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trock

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Posts: 1,073 Member Since: 21/01/2011

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Mar 14 15 10:54 AM

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Hey All

I am working on a new song that has strings in it, right now its a combo of a KRONOS patch of analog symphonic strings and then a saw violin lead patch from omnisphere.

I am trying mix it in so its still integral but not overwhelming the vocal and other parts. so far i have to turn it way up to do that but then of course everything else is overwhelemd 

This is in the chorus only, the analog strings are in other parts but the lead saw violin part is only in the chorus and its the part i am talking about

i am still in the recording phase, and all i have is a scratch nonsense vocal (meaning i sang it once to lay down the melody without any lyrics etc) but most of it is there now except the vocals so i started trying to get a feel  for the song and part. i have tried some light compression and a high pass filter on both since they are REALLLY bass heavy with nothing done to them

they are both right up the middle (is that ok? should they be panned hard L and R?)

i have levels set i guess close to where they will be and just today added the strings and i was trying to work them in since the strings are a huge part of what i want to do with this song. anyway

my questions are 

1) whats your technique for strings, and combinations of string parts in an acoustic rock song?
2) panning multiple parts?
3) how can i get the main string part to have that huge sound and have the part really hit you but not destroy everything else in its path?

I have some artist plugs that have string stuff in them (Waves CLA, JJP etc) but for the most part they either change the sound totally or just dont seem to work. i want to try and keep the original sound as much as i can since its what i heard in my head

i can post a link but i dont want anyone to take any time if you dont have it. 

so, a discussion on strings mixing

thanks!

Tim
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compasspnt

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Posts: 21,178 Member Since:08/01/2011

#1 [url]

Mar 14 15 11:16 AM

Strings, much like horns, depend very much on the arrangement.

 Some arrangements can be crowded, parts squashing each other and things in their paths.

Some can be cooperative, copacetic with other song parts.

So be sure of your arrangement.

Another thing you can do is look at photos of orchestras on stage and how the instruments are logistically arranged. This has come about over centuries of experiment, and is for a reason.

Be sure you are creating stereo tracks for your strings. Most proper sample sets are "pre-panned" to fit into an acceptable orchestra setup.

EQ is fine where needed, but don't start out by thinking silly things like "carving out a space" with filters.

The way to balance things is with…VOLUME. Relative volumes create balance.

But it all starts with the arrangement.

Many people not used to working with string arrangements put notes too close together, like playing a triad. Most string arrangers separate the notes more, and minimize harmony until needed. 

Unison is king, and that makes harmony in the right places King of The World.

Also remember that a true orchestral arrangement is not just strings; woodwinds for example can be a wonderful complement, as can orchestral brass for effect.

One other thing to consider…often whatever you've just finished overdubbing is loud relative to the rest of the song, just because you were monitoring it that way for recording. Perhaps the next morning you would balance those new overdubs better.

Good luck.


Last Edited By: compasspnt Mar 14 15 11:18 AM. Edited 1 time.

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podgorny

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Mar 14 15 11:29 AM

I've found that with fake strings, automating the volume swells of each part can go a long way to helping the realism, while allowing you to dictate some of the arrangement. Additionally, when mixing strings into a pop or rock song, I wouldn't hesitate to mute the strings where they aren't necessary (to maximize the drama when they do come in).

As far as processing goes, finding the right ambience for the strings to sit into is a big part of it. EQ minimally. Compression may not be necessary at all.

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trock

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Posts: 1,073 Member Since:21/01/2011

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Mar 14 15 12:09 PM

Thanks alot!

- I never knew that about an orchestra, i am going to go look different setups of orchestra's with that in mind.

- I would say this is a very simple part, in a very uncrowded simple song so maybe its just volume issues like you both are saying. I am going to try and play around with a fader and some automation thru the parts and then see how that goes. the other instruments behind it (Drums -stereo audio loop track, Bass, 2 elec rhythm hard L/R, 2 Acoustic Rhy hard L/R) were mixed pretty well so i will base it off that for now. the goal was to see if the part worked, and then how well it fit. I think the part is really good and REALLY works for the song, its one of those moments that i was trying sounds and literally stumbled across this lead patch and was THATS IT!

