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Elahrairah

Tips on mixing my track?

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Ahoy, fellow musicians and game audio nerds!

For the past few months I've been working to improve my mixing and orchestration abilities, and if any of you want a chance to show off your elite knowledge of the craft, I'm hoping to soak you for critiques!

For example, take exhibit A:

https://soundcloud.com/evan-witt/reduced-redemption-theme

 

I like some of the decisions I made on reverb here, but I still feel like I might be missing some improvements (especially on the EQ side, which I haven't touched much at all).

Any advice? 

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It's a nice cue. I felt the strings were a bit thin when compared to the rest of the ensemble. Also there could be a bit more low end. Just to give it that presence. The reverb seemed fine to me. Not too much and not too dry either. Is it all center panned, however? I'm not noticing much as far as placement. Experiment with panning various sections left, center or right to get more realism and also more balance. 

 

You have some choices to make - do you want to make film music or ensemble music. What I mean is your orchestration is very similar to concert/classical music. In film, it doesn't necessarily have to be that (which is great and freeing)! (Tangent: like with Zimmer used like 20 drummers on the last Superman score. Would never really work or be appropriate in an actual concert setting but worked great for a film cue.) So my advice would be to narrow down what your target is exactly. Is it going to be classical concert music set to film or is it going to be film music. Pick your target then do A/B comparisons of your mix and writing versus pros/pieces you admire and respect. 

 

I hope that helps!

 

Nate

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Is it all center panned, however? I'm not noticing much as far as placement. Experiment with panning various sections left, center or right to get more realism and also more balance. 
 
You have some choices to make - do you want to make film music or ensemble music.[...] Pick your target then do A/B comparisons of your mix and writing versus pros/pieces you admire and respect. 

 

Many thanks for the advice, Nate: these are exactly the kind of tips I was hoping for. I think I know what you mean as far as the string thinness and center panning go, but now you've got me scratching my chin over whether to go 'Film' sound or 'Ensemble' sound: I'm hoping to eventually add the piece to a demo reel for games, but I'm not sure how to mix for film, as opposed to mixing for a classical sound. I'll have to look up some examples and mix it both ways. Thanks again!

Edited by Elahrairah

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I think I know what you mean as far as the string thinness and center panning go, but now you've got me scratching my chin over whether to go 'Film' sound or 'Ensemble' sound:

 

What I mean is film composers can usually get away with very unique sounds and textures that more traditional venues cannot. Here are some good examples: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i0bzhPtApo

 

Listen to how Newman uses unusual sounds, even power tools like drills, to create a unique soundscape. Sure, you could do this in a traditional concert venue but you don't really see it that often. 

 

Or how Zimmer used much more brass than what would appear in a traditional symphony for the Time cue from Inception: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1FIv7rFbv4

 

The same is true of game music in many cases. So experiment! Go beyond the norms of traditional orchestration if you want to do film and game work. Combine unusual instruments.

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