1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thinkspace Jake Jackson Orchestral Mixing Course Questions

Discussion in 'Post Production & Mixing Discussion' started by Paul T McGraw, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    I purchased the Thinkspace Jake Jackson Orchestral Mixing Course and have learned a lot so far. For someone like myself who has no mixing chops at all, it has been a real eye opener. I recommend the course. I would appreciate hearing some others ideas on a few things.

    Do analog emulation plugins really make a big difference? Jake does not discuss this or explain why he uses the plugins he uses, he simply says he "knows they will work". He uses the following:

    Oxford EQ on individual tacks
    Neve 33609 Compressor
    Manley EQ on final mix

    Thoughts?

    Also for reverb Jake uses two instances of Atliverb, which I find interesting. Two convolution reverbs? I know that some on VI-Control would say that his mix "sound" is very wet, perhaps some would say too wet, but it is hard to argue with his success. Thoughts?
     
  2. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

    3,705
    2,212
    Mar 3, 2015
    Hell's Kitchen-Orlando
    Dear Paul, it's all about personal taste in my opinion. If it sounds good to your taste and gives you the sound that you're looking for then yes of course they will make a difference.

    Ps I have put in a request to see if Jake might come over and comment as well
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  3. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    Yes I agree regarding personal taste. However, I tend to trust the personal taste of a true (and recognized) master like Jake more than my own personal taste.

    Jake must have access to every conceivable plug-in and has probably made a deliberate decision regarding which ones to use. But before I blindly just rush out to buy those particular plug-ins, I would just sort of like to know why?

    Regarding reverb, I personally prefer for orchestral music a natural balance and sound such as one might hear in a symphony concert hall or on a symphonic recording. In my opinion I think that is sort of what Jake is shooting for, though he does not say so. In a real concert hall large enough to accommodate a full orchestra there is almost always a very "wet" and complex sound.

    I hope you were not kidding and that Jake Jackson really does visit this thread. It would be awesome! :elephant:
     
    synthpunk likes this.
  4. muk

    muk Senior Member

    1,863
    838
    Jan 21, 2009
    Without having watched the tutorial, nor being a mixing wizard myself, here is my take on your questions:

    1. no they don't. It's how well you know your plugins that makes the difference, much more so than which eq you are actually using. The stock plugins of your DAW are all you need in many cases. By learning them well you will get much better results than by buying Oxford, Neve, and Manley eq emulations and not properly knowing what to do with them.

    2. two convolution reverbs chained, why not? Currently en vogue is to use convolution for ERs and algorithmic for the tail. Doesn't have to be that way though, and reverb is one of the topic where people tend to overthink (and underexperiment!) their setups. If you like the reverb Jake Jackson came up with, go for it. If you don't, experiment with other approaches. Or with the same approach but different settings. Using several reverbs after each other is not uncommon. Why not try it if you haven't yet?

    For the enduser the distinction between convolution and algorithmic reverb doesn't matter all that much. They are just different methods trying to achieve the same goal. It's the color and density that have a much greater influence on the sound than the technology used to produce it. There are dark and light convo IRs, dense and thin ones. Same for algorithmic, you can create either of those with it.

    Despite the talk that convolution sounds 'static' and algorithmic sounds 'less real' for ERs I am wondering how many could actually distinguish between them in a realworld blind test. On isolated sounds with accentuated tail modulation it is probably possible, but on a whole mockup?
     
    Anders Bru, Quasar and Paul T McGraw like this.
  5. JakeJacksonRMP

    JakeJacksonRMP New Member

    1
    14
    Aug 11, 2017
    Hi All, glad you like the course, and thanks synthpunk for the invite over!

    Sadly i am busy today, and then on vacation, so won't get a chance to go in depth here, but i will when i get back.
    Just to quickly say, reverb level wise, that's generally personal preference of the composer, i probably go a bit drier, and then it's added back on to taste.
    Which reverbs? Well that again is choice, and experimentation, and i do change a bit. Even since this video i did recently (which is good viewing) i have changed, but do look if you're interested. I tend to use an altiverb and a algorithmic these days in combination.



