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Topic: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

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  1. #1
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    Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hi,

    This is my latest effort. I tried doing it several different ways. This is the result of doing it the hard way.

    http://www.mp3unsigned.com/Showband.asp?id=12750

    Regards,

    Jack

  2. #2

    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hi, Jack--Really nice to see a new post from you.

    Sounds Great to me!--wow--It's a great piece of music, and from what I recall, this is sounding even more natural and organic than your projects in the past. I'm really impressed.

    Define "doing it the hard way." Which way was that?

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3
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    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hi Randy,

    Thanks for listening, and for your comments.

    As we have discussed previously, I'm trying to discover what is the optimum way to achieve a good recording working with MIDI and samples. Basically, I spend most of the time preparing the MIDI file using the dry sounds. This is where I do all the work on balance, dynamics, tempo changes etc. At this stage, I generally do one or more recordings of the MIDI file (i.e. create an audio file) to hear what I've got.

    Then, I can follow one of three routes:

    1) Simply record it again, but add something from Ambience to the entire file.
    2) Using my dry recorded file, I can add some reverb from Cool Edit Pro.
    3) Make a series of recordings of combinations of tracks from my MIDI file (e.g. flutes and piccolo, oboes and english horn, clarinets and bass clarinet etc.) adding Ambience to each audio track. Then I would use Cool Edit Pro to mixdown all the audio tracks. This is the "hard way" I was referring to.

    I can't say that the results between the three methods are hugely different to my ears, but method three seems to have a slight edge in improving the sounds of some instruments.

    I hope this answers your question, Randy.

    All the best.

    Jack

  4. #4

    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hey Jack, good to see you back. Prélude à la nuit, no less;
    certainly among the more difficult pieces to render!

    The "hard way" is certainly producing some great improvements
    in sound... the clarity on this is excellent, as is the overall
    sound.

    The handling of orchestral reverb is a tricky matter, though,
    especially when doing it "the hard way"... well I know, because
    I rarely get it "right", myself... lol. Handling tracks individually
    (there are a variety of ways to do that, depending on your
    software tooling) obviously multiplies your complications.

    Technical advice I cannot give very well, since I'm an idiot
    with the stuff, myself. But strictly as a listener, I think I'd
    like to hear this wetter, a bit more "room" around it. To me,
    this sounds close in, like I'm sitting almost amid the orchestra.

    Now, the trick is to do that without loosing the clarity, Jack;
    which you've really got nailed down in this. Much enjoyed
    the "performance" on this, too, by the way... well done!

    All my best,



    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  5. #5

    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hello again, Jack

    Thanks for the details on what "the hard way" meant.

    On the thread for your last piece, "Panorama," we had quite a long discussion going about project construction methods, and I understand you're still experimenting as you try to arrive at routines which you're most comfortable with and yield the best results.

    My understanding is that you wrote the program you use for recording the original MIDI data, and it also has audio capability--But that you move your projects to Cool Edit --because it has more features?

    Quoting from your reply on this thread, you're talking about when you've done your MIDI tracks--the next steps could be:

    "1) Simply record it again, but add something from Ambience to the entire file."

    Bad idea--That would be one reverb setting for the entire piece, resulting in the dreaded (to me) "from the back row of the balcony" effect.

    "2) Using my dry recorded file, I can add some reverb from Cool Edit Pro."

    I don't understand the difference between 1 and 2--Those both involve taking the 2 track mix and adding reverb to it--either in your program or in Cool Edit. --?--

    "3) Make a series of recordings of combinations of tracks from my MIDI file (e.g. flutes and piccolo, oboes and english horn, clarinets and bass clarinet etc.) adding Ambience to each audio track. Then I would use Cool Edit Pro to mixdown all the audio tracks. This is the "hard way" I was referring to."

    This implies that you need Cool Edit for the mixdown--you can't do that in your program? I'm still trying to get a clear picture of how and why you're using the two programs.

    Maybe in an attempt to be explanatory before, I made you think that to process individual tracks with reverb was the best. That's not what I intended to say--I meant that to process individual Sections of the orchestra is good. The difference in reverb that Flutes and Oboes should have, for instance, is--well none. They're pretty much the same difference from the audience.

    So the sections could be processed as groups--all the strings, all the woodwinds, brass, then percussion. Four sections, four reverbs--that's generally what I use. The tracks for each instrument are grouped together in Buses dedicated to Woods, Brass, Strings, Percussion--and those Buses have the appropriate reverb and setting strapped to them.

    But the biggest problem with your #3 above is that you're saying you feel you have to add the ambience to tracks, and apparently you're saying destructively?--Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you're talking about applying the reverb on the tracks --and that's not reversable.

    You must keep your tracks dry, even when you archive your project. It's only on playback that the signals go through reverb--and it is Way overkill to feel like you need to add reverb on a track by track basis.

    I can see why you would call this "the hard way"--because it's overly complicated, and wouldn't get you necessarily better results. It's just still not "right," Jack--It's not standard at least.

    To re-cap: Group your tracks together by type, send them through one bus which has an appropriate reverb. Four total is sufficient. Can you do that in your program?

    Hmmm, well, I hope I've been more helpful than confusing. Obviously I'm still not completely clear on what you mean when you're describing how you work.--?

