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Trying to improve my trailer/orchestral music production

Discussion in 'Member's Compositions' started by Rick McGuire, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Rick McGuire

    Rick McGuire Member

    20
    1
    Mar 31, 2018
    Tucson, AZ
    Hey everyone. Right now I'm trying to write a track a week and build up my skills before reaching out to a music library. This is the 4th track I've written as apart of this goal. Let me know what you think.

     
  2. jcrosby

    jcrosby Senior Member

    660
    359
    Nov 30, 2014
    Boston MA
    There are a few things I notice that you could improve, but great track overall.
    It's mostly mix-related stuff, but the dynamics could use a little massaging too...

    Dynamics-wise: At :55, the very last half of the measure in the string ostinato jumps out a little, (just before the melody comes in). I'd try to adjust the velocities so it sounds as though it starts at the same level and increases in intensity as the phrase ends and the string melody starts.

    The dynamics of the string melody that starts at 1:00 feels a little static. Try having it come in more softly, build as you approach the body of the track at 1:30, and scaling the overall values of the modwheel ride down so the string melody isn't as loud and the timbre isn't as forward. This should give the section at 1:30 more impact.

    I'd also automate the level of all music leading up to 1:30 down a dB or two so the theme hits you with more intensity. Think of it like a trailer... The impact of this section should hit you like a ton of bricks... Imagine this as introducing the peak of a montage in a trailer. This is pthe part of the track that should pull you out of your seat...

    Same with the section at 2:00. This would be more effective if it came in fairly strong, but still had a little room to ramp up in intensity to 2:15... So perhaps in addition to the orchestra, the percussion was more dynamic, and maybe introduced a few additional layers as you approach the pause at 2:15.

    The lead at 1:30 is a bit sharp. I feel that it takes away from the intended impact this section is supposed to have because it's kind of demanding attention... I'd use a different sound, if I had to use that sound then I'd EQ or de-ess that nasal area where it's poking out, and probably bring it down a bit so it felt as if it were almost part of the orchestra. (IMO the brass should really be what carries this section. I could see a library saying the same thing... I find when there's a bold brass line libraries tend to want that to be what carries the piece. The melody can be there, but if you pushed it back in the mix tastefully it could be done where you still give the brass focus.)

    The other mix issues I hear are your limiter or compressor working a bit too hard. There's audible distortion happening during the impacts and crescendos. The impact at 2:00 is where it really jumps out, I also hear it during the build at the end... It could be from too much compression or limiting, too much sub-sonic low end or overall low end, compressor settings, or a combination of any of them... I'd start by cutting lows in places you haven't. If you've already cut your lows maybe try cutting a little more, if it sounds thin then use an analyzer to see what's going on with that hit at 2:00. (I can hear an almost modulating-like distortion. If you hadn't noticed it yet listen for that...)

    The string melody could use some subtle compression. The brass would probably benefit from the same compression too though... I'd buss them together and use an LA-2A or something similar... (Some kind of super smooth opto compressor...) I find an LA-2A gels an orchestra together in a very flattering way... (You might try one on the string melody in addition to bussing them together since it pops out here and there...)

    The timbre's also a little sharp on the string melody. See what's going on between 3k and 6k. You could obviously use EQ, but see what a dynamic EQ or multiband compressor does for it too... It may smooth it out in a way that doesn't take away too much overall presence.

    I hear the same kind of thing in the risers, a little bit of sharpness in the upper mids... (1:54 is where it jumps out most. There's a frequency around 3-5k that pokes out.) With synthetic stuff like this I reach for a de-esser or dynamic EQ... You want to keep as much presence and brilliance intact but deal with that sharp area somewhat aggressively.

    Again, great track overall... Although it looks like a lot it's really just fine details... best of luck! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2018
    TheSigillite, Kony and NoamL like this.
  3. Jesse Tikka

    Jesse Tikka Active Member

    41
    3
    Nov 9, 2016
    Finland
    I probably would have used a bit more reverb for the sustain strings in the beginning, and the rise effect that starts at 1:50 strikes me as a tad bit out of place.

    Other than those couple things, sounds pretty damn good to me!
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Rick McGuire

    Rick McGuire Member

    20
    1
    Mar 31, 2018
    Tucson, AZ
    Thank you so much for your time and your ears! That’s probably the most detailed feedback I’ve ever gotten about my music. I agree with you. I think I mixed things way too loud so when I hit my limiter it just destroyed everything. I’m going to have to check out the la-2a
     
  5. jcrosby

    jcrosby Senior Member

    660
    359
    Nov 30, 2014
    Boston MA
    You bet! Totally understand, trailer cues are challenging, and it's tempting to overcook the limiter without a fresh set of ears or giving yourself a day break between mix/master ;)

    My guess is you have some excess low end in addition to hitting your limiter a little hard... Try low cuts around 80 Hz on things that would normally be further back in the hall and don't need a ton of low end like brass and winds... Also, if you have impacts hitting at the same time as your percussion then they're inevitably fighting for space... If you're not comfortable getting rid of one of them than sidechain whichever one you feel has less priority to the one you feel really needs to rule the low end...
     
    Kony and Rick McGuire like this.
  6. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    814
    Nov 8, 2015
    I listened, but not sure what is "fantasy" about this?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Rick McGuire

    Rick McGuire Member

    20
    1
    Mar 31, 2018
    Tucson, AZ
    Yeah I agree, I suppose I’m just lumping it with some other tracks I’ve written this summer that are more in the fantasy style. Like I said, I’m new to trailer music.
     

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