Saturday, 25 June 2011

Love For Battle: Breaking Down The Mix

Love For Battle by Reflekshun

Basically, everything is done in the box with software here, running Logic Pro 9. Most of the orchestral instruments are played on Vienna Instruments Pro, using the VSL Special Edition Bundle. I layered the VSL Glockenspiel with Tonehammer's Circle Bells to give it a nice full bell sound. The Grand Piano is from Synthogy Ivory II (Huge fan of this)

The key to the sound of the instruments I'm using here was layering, I often stacked as many as 8 different articulations together. The violins include both solo and 14 Violins sampled articulations of: sustained, legato, portamento and tremolo. Normally it would be questionable to stack such a variety of articulations, but I feel it works in this setting because of the dreamy waveyness of the song itself.. Much of the workflow speed came from this method. Having these layers with polyphonic legato turned on (Thanks to VI Pro) allowed me to play one take for a polyphonic violin section and it would sound fairly natural and interesting straight away.

I used 2 x VSS3 reverbs (using TC Powercore) for the space. I had set as a short reverb and the other set as a dreamy long reverb for those instruments i really wanted to add dreamyness and wash to. Because I wanted more of a surreal and glossy sound, I chose to use synthetic reverb instead of convolution.

As for mixing I chose to use Waves SSL plugins for the EQ and Compression, and the occasional Waves API plugin for EQ and Compression. I also used a mix of Waves and TC Powercore plugins for mastering. I mastered this track fairly loud for an orchestral track, to be more listenable outside of a game setting (I think this is different to what many pros do, but it felt right).

You may notice the choirs feeling like they fade in unnaturally, it was a choice between that slow attack or a fairly unnatural and musically inappropriate (for this song) sounding sampled choir attack.. It is important to remember that the musicality of a sound (i.e. it has a clear purpose, even if that purpose is to be purposeless) can sell a feeling to the listener, which is often more important than the realism of the sound itself.

I used VSL Soprano Choirs for the choir, I'm looking at buying Tonehammer's Requiem for that added depth and realism!

I hope this gives some of you a few ideas and context for some of the work you're doing. If you have any more questions, tips or opinions for me, please leave me a comment below!

Thanks for reading :)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Stealing the spotlight with mixing

You can have a mix so amazing that the original artist no longer has the spotlight.

This is potentially good for:
- Your Ego
- Comments you may get from your mixing peers
- A few people that value a good mix over a good song

This is potentially bad for:
- The Song
- The Original Artist
- Most people who end up (not) listening to the song

Just remember what comes first - the song

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Treasure Chest: Zero Vector

White Noise Audio is a small company that makes very unique PC audio plugins.

A personal favourite which left an impression on me is Zero Vector. A synth I used years ago for strange and boutique use. If you aren't so much into making those strange noises, this synth might pursuade you otherwise.

Heres why it's special to me:

- Unique fluffy, soothing, strange quality
- Unique Oscillators and Waveforms
- Vector Pad (a 3-way triangle modulation pad)
- Memorable interface

If you have a PC, you can try the demo here:

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Sometimes you might make a decision that is very questionable, seemingly wrong to everyone else. That decision obviously sets you apart from everyone else.

If it feels right in your own heart, do it.

Have faith and have fun..