Mixing VSL Samples

Using dry samples for producing music needs to mix them.
1. For getting a transparent sound.
2. For creating a sound which the listeners are used to

You will find some ideas, tips and proposals here. Have fun.

The difference between mixed samples and unmixed is enormous.
Listen for yourself:

A) No mix - just the sum of all instruments

B) Mixed and mastered

The mix is much more transparent, it has a certain ease and you hear the individual instruments much better ...
... if you do it right...

You will find this mix at youtube as well - animated...

What makes up a good orchestra mix?

Positive formulated:
It is transparent
It has an "open" sound with some "air".
All instruments are audible
It has got a natural ambiance (Concert Hall, Church,...)
It has got a natural dynamic (also within the instrument sections)
It has a well balanced frequency response over all

Negative formulated:
It contains not too much reverb
It contains no dominating frequencies
It sounds not "muddy" within the bassrange and over all
It is not "overdriven"
It is not too much compressed or limited (without any dynamic)

Use all the three dimensions:

1. Pan from left to right
2. Place Instruments from the front to the back
3. Assign frequency ranges and: Farther instruments sound a bit darker

How to do it?

1. Use the Panner of your DAW-mixer-channels
Narrow the stereo field, Pan from the left to the right, do all these things with speakers and together with the corresponding depth

2. Create several depths for several instrument sections (see on the right)
For a transparent mix it is good to have some different depths (solos close loud instruments far could be a roule).

3. Assign correct frequencies so that different sections have their own frequency range.

It is important that instruments do not cover other instruments. So you can probably place a flute more on the right instead on left behind the violins...

1. Use the Panner of your DAW-mixer-channels
I drawed my virtual stage and panned the instruments from left to the right within their corresponding depths.
The Band got its own mix as we are used to. It was not placed within the Concerrt Hall

2. Create depths for several instrument sections
As you can see on the stage I used 5 different depths within this peace. If you take the band and the soloists as well we have got 7 depths.
OK it seems to be a bit too much. Nevertheless, to have the solo violin in front of the string quartett is very nice.

3. Assign correct frequencies so that different sections have their own frequency range.
First mention: Listen for example to the strings: The solo violin got a shiny (1:25)sound, the string quartet (1:08) sounds a bit darker and the orchestra strings got a warm and even darker sound (1:35).
That's what I mean with "the farther the darker".
Even if the orchestra strings don't sound very bright they are always audible because they got their own place in the depth.
Second mention: I placed the Glockenspiel and the violins 2 on the right so that they will never be covered by all the other high instruments on the left. At the mean time we have a nicer stereo sound this way.
Third mention: I arranged the the piece so, that I most time had no problems to distribut the frequency ranges to the all the playing sections.
Last mention: Such mixes are more interesting for listeners than those automatic mixes done by MIR and Co.

I wish you successful mixes!
Beat Kaufmann

This could be a Reverb-Concept for reaching good results: