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Dvorak 9th Mixing Help / Feedback Please

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Paul T McGraw, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Will you please give me some mixing feedback? My ears are not as good as they once were and I need to know if I am on the right track. The piece used is the Dvorak Symphony 9 Fourth Movement. I have only finished the exposition section.

    This is 100% VSL plus the Spitfire Symphonic Strings. All 8 woodwinds are individual VSL instruments, as are the Horns, Brass and timpani, all VSL. I had the most trouble with the strings. It is difficult to get sampled strings to sound as rich and complex as real strings. In this case, I used VSL Orchestral Strings plus VSL Chamber Strings, plus Synchron Strings (room mix), and that still wasn't a rich enough sound so I added Spitfire Symphonic Strings. I did not use the Appassionata Strings or CSS because they seemed to decrease the "bite" that I needed and darken the sound.

    I used a CD of the London Symphony Orchestra and copied that into Cubase. Then I used the Cubase tempo matching feature to create a tempo map so that my version would exactly match the tempos of the LSO performance. Here is the CD of the LSO.

    Dvorak 9 CD of the LSO

    In this version, I used MIR Pro, Synchron Stage without any other processing EXCEPT I have a VSL compressor on the clarinet for the solo. All instruments are 30% to 40% wet/dry. The overall wet/dry offset is -25%.

    Dvorak 9 MIR Pro Only

    In my final mix, I added several additional elements. I used Fabfilter Pro Q2 to match EQ curves with each of the strings groups. I added three instances of Altiverb (front, mid and mid-back) and sent a small amount of each group (woodwinds, horns, etc.) to the appropriate Altiverb (Mechanics Hall), but just barely heard. In the Final Mix I added a small amount of Cubase Magneto (tape emulation saturation), a small amount of Stereo Widening, and a small amount of the VSL exciter. Here is a link to my final mix.

    My final mix

    So please provide some feedback. Is the final mix better than the MIR Pro Only? Is there something else I should do? Please share your thoughts. I am also posting this over on VI-C, but since the folks I know best hang out here, I am also posting here on Redbanned. Thanks,

  2. I freaking love this symphony. I actually started mocking up this exact movement a while back but never finished it.

    To my ear the final mix is definitely an improvement over the MIR only version. After a quick listen, the things I am noticing when I comparing it to the LSO recording (which is my favorite recording) are the low end, the brass and panning. The low end is a lot punchier in the LSO recording coming from the low strings, brass and timpani. The brass, too, is more present/bitier in the LSO recording. The string ffz accents in the intro don't quite hit as hard, although that might be more of a sample issue than a mix issue. (Also I heard a wrong note, I think Violin 2 is missing the A in m6?)

    When I listen to the LSO version, I hear the timpani on the left side with the trombones on the right, which naturally creates a nice stereo image, but in your mix it sounds like the timpani and trombones are both on the right. Same with the trumpets and horns, in the LSO recording I hear the trumpets on the right and the horns on the left, but it sounds like they are both on the right in your mix (I think?). Panning those instruments apart will probably get you closer to the big sound of the LSO. It sounds like all the brass are competing for space in your mix because they are all on the right side. In the LSO recording you can really hear the horns cut through with those repeated upbeat chords when the strings are playing the theme with all the triplets, for example.

    The reverb tail sounds very close, but the LSO recording feels warmer to me. That probably has something to do with the missing punch of the low end. Hopefully someone with better mixing chops can give you more specific advice, but that is what I am hearing. This is a really tough piece to mock up, I think you've done a great job!
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  3. Thanks @Sean Barrett that is great feedback! I will work on everything you mentioned and post a new version tomorrow.

    I also love this symphony. It is my all-time favorite piece of classical music.
  4. Hey Paul!

    On top of all the other commentary you received here/on VIC, I'd like to say that I too think your full mix sounds better than the MIR one. I think it generally sounds great, and only some minor tweaks are needed.

    I was initially a bit thrown off by a weird wideness, but I realized what was happening when I put the mix in my DAW—your low end is a bit too wide. Also, it's generally lacking in power. So I boosted the 80Hz area with a simple bell band by ~4.5dB, and also boosted that area by the same amount on the "Mid" channel. This eliminated the weird wideness I was feeling with your mix and solidified it a bit more, while not actually touching the stereo image of anything above that frequency range.

    I then just added a bit of transient shaper and top.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/j3ousx7t1dmtw01/Dvorak 9 Full Mix_avedit.wav?dl=0

    I also think that your trombones might use a bit more of early reflections (not more than 1 - 1.5dB).

    And that's it, really! Great job!
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  5. Thanks @Aaron Venture and your changes do make for a considerable improvement! I truly appreciate that you went to the trouble of doing a remix for me. It is not a giant change, but a definite improvement.

    I do not understand at all about transient shapers. The other changes you made I understand..

    I just checked to be sure, and 80hz is around the lowest F on the cello. The celli only have a few notes that low, but it is the heart of the double bass range. So at 80hz you are really only boosting the double basses, and some room noise. There is no tuba or contrabassoon playing in that range. So question, would it work to simply boost the double bass stem by that amount?
  6. I just chucked a transient shaper on the master and dialed in a bit "attack".

    This is how the EQ looks.


    As you can see, it also bites into the low midrange. So all the stuff that's here is also getting a bump as well.

    This gave the drums a nice punch and I only had the master to work with, so this is what I went with.

    It would definitely be a better decision to go through all the tracks and adjust their low ends as necessary. You can try applying this on the master, then soloing the tracks one by one and playing them through, thus seeing what's happening for each of them in the Pro-Q interface. If you have the analyzer set to Pre+Post , you'll be able to see both signals and the differences between them, and then you can go into each of the tracks that are affected by this EQ setting and adjust them as necessary.


    Attached Files:

  7. After devouring the Beat Kaufmann Tutorial, "Mixing an Orchestra" and also based on suggestions received from several people, most especially @Aaron Venture, I did a remix. I am thrilled with the improvements. I hope others think it sounds better also.

    Dvorak Remix based on Feedback

    Aaron, you have fabulous ears. When I checked my eq settings, I found that I had a 6db cut right at 90hz. I think I did that just as an experiment to see if I could hear the change and forgot to go back and get rid of it. You sir, are very talented.
    John Eldridge likes this.
  8. Nicely done. I'm missing juuuust a bit of ambience (classical music).

    Nah, I just have some expensive toys and spend way too much time playing with them. :D

    Thanks, I'm glad you're happy with the improvements.
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  9. Nice, Paul! That's a huge improvement. I would still like to hear a bit more horns :) But overall I can hear the instruments more clearly now because they each have their own space to cut through. Well done!
    Paul T McGraw likes this.

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