall of the auditorium and then back to the listener's ears.

You'll need to play around with times and which bits of the orchestra to send where but the principle should hold.
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Moroccomoose »

For the reverb stuff, it is all comes down to pre delay. If you consider that while the direct sound travels straight to the listener, the reverb sound reflects off the back wall of a hall before it reaches the listener. By knowing the difference in distance of each path, and knowing the speed of sound, you can calculate the pre-delay needed for the onset of reverb.

For an instrument near the back of the orchestra is essentially near the back wall, so the time taken for both direct and reverb sound is similar, so short pre delay. For an instrument that is near the front, the reverb sound has to travel all the way to the back of the hall and back again, while the direct sound has a short distance, so long pre delay.

In practice, have 3 (or more if you like) sterei fx channels with delays ranging from 75ms to 25ms and call them 'near' 'middle' and 'far' these delay fx channels feed the reverb, probably a hall.

Now you can decide where an instrument sits in the space and send to the appropriate delay with appropriate panning.

For added realism, you can roll off increasing amounts of HF in the further away from the listener the source is.

Because I'm a nerd and my day job is doing physics simulations, I made a spreadsheet that calculates the pre delays and the and the HF roll off in dB for each delay for a given room size and orchestra position in it! I'd be happy to share.

Sorry Drew, I didn't read to the bottom of your post and I've repeated your answer!...But I'd written so much I didn't want to delete! Haha :beamup:

Stu.
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Martin Walker »

Moroccomoose wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:14 am Because I'm a nerd and my day job is doing physics simulations, I made a spreadsheet that calculates the pre delays and the and the HF roll off in dB for each delay for a given room size and orchestra position in it! I'd be happy to share.

Hi Stu!

I'd certainly be interested in trying out your reverb parameter spreadsheet 8-)

Martin
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by The Elf »

Martin Walker wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 3:18 pm
Moroccomoose wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:14 am Because I'm a nerd and my day job is doing physics simulations, I made a spreadsheet that calculates the pre delays and the and the HF roll off in dB for each delay for a given room size and orchestra position in it! I'd be happy to share.

I'd certainly be interested in trying out your reverb parameter spreadsheet 8-)

I do all of this by ear, so I'd also be interested to see how my settings correlate!
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Martin Walker »

There's also a good tutorial with audio examples and predelay times on SoundBytes:

https://soundbytesmag.net/audiodepthper ... yourmixes/
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Aleks_O »

Thanks for the help everyone, seems like some good tips here and now I just need to try and digest them! Will probably have a couple more questions soon though I'm sure :bouncy:

Moroccomoose wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:14 am In practice, have 3 (or more if you like) sterei fx channels with delays ranging from 75ms to 25ms and call them 'near' 'middle' and 'far' these delay fx channels feed the reverb, probably a hall.

To be clear, are you now talking about implementing actual delays here, or are you still refering to the pre-delays in the reverbs? And also how do you "feed" these into the reverb, is it by bussing the auxillery which (presumably) has the delay on it, into an auxillery with reverb? So like a mini chain?

Moroccomoose wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:14 am Because I'm a nerd and my day job is doing physics simulations, I made a spreadsheet that calculates the pre delays and the and the HF roll off in dB for each delay for a given room size and orchestra position in it! I'd be happy to share.

If you were able to share this, that would be absolutely awesome to be honest!

Edit: oh yes one thing I forgot to say is I like to use Track Stacks (Logic user) to put effects over say a group of strings. Is it ok to use this workflow still? One thing which is a bit frustrating is that if I try and solo an effects auxillery which has been bussed from one of the instruments in the Track Stack, everything goes silent.. you can't here the effect on it's own. Any work arounds for this?

Oh yes, one thing I forgot to mention is that I want to keep using track

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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by sonics »

Aleks_O wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 9:35 pm I currently use Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra but after getting feedback from an animator, they said they loved the composition but thought the instruments sounded a bit too fake/"synthesized" (strange for Spitfire, but ok).

