Of all these techniques, the most important ones are described in the first posts of this manual. Most importantly, if you make any mistakes during the composing process, you will not be able to fix them during the mixing or mastering process. In other words, arranging mistakes will not be fixed with good mixing.

The idea is that every step compounds the process and it is important to do each step correctly. In addition, you have to be aware of which process adds more to the project than others. This, however, will come as you experiment more and slowly refine a process that works for you. 

Composing and arranging is the most important step. This includes setting good levels, distributing musical ideas, panning, and so forth. In addition, it is equally important to use a little bit of EQ to cut the low end (noise) and a little bit of ‘mood’ (around 300Hz) and ‘irritation’ (around 3.000Hz) in almost every track.

In order for you to be thinking in composition terms (and not fixing technical issues), it is important for you to keep your system organized: groups, buses, Kontakt instances, template tracks, etc. 

Do not use the same reverb for every track. Use different reverbs for different groups of instruments. That will help create separation and gain clarity. Cut the low end of most of your reverbs. Decide if you will be applying reverbs during the composing or during the mixing process. 

Take a rest between the composing and mixing step. This will help rest and reset your ears. 

Think about mixing as a way of enhancing your music by creating more space and slightly re-adjusting levels. If you are adding reverb during this step, choose what reverb amount and length works best for each group of instruments. Have them separated in high and low as well as long and short. 

Use automation to add some life and movement to your tracks. Also, think of other ideas you can automate other than the volume, such as reverb times and amounts, left and right volumes, EQ, tempo etc.

Be careful when mastering. It is a step that can help a little but it can also destroy your track. Always make subtle adjustments. Define the purpose of your track and master accordingly. Do not over-compress. 

And while learning your craft, always compare. Use a reference track specifically during the mixing and mastering process. 

Finally, consider using someone to do the mixing for you. There are individuals who are specialists in mixing and will do a better job than you. Team up with them. Great ideas can be achieved when you collaborate.

You may also try mixing projects for other musicians, as you may have a different perception than when you are mixing your own music.

I want to learn more, what can I do?

If you are interested in learning more, come meet me at the Symphonic Virtual Orchestration course that I teach at Cinematic Composing. This course will teach you everything you need to know to produce professional sounding orchestral mockups. But the coolest part comes during the live chats where we can interact, see each other, see my sequencer and listen to my audio. If you are interested, come join me and the fantastic Cinematic Composing team and let’s write some great music!

More Info About the Symphonic Virtual Orchestration Course


If you like this series of posts, please spread the word and share this with those you think may be interested.

Last but not least

- I would love to know your opinion about the post:  are you a film or video games composer? any recent scoring project? what did you learn during the process? what made you succeed in that project? how do you balance composing and networking to find new projects?

- If you think this post could help more people, can you help me reaching them sharing this post on your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and/or your E-mail contacts?

- Do you want to learn everything I discovered on how to produce better sounding MIDI mockups? Join to my orchestral mockup production free course below?

- Do you want to know when we publish our next post? Register your email below and you'll be the first to know.

And, if you'd like to try any of our free contents...

Get the Basic Mockup Production FREE Course

You will receive 12 emails over the span of 2 weeks. They will be relatively short, easily digestible emails that can be read in one sitting. The emails introduce the basic concepts of Orchestral Mockup Production. At the end of the course, we will have covered the basic concepts that you need to know to be able to produce professional sounding orchestral and hybrid mockups.

Click subscribe button below and get the Basic Mockup Production FREE Course. 

Did you like this article? Please, help us sharing it with your friends.