    Other plugins, well i like the sound the UAD ones you mentioned give the mix, particularly the 33609, but it's horses for courses and budget. And i also have a bunch, so can play with them and know what works well for my 'sound'

    I also feel that once the mix is done, there is no way of knowing what any of the plugins are or were, so do what you feels best for you, or get me to mix it :)

    Best wishes

    Jake
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    @JakeJacksonRMP thank you so much for your post. And thank you for all of your educational work sharing your expertise with us. I have been trying to watch every video I can find in which you give advice, and I really enjoyed the one you linked to with Christian. Since there are so many, and so varied opinions about reverb, and endless discussion possible about that subject, I will not bother you further about that.

    I would be very grateful if you could share some of your thoughts about what you hear in an EQ or Compressor that makes you like one plug-in more than another? Warmth, added analog sound, complexity of the resulting wave forms, or perhaps a cleaner more transparent sound? More color, less color? These are just things I can think of but that does not mean I can hear them, certainly not to the extent that you can.
     
  7. synergy543

    synergy543 Senior Member

    3,606
    134
    Dec 11, 2004
    The Internets
    Paul, one thing I would suggest you do is experiment with the current plugins that you have (which are these btw?). Try some very extreme settings and and then pull them back until you can barely perceive them. For example with EQ, try a sharp Q and fairly high EQ level (say +6 ~+9dB) setting and sweep the EQ to accentuate the frequencies at an extreme degree (keep the volume level down though). Listen to which frequency areas are prominent. Then pull the Q down (to create a broader sweep) and do the same thing comparing the difference. Once you find the spot that you want to accentuate, again pull the EQ level down as low as you can while still perceiving its effect. I find testing in these extreme ways allows me to zero in on the exact setting and frequencies that I want to focus on. The same idea can be applied with other FX too.

    As for saturation plugins, I would proceed with caution. IMO they can do far more damage than good (and you might not notice this right away). Particularly with orchestral material. I would use saturation plugins very selectively.

    The same with compression. I would only use compression on selective instruments or stems except for a final peak limiter on the master channel. However, I would NEVER use compression to alter the sound as you might do on an electric piano in a pop mix. I always do place a limiter on a final mix but ONLY to trim the occasional aberrant peaks.

    A good general rule is "if it sounds better, use it". However, balance this with an objective comparison so that you're not fooling yourself (which is easily done with audio mixing).

    Fortunately for orchestral mixing, plugins play less of a sound-shaping role than with pop. Probably the most critical plugin settings are the ER (early reflection) and reverb (and these are also the most difficult to get right). Using a good reference to compare against is your best bet in learning how to achieve the optimum settings. Choose a piece where you can really hear the effects of reverb on each individual instrument for comparison. A forte tutti passage is less likely to yield useful information to you.

    btw, Altiverb is useful for setting separate ER and final reverb decay which is why you might wish to use two of them (not sure though if this is how Jake is using them). Be sure to use the Aliverb mod setting otherwise the Altiverb reverb will remain fairly static (as compared with Lexicon Random or MIR+Miracle) I prefer Altiverb for ER and Lexicon Random Hall for reverb. However, you have MIR I believe and this along with Miracle can achieve excellent results although there are more interactive parameters so you really need to spend time with MIR experimenting and listening. Its as superb tool IMO, but only when its used properly - and in most cases I hear, its not. Two Altiverbs are definitely easier to control if you're in a hurry. However with VSL instruments, I would only consider using MIR. So the ideal choice depends upon the situation. Good results can be achieved with many different tools if you understand how to use them well.

    Lastly, if the value of orchestration and performance is 99, then plugins are about 1 (wearing my nuclear retardant flame suit for this comment). I know many people will disagree with me, but that's how low a value I place on audio tools vs orchestration and performance. In other words, I'd much rather hear Dudamel through an iPhone than myself with all the plugins in the world! Some of the greatest orchestral recordings were done years ago with fairly poor audio tools but I still prefer listening to them compared with many modern performances (i.e. Tchaikovsky Sym 4 Karajan 1971). So if you're looking to ways to improve the sound, I'd focus on the orchestration (including the mix of course) and performance rather than plugins. Nevertheless, plugins are fun toys but do try experimenting at extremes to find sweet spots and to learn about their effects.
     
