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Topic: Need advice for instrument placement.

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  1. #1

    Need advice for instrument placement.

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    I am in the middle of mixing a pop instrumental music with only 4 instrument samples (stereo piano, mono violin, mono viola, & mono cello).

    The panning so far is like this:
    • Stereo piano – center
    • Mono violin – 8:30
    • Mono viola – 11:30
    • Mono cello – 2:30

    The issue I have:
    • The upper range keys of the piano sound most of the time hits against the cello sound, so by the time they play together, the sound is pretty blurry mixed & no separation.
    • I don’t like the placement of the mono viola to be honest, but I thought the strings have to be in the balance position to each other. If the violin is on the left, the cello is on the right, then the viola should be pretty much in the center.

    I need some general guidelines on the instruments placements.

    Thanks.

    hc.

  2. #2

    Re: Need advice for instrument placement.

    Quote Originally Posted by hangee_77
    The issue I have:
    • The upper range keys of the piano sound most of the time hits against the cello sound, so by the time they play together, the sound is pretty blurry mixed & no separation.
    • I don’t like the placement of the mono viola to be honest, but I thought the strings have to be in the balance position to each other. If the violin is on the left, the cello is on the right, then the viola should be pretty much in the center.
    hc.
    it depends on music material of course, but I would try to pan piano without limitations (say, 100% width), and then pan the rest of the instruments using your ratios, but within more narrow space (say, 60%, ie 20% less from each side - try to experiment with this)

    piano:

    L----------R

    rest:

    --L------R--

    If strings are more dense than piano, try to invert this scheme (not very good idea imho but anyway worth a try)


    also, remember to eq/compress each instrument precisely, that will give every instrument more breath.

  3. #3

    Re: Need advice for instrument placement.

    I don't understand those ratios

    I would say that it's important to reference this kind of stuff.

    Cathedrals
    Although this song has a vocal and the centered instrument is a guitar, it is a pop song that has a quartet playing to it. This one's a bit compressed and it's ahrd to hear but it's safe to say thay have all the strings panned mid-way out on both sides.

    Listen to Mad World
    This one has a vocal too but just a cello, panned mid-left

    The only insight I can offer is that often times I've found that the cello has a lot of character in the low end. If you balance the amplitudes of a sampled piano and a sampled cello, the high end of the cello disappears into the piano because the balance of the two is coming from the low end, not the high end. In order to get a cello to stand out in a pop setting, the only way I've done it is to EQ some low end out of the cello, allowing me to make it louder and, hence, have the high end stand out more.

    It could also be a matter of arrangement. If the notes of the two are too close together and not supporting each other melodically or harmonically, it may sound cluttered. Shifting the piano up or down an octave might solve that problem, although I understand that doing that would completely change the sound of the piece. This predicament, however, is the crux of arrangement/composition/production. Don't be afraid to make dramatic changes in everything. Experimenting with these kinds of changes will help you learn faster. Just try it and listen to the difference
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare

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