For the first time, ever, I'm attempting to write a "Suite" which will be my 2008 Holiday CD for friends and family. I have plans for four orchestral compositions. Two are written and sequenced, so far. (I should have started writing this project much earlier! YIKES!)
Anyway. . . After finishing the second orchestral piece (of the, hopefully, four pieces), I decided to burn a CD of the two finished compositions. I was surprised to find that the overall level of the second piece was more than a bit softer in volume than the first. I am using the EXACT same orchestral instruments for the entire project. During the sequencing process, I use the same volume and panning settings for each of the instruments. I am also using the same reverb plug-ins and settings for the entire project as well. So, with this sequencing strategy in place, I am left wondering WHY there exists differing volume levels between piece #1 and piece #2. The loud sections of piece #2 is softer in volume (with the similar instrumentation) than the loud sections of piece #1.
This is the first time that I am creating such a project. Usually when I create these Holiday CD gifts, there is a mixture of jazz and orchestral styles of music. This would, understandably, present quite a challange in creating a final CD mix. However, I started the 2008 Holiday CD project with hopes that the mix-down process would be much easier because of the same instrumentation and plug-in settings. I guess it ain't easier as I thought. (I am no expert in sound engineering and mixing down, by the way.)
So. . . here are the big questions. For those of you who compose lots and lots of orchestral compositions using orchestral libraries like our beloved GPO, what is YOUR working strategy in sequencing to ensure that one piece is basically the same level in volume as the next? How do you keep the "soft section" of your Piece #1 similar in volume to the "soft section" of Piece #2? Do you find yourself with a similar issue when using the SAME instrumentation from one piece to the next? If so, what do you do to keep all of the same orchestrations in proper level with each other?
Thank you, and happy composing, folks!