    Paul T McGraw and PaulBrimstone like this.
  8. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    @synergy543 thanks for your advice. The Thinkspace Mixing Course with Jake Jackson has been a real eye opener for me. The meat of the course is a series of videos in which we sit with Jake as he does two mixes. The first mix session is all samples. The second mix session is mostly live orchestra but with some sampled instruments thrown in also.

    Listening to the "raw" version and then listening to the completed mix was amazing. Even though we watch Jake every step of the way, the end result is still like magic.

    I do not own many plug-ins yet, I have just used the ones provided by Cubase. I have several reverbs including QL Spaces, Valhalla Room, Valhalla Vintage, VSS3, MIRx and MIR Pro.
     
  9. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

    3,705
    2,212
    Mar 3, 2015
    Hell's Kitchen-Orlando
    Thank you Jake for your kind reply. It's great to have you onboard. Enjoy your vacation and holiday and we look forward to talking to you again soon.
     
  10. Beat Kaufmann

    Beat Kaufmann Senior Member

    Hello Paul

    Listen to my real brass-recording-file. That's what we get in the concert hall: Different Depths.
    Some instruments are playing more in the front some more at the back. You get this with real recordings by using a main stereo microphone setup or a decca tree. Most of all the other microphones are only for bringing out certein instruments more or less.

    The reason is, that we should have exactly those natural depths for our dry samples as well. Unfortunately all of the Algo-Reverbs - from Val Halla via Bricasty and Lexicons to the 60'000.-$ ones - are not able to produce those nice deep depths which we have with real recordings. This feature is therefore never tested - aso not in the video above. Nevertheless - these Algo-Reverbs can add very nice and beautiful tails to those real recorded depths...;)

    I am producing now orchestra pieces with dry samples since 2002 and used a lot of reverbs but I must say that only convolution reverbs with a suitable IR could produce really deep depths for the dry samples. Of course there are some Algo-PlugIns which are well for depths as well such as EARecon but the family is small ... So it is worth to take the time for going through all your IRs for finding one which can nicely "shift" your instruments far backwards.If you like to use just this IR for the whole room impression then use it. But you also could use only the first 50-200ms of it and blend the signal then after those first reflections into an algo-reverb for finally having a "60'000$-Tail". This would probably be the most versatile solution which is available nowadays. ... or use a PlugIn such as MIR but this is not mixing, this is using MIR.

    Further: Keep in mind that good results do not need this or that tool - getting good results mainly need a lot of experience. I am sure that mixer-A can reach gorgeous results with these products and mixer-B reachs them with those products. Important is, that you "know" your tools very well and what they can do for you.

    By the way: It seems that VSL is producing the next generation of samples no more only dry but also with some "built-in" different depths and positions - obviously real recorded in their recording studio "syncron stage". When we will have those samples we can use all those nice Algo-Reverbs from above for adding some nice 60'000£ tails... happy future!

    If you are interested in: Here is a video which shows "how my sample-orchestra got several depths" and how it finally sounds.
    BTW: I used for all the 4 depths a separate reverb instance, each combined with EQs and other effects just for treating every depth perfectly. Observe all the different depths. This would not be able with just one instance and the "send-procedure". And a final tip: When you are going to create depths you need to over do them a bit: Close is a bit too close and far away is a bit too far...

    Sorry Paul, that my reply is a bit beside your "original questions"

    Have fun
    Beat
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  11. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    @Beat Kaufmann good to hear from you. As always, you have a lot of great information to add to the discussion. I have really enjoyed using MIRx and MIR Pro and they work well in many situations. BUT they seem to have one or two drawbacks for me. First MIR Pro can be used with other developers products, but unless they are very dry, like Chris Hein can be, the results are not satisfactory for me. Second, in a loud full tutti orchestral passage both MIRx and MIR Pro have a tendency to lose clarity and realism to my ears. I am not an expert, but for me even at lower volumes, with many instruments playing, the result does not satisfy me.

    Regarding new VSL "wet" products recorded in Synchron Stage there seems little doubt VSL will eventually release a full "wet" orchestra. In some ways I am very happy about this development as I will then be able to use "wet" samples AND the Vienna Instruments Player Pro (the best sample player to date IMHO). I am a bit worried for VSL about the tonal qualities of the venue. I have the MIR Pro Synchron Stage and frankly I do not find it very attractive. If I compare the same all VSL piece in Synchron and other venues I do not really like the Synchron room tone. But I am sure I will buy the products anyway, and try to find EQ or other means of changing the room sound. Assuming I live long enough for the new products to be released. :confused:
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  12. Beat Kaufmann

    Beat Kaufmann Senior Member

    Hello Paul
    Thanks for your feedback.

