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SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

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SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

Postby dmiraie » Thu May 17, 2018 1:23 am

Greetings SOS, noob here..
With this 4-part reduction (below) i was trying to find a basic tone that was clear/simple but hopefully not boring.

Setting levels and panning is pretty straight forward, but eq and compression is where I get lost.
In particular, the tenor and bass parts seem to meld together without much separation.
Also, some spots have an unpleasant kazoo-like vibe I couldn't get rid of.

Any advice/suggestions on how to improve this mix (denser/more aggressive sound, better clarity, better tone, better expressivity etc) would be much appreciated, thnx!

https://soundcloud.com/randomhuman-2/imperial-march-reduction
dmiraie
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Re: SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

Postby Martin Walker » Thu May 17, 2018 6:59 pm

Hi dmiraie, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

Just has a listen to your Soundcloud mix, and I liked what I heard, with a few reservations, so bravo!

Here are a few comments that may help you achieve what you're after:

1. There's a lot of 'note-robbing' going on right from the start, giving a very staccato result, in a rather drum machine like way. it's reminiscent of Tomita's synth treatment of the classics, and I found it intriguing and rather different. However, if you want a more traditional mix then you'll need to emulate the effect of lots of instruments playing the same notes rather than one 'super instrument'. This approach should also provide the more aggressive/denser sound that you're after.

2. Your mix sounds a bit 'flat', with everything seemingly having a similar amount of reverb added, which while helping it gel, would benefit from different reverb treatments on different instrument groups, so that some sound further forward, while others are significantly further back.

3. On the EQ side, there's little low bass energy to beef up the overall sound, and where are the kettle drums of the original to add richness?

4. On compression, once you've tweaked some of the things I mention above, 3 or 4dB of bus compression should help glue everything together for even more dense results.

Hope this helps!


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Re: SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

Postby dmiraie » Fri May 18, 2018 1:32 am

Hi Martin, thanks for the feedback!

I will try to better-humanize the timing/velocity rigidity, especially during the unison sections.

Indeed, there wasn't much method to my reverb madness.. In general, I tried automating more reverb to whichever voice was carrying the melody, and less to the lower register sounds and rhythm section.. By "flat" do you mean there's too much reverb in general? Should I generally have less reverb in the background and more in the foreground, or vice versa? Should the reverb distribution be changing throughout the song?

What type of bass sound do you think I should look for? Do you think I should use the same sound for both parts (the bass is doubled at the octave)? By "low bass," which frequency range are you implying?

The current version has a limiter on the master buss with a 3db boost; should I remove it and use a compressor instead? I'm still pretty bad at hearing subtle compression.. Is it possible you could recommend some settings to start with? thnx again!
dmiraie
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Re: SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

Postby Martin Walker » Fri May 18, 2018 10:28 am

dmiraie wrote:Hi Martin, thanks for the feedback!

My pleasure - always good to be able to welcome someone new to the SOS forums with some hopefully helpful advice when asked for ;)

dmiraie wrote:I will try to better-humanize the timing/velocity rigidity, especially during the unison sections.

It's not JUST about rigid timing - real instrumental sections comprise multiple instruments that all play slightly differently, giving a rich mix overall. Replacing some of your existing sounds with ensemble sounds (particularly the brass section in this case) will help flesh out the sound and make it 'bigger'.

dmiraie wrote:Indeed, there wasn't much method to my reverb madness.. In general, I tried automating more reverb to whichever voice was carrying the melody, and less to the lower register sounds and rhythm section.. By "flat" do you mean there's too much reverb in general? Should I generally have less reverb in the background and more in the foreground, or vice versa? Should the reverb distribution be changing throughout the song?

By flat I meant that since all the elements in the mix seemed to have similar amount of reverb added, they all appear to be at the same distance from the listener, spread out in a line as if they are on a stage. In a real orchestra, some instruments will be further forward (less reverb), some where you have them now, and some right at the back (more reverb). By applying differing amounts of reverb to each section you should gain much greater front to back depth in your mix.

dmiraie wrote:What type of bass sound do you think I should look for? Do you think I should use the same sound for both parts (the bass is doubled at the octave)? By "low bass," which frequency range are you implying?

Whatever sound you like for your mix - it currently sounds somewhat electronic overall, rather than orchestral, and I rather like that new treatment, but whatever you choose, it needs some low end energy, as the double basses and kettle drums of the original arrangement do. This will add to the 'power' of the arrangement.

dmiraie wrote:The current version has a limiter on the master buss with a 3db boost; should I remove it and use a compressor instead? I'm still pretty bad at hearing subtle compression.. Is it possible you could recommend some settings to start with? thnx again!

A limiter will simply deal with peaks to raise the average level; what I was suggesting was buss compression - I'll look out a suitable SOS article and post a link here for you.

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Re: SATB 4-part mixing - the imperial march

Postby Martin Walker » Fri May 18, 2018 12:20 pm

Here you go dmiraie - this SOS Guide To Mix Compression should help you get what you're after:

www.soundonsound.com/techniques/sos-gui ... ompression


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