- I actually dont even think about eq unless i just hear something i think may be wrong, then i fiddle with it, but i have no knowledge of how to even carve something out. At this point I try hard enough on the recording part to not even need eq, and most of the songs i have just finished have very little touch ups with eq. so when it sounded way to bass heavy i just did the hi cut thing as a general all encompassing thing, it seemed to work ok, but i will work alot more on it

- Thanks for the tip on overdubs being foremost in your mind and ears, that is really true and I never thought about that either! I have stopped for the day anyway and will check it out tomorrow morning

- this is a midi part right now for the omnisphere patch but the analog symphonc thing is a stereo audio track from the kronos. i think i can convert the midi track to audio, hopefully stereo in cubase, so i will try that to

thanks all, at this time it time to just try some Volume and maybe change up the overall mix around it.

thanks!

- i forgot to add, if you knwo The Cars song, its all I can do, that keyboard part int he chorus is kind of what i am talking about. how that stands out in a rock song. mine is a little more acousticy though, i think

Thanks!

 

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compasspnt

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#5 [url]

Mar 14 15 1:09 PM


Is your part unison, or is it multiple voice?

If harmony, is a third involved?

If a third is involved, is the root below it or the fifth above it also played at the same time on the same instrument?

If all of this is so, it might be part of the problem.



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trock

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Mar 14 15 1:33 PM

Hey Terry

It is unison, which to me means they are playing the same part (i think, meaning i think that's what you mean), literally, same keys, same timing, everything

No harmonies at all.

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gtoledo3

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Mar 14 15 2:27 PM

Aside from the good points already mentioned…

When I have a song that has string parts, or synth strings/mellotron, I usually listen first for where I'm going to put the highest part. I would usually listen for an area where nothing else is happening, so that when it's added it feels like it just fits right in, and the overall "sonic spectrum" of the song widens. Then I'd listen for a place I might tuck in any lower pitch parts… usually the same kind of places where the bass guitar might come up and play a lick or slide.

I also wind up panning them hard left and right, with nothing in the middle, more often than not…but anything can work I suppose. Sometimes if it's a line doubled across octaves, I might but the lower octave in the middle, and double the higher part, panning that left and right. There is something about higher pitches being panned wide that seems "wider" than lower pitches.

If it's a single line that's hard panned one way, I might put a reverb or delay panned opposite. Or if they are hard panned, I might use a mono reverb in the middle. Basically, listening for a way to achieve balance and wideness, but also leave negative space for the instruments that make up the meat of the tune and are panned center (vocals, drums, bass).

I share these thoughts with some trepidation because I can't necessarily point to any commercial success that's been the result of it, but it has seemed to make me happier about the way some recordings have turned out!

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trock

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Mar 14 15 7:31 PM

@Terry - HA, we will see i guess, i did want to report back that after something like 6 hours i went back and listened again fresh and wow you were so right! it wasn't as loud and almost nothing like i remembered. i was listening to the song again and not just that part. i heard it better and i heard volume parts i needed to fix in the part itself, i saw more clearly where i needed to lower some, raise some and blend some

there may be hope now!

@gtoledo3 - no, thanks for the help, do not be trepidatious at all, the last thing on my mind is some sort of commercial success, i just want it to sound good and i will be happy. I will check some of that out and try things, whatever works right?

the good news is, i still like the part!

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waltzmastering

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Mar 15 15 8:08 AM

trock wrote:
i was listening to the song again and not just that part. i heard it better and i heard volume parts i needed to fix in the part itself, i saw more clearly where i needed to lower some, raise some and blend some


 

Just adding what little I know to some already great points, ..like a lot of stuff, you usually don't want the strings part to fight with the vocal. Like if there's 2 melodies going on at the same time it gets hard to figure which one to listen to unless it's written as counterpoint which gets a little more complicated. Having longer legato notes with slight movement under the vocal melody and then filling in or answering with the strings where the vocal rest is something that I think is done a bit so not to clutter or step on anything. Almost the same approach to organ, horns, bv's etc. gl

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trock

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#11 [url]

Mar 15 15 8:31 AM

well quick update as it progresses and actually keeps getting better.

