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Tips for mixing EWQL Hollywood Orchestra (Beginner)

Discussion in 'Member's Compositions' started by DivingInSpace, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. DivingInSpace

    DivingInSpace Member

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    Feb 10, 2018
    Track:

    https://clyp.it/xm4hel5z

    Hi Everyone, this is my first time posting my works here. I just recently started using East West Hollywood Orchestra Gold (and some of the other east west libraries from composer cloud (academic).

    I could use some tips on mixing the Hollywood orchestra and on some sources for learning better orchestration and writing. I will be finishing my bachelor in musicology this summer, so I already know my theory.

    Someone mentioned this earlier today: http://mikeverta.com/product/online-masterclass-orchestration-3-presets/
    Is this worth the money/a good starting point? Youtube channels, books etc on general orchestral writing and orchestration would be great!

    Thanks a lot.
     
  2. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    Hi @DivingInSpace. For mixing, I think the best advice is to go find some well mixed tracks you like, and then match yours to them. You won't get it to sound the same, but you can at least get the levels and the reverb within a similar range. You don't need a course to learn how to do that. The next bit of advice is to practice and just keep trying again when the results disappoint.

    The same can be said for orchestration and writing. It might sound a bit odd, but copying ideas from other people is how you learn. There are plenty of youtubers how who show you how their tracks are built also, so go watch some of them and try and copy them. If you know the theory, then the rest is just practicing.

    That said, Mike Verta, ThinkSpace, etc. always seem to come with good recommendations. I'd say that just continuing to practice and listen to others will get you a fair way, but doing those extra courses I'm sure would be useful also.
     
  3. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    BTW, the first thing I notice in your track is not the mixing, it's the dreaded use of portamento in the strings. Real strings players don't play like that (I'm glad to say!) so I think you need to go check what you are doing there with Hollywood Strings and fix up whatever issue is causing the legato to be rendered as portamentos.
     
  4. mcalis

    mcalis Senior Member

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    If you're interested in the mixing aspect and looking at Mike's classes I would actually recommend the template balancing class. The principles explained there can be applied to any virtual instrument.

    I'd agree that you're overusing the portamento but I don't find portamento to be that dreaded actually. I think of it as an effect that you can employ in a few scenarios where you want the note transitions to stand out. Portamento is controlled by velocity in most HWS patches.
     
  5. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    Yes, sorry, I should have been clearer. Using portamento is fine, so long as it's limited to occasional effect. It's using portamento as a normal legato play style (ie. instead of normal slurs) that is not good and makes the ears bleed. :)
     
    SyMTiK likes this.
  6. Divico

    Divico Senior Member

    I think what you should begin with is balancing. Your percussion for me is way too loud.
     
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  7. SyMTiK

    SyMTiK Christopher B.

    I agree on the percussion being way too loud, especially the cymbal hits. Id even use a different set of cymbals too, perhaps a smaller brighter set, i think the ones youre using right now are a bit too dark.

    Portamento as well, definitely use legato slur most of the time, portamento as others have stated is an embellishment that should be used very sparingly to accent key emotional points in your melody (if its even neccesary).

    As far as learning better orchestration and also better mockup work in general, I’d say as others have mentioned it can be worthwhile to recreate mockups by copying existing scores (for practice of course). John Williams scores are popular to recreate, and his scores are excellent to learn from. But even more so it can be beneficial to find scores from some of your personal favorite composers and make mockups of their work, trying to get as close to the original as possible. This can be great practice to help understand how to work with virtual instrument libraries to get a realistic sound, and also understanding how to write for the different instruments in the orchestra, how to achieve certain colors, etc.

    Also, Mike Verta has some great videos on youtube about how to get better results with virtual instruments. I also have an awesome book I got on Amazon called “Guide to MIDI Orchestration” definitely was a great help starting out.

    Also, I highly recommend reading the manual for Hollywood Orchestra. There is an intimidating amount of patches, but the manual does a great job explaining how they all work.

