PART 4: Reverb!
Now, the most difficult and most-discussed theme on orchestral composition forums is applying reverbs. This is the most important part of the orchestral mixing process as far as I’m concerned. I’ve watched and listened to loads of tutorials and lectures on reverbs for orchestra—which one is better? Why?. There is a lot of controversy on impulse response reverbs vs. algorythmic reverbs. Whatever you pick, the most important thing is that it sounds good to you. My main reverb is Altiverb and sometimes I use Lexicon PCM Native. Here’s how I apply them to my orchestra sections:
Every section has its own reverb that processes it. I like to use Altiverb’s IRs of stages like Todd-AO or FOX Scoring Stage. I like the fact that it has three different mic positions that were used to capture the impulse responses, so I can use them on individual close-miked sections of the orchestra. There are three IR patches of wide mic setups that I use. The closest one is for strings, the middle one is for brass and woodwinds, and the farthest one is for percussion and choir. I apply very little reverb on close mic sections just to give them air, and I apply more of it to stage mic sections to give them room.
Here’s an example of proper reverb settings using Lexicon PCM Native:
I use two instances of Lexicon. The first one is for close mic setup with a very small pre-delay and short reverb time. I use only 50% of the mix.
The second instance emulates stage and far-miked setups, which requires a sizeable pre-delay and long reverb time. Its mix is set to 100%.
If I have a solo vocalist in my session, I usually use any vocal plate preset for it.
This covers the reverb for the orchestra. Next up we’ll look at using the Studio One Video Player for scoring.
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series: