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What plugins would you get for orchestral works? (not referring to sample libraries)


Senior Member
I'm not referring to Orchestral Samples Libraries but more like reverb plugins, tape plugins and etc which you normally would apply on your master or send. Let's share some experiences. =)

I'll give a head start, i normally use only Spaces 2 or 7th Heaven Pro on the master. other individual send signals i'll have my FabFilter EQ plugin applied and a bit of FL studio's own reverb. I didn't use much stuffs. I'm curious what i've lacked so would like to hear what other people use.

Rick McGuire

New Member
I don’t think anyone could go wrong with Fab Filter. Simple and sleek to use, but you’re also able to get really detailed if you know what you’re doing. A lot of folks love Sound Toys. Those are on my list for next Black Friday


Senior Member
I've made my whole template Fabfilter for ease of use and CPU usage. Pro-Q and Pro-C for instrument tracks, Pro-MB for bus comp, Pro-R for all kind of reverbs. Saturn and Timeless for effects and Pro-L for master bus.


New Member
I subscribe to Slate Digital for plugins. They have really great algorithms in their smart EQ and transient-designer-like plugins (Air,Earth,Revival,Lift,Trimmer). Also the included Verbsuite contains a wonderful Bricasti M7 emulation. The great and free Ozone Imager (30%) on master bus. No compression, only a limiter on my master bus. A smidget of virtual tape emulation.

Using Spitfire VI's recorded in the Hall (Neve analogue chain + tape + Prism converters) helps immensely especially with the selections of Mic's.

Most importantly mix with a vision in mind. I personally love live recordings of a whole orchestra ( jurassic park I). The room, the creaking of a musician's chair, inhaling before singing/brass. So i try to keep imperfections and greater amounts of natural sounding reverb in my mixes.

If i got another 3k spare i should invest in a analogue mix chain, maybe a Manley Tube Limiter/EQ or SSL Fusion.

I guess if you do TSFH production music one needs to apply the same rules as in the radio-industry. The louder you yell the more people pay attention...


Senior Member
It's amazing how much we are doing for achieving realism in the orchestral sound, while the soundtrack world has always done their best to steer away from it with spot/solo mics, overdubs and creative stereo placement/ other enhancements.


Like a lot of people, my send tracks have Fabfilter stuff on most of the time. The dynamic EQ parameter they introduced with Pro-EQ 3 is awesome. I use it almost exclusively rather than the classic knobs, as it allows much more contextual corrections – this comes handy for instance when I want to prevent the medium frequencies to pile up during in high nuances without taking away the warmth of softer moments.

Something I like to do as well is using a dynamic high shelf (upwards) around 4k - 5k, on strings and brass. When the music starts blasting, it helps the former standing out and the latter getting brassy enough, again without unwanted sound alteration during soft moments. The trick is simply to identify (manually if you have to) the "forte threshold" that will trigger the EQ.

I also clean the useless low frequencies of individual instruments with a lowcut to give myself as much room as I can during mixing. The "hear what you're cutting" function is a blessing for that.

Except for Fab compression when necesseray, I rarely process orchestral send tracks further. I keep that for SFX, synth percs, pads, etc. Occasionally, if can't quite find the right mic sound for a solo instrument, I'll just take its Close or Spot, and then apply Virtual Sound Stage 2 to place it in the room.

I use Altiverb in separate buses, one for each mic position of a same room : this allows me to distributes the sections accordingly to their distance from the conductor. Strings are the closest, then woodwinds, then brass, then percussion, then choirs. Of course that's a general rule of thumb, soloists, "overdub percs" and such are another story. My reverb buses are set to -6dB by default, although I sometimes tweak that.

On the master, I use Pro-Q 3 again with two to three knobs : the first one is a lowcut around 38 Hz, just to make sure there's no parasite stuff left below. It shouldn't because I already cleaned that area during mixing, but hey, it helps me sleep better. The second is a more progressive lowcut in Side mode around 100 to 150 Hz, to focus a bit my low frequencies. I won't always enable the third one, but sometimes depending on the track I will set a subtle upwards high shelf in Side mode at 5k - 6kHz, for a bonus stereo definition feeling.

Pro-C 2 follows, in Mastering mode. I rarely go over 1:1,5 ratio. My release is rather short, even if I often tweak my attack depending on whether I want the reduction to be very subtle or a bit more radical.

Then Pro-L 2. Most of my music ends up on YouTube, so I set the ceiling at -1dB. I generally increase the gain by 6dB, a bit more if the track is very soft.

And then I export a mp3 file at 128 kbps :grin:
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... i am a robot ...
FabFilter ProQ3 and ProL2, Slate rack for Distressor and 1176s, Slate master compressors and Tape Machine, and a touch of Brainworx Channel Strip (4000G). Pro-R, EastWest Spaces II and 7th Heaven Reverb.

Bunch of other crap that never gets used.

Same set-up whether Rock, Electronic, Ambient, Bulgarian Folk, Mongolian Throat singers or Orchestral. It's all the same stuff just used differently.


Active Member
In the past I spent lots of time twiddling around with external fx to try and get the sound I was after but most of the time these days I just use the mics/verbs/fx that come with the libraries (Spitfire libraries, EW, CSS, CSB, 8DIO century brass etc) and Kontakt/Play's internal EQs.

The two plug-ins that get the most use are the Lexicon PCM bundle and a brilliant, very cheap compressor: Klanghelm MJUC. But there are loads of alternatives. Spoilt for choice these days. I'd quite happily just use the Valhalla verbs which are much cheaper but still sound lovely.
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