Mixing VST orchestra - Sforzando, VSCO community library - Epica cover

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Jobam-Martins, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Hey, how are You doing?
    I hope You're fine!

    I wanted to start mixing some orchestras to practice. I like to create OSTs and compositions with it but I never searched for any orchestra vst plugins. In the same week , I was listening to some orchestral metal and I listened to "Unleashed" from Epica. Such an awesome song. I never had the chance to listen to that one. I really wanted to do a cover of it not only because of the arrangements but also because of the details I would have to mix, it would be a great experience.
    I invited Dunja Palcek. She is an amazing singer and does sing metal and classical music.

    I found the VSCO community that has a very nice library of sounds for free. I downloaded the Virtual playing orchestra , the Vanilla pack and Big cat "Sketching chamber orchestra". The first two works in Sforzando, a very good sample player.

    First thing I had to do was to search for the drums. I found on the internet the drums file but I had to transcribe the arrangements for the strings,brass,woodwinds and bells. I exported each file as a midi file. In the project, I rendered each instrument separately. The mixing I did was to create a bus with reverb to sound like a room.

    This is my first time mixing and mastering this genre. Feel free to give me Your opinions. Let's talk about plugins ,mixing ,share experience.

    Thank You for reading this and for listening. Have a good day!

     
  2. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Also, R.I.P Alexi Laiho
    :(
     
  3. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Mixing symphonic metal is a huge thing. If you're not a member of Nail the Mix, you should be and get the Orchestral months and see how the pros do it.

    It's a lot of bus processing, and really working on getting the performances right on the individual MIDI instruments.
     
  4. DrakkarTyrannis

    DrakkarTyrannis

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    This reminds me of Anorexia Nervosa for some reason. It probably sounds nothing like it to the normal person but that's the vibe I'm getting.

    Again it's criminal that people who post shit like this in the forum get ignored. THIS is the shit that needs a million pages of responses..not stupid shit like Fortin modded tube screamers and other such nonsense.
     
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  5. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    It's way easier to discuss a simple thing that you see, than really starting to listen while making observations :)

    I think this is a good cover. Original has more impact in drums, probably way more tracks in vocal side happening and real symphonic orchestra partly mixed with samples. Free orchestral plugins often sound quite synthetic especially when there isn't much happening with other instruments. "As is" the source tone isn't just there from the start, and there's not much polishing you can really do about it.

    What Epica does is massive as a whole. Things that make this mix kind of muffled is too much wrong kind of reverb in the vocals, lots of happening in 200-400Hz area and probably different kind of post processing in the mastering stage. Just misses "air" and "glue" which is needed. Chorus is the loudest part of this song, and it should be automated volume wise to do so. Have more impact in that side too, I believe everything is heavily automated on that side of things.

    As with every heavier type of style, bass tone is super important.

     
  6. DrakkarTyrannis

    DrakkarTyrannis

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    So I went to listen to the original version of the song. Honestly I like Jobam's more. I'm not sure exactly why. For one I like the singer in his more than that original singer..but maybe the sound on the original is a little too polished. My gripe with melodic/power metal/symphonic type stuff is it's too pretty. There's just a tad bit of dirt in the cover that makes it less "goody goody" to me. I think it's one of the reasons I like black metal and similar genres so much. There's a grit there that lots of metal these days just doesn't have. It's okay to not be perfect. That's often what makes a song good.
     
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  7. Metropolis

    Metropolis SS.org Regular

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    There is grit and rawness, then there is muddiness, and to me negative sides of this cover fall more into muddy territory and lack of good enough source tones. Actually there would be more grit than that. I'm not saying it should sound same as original either. Of course playing and vocals are good in this one.
     
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  8. DrakkarTyrannis

    DrakkarTyrannis

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    Oh I'm not disagreeing with you. I'd just never heard the original. I went back to listen and I like his more. Yeah his mix could be improved but for what it is I dig it more than the original. Hell any mix could be improved.
     
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  9. jvms

    jvms SS.org Regular

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    Honestly, I would join URM Academy's Enhanced to learn the basics of mixing (EQ, compression and some other very interesting processing techniques) or at least get some of the orchestral metal months on thei Nai The Mix program.

    Having that said, I just started writing orchestral music myself, and I've noticed that if you use good sounding libraries (Spitfire, Orchestral Tools, Cinesamples, Cinematic Studio, etc...), and do a good job programing and arranging, there is very little you have to do to get the orchestral stuff to sound good. Just some notching on harsh/ annoying/ muddy frquencies will get you a long way. They sound good out of the box, as long as you arrange it right.

    Start you mix from the drums, use the right samples, add in the rest of the instruments and then the orchestral stuff. If you do a good job on mixing the metal side, they will drop right in. After that, you just have to carve space for each instrument or seccion if needed.

    Also, keep the orchestral elements in a separate master bus with no bus compression. Orchestral instruments can be too dynamic at times, and that puts a lot of strain on your master bus compressor. You might also wanna go easier on your master bus limiter. Devin Townsend's Genesis has a lot of orchestral elemens, among other crazy stuff, and he mastered the song at -9 LUFS, in stead of the -7/-6 wich is so common in most moder mixes, to make sure everything was able to breathe.
     
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  10. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Coo
    Cool, thanks for the information. Yeah, it's pretty hard to make it sound like real instruments. I started practicing more mixing and mastering because of the quarantine. I really liked doing this so I want to start investing more in studies and equipments. I will check their classes. The only problem I have now it's my currency. My country is suffering crises and now our currency doesn't value enough dolars. So, things gets a lot more expensive. I'm trying to save some money because of that but I will check their channels. And thanks for listening!
     
  11. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Thanks for listening man and for Your attention. Yeah, normally my posts get ignored but I really thank You for helping me giving Your opinions and sharing Your experiences. It helps a lot
     
  12. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Thank You very much for Your reply. I will take these observations in consideration. I need to buy monitors. I'm mixing with a headphone but my R side has less volume and less frequencies than my L side. It's an old headphone. So, I use my computer speakers to listen and check what it sounds like but it isn't the same thing as professional monitors. I just need to save a lot of money to buy a pair and then I want to continue investing and studying audio because I want to make my mixings sounds better. Thanks for Your attention.
     
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  13. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Thanks , man. When I first listened to this song I thought I would not be able to mix something like that. I felt a little sad about that but I tried. I just used what I have, the freeware plugins, haha. But, a friend of mine has bought for me the Mercuriall spark. So, the tone I used here was a simulation of a Marshall AFD100. The plugin itself has some kind of noise that makes it sound more "dirty" for metal. I really recommend it, it's pretty nice
     
  14. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Thanks for Your reply,man. Yeah, the first thing I did was to record and organize the mixing project but only guitars,bass and drums. I tried to install all of these VST orchestra plugins but my computer could not install it. Spitfire LABS was the one I went but I could not install it. So, after trying some of these, I went for the library for sforzando.
    For the bus , I divided all the bus in different sections as well but for the orchestra, I just used one. I tried to master it around -9 to -10 lufs as well. I don't have so much experiences with audio but I will continue practing and studying when I can. I watch some of their videos sometimes to learn what I can. Thanks for the information.
     
  15. jvms

    jvms SS.org Regular

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    Always good to help out a fellow brazillian! These libraries a fucking pain to instal. Took me so long to get them working... But you seem to be doing a pretty good job so far. I'm far from being good at audio, but if you need any help, feel free to hit me up!
     
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  16. Jobam-Martins

    Jobam-Martins Guitarrista

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    Thanks,man! Yeah, I had a hard time trying to install these plugins. I'm having some problems with these new platforms that We need to download and then install them. Thank You for Your support!
     

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