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  6. #6
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    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hi David,

    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    Quote Originally Posted by etLux
    But strictly as a listener, I think I'd
    like to hear this wetter, a bit more "room" around it. To me,
    this sounds close in, like I'm sitting almost amid the orchestra.

    Now, the trick is to do that without loosing the clarity, Jack;
    which you've really got nailed down in this. Much enjoyed
    the "performance" on this, too, by the way... well done!

    .
    I've always found your comments very helpful, and, as in most previous cases, I do agree with your suggestion. After mixing down 13 tracks, I did think that this piece lends itself to having more reverb (you'll notice my reason is slightly different than yours). However, I was loath to overdo it at this point, and decided to let it go as is.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Best regards,

    Jack

  7. #7

    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Thanks for taking my thoughts in the helpful spirit I intended, Jack.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the matter of not overdoing,
    too. Practically every single one of us falls into that (I certainly
    have) -- too little's definitely far better than too much.

    I'm tinkering with a similar approach (individual audio tracks via
    Audition [the grandson of CoolEdit]... lotta work, and a real
    juggling act.

    Still, I think that avenue is worth exploring -- good luck to
    both of us on it!

    Best,


    David
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  8. #8
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    Re: Prelude to the Night (Ravel)

    Hi Randy,

    It's great to hear from you again. I really appreciate your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    My understanding is that you wrote the program you use for recording the original MIDI data, and it also has audio capability--But that you move your projects to Cool Edit --because it has more features?
    No, that's not exactly the case. My program is used strictly to create and work on the MIDI file. I use Garritan Studio to set up the patches, set the basic volumes and panning, AND usually also to create (record) the audio file(s). The eight ports in Garritan Studio are set up in Cakewalk Express which links easily from my program, and is used strictly to playback the MIDI file. (I don't save the MIDI file in Cakewalk Express, but simply load it in each time I wish to do a playback.)
    Since Ambience is a part of Garritan Studio, if I wish to use it, I have to record its settings together with either the entire MIDI file, or selected tracks (essentially another MIDI file with fewer tracks).
    Which brings me to Cool Edit Pro. If I wish to simply record dry (as you suggest), and then wish to apply reverb to the audio files, I can use Cool Edit Pro for this purpose. Also, as in the case of the current file, I can use it for mixdown of audio tracks. It also has many other functions - amplitude, compression etc.

    Quoting from your reply on this thread, you're talking about when you've done your MIDI tracks--the next steps could be:

    "1) Simply record it again, but add something from Ambience to the entire file."

    Bad idea--That would be one reverb setting for the entire piece, resulting in the dreaded (to me) "from the back row of the balcony" effect.

    "2) Using my dry recorded file, I can add some reverb from Cool Edit Pro."

    I don't understand the difference between 1 and 2--Those both involve taking the 2 track mix and adding reverb to it--either in your program or in Cool Edit. --?--
    I'm not sure what happens technically when an Ambience preset is setup in Garritan Studio, and then the whole MIDI file is recorded. However,
    the difference is applying the reverb while recording as opposed to applying reverb to an existing audio file (after the fact). And, of course, Cool Edit has different reverbs from Ambience.

    "3) Make a series of recordings of combinations of tracks from my MIDI file (e.g. flutes and piccolo, oboes and english horn, clarinets and bass clarinet etc.) adding Ambience to each audio track. Then I would use Cool Edit Pro to mixdown all the audio tracks. This is the "hard way" I was referring to."

    This implies that you need Cool Edit for the mixdown--you can't do that in your program? I'm still trying to get a clear picture of how and why you're using the two programs.
    There are actually three phases:
    1) Changes to the MIDI file - my program
    2) Playing and/or recording the MIDI file - Garritan Studio & Cakewalk Express.
    3) Any processing to take place once an (or several) audio (i.e. .wav) file(s) is/are created (including the creation of the mp3 file) - Cool Edit.

    Now, my current file was created doing #3 above, and both you and David thought it wasn't too bad , although I'm sure there's room for improvement. I actually created 13 tracks, and redid a few of them where I decided to crank up the volume and re-record. However, I like your suggestion of simply doing the 4 sections. This is actually a short piece - a much longer piece could be a real drag to do that way.

    So the sections could be processed as groups--all the strings, all the woodwinds, brass, then percussion. Four sections, four reverbs--that's generally what I use. The tracks for each instrument are grouped together in Buses dedicated to Woods, Brass, Strings, Percussion--and those Buses have the appropriate reverb and setting strapped to them.

    But the biggest problem with your #3 above is that you're saying you feel you have to add the ambience to tracks, and apparently you're saying destructively?--Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you're talking about applying the reverb on the tracks --and that's not reversable.
    Anything's reversible if you go back to the MIDI file, and re-record.

    I'm sorry to be so convoluted, but I hope I've clarified for you what I'm doing, and why. I take from your suggestions that a good approach would be to record woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings separately and dry. Then apply appropriate reverbs to these 4 audio files, and mixdown etc. (I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm still misunderstanding something.) Then there's the issue of bass instruments that I thought might have to be handled differently etc. etc....

    Ultimately, I guess it's a matter of experimenting, and trusting your ears, AND getting other opinions like yours and David's.

    Thanks again, Randy, for all your help.

    Best regards,

    Jack

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