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Continental strings seating


There is an alternative strings layout often used in Europe. It seats the instruments Violin 1, Viola, Bass, Cello, Violin 2 from left to right as the audience sees them. I've enjoyed this arrangement when playing in the orchestra and it has some advantages from a mixing point of view.

I'm curious about how to achieve this with VIs that are recorded in situ, in the conventional seating plan.

I was thinking to use close mics only, to get minimal room ambience. Then pan to the desired position using something like Precedence or Panagement to restore some stage sound. Another idea was to reverse the stereo image of Violin 2 - because it has the biggest move to make. Then I don't have to pan so much to put them where the cellos would usually sit.

Would like to hear your thoughts...


Senior Member
That's exactly what you would do. Flip the stereo channels on the viola, done. Do the same on the second violins, and then pan them from there. It has several donwsides though. Firstly you are restricted to using the close mics, which is a rather serious limitation in itself. Secondly, the panning of audio that has been recorded in situ does never sound fully convincing to my ears. It can be hidden in a mix. When the second violins play alone though, or in a sparse arrangement, it might be audible. For these reasons I avoid tampering with the seating positions of samples that have been recorded in situ.

Of course it's best to try for yourself. Reverse the stereo image on a close mic signal of your second violins, and use some panning. Add some reverb, and see if you like the result as much as using the second violins in their natural seating position with the hall mics instead of artificial reverb.

In any case I think the method you describe is indeed the way you would go about achieving your goal.


Senior Member
I wouldn't give up on messing with the panning of the not-close mics without trying it first. But instead of just using the pan knob, also experiment with narrowing or widening the stereo image to move pre-panned samples closer to the middle or further away. If you want them to switch sides, flip the L/R channels. Grab a reference track and to try and match the panning. I like using headphones, closing my eyes when listening for panning, and trying to "see" with my ears where the section is sitting and how it's moving when playback switches from reftrack to mockup. I recommend setting it up so that you can keep the daw playing on loop and it's automatically switching back and forth between reftrack and mockup, so that you can fully focus on messing with the mixing plugins.

@Cory Pelizzari did a video on some of this for NI SSC SE:



It can be perfectly done with the Synchron Strings Pro by simple adjusting the panning of the used Close, Mid and Back Mics, and routing the signals of the RoomMix / DeccaTree Mics to separat busses and inverting the Power-Panner. For example I did this for the currently used mics of the default preset - took me around 3 minutes:


This can be easily done because panning of the close/mid/back mics is not "backed-in".
I can imagine, that other libraries with a similar approach can be adjusted in a similar way - maybe you need to use separat output busses with external power-panners that supports inverting the field.


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Here's a little experiment.

CSSS is unpanned close mics only.
CSS is all mix mic except for basses, which are just the room mic. Also unpanned.
2nd Violins are flipped.
Everything is then put somewhat into position in Precedence.
CSS sections are narrowed a bit, to about 80%
Sent to my favourite concert hall IR, which is cut at 350Hz and 10kHz
Little bit of Lexicon 224 concert hall

They all appear to have found their seats, but I'm not entirely convinced about the sound... What do you guys think?


  • CSS+CSSSPanningTest.mp3
    786.8 KB · Views: 15


Imo the classical european seating works best for the classical music, especially music written with this it in mind. (There are also some pieces where the composer took advantage of it and created kind of a "stereo-effect")

For most cinematic music and non-european classical music I would stick to the commonly used seating - except when the composition is written with another one in mind. It's what most people are used to hear in this context.
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