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Topic: First Tracks

  1. #1

    First Tracks

    Hi guys

    I've uploaded my first 2 attempts with GPO: http://soundclick.com/rickymcmaster

    I'd really appreciate some feedback around mixing, panning and arrangement - also, for both tracks I wasn't able to use all the instruments I would have liked, so feel free to point out where something might not sound entirely right in context.

    They're both primarily intended as film/tv soundtrack material.

    Hinterland has 2 patches from other orchestral libraries, everything else is GPO.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wilton, NH

    Re: First Tracks

    Welcome to the GPO Forum!

    I enjoyed the two pieces you posted. As far as mixing, panning, etc. - sounds good to my ear, but I'm not great catching things unless there is a major problem.

    I do like these two pieces. They are similar in many ways. You have some wonderful ideas here, though I'd like to see them a little more developed, particularly in "Hinterland" - I kept expecting it to take off in another direction. "Twittering Rigor" sounded more complete to my ear. I can hear both of these used in soundtracks, though they work on their own. With a lot of soundtrack music seemingly going more towards lowest common denominator, I also liked your more modern melodies and harmonies.

    Great first post to the forum. I look forward to hearing more of your music.
    Trent P. McDonald

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Re: First Tracks

    Hi Ricky and welcome to the forum. I have been trying to achieve the same clarity you have on your solo instruments. Very nice indeed! Actually, I hear quite a nice mix overall.

    I admit to favoring Twittering Rigor.

    Looking forward to more.

  4. #4

    Re: First Tracks

    Hey Ricky, & Welcome!

    I would have to suggest more reverb; and pan according to concert seating. I would put the players back a "bit" more with reverb to "soften the edges" but be aware of your pan so they also don't "get lost".

    Also dynamics; I know each work builds but I didn't notice any real dynamic changes or accents or subtleties.

    Hope any of the above opinions will help you. Overall, without "nitpicking" I believe your off to a great start! Listening to live recordings always helped me to "tweak" my set up.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you soon!

    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music

  5. #5

    Re: First Tracks

    Many thanks guys, that's very helpful.

    Michael re dynamics - I know what you mean, that was my suspicion too after listening back the other night, but I spent so long on this very subject I thought my ears might have been overtired from the whole process! I may well revisit this at some point.


  6. #6

    Re: First Tracks

    Hello, Ricky - Allow me to also welcome you to the greatest music Forum online!

    I have to say you're off to a great start in your use of GPO. You've dug in deep and with a clear, musical flare. I predict a long and happy friendship between you and your library of software instruments.

    I'll echo Michael's feedback critique on the recording. The sound doesn't quite add up in a way which is as supportive of your compositions as it could be. It's mostly a matter of more time and experience which will hone the technical details - Michael's list of mixing tips is a great starting point.

    And I appreciate when you said, "...my ears might have been overtired from the whole process!..." That is precisely what happens to all of us. Editing and mixing our projects is an inescapably long process, and we end up not being able to be objective about the work we're doing. That's perfectly normal and even the most experienced people go through that same syndrome.

    The best advice on that is to not rush things. Come up with a mix, but never settle on the first version. You need to put your projects away and return to them a day or two later to gain some perspective. After several rounds of mixing, putting away, re-listening - you'll be more able to end up with a recording arrived at with more objectivity.

    You also said, "...I wasn't able to use all the instruments I would have liked..." I believe you must be talking about the technical limits of how many instruments you could have loaded and playing simultaneously in your project.

    What type of software are you using - notation or sequencer? If you're using the latter, a program like Sonar or Cubase, then there's no reason to limit yourself to fewer instruments than you want.

    I'm only able to have approximately half of my instruments playing in real time. The tried-and-true solution is to render some tracks to audio, or freezing them, before you've finished a project. You can then mute and archive the MIDI, including the soft synth itself - Audio takes much less CPU power for a computer to play than real-time soft synth playback.

    By rendering tracks to audio, then you can keep adding more instruments. It's a bit awkward if you decide you need to change some of the tracks you've recorded or frozen - but once one gets used to the work flow, it's more than worth it--you can have as large an ensemble as you want.

    In short - You don't need to limit yourself to however few instruments can play back simultaneously on your computer.

    Thanks for the post - I'm impressed by your start - Hope to see you again soon!


  7. #7

    Re: First Tracks

    Thanks a lot Randy, that's very helpful and am revisting the tunes with your (and the others') comments in mind.

    The point about instrument availability originated from timbre rather than processing power - to give you one example, the trumpets in Twittering Rigor come in rather abruptly, but I couldn't find a softer sound or achieve much with velocity/modulation editing.

    Anyway, I shall persevere.


  8. #8

    Re: First Tracks

    Hello again, Ricky

    It's good to hear you found replies here on your thread helpful.

    Since you originally said you wanted feedback on the mixing, I'm here again because of what you said on your new reply when you explained that you couldn't use some instruments because of not being able to blend their timbres the way you wanted:

    "...the trumpets in Twittering Rigor come in rather abruptly, but I couldn't find a softer sound or achieve much with velocity/modulation editing..."

    I don't know what kind of software you're using, but I'm thinking it must be a sequencing program like Cubase or Sonar? If so - after you've done what you can with velocity levels and CC1 volume control, you can do yet more volume work with audio tracks. If you don't already record your MIDI tracks to individual audio tracks, and then do your mixing, your missing out on a lot more control you can have over your final mix.

    Our resident mixing guru, DPDAN, has wisely pointed on numerous times that one has to be careful doing Too much volume work when mixing the audio. You can introduce unnatural sounding fluctuations of volume which simply sound like sliders moving up and down. Used with some finesse, however, you can fix problems like the one you're talking about - You could bring those Trumpets in from a barely audible level, if that's what you wanted.

    The Flugelhorn in JABB is often a good choice when a standard Trumpet is too harsh for a project. It's a great library to get for many reasons, the Flugelhorn being one of them.


  9. #9

    Re: First Tracks

    Yep I use Cubase Randy.

    That's a great tip about the audio tracks, thanks.

    Will definitely check out JABB.

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