    "...in a loud full tutti orchestral passage both MIRx and MIR Pro have a tendency to lose clarity and realism to my ears."
    That's my opinion as well and also the typical venue-color appears more and more with a higher amount of instruments. If you turn this fact it could be that the venue "Syncron Stage" probably will be less recognizable with the samples then it does with MIR. Let us hope.

    "Assuming I live long enough for the new products to be released..." and let us hope to have the money for all those new products as well. :dancedance:

    All the best
    Beat
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  13. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

    1,221
    1,087
    May 1, 2014
    I don´t want to bomb the party and sure knowing how to use reverb in a proper way is important too, but I tell you that I see that most mockups of people suck because not of using their reverb wrong or right, but because of these things which are a way before in the chain:

    • Lack of good Balance because most of the people are not working with real orchestra references
    • no effective orchestration
    • no idiomatic phrasing for the instruments
    • no good realistic expression from very quite to expressive loud parts (everything is more or less the same)
    • Lack of programming skills, layering and sculpturing lines
    Very often I see such problems a way before a user is treating reverb wrong. I tell you something: Jake Jackson mixes don´t sound good because of his reverb, they allready sounded good a way before in the chain. It is like mastering doesn´t help a bad mix sound good: Shit in = shit out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    JW and Paul T McGraw like this.
  14. synergy543

    synergy543 Senior Member

    3,606
    134
    Dec 11, 2004
    The Internets
    I'm suprised to hear you say this. What is it that bothers you? Have you heard Conrad Pope's recordings in the Synchron Stage?



    Or Sisi? (turn off ad block to see link)
    I think the quality of these recordings on this albumn are really superb!
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  15. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    I follow your reasoning and mostly agree. In the Jake Jackson mixing course, he is doing a lot of what you describe actually in the mixing process. Particularly balancing, improving phrasing and expression and sculpting. And he does it very quickly.

    The use of reverb comes into play in bringing together libraries from several different developers and making them sound like they are all in one room. He also manages to use eq and compression to improve the tone quality and musicality of some of the instruments. He is very impressive.
     
    AlexanderSchiborr likes this.
  16. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012
    I can only hear a short clip of the Sisi but the live orchestra recording of Jurassic Park recorded and mixed by Dennis Sands sounds great. It is doubtful if I will ever achieve the results Dennis Sands can achieve with a live orchestra.

    One great thing about MIR Pro is that a user can take a midi-performance and with the click of a button, move that performance into any of a variety of locations. Room tone is a matter of personal taste of course. But some rooms seem to be almost universally appealing, like Air Lyndhurst and Teldex. I will record something short and simple and record it in several venues and post it so you can decide for yourself.
     
  17. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

    1,221
    1,087
    May 1, 2014
    Yes, Paul completely agreed. I didn´t saw his tutorials and sure I think he has some serious production chops. With my post I just want to remind people here not to rely too much on reverb, it is really imo the most over"treated" topic on this forum, so I feel. Reverb here, reverb there, what reverb is the best, reverb algo vs reverb convo, reverb xy vs reverb xz, 2 reverbs in a row, send reverb vs ins reverb, reverb reverb reverb :D. It is in general a good thing to be aware of reverb but don´t forget guys to work on the imo more important things (see my post) too. I barely see problems in mockups here having completely wrong reverb settings.
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  18. Smikes77

    Smikes77 My Avatar looks just like me

    719
    334
    Oct 13, 2014
    Brighton, UK
    True. You can`t polish a poop, but you can sprinkle it with diamonds.
     
  19. synthpunk

    synthpunk Senior Member

    3,705
    2,212
    Mar 3, 2015
    Hell's Kitchen-Orlando
    Also just please keep in mind in your assumption not everyone here is doing orchestral mockups either.

    Here are some thoughts from Dave Pensado on verb.



     
  20. OP
    OP
    Paul T McGraw

    Paul T McGraw Senior Member

    531
    425
    Feb 14, 2012

Share This Page