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Topic: Books on mixing orchestral music

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  1. #1

    Books on mixing orchestral music

    I've done all the google and other search engines searches and looked at sites that sell music instruction books and videos, but I can't seem to find anything specifically related to mixing orchestral music. Does anyone know of any that they would recommend? There are a ton of books out there on mixing in general but I'm looking for something specifically for orchestral mixing. Thanks in advance for any help.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    Good question, however I would be hard pressed to think anyone method would suffice. (?)
    Styxx

  3. #3

    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    This may be impossible to find because the orchestra is usually recorded in an oversized soundstage with area mics. the levels between the instruments is, of course, adjusted by the musician's dynamics.

    I imagine you want it for how it would relate setting levels in GPO. In your orchestrations for full orchestra, I would recommend leaving the levels where they are. That way, if you can't hear a particular part, that probably means that something in the orchestration doesn't work. (Like a bassoon solo over a tutti orchestra part)

    One should also listen to a lot of orchestra recording, old and new.

    as for the recording of an actual orchestra, the only way to get a nice sound is area mics. It id also a very expensive proposition. in the six figures, usually.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
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    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    I noticed that Duncan Brinsmead's Magic Flute Overture demo (on the GPO demo page) has a very nice mix, it really stands out.

    I find it sounds pretty close to a "real" orchestral mix like classical CDs.

    I wonder if he has any profesional level knowledge/experience in mixing because to my ears it sounds like it (or maybe a pro engineer has done the mix?).

    I, too, would like to know if those "orchestral" mixing techniques could be found in some books?

    Recently I was listening to the Star Wars soundtrack CDs and it is obvious that the "hollywood sound" it has was not just created in the orchestration but in mixing too, a LOT of mixing...

    NDEE

  5. #5
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    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    Practice doing mockups of a couple of your favorite pieces. If you have a sequencer that accepts audio, the import a recording of the piece. Then try to mix to it. Don't forget to do the tempo changes which will really help the music come alive. Most orchestras change tempo constantly.

  6. #6

    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    Quote Originally Posted by jesshmusic
    This may be impossible to find because the orchestra is usually recorded in an oversized soundstage with area mics. the levels between the instruments is, of course, adjusted by the musician's dynamics.
    I've read that the individual sections are actually recorded in mono.

  7. #7
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    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    mm3479,

    I do not know of any specific books on Mixing Orchestral Music. Maybe this is a book waiting to be written for all you would-be authors . Such a book is definitely needed. A very good source is to subscribe to Mix Magazine. Often there are insightful articles and interviews as to how the orchestras of the top film/game/TV/album projects were recorded.

    I have attended a number or soundtrack and orchestral recording sesions. In soundtrack recordings there are often spot microphones all over the place for as much sound control as possible. In pure classical recordings, there is a school of thought that prefers just a stereo recording. The classical recordings, however, are now adopting the methods of soundstage recording with the use of meticulous mixing and effects in the final mix.

    Haydn made a good suggestion. Have a recording of an orchestral piece you like - whether by the London Philharmonic or a rendition you prefer. Then use it as a reference track to compare your rendition to.

    Gary Garritan

  8. #8

    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    Quote Originally Posted by NDEE
    Recently I was listening to the Star Wars soundtrack CDs and it is obvious that the "hollywood sound" it has was not just created in the orchestration but in mixing too, a LOT of mixing...NDEE
    lots of cutting and pasting too, alot that many people don't even hear.

  9. #9

    Re: Books on mixing orchestral music

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN
    lots of cutting and pasting too, alot that many people don't even hear.
    The reissued soundtracks are nothing like the original mixes, though. SW and The Empire Strikes Back especially were much more natural and classical in the mixes before RCA reissued the complete soundtracks. I think they mixed the spot mics way too high, making it dry, treble and overly detailed.
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