This is the first recording I made on my brand-new audio work station, and first using GPO. I can't tell you how excited I am to get real power after a long long wait.
This short arpeggiated fanfare -- the very first thing I played and recorded after getting my DAW set up and GPO installed -- uses only the GPO Steinway, and shows it off to be a formidable instrument. One take, verbatim, small amount of compression and EQ at mix.
Here is my rig
Macintosh G5 Dual 1.8Mhz CPU, 2.25Gig RAM, Panther Sys OSX 10.3
Garritan Personal Orchestra
Keyborad/controller: Yamaha S-90
Audio monitors, two Mackie HR 824
Headphones: Sennheiser HD280 Pro
Mixer Mackie DFX-12
Hi Operaguy, very nice playing by the way, I would kill to be able to play like that. Welcome to the forum!
I would like to humbly offer some mixing advice for you and recommend that mixes seldom need compression. It ruins the sound of most recordings, and is sometimes used on pop oriented music. A perfect example is how loud the first chord should have been naturally, without compression. Listen to the first chord,.... it's attack is huge, then it immediately drops in volume. This is because the compressor that was used, was not able to respond quick enough, so it left the first part of the chord unaffected. I am not sure what DAW you are using, but if the compressor is a plugin, check to see if it has a "look ahead" feature. This will trigger the compressor with enough signal before the audio is actually heard, that way you won't get that initial ugly attack of the first bit of audio. The setting that you did use works great on kick, snare, bass, and some other instruments in pop/rock even jazz oriented music when inserted on the individual inputs/sound, but not on the master. I would never use compression on classical music. It would always be better to go through the piece and control the levels naturally with fader movement (automation). Most of the time, when a true professional mastering engineer uses compression on a master mix, it is usually because the final mixes that he has to work with are just too out of control. Usually these bad mixes are so bad that all he can do is use compression. Here's where the problem started a long time ago with compressors on final mixes. That mastering engineer tells the client "I used compression on the final master and it sounds alot better". Probably true compared to what he had to work with. If you ask ten other quote, mastering engineers, they will tell you I'm nuts, and that's OK. I ask that you trust your own ears to make the final decision as to whether or not compression sounds better. Remember, that not only does a compressor remove the peaks, it also makes soft passages sound like they are "pulled up" which will make stuff like reverb stand out and "pump" in a very undesirable way. Sorry for the long post, I too have had GPO and DP (DAW) for a very short time, since last April actually, and I know how excited you are to have just created this music, I am the same way. I have been an audio engineer for 32 years, (yikes) and just want to pass along a helpful tip to make your music sound it's best! Dan
I am going to tell the truth...I did not want to use the compressor! Here's what happened. I was incredibly fortunate to have a young (20 yr old) prodigy, a musician/filmmaker/audio hound, help me assemble my rig. I already had the S-90 and the Mackies, but I know almost NOTHING about putting together such a workstation, nor anything about recording. When he arrived I had my new Mac, Logic and GPO waiting. We went out and bought the mixer at Guitar Center. Together, hooked everything up and installed software.
The instant the DAW was ready for action I sat down and just peeled off that short piece. Logic captured everything. I couldn't believe how good the piano instrument sounded. I said to my friend "show me how to bounce that out." [I have learned that's what you call the mix-down in Logic!]
My guru grabbed the compressor and also hit the mix with the EQ as he was creating the bounce. That did not feel right to me, but I am a little in awe of this guy, and didn't say anything. He said 'you'll learn more about recording and compressors later.' It should be noted that he works with ethereal synth music and 'horror movie' sounds, and reaching for the compressor was probably force of habit. He is not used to the nakedness of classical music. Nevertheless, I am grateful to have had has tremendous help setting me up.
Dan, it's amazing that you could hear all that in this sample! I have read what you wrote three times and i "grok" it pretty well, but I will be digging deeper into what you said. Thank you immensely.
Look for a new outburst, uncompressed, shortly in this thread.
The trick of course with this genre of music is to use it without hearing it do it's thing. Rather than dismissing it as evil, I would say experiment and learn how to use it. I can't mix without it these days, either on certain instruments, or on a master fader to smooth out and beef up the final mix.
I've been looking deeper into this file. I honestly think the drop-off on the first note was not caused by the compression, but I may be wrong. I listened to it just in the midi channel, and I still heard the drop-off. I moved the 'object' to a new channel and tweaked that first note just a hair for velocity and location and got a better result. It's the only note I edited.
As far as I can tell, this is recorded without compression or EQ. I certainly did nothing during the bounce. Unless the compression from the first bounce was still somehow in place during the second. It's a little hard for this newbie to tell.
I wasn't able to open the new file to listen, but my guess is it's all good! I'm just glad to help, but more importantly, I probably should not have posted that with regard to your first attemp, kinda robbed your joy and I didn't mean to do that. I am just glad you were not offended. It's great that you have a friend that can help you out. You said that he told you,..... "you will learn more about compression and EQ later".... that is exactly right. I guess ultimately my best advice is to ALWAYS TRUST YOUR EARS. I remember mixing a song one time in the studio, and the whole time I felt like the speakers were out of phase, but just slightly, and sure enough, the right channel of the monitor EQ had been bypassed by mistake, it was used to increase a little low end because projects would leave the studio too bassy. Even though the speakers were in phase, the difference in bass response from left verses right made it sound like they were out. It taught me, see Dan, you did hear that, why didn't you take the time to figure out what the deal was. Anyway, try to look at these computers and equipment as just tools. I too have a Mac, Altiverb, GPO, fancy Dell and three stinkin' monitors, and it is easy to get wrapped up in the idea that we always have to have more, or..... "that reverb smokes mine" I gotta have one. They are just tools and quite often, many of the devices that we have at our fingertips, cause us to use a particular plugin or outboard gear just because it's there. An old saying goes, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Like audio, the fewer devices and effects that your sound goes through, the better it will probably be. Well, at least with orchestral type stuff, but that certainly is not the case with the heavy amount of production that is so common in alot of today's music.
One of the great comforts of being a composer of 'classical' music on digital workstation is this:
No matter how great my system, no matter how great the sounds, they will NEVER be good enough to create a "final product." No ouput can be considered "It," could ever be sold or used commercially. Therefore, "quite good" is good enough and I don't have to stress out down to the last wave, because it is only a 'story board' for live performance by real musicians on acoustic instruments.
Second, as to use of compression of orchestral music...
I would never apply it after reverb has been added. To take the 'low hanging' roof off your mock concert hall you need a final 'overall' reverb applied to the whole mix. I have found many of the Waves compressors too aggresive for orchestra. I have used the OZONE compressors with better results (and I own most of the earlier Waves stuff). I think that woodwinds suffer greatly from compression of any kind when they are samples, as it's already been applied in a way by the very act of sampling them.
Brass benefits the most from very judicious compression. Use your ears and compare to actual orchestral recordings. Remember that even in this age of digital 24 bit recordings and Hi-def CDs they still use compression a bit, again on the brass in particular.