So, the next thing I am going to explain is how I pan the instruments properly to simulate orchestral placement for each instrument section. This is the chart I reference when panning my instruments.
Panning is where all of those stereo tracks from Kontakt (see part 1) will come in handy, because these are all sections of multiple instruments within the orchestra. Some people would use mono track for a single section and pan them left or right according to the orchestra sitting chart. That is okay, but what you have to realize that what we’re doing with virtual orchestra is that we’re SIMULATING a live orchestra setup. Those instruments are panned left or right, but their sound travels and expands in multiple directions. That’s why