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Topic: Flat and Lifeless

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  1. #1
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    Flat and Lifeless

    Hello all,

    I am new to orchestration and to GPO2. I am learning a bit about Orchestration and taking it very slowly, literally bar by bar.

    I have noticed that my instruments sound flat if not very dry and most like a cheap reed organ.

    I want my orchestration to sound more like in cinema, full with depth. Is this all controlled by the after effects such as reverb and pan or am I truly missing something here?

    I am just not sure how the hollywood cinema effect is achived, so any advice will be very appreciated.

    Cheers
    Mik
    United Kingdom

  2. #2
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    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Thank you for your reply. So to recap my understanding, the reverb is stripped, probs to give the control over to the user which for me I think means more work. Does the East West Symphonic Orchestra (Plat version) have these reverbs built in so we do not need to worry about the 'Cinematic Hollywood effect'?

    If so, I might just upgrade to that... I simply want to score and not worry about post processing...

    Have I got this right?
    Ta
    M

  3. #3

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Hi, beaumontm

    It is mostly reverb that you're missing when you listen to the instruments as you work. We don't hear Anything in real life that doesn't have some reflected sound, reverb, added to it--even when we're sitting in a small room. It sounds totally unnatural to hear things with zero reverb, as we do with soft synths.

    Ern has said there are libraries with built in reverb, but that is Much less desirable. The whole point of having dry samples is so we have absolute control of what kind of ambience we want in our recordings. To be locked in to just one reverb--one room size and distance from the instruments, - well, it's a big handicap. It's a simplification in some libraries which hobbles the user.

    Trust me, with the right amount of reverb added, you will suddenly be getting closer to what you expected.

    I would kindly suggest you don't try to emulate the "Hollywood cinema" effect. That is such a heavily mixed, impossibly huge and over-the-top sound. I think a better model would be good, natural recordings of symphony orchestras.

    But beyond the reverb, there's is much to learn. No natural sounding performance is going to emit from the instruments by magic. You need to get a thorough understanding of how to control the sounds with every MIDI controller that works on them. The sounds coming straight out with no modulation will be just lifeless "reed organ" type sounds - You need to work with volume, vibrato, detuning, different articulations--everything you can squeeze out.

    Glad you've started the adventure -You won't be disappointed if you keep doing research and experimenting.

    Randy B.

  4. #4

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    One other thing - GPO is designed to work with "performance articulations", meaning things like volume fluctuations and such can be (and need to be) performed using the modwheel (or drawn or played in after the fact, using Midi CC 1). It's really easy to get the library to sound organ-like if you don't add some dynamic variation and/or don't apply reverb, especially for the brass. Also try making use of the overlay patches for the brass to beef them up a little in loud passages. Make sure also that you don't have all the notes starting at the same time, because that also contributes greatly to the organ effect. Performance articulations take a little more work than other libraries that sample all their articulations, but they're so much more flexible.

    East West libraries were recorded in a concert hall, so they will have reverb present in the samples. Just note that if you do use them, it will be very hard to adjust reverb characteristics later, for any sound other than what comes "out of the box". I believe the platinum version has different mic placements, so you can vary it a bit. You can get a good sound with GPO though, if you work with it.

    --Richard

  5. #5

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Randy and I cross posted there, but I think we said essentially the same thing. Try the reverb, and use the modwheel. It will help tremendously.

    --Richard

  6. #6

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Quote Originally Posted by beaumontm View Post
    Thank you for your reply. So to recap my understanding, the reverb is stripped, probs to give the control over to the user which for me I think means more work. Does the East West Symphonic Orchestra (Plat version) have these reverbs built in so we do not need to worry about the 'Cinematic Hollywood effect'?

    If so, I might just upgrade to that... I simply want to score and not worry about post processing...

    Have I got this right?
    Ta
    M
    Just pick an Ambience Reverb preset that works for you and load it whenever you're scoring. (What are you using? A notation program, a DAW?) It hardly takes ten seconds.

  7. #7

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Quote Originally Posted by beaumontm View Post

    If so, I might just upgrade to that... I simply want to score and not worry about post processing...
    As Henry Buck just pointed out, it takes no time to add a reverb plugin to your mix. Believe me, you Want to control the amount of reverb in your mix. Switching to a library that has reverb recorded on the samples would not, in my opinion, be any kind of "upgrade"--it would be a down grade.