Having a great sample library is absolutely no guarantee of a "real-sounding" orchestra (whatever that is, anyway!). If you play your piece dry, do you think it sounds "real". Without hearing either your music or the example sent to you answering your question is pretty hard. Try using one good concert hall reverb on the whole mix, using one aux send per section. How does that sound?

Aleks_O wrote: Sat Sep 17, 2022 9:35 pm Altiverb has such an amazing array of presets and I really wouldn't want to not use it to its full potential.

You don't have to (and shouldn't) use all the flavours on the spice rack in one meal.

And do more listening to professional examples of the type of score you're writing.
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Moroccomoose »

Here is the link to the spreadsheet

https://1drv.ms/x/s!ApHK3Zf8zN6EkO8X9tx ... A?e=gedmQF

Its a link to a file share in my onedrive. I'm not sure how else best to share the file other than to say 'its legit init!', I promise no virus!

I put a routing diagram on the spreadsheet, but to answer your question directly, It is three separate delay fx (They need to be stereo delays so that any pan information is carried through) wet to 100% with no feedback or repeats. all three feed into a single separate reverb fx, probably a hall set to a size matching the size from the delay calcs in the spreadsheet. The EQ curves from the spreadsheet should be applied to each delay too.

I hope it is useful for you, and more so, I'd be really interested to hear how it compares to Elf and Martin's settings and if they think there is mileage in it. (I know at the end of the day, trust your ears but if you don't, its nice to have a system to fall back on!)

Let me know how you get on, Cheers,

Stu
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Martin Walker »

Thanks Stu - I'll have fun trying those settings out, although I have a feeling that those 'HF attenuation through distance' values are so similar at 10kHz (my upper cutoff nowadays) that I'll roll all three distances off by the same amount ;)

I'm also intrigued by your choice of 20, 30 and 35 metres as near, middle and far (pre-delays of 58, 73, 87mS respectively) - that sounds like listening from the back row of a large hall! I suspect that my chosen near will be a lot closer, so I'm sitting in the front row :smirk:

My tutorial linked to above found 20, 40 and 50mS pre-delays worked well, which I'm suspecting might be more suitable for album mixing - will report back once I've done some listening experiments.

Martin
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Moroccomoose »

Its been a while since I wrote that spreadsheet. And looking at it again, I remember, you need to set the respective pre delays as the difference between the direct delay and reverb onset delay. This is because in a DAW it makes no sense to delay the direct signal as well, so you just want the difference.

That is, unless you wanted to try getting some extra depth separation using different arrival times of the direct sound. You'd need three additional delays feeding directly to main for that.

From memory, I Don't think it was worth the effort!

If I get time, I'll try and find the source for the frequency at distance attenuation data.

Stu.
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Re: Orchestral Template Reverb Question

Post by Aleks_O »

Moroccomoose wrote: Sun Sep 18, 2022 9:59 pm Here is the link to the spreadsheet

https://1drv.ms/x/s!ApHK3Zf8zN6EkO8X9tx ... A?e=gedmQF

Its a link to a file share in my onedrive. I'm not sure how else best to share the file other than to say 'its legit init!', I promise no virus!

I put a routing diagram on the spreadsheet, but to answer your question directly, It is three separate delay fx (They need to be stereo delays so that any pan information is carried through) wet to 100% with no feedback or repeats. all three feed into a single separate reverb fx, probably a hall set to a size matching the size from the delay calcs in the spreadsheet. The EQ curves from the spreadsheet should be applied to each delay too.

I hope it is useful for you, and more so, I'd be really interested to hear how it compares to Elf and Martin's settings and if they think there is mileage in it. (I know at the end of the day, trust your ears but if you don't, its nice to have a system to fall back on!)

Let me know how you get on, Cheers,

Stu

Hey Stu,

That's really kind of you to share this - thank you! As well as the additional info regarding delays etc. I'll try and apply what I've learned from you and can hopefully share something in the not too distant future - cheers mate!

Aleks
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