In this post we are going to be discussing a subject that has been mentioned and eluded to repeatedly throughout these tutorials.
Now, if you are only joining us, or if you haven’t caught up on all of our previous emails, then you may wanna go back and familiarise yourself with our discussions on organization, workflow, arrangements, and inspiration.
The post on arrangement is especially useful in relation to this one on balance.
Anyway, back to today’s topic.
BALANCE: the key for a realistic orchestral sound
*TOP TIP*: Listen and compare with other tracks and you will get better over time.
PANNING: widen the sound and gain clarity
There are two rules when panning.
The first one is that at the end the mix should sound compensated. In other words; Left and Right balanced. We do not want more weight to the left or the right. We want both sides to be balanced.
The second rule is that any low instrument that serves as the foundation of your track should stay in the middle.
However, in orchestral music, you should always follow the original position of each instrument. You can find many charts online. Here is one from the Cakewalk forum. Use it as starting point and tweak it as needed.
A common mistake is leaving everything panned center because some libraries come with pre-panned instruments. While this is a good starting point, it is important to accentuate it a bit more. Never go to extremes, unless you are trying to create a very specific effect. The idea is to enhance the width; moving things a bit more to the left and to the right.
*TOP TIP*: I pan in Kontakt, so the panning settings are saved the next time I load it.
Read our organization post if you want to know more about saving Kontakt instances and how that can speed up your workflow.
Alright! We are halfway through!
In the next post, we will rap up the Composing Section with the last topic: creating depth and clarity with reverb and EQ.
AUTHOR - Orlando Perez Rosso
Orlando is Colombian composer based in Los Angeles. He is a classically trained composer with a profound education in popular music and Sound Engineering. His work can be heard in worldwide trailers, national commercials, and worldwide distributed films. In 2016, Perez Rosso co-founded the Music Agency LoudMono in Los Angeles, CA.
- Paul Gilreath, The Guide to MIDI Orchestration, 1997.
- Andrea Pejrolo, Acoustic and MIDI Orchestration for the Contemporary Composer: A Practical Guide to Writing and Sequencing for the Studio Orchestra, 2nd edition, 2016.
Last but not least
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