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Can I borrow your ears?

Discussion in 'Member's Compositions' started by Hans Blomberg, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Hi fellow musicians!

    I'm trying to make a dark, muffled sounding movie score piece. Starting quiet, some tension building up, a few crescendos etc. And back to quiet. That's what I've done. Pretty standard format ;) but if it works it's fine.

    So what do you think? I want it to be dark, mysterious and all that, hence the lack of treble! Does it work? Composition- and soundwise.

    Edit: In this new version Craig at www.pianoproducer.com helped me with the piano replacement. It made an amazing difference to the sound of this track.

     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    SGordB, angeruroth and X-Bassist like this.
  2. X-Bassist

    X-Bassist Senior Member

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    Sounds good. The muffling isn’t too obvious and slowly bringing in the upper range instruments works really well. Congrats. I can see doing a series of these with different arragements. :)
     
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  3. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Thank you! Btw, are you actually an ex-bassist? Why would you stop playing bass, the most important of instruments! :)
     
  4. angeruroth

    angeruroth Senior Member

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    Nice track. It creates a soft tension feeling. Maybe upping around freq 550 (+-100?) or so could increase the muffling.
     
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  5. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    T
    Thank you! Some mixing advice is appreciated! Maybe I'll try that.
     
  6. SGordB

    SGordB Senior Member

    Impressive. Things I'd be tempted to try:

    Move the piano to the left in the mix and give it more of an ambient/hall sound to blend better with the orchestral sounds (it sounds too close-mic'ed for its role here).

    That bass ostinato part played by (sounds like) the piano: make it sound more like an ominous pulse than a clomping beat. It should be kind of felt more than heard. Alternately, try reassigning it to a bass string section.
     
  7. CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    Nice Track! I agree with SGordB above. Would help to have a bit more separation and depth to the mix in my opinion. Maybe trial a few different pianos if you have them (one with a proper sampled Hall or Room mic position would be worth trying)
     
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  8. SGordB

    SGordB Senior Member

    Yes to that too! The close piano kind of clashes - mixwise (and, arguably, thematically) - with the other instruments.
     
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  9. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    It's interesting you mention the pulsing sound - I've been struggling with that. Maybe this ostinato should be built from slow attacking sounds to avoid the clomping. I should experiment with that. Maybe just slowing the attack time in the EXS24 sampler would help?

    And yes, about the ambience of the (main) piano, thanks for the advice. Right now all I have is the Logic Pro native plugins. Maybe one of the Space Designer reverbs will do the trick? Thank you!
     
  10. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Thanks! I'll have a look the free pianos out there, then maybe consider buying one for 50-100 bucks or more. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
     
  11. CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    I can't think of any of the free pianos out there that will get you that sound - maybe the Piano in 162 by Ivy Audio:
    http://ivyaudio.com/Piano-in-162
    Available in Kontakt & SFZ format (for use in the free Plogue sforzando sfz player), although I've found it quite touchy on the dynamics. Lovely 'real' tone though - a New York Steinway B grand - 6'11".

    As far as pianos with the distant/hall mics in the $50-100 range, check out:

    Soundiron Montclarion Hall piano (with separate close, mid & far hall mic samples) - captures that distant washy piano tone well, but limited in other uses (no release samples and only 5-6 dynamic layers if I remember right):
    https://soundiron.com/products/montclarion-hall-grand-piano

    Strezov Sampling LIPP piano (similar to the Montclarion piano, but more samples inc. round robins, and a bit more flexible across different styles & uses in my opinion):
    https://www.strezov-sampling.com/products/view/LIPP-Piano.html

    Cinematic Studio Grand (a Yamaha C7) - sampled in really sweet sounding scoring stage with 4 mic positions including a proper distant hall mic set. A more modern/clean sound compared to those above, but great tone, great under the fingers, and enough velocity layers sampled to get a broad dynamic range. Works in the free Kontakt Player which is a bonus:
    http://www.cinematicstudioseries.com/piano.html

    In my experience, you'll be chasing your tail trying to get a close mic sampled piano to sit in a mix (or solo) as a hall/distant piano. Believe me I've tried. People will argue you can just run a close mic piano through a convolution or algorithmic Hall reverb and you're done, but it's not the same as a piano sampled at a distance, which gives the sound of all the notes mingling in the air & reflecting in the space its in, with not so much hammer attack/key mechanism sound you get in a close mic piano.

    The exception here would be ArtVista's Malmsjo piano - it seems work really well in placing the sound in various 'spaces', within it's own interface (lots of presets). The developer Hans has some magic going on with his pianos. You'd need the full version of Kontakt, but it goes on sale occasionally:

    http://www.artvista.net/malmsjo.html

    Hope that rave helps!
     