    I pulled out the quote from you because you have set yourself up for utter disappointment if you think you'll ever be able to just "score" and "not worry about post processing"--especially if you're somehow also expecting to sound like a Hollywood orchestra. To be a computer musician/composer, you owe it to your music to learn at least the basics about getting the best recording you can from the tools you use.

    There's no "plug-n-play" instant satisfaction involved. We're talking about music--that's art, not a push button activity.

    Dig in--I know you'll get excited by the process if you give it all a try.

    Randy B.

  8. #8
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    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Hi Mik

    Welcome to the forum and you've come to the right place to learn about GPO.

    GPO takes a different approach than other orchestral libraries. GPO provides the instruments to create your orchestration. It is the musician that breathes life into the music and performs each instrument. Just like performing with a flat lifeless string on a violin. It is the virtuoso that makes it sing. It is the imparting of dynamics, just the right use of vibrato, the way a phrase is shaped and now notes are connected. GPO uses controllers to accomplish this with an approach gives the best flexibility. Use the mod wheel to impart dynamic, the sustain pedal for smooth legato and use reverb to blend it into the room you want. Learning how to do ensemble building and the judicious use of reverb will help in creating an intimate sound or that cinematic sound.

    It takes time to become a virtual virtuoso, arranger, orchestration and mixer. There are many knowledgeable people here who can help. You can hear the many thousands of works they have done in the Listening Room or our site to see what is possible. There are also a number of tutorials that will also help you achieve the results you are looking for.

    Also in our upcoming ARIA update, we will have ambiance built-in so those that are not familiar with mixing can have a quick solution.

    Hope this helps and looking forward to hearing your music.

    Gary

  9. #9

    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    I would kindly suggest you don't try to emulate the "Hollywood cinema" effect. That is such a heavily mixed, impossibly huge and over-the-top sound. I think a better model would be good, natural recordings of symphony orchestras.
    Huh? Why should one not try to emulate the "Hollywood cinema" sound, if that is what they are going for? Of course you should try! To not try is to be rediculous. You may not get there with samples and some reverb plug, but that doesn't mean you should shoot for something less. Always shoot for the highest common denominator - even if you don't have the gear/experience/whatever - it's stupid to sit there and say, "well, I won't be able to get there with what I have, so let me shoot for something less".

    beau: EWQL Plat does in fact have the built in ambience, and you will be able to get a bigger fatter sound right out of the box. You will still need some added reverb, but the fact that the hall ambience is in the original recordings helps alot. Doug Rogers once said:

    The concert hall ambiance cannot be artificially created after the fact, because important source information is missing from the sample. For example, the sound of an instrument in front is completely different to the sound of an instrument from behind. All of this spatial information is amplified in a concert hall, creating highly complex reflections for different instruments. You can't mimic this by firing a gun in a space and capturing the resulting reverb.

    Nothing could be more true. I am not trying to sell EWQL products here, and there certainly are other fabulous products on the market that people have gotten great sounds and mock-ups with, but the truth is the truth.

    That said, the biggest factor in how a midi mock-up sounds is not the samples, or how they were recorded, but the person doing the mockup. In the hands of an amatuer who doesn't really know what an orchestra should sound like, a mock-up using the "best" lib on the market will not sound anywhere nearly as good as a mock-up done by a pro with a sub-par lib.

    If your mock-ups sound dull and lifeless, there are a number of reasons. The biggest will be the fact that you are new to orchestration. You will get better - it takes time, patience and a lot of practice.

    Best of luck.

    Cheers.

  10. #10
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    Re: Flat and Lifeless

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Hayat View Post
    Huh? Why should one not try to emulate the "Hollywood cinema" sound, if that is what they are going for? Of course you should try! To not try is to be rediculous. You may not get there with samples and some reverb plug, but that doesn't mean you should shoot for something less.
    I once attended a film scoring session at Bastyr (same place where the music for Mr. Holland's Opus was recorded). There was a 60 piece orchestra in one of the most beautiful sounding venues I've heard. While in the mixing room I noticed lights flashing on one of the boxes and was surprised to see the mix going through a vintage Lexicon reverb unit. I asked the engineer "the live sound is so beautiful, why are you putting it through reverb?"

    His response was "because it makes it bigger than life and that IS the Hollywood sound. "

    Gary

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