The following very general and rough values may be helpful during arranging: Solo woodwinds and harp -18 to -24 dB Strings: -6 to -12 dB Solo brass: 0 to -6 dB Ensemble brass 0 to +6dB You can also boost the timpani or tamtams etc. if you need it. Use the normal velocity programming of the instruments, and take different outputs on your mixer for the different instrument groups. Another option is to make a sequencer template using different main volume values for the different tracks. This should also be possible with a notation program. If an arrangement e.g. uses only strings and woodwinds, you could set the strings to 0dB and the woodwinds to -12 dB. Starting a classical arrangement, looking for a tutti forte chord in the score, and after that program this chord and match the volume values in comparison with the original recording.
Are these the standard settings most people use for "classical" music?
I´m interested in if people have similar settings for classical and soundtrack compositions.
Last edited by drjohnny79; 10-20-2006 at 05:22 AM.
Yes - the DB settings would generally be set in your mixer. You may want to route all the instruments of a section (e.g. wind) to a buss, and reduce the output of the buss instead, rather than each instrument.
The settings quoted are pretty reasonable (although there is no silver bullet for an orchestral mix), but you'll definitely need to bring instruments forward and back in the mix as and when. However, the settings are a reasonable generalisation and fine as a starting point - you'll have to play with them to get the mix just right for you.
As a side comment, it will be pretty important for you to get your reverb right if you are looking for realistic orchestral simulations. There's a good book on MIDI orchestration by Paul Gilreath that is worth taking a look at, and audioease's web site has an interesting approach to reverb placement that may or may not be applicable to other convolution reverbs.
It's in its 4th edition and comes with two major scores mocked up with MIDI files, MP3, and audio: Jeux de vagues from La Mer and Jupiter from The Planets. These scores, created by British composer Andrew Blaney have their orchestral devices listed in an Excel spreadsheet and come with a separate document called The Thesaurus of Orchestral devices. Both examples were done either entirely with Vienna or a mix of Vienna and other libraries.