Crossing the Threshold (First Post)

thecompactor

New Member

First time posting in here, so forgive my possible ignorance. This is the first cue from a short film I recently composed for. I am really trying to hone in on my mix, so I would really appreciate critique, however big or little it may be. Just for kicks, below is a youtube link to a cue that the director wanted me to use as a reference.

I hope you like it and thank you for listening!

 

Steve Martin

Senior Member
Hi there Zac,

just had a listen and it sounds great to me. It has a real cinematic big sound, which while listening, I could imagine fitting just right to a film. It has strong contrasts between softer instrument sections, and larger ones which contributes to dramatic contrasts. I really liked the soft piano ostinato that came in, which creates a big contrast to the brass sections. I liked the attack on the strings sounds with the repeated notes. Do you mind sharing what string library that was you are using?

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Steve :)
 
OP
thecompactor

thecompactor

New Member
Steve,

Thank you for listening and for the input. For this cue, I used EW Hollywood Strings with QL spaces.
 

Maestro1972

Active Member
Nice. I agree with Zac, the contrast in dynamics really make a big impact. 2:28 is my favorite. Well done. I am going to ask about the brass...EW Hollywood Brass? Thanks for sharing.
 
OP
thecompactor

thecompactor

New Member
Thank you! You guessed right, HW Brass. I'm a big fan of the legato patches, though they are a massive RAM hog.
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
Moderator
Nice composition Zac. I do have some critique though, regarding the mix. Which is always a pain to get right!

The mix sounds a bit muddy to me. I don't know how you have used the reverb, but you might want to turn on the filter in QL Spaces, up to about 250/260Hz(?). If you are sending several buses to a reverb, it might be a good idea to cut out some low frequencies on the instruments that don't need it, such as Violins.
What do you monitor on? Speakers? Headphones? If they are lacking in the low-end, then you might very well be compensating for their downfalls in your mix.
In summary, I know drenching in reverb can cover up imperfections of midi sequencing, but it is important (to me at least) to maintain clarity.
Keep us posted with future works yeah? :)
 
OP
thecompactor

thecompactor

New Member
Nice composition Zac. I do have some critique though, regarding the mix. Which is always a pain to get right!

The mix sounds a bit muddy to me. I don't know how you have used the reverb, but you might want to turn on the filter in QL Spaces, up to about 250/260Hz(?). If you are sending several buses to a reverb, it might be a good idea to cut out some low frequencies on the instruments that don't need it, such as Violins.
What do you monitor on? Speakers? Headphones? If they are lacking in the low-end, then you might very well be compensating for their downfalls in your mix.
In summary, I know drenching in reverb can cover up imperfections of midi sequencing, but it is important (to me at least) to maintain clarity.
Keep us posted with future works yeah? :)
Thank you for the input, I will definitely try those techniques to add a little clarity. You are right about the muddiness, but I haven't quite figured out how to address it up to this point. Thank you for the tips :)
 

dannymc

Senior Member
hey Zac the style is not something i'm an expert in so i wouldnt have anything constructive to offer there. the mix on the other hand could be improved imo. like a previous member mentioned it seems to be covered in a wash of reverb. i use to make the same mistake myself believing that reverb makes everything sound bigger & better. its not true. if you're balance, headroom, eqing and compression are not right first then reverb will just expose the mix even more. mixing is a pain because if you dont have the right headphones/monitors you cant hear what to fix. in my headphones this seems to be missing low end and is overly eq'd up in the upper mid range and high frequencies.

a tip i learned is to try listen to your track on as many sound sources as possible, the more the better. listen on your MP3 player, listen on the car stereo, the computer speakers, anything and everything. even listen in different environments such as inside vs outside. i know that sounds a bit crazy but i have found i hone in on different imperfections in my mixes when i listen to them out in the open or inside a building.

but as i said definitely try get yourself some good headphones & monitors. lots of great posts on the subject on this site. ;)
 
OP
thecompactor

thecompactor

New Member
hey Zac the style is not something i'm an expert in so i wouldnt have anything constructive to offer there. the mix on the other hand could be improved imo. like a previous member mentioned it seems to be covered in a wash of reverb. i use to make the same mistake myself believing that reverb makes everything sound bigger & better. its not true. if you're balance, headroom, eqing and compression are not right first then reverb will just expose the mix even more. mixing is a pain because if you dont have the right headphones/monitors you cant hear what to fix. in my headphones this seems to be missing low end and is overly eq'd up in the upper mid range and high frequencies.

a tip i learned is to try listen to your track on as many sound sources as possible, the more the better. listen on your MP3 player, listen on the car stereo, the computer speakers, anything and everything. even listen in different environments such as inside vs outside. i know that sounds a bit crazy but i have found i hone in on different imperfections in my mixes when i listen to them out in the open or inside a building.

but as i said definitely try get yourself some good headphones & monitors. lots of great posts on the subject on this site. ;)
Danny, thanks for the advice. I am currently using a pair of JBL 2328's, but I just moved so the room I am using doesn't have any treatment and is a bit boomy.
To your ear, is it missing just the lows or the low mids as well? Part of the issue is that I am trying to figure out what my mix should sound like. I know a lot of it comes down to taste, but I'd like to get a handle on a solid typical mix first and foremost, if that makes sense. I just haven't figured out what that actually is yet. What are your thoughts?
 

dannymc

Senior Member
Danny, thanks for the advice. I am currently using a pair of JBL 2328's, but I just moved so the room I am using doesn't have any treatment and is a bit boomy.
To your ear, is it missing just the lows or the low mids as well? Part of the issue is that I am trying to figure out what my mix should sound like. I know a lot of it comes down to taste, but I'd like to get a handle on a solid typical mix first and foremost, if that makes sense. I just haven't figured out what that actually is yet. What are your thoughts?
to be honest Zac we all have different ears so what might sound high and shrill to me might be ok in your ears. but in my opinion the aim should be for warmth and width. basically lower frequency focused work tends to have more warmth, like if you listen to a lot of Hans Zimmer, he uses the lower end of the orchestra a lot, the cellos, double basses, tubas etc. its just warmer on the ears down there. its actually the same in EDM were i came from, the critical elements are in the kick and the bass. if they're not full sounding and warm the rest of the track falls down.

anyway i just think it comes down to working on mixing and mastering and the more professional sound comes with experience. that's what i'm hoping for anyways ;)

anyway i'm still a beginner so take my comments with a pinch of salt, i potentially have absolutely no idea what i'm talking about :)