- I solo'd both tracks and listened together, not sure why i hadnt thought of that before. i found 2 notes that WERE harmony! i inadvertantly played them either sub concisously or morel liekly by mistake. they actually sounded good, solo'd

- i then panned the lead synth hard R, kept the deeper synth string up the middle, and it really opened up the vocal again, and is emphasized the part i wanted somehow in a good way. like it was cool, off to the side ,in the distance!

now i am enjoying it alot more. off to do some more today, or i may take a break form it and work on another one and come back next time i get some studio time

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trock

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Mar 19 15 1:50 PM

yeah, its just not working, i swear the lead synth is playing something different every time i try and mix it, the omnisphere patch i think plays when the song is playing so the part is actually changing from what i originally recorded and i have to wait for the plug to come back around. since its midi notes i played, it just plays that against what the plug in is doing and this patch seems to cycle thru a bunch of sounds

i have no idea how to control that

what a pain

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octafish

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Posts: 138 Member Since:28/10/2011

#13 [url]

Mar 19 15 2:07 PM

trock wrote:
yeah, its just not working, i swear the lead synth is playing something different every time i try and mix it, the omnisphere patch i think plays when the song is playing so the part is actually changing from what i originally recorded and i have to wait for the plug to come back around. since its midi notes i played, it just plays that against what the plug in is doing and this patch seems to cycle thru a bunch of sounds

i have no idea how to control that

what a pain
 

Can't you just print the synth part to another track? That way it'll stay the same.

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tb av

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Posts: 1,154 Member Since:24/04/2011

#15 [url]

Mar 19 15 4:55 PM

trock wrote:
yeah, its just not working, i swear the lead synth is playing something different every time i try and mix it, the omnisphere patch i think plays when the song is playing so the part is actually changing from what i originally recorded and i have to wait for the plug to come back around. since its midi notes i played, it just plays that against what the plug in is doing and this patch seems to cycle thru a bunch of sounds

i have no idea how to control that

what a pain

https://www.youtube.com/user/thepluginguru  if you can get in touch with him, he can probabley help you sort it out. Maybe he will let you send him your patch. He hangs out on Absynth group on Yahoo and probably same for Omni.

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trock

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#16 [url]

Mar 19 15 6:24 PM

thanks all, sorry to be frustrated, i am not sure how to print the synth part to another track

i know in cubase i can make this midi track an audio track, but i am not sure how to take the part of the plugin that i like and have it just be that part. it seems to be about 1/4 of the whole cycle that i want.

i will keep trying!

thanks!

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tb av

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Posts: 1,154 Member Since:24/04/2011

#17 [url]

Mar 19 15 10:02 PM

What DAW soft are you using? If it's PT, I can't help you. If it's REAPER click on the little "record" button that's next to the little red arm button or nearby depending on which skin you run.

Normally it will say record:input .... change it to 'output'

Then just let that track run and you will see the waveform recorded. Then you go back and trim up the part you want.

I'm not clear when you say part of the plugin you like... but no matter. If it repeats the part you want at some point in time each time you play it, then it will be recorded by using record:output Then you can time align it to other tracks as needed. Not the most elegant procedure but it would get the job done.

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trock

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Posts: 1,073 Member Since:21/01/2011

#18 [url]

Mar 20 15 8:13 AM

Hey

I am using cubase 8. i found a step by step on recording a VSTi to the pool as an audio file. so i did that and thenj re imported it to a track, but its not the same sound as the midi i selected

basically i selected in and out points around the 4 bars i wanted to record to audio, then exported it as audio to the pool, then re imported it to a track, and it plays fine and is an audio wav file, but it didnt keep the characteristics of the plugin and midi part for some reason.

but i am closer! i will keep plugging away at it.

ah, it wouldn't matter so much it if really wasn't such a cool part when it works. i know i will get it done and no one but me will ever know it lol

thanks!

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tb av

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,154 Member Since:24/04/2011

#19 [url]

Mar 20 15 9:29 AM

Oh, ok, I thought you meant you used to use cubase. Even at that I can't figure why you get something different. On a similar fashion to what I mentioned above. Check where it's recording from..

In the same manner as you could monitor pre fader / pre eq or whatever you could also monitor post... It sounds like you are hearing 'post' but recording 'pre' effected plugin. .... either that or after you record it there is still something in that new track's fx chain.

I've never had my hands on cubase that I recall.... but if you can 'hear it'.... there should be a way to capture it on a cubase track. Or another option is stick a sampler in there and try to sample the output of that other plug.

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