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  12. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Excellent! Thank you very much!
     
  13. CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    My pleasure - let me know how you go.
     
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  14. CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    Oh, one more thing: Cinesamples Piano in Blue could work for this also. I forget I own a copy sometimes and am always really pleased with the results I achieve with it. (have a listen to their demo called 'Mirion' by Adam Hochstatter and the Bach Prelude demo)
    https://cinesamples.com/product/piano-in-blue
     
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  15. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Thanks again! One more question, hope you don't mind! If I was ready to spend some money and I bought let's say the Cinematic Studio piano, and I also wanted an orchestra - should I stick to the Cinematic Studio Series (to have them all in the same room) or are other things more important to consider when choosing your instruments?
     
  16. CGR

    CGR Pianist/Composer/Arranger

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    As you are probably aware, the CSS strings are highly praised around here and on other forums for very good reasons - they sound warm, rich & realistic, are flexible & reliable in use and are very well priced for the quality they deliver. The scoring stage that the CSS series were recorded in is a world class facility in Sydney, and the developer Alex really knows his stuff, so I'd suggest spending your money on his series of virtual instruments would be a solid investment.

    There something to be said for having a collection of virtual instruments recorded in the same space (eg. like VSL, Cinesamples etc.) It can save a lot of time getting them to 'gel' in the final tracks you produce. Of course this is all highly dependent on the type of music you produce and what you're aiming for. Sometimes the oddest collection of sampled instruments and software synths can produce amazing results.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  17. SGordB

    SGordB Senior Member

    I love Space Designer in Logic. My default MO would be to send all instruments DRY (to the extent the plugins allow that) to the same reverb setting in SD so they hang together in the mix, and vary each one's SD send level to taste. Where's the ambience of the orchestral instruments coming from now? It sounds really nice - and so do the instruments themselves. Which library(ies) are you using? And to echo CGR's comments, if you can find a relatively stage-mic'ed piano in your existing toolset, that would probably be a better starting point for this mix. Ironically, my best cheap piano recommendation is the lite version of Garritan's CFX, which only has the CLOSE mic. But otherwise, I find it to be a great value that's been a main go-to piano for me in a pretty crowded field (Pianoteq, most of the Kontakt Komplete family, TrueKeys...) since I bought it a few months ago (it does spike the CPU, though, more than most of my other piano VIs). Does Logic not have any more "ambient" pianos? I only have have Logic 9 and have found a more congenial home in Studio One recently.
     
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  18. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Yes, that's what I've done. They all have sends going to the same Space Designer reverb. The reverb I chose is called 04.4s Dream Hall, but I turned down the reverb length to 2.6s since I was afraid it would drown the mix.

    Maybe you are familiar with this already: To be able to eq the reverb individually for each instrument, each instrument is sent to its own bus first. Those busses are set on No Output. Individual eq is applied on each bus (in this case pretty much some pretty deep valleys in the mids & highs and trying to let my ears guide me). Then the signals from all those busses are sent forward to the Space Designer bus. English isn't my first language - hope it makes sense.

    I'm glad you say it sounds nice! Actually the libraries are (just) Logic's own stuff. So for example the violins are just called Violin section 01. Maybe I managed to get them sounding kind of nice by doing a lot of level fading work etc...

    Thanks for your piano tips! I'm absolutely thinking about getting me some fancier libraries, both strings and piano.

    The Logic pianos are dry, at least in the version I have (Logic Pro X, about 4 years old) so the ambience will have to come from reverbs, delays etc. There are quite a lot of presets though, that are sometimes helpful.

    I have some things to consider now - which in a way feels kind of good :)
     
  19. SGordB

    SGordB Senior Member

    Well then kudos to you for tweaking the dynamics of those Logic instruments so persuasively. Great attention to detail. As for the dry Logic pianos, if you can find any that don't have that very close-mic'ed sound - relatively dry, but not recorded up the pianos, um, throat - it seems to me that would be a good candidate for this job.
     
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  20. OP
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    Hans Blomberg

    Hans Blomberg Active Member

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    Hi again! Thank you so much guys, for your fine words and input on this!

    I have replaced the track on Soundcloud with a new version (same link). I hope you find it to be an improvement.

    I would especially like to thank you, SGordB for your very fine suggestions (I have made the ostinato just a little less clomping, not sure the difference is very audible, but I wanted to be cautious).

    And you, CGR! Your input on this has been not only in words but also in deeds. The Cinematic Studio Piano makes a tremendous difference for this track.

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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