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Topic: Help Mixing Please

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  1. #1

    Help Mixing Please

    Here are two short clips of brass ensembles:

    http://www.box.net/shared/4sfui399gd

    The first is my brass chorale that I'm working on. The second is a professionally recorded brass ensemble (some of you may recognize it from a popular Christmas CD).

    (Edit: these are two different songs - the first is O Sacred Head Now Wounded, and the second is Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming - there was some confusion).

    Anyway, I'm trying to make mine sound more like the second clip. The professional clip has richness and depth, and the sounds blend nicely. Mine sounds like a school band and every instrument seems to stick out.

    Here are the techs:
    Lead trumpet is EWQL, Baritone horn is a soundfont I found, the rest are GPO4, some SAM, some old. No EQ applied anywhere right now. Reverb is a ~2 sec impulse applied using ReverberateLE.

    So, is (are) my problem(s) mixing, EQ, reverb, arrangement, samples, or a combination of all of the above.

    I anxiously await your wisdom.

  2. #2

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Some introductory comments, Rob:

    The ReverberateLE program you're using is much more bright and ringing than the natural reverb heard in the pro recording. There have to be controls for damping the high frequencies in that reverb setting which will help a lot in getting closer to the sound you want. You probably need to dial down the decay time also.

    Another comment is that there seem to be more low brass instruments in the pro recording. Not just a Baritone horn, but sounds like a French horn section, some trombones maybe? Those are part of the greater low frequency content in the pro recording that I'm hearing. I also think in your recording I'm hearing that overly long decay in the Baritone SoundFont you're using - a typical and not very natural characteristic common in Fonts.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Here is my instrument list:

    1 Trumpet: EWQL (freebee from Christmas)
    2 Trumpet: SAM Picc Trumpet Solo NV
    1 Horn: SAM French Horn Solo
    2 Horn: French Horn Solo 1
    1 Trombone: SAM Solo Trombone
    2 Trombone: Trombone Solo 1
    Baritone: Soundfont
    Tuba: SAM Tuba Solo

    And here is a pdf of a piano reduction of the measures (from my chorale) in question. I can't take credit for the arrangement because at this point it's still just the original hymn, straight from the hymn book.

  4. #4

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Quote Originally Posted by raweber View Post
    Here is my instrument list:

    1 Trumpet: EWQL (freebee from Christmas)
    2 Trumpet: SAM Picc Trumpet Solo NV
    1 Horn: SAM French Horn Solo
    2 Horn: French Horn Solo 1
    1 Trombone: SAM Solo Trombone
    2 Trombone: Trombone Solo 1
    Baritone: Soundfont
    Tuba: SAM Tuba Solo

    And here is a pdf of a piano reduction of the measures (from my chorale) in question. I can't take credit for the arrangement because at this point it's still just the original hymn, straight from the hymn book.
    Hiya, Rob

    This is great. Thanks for the band's break-down. This means that obviously the low brass is covered in your project, but they're not coming through as bassy and solid as they could.

    The reverb note from my previous post is critical. Listen to how much more treble there is in it. Do what you can to dial those factors back.

    And then both mix and EQ come into play. On another listen I would say that those low brass instruments you've listed aren't prominent enough, but also that their bass frequencies have either been attenuated or need boosting.

    I want to also add that it's not as if the segment you've posted is sounding bad. You're presenting a scenario of wanting to come as close as possible to a reference file - something that can never be achieved completely. But the mellowness and body you want is so far being thwarted by the abundance of high frequency in the reverb and the flatness of the EQ in your instrumental tracks.

    My observations for now anyway.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Thanks, Randy, for the encouragement as well as the feedback. I'll mess around with EQ this week, both on the various instruments and on the effects return with the reverb.

    Dan, Snor, do you have any thoughts?

  6. #6

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Hi Rob,
    a few things that are hindering your version in comparison...

    your is more legato than theirs,
    your reverb is not close to the real recording,
    yours should have a tuba playing the bass line like the real version,
    and your bass line is playing an octave too high.
    for a reference, at 7 seconds, your trumpet fades in and has no attack.

    your reverb is too dry in your recording (instruments in my face) and the reverb setting sounds like a plate instead of a real room in comparison,
    also, your reverb appears to be panned with the instruments which is not natural.

    I love this tune, I grew up hearing this in church. It is SO Christmas!
    Your version is not bad by any means but you wanted some comments on the difference.
    Dan

  7. #7

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Hi Rob,

    Nice work on the expression here!

    I agree with Dan completely on the mix--too close!

    Your balance, especially the lead trumpet, is also off (too hot compared with the other instruments).

    Another thing I hear is that it's also a little out of tune, which can make a big difference with how we perceive the warmth of the sound. Live brass players will make listen to the chord and make slight adjustments to their intonation to make it rich and sonorous, past what equal temperament on a keyboard allows.

  8. #8

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Yeah, Reegs, I had noticed that slight out-of-tuneness also. I was surprised to hear that given the quality of the samples, but your equal temperament idea makes sense. I wonder how one would correct that, beyond micro pitch-bends.

    Dan and Reegs, I'll work on the mix to make the lead trumpet a little less prominent, and take a closer look at my reverb. I wonder if maybe I should leave alone the convolution and take a look at an algorythmic reverb. I'll play around and see what I can come up with.

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback!

  9. #9

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    Hi Rob,
    Get a nice mix and send me the stereo mix completely dry and I will be happy to treat it with Altiverb.

    Don't forget to lower the bass part an octave and make sure the tuba is playing it.
    Dan

  10. #10

    Re: Help Mixing Please

    One clarification - these are two completely different songs. The first half of the track is my O Sacred Head Now Wounded, while the second half is the professionally recorded Lo How a Rose Ere Blooming. It's a little confusing because the clips I chose practically blend into each other.

    On an unrelated note, does anyone else think they hear saxophones in the middle harmonies, where the horns and trombones are playing?

    Oh, and Reegs, the natural-sounding expression is courtesy of my having played in all the lines on my Yamaha WX-5. Exactly why I bought it (I'll never be good enough to play the thing in live, but it does just the trick for MIDI entry).

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