    Overall though I think your composition has promise, just needs some work in the orchestration department and better use of the virtual instruments capabilities.

    Hope that helps! :)
     
  8. OP
    OP
    DivingInSpace

    DivingInSpace Member

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    Feb 10, 2018
    Thanks for the tips everyone, it is very useful. I will definitely tone down the portamento on the melody and balance the percussions a bit better. @SyMTiK and @markleake how would you go about starting to create mockups? Use sheet music or transcribing by ear? I will check out the manual and some of the channels etc. mentioned. Thanks a lot for the help till now!
     
    SyMTiK likes this.
  9. SyMTiK

    SyMTiK Christopher B.

    I’d recommend using full original scores (as in the sheet music). Most of John Williams original scores are available, though they can be pricey. It seems a few of them are on scribd, which would be the cheapest route to obtaining them. Some other composers scores would probably be a bit cheaper.

    Doing it with sheet music can really help you visualize and understand how the different sections are used
     
  10. OP
    OP
    DivingInSpace

    DivingInSpace Member

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    Feb 10, 2018
    That makes a lot of sense. I will try to get my hands on some sheet music. Thanks a lot for the suggestion!
     
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  11. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    Personally I don't copy scores like this. I'm too lazy. But often I will find something I like and play it back, then attempt to get something similar with samples. Or even play along with the other track. So I guess that is by ear for me. I'm not writing a piece or copying something directly though, I'm just playing around with the orchestrations to understand what the composer is doing. The same for mixing, I'm not copying a track... I'm just listening to it so I can get my track to be mixed in a similar way. That is the lazy way of doing it... you would probably be better advised to not follow my personal example. :)
     
  12. aaronventure

    aaronventure Senior Member

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    Hey!

    Regarding mixing, I would suggest starting small. Write a solo and do your best to make that solo sound great. Compare it to recordings of solos. You'll note that solos are mixed differently from ensembles. Then work your way up, try mixing two instruments, three, a section, and eventually the entire orchestra. I wrote a more detailed post here.

    But the very first thing you should work on is your performance. You can have the best mix, even hire an engineer to do it for you, but it won't help your performance and it will remain a poorly performed track. I would suggest listening carefully to other pieces and paying attention how phrases are shaped. Note the dynamics going up or down. Get friendly with your modwheel - you'll use it all the time. Right now your piece sounds like someone talking in a robotic manner, without accents and inflections. Music is exactly the same as a conversation. This would be a great starting point:

     
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  13. OP
    OP
    DivingInSpace

    DivingInSpace Member

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    Feb 10, 2018
    Thanks for the detailed answer and suggestions! You are right, I definitely need to work in more on dynamics, etc. I have had problems with my midi keyboard, so the mod wheel has barely been used. I am getting myself a better and bigger one soon, so I hopefully can learn to use the orchestral library and and midi keyboards functions to its fullest. I'll check the video and post you linked, thanks for your help!
     
  14. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    One thing you could do is get the Korg nanoKontrol2. It gives you very easy control for things like CC1 (mod wheel), CC11 (volume), etc. It takes up hardly any desk space, and is pretty cheap.

    In my opinion, it is a much better option than getting an expensive midi keyboard with lots of extra controls.

    If you look at photos of a lot of people's desk setup, pretty much everyone has this humble looking controller sitting there on the desk. It's such a good solution for controlling mod wheel, etc.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    DivingInSpace

    DivingInSpace Member

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    Feb 10, 2018
    Thanks for the suggestion, but I have been wanting to get a bigger midi keyboard for quite some time, as the two octaves I currently have has been a huge limitation for me when sketching out ideas, etc. I went with a fairly inexpensive 61 key solution. The nanokontrol does look really nice though, and I am pretty sure that I have seen it in some videos before, so if I ever need something like this again I will keep that one in mind.
     
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  16. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    Oh yes, 2 octaves certainly doesn't cut it, no. A 61 or 88 key keyboard is worth the investment. :thumbsup:
     

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