Positioning instruments in orchestral mix

Melon.junior

New Member
hi beforehand English is my second language so i hope i can explain myself clearly.
i having a lot of trouble with putting my instruments deeper in the room like percussion needs to be in the back and everyone says if you put a lot of reverb on the instrument it goes deeper in the room but it doesn't have this effect for me so how should i do it
can you reach this effect only with reverb or do i need different kind of plugins
and is there a plugin that does this work? i really appreciate it if you help me overcome this problem some days it drives me nuts.
 

averystemmler

Active Member
hi beforehand English is my second language so i hope i can explain myself clearly.
i having a lot of trouble with putting my instruments deeper in the room like percussion needs to be in the back and everyone says if you put a lot of reverb on the instrument it goes deeper in the room but it doesn't have this effect for me so how should i do it
can you reach this effect only with reverb or do i need different kind of plugins
and is there a plugin that does this work? i really appreciate it if you help me overcome this problem some days it drives me nuts.
It's a big topic, and you can spend as much time, money, and CPU power as you have in the quest for authentic sounding depth. There are all sorts of posts on the forum about it, if you're looking for advice and product recommendations.

Pardon me while I boredly theorize. If any visual artists here want to correct my analogy, please do.

With a stereo audio file, depth is entirely an illusion, much like a 2D painting. And, just like a painting, it is dependant on a few parameters.

Visually, size is the biggest indicator of distance. Something closer is much larger. I'd consider this analogous to volume. Closer things are louder, relatively.

Of course, there are large things that are also far away, and this is where context comes into play. We know the nature of a loud sound from a soft sound - just as we know a mountain from an ant in our painting metaphor - and use this information to subconsciously arrange things in a mix. The other half of this is reverb (and EQ), which I consider similar to light or shading in a painting. The reverb determines what is casting a shadow, and where.

So, what I'm saying is that there are multiple components to depth, and the reverb is only one of them. When you're placing an element on the z axis, remember that the brain considers the relative loudness of that element to be the fundamental clue to its distance. There are a million other psychoacoustic clues it'll piece together afterwards, but if you have a reverberant flute that's as loud as the brass, it'll either sound like a flute that is very close, or a giant flute that is very distant. Try turning distant things down before anything else.

As for the reverb settings, it depends a lot on the source material. If you're working with completely dry recordings/samples, the first goal is to get it into a room. Can you tell us what reverb plugins you're working with?
 
OP
M

Melon.junior

New Member
i'm using Valhalla room and i'm considering to buy fab filter pro-r

and thank you for the time you took to help me i really appreciate it
 

DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
Very frickin' simple honestly. Apply low pass filter to shave off highest harmonics ( the more you shave off the more it'll sound distant), I would recommend a 12DB cutoff otherwise you cut off too steeply. The less predelay on the reverb the more distant it will sound. Then comes the most important part:

Listen. literally listen. Listen to recordings you love, and try to get that sound. And then innovate on that. Pan, predelay, EQ, balance it until it sounds good TO YOU.

It will take some time. There is no shortcut to this, and there is NO MAGIC PLUGIN. That last piece is the most important advice I could give you. There are no shortcuts. No Vienna, no VSS, no Precedence will fix this. Listen, and learn to listen. Seriously.
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
In addition to reducing high frequencies, and depending on the instrument, a tilt or gradual rolloff will also help. For example, dry VSL libraries I often find myself using a slope starting as high as 800-1000 Hz, and when it reaches around 200 Hz, it is at -8 to -10 db.

Another thing is to consider reducing the stereo width. In a real orchestral stage, individual instruments can sound surprisingly weak and thin. Reducing it to mono before panning and reverb can help.

For something like Valhalla room, you may want to play around with the early section. In particular early size, diffusion, and send. By doing this, you are feeding back more of the initial echoes into the reverb tail, which can also help make it sound more distant.

Having said all that, I think it does depend a lot of which sounds you are trying to mix. Are you using a virtual instrument? Which one?
 

muk

Senior Member
Here is one simple method to create depth with reverb:


Use this in addition to the above mentioned techniques and you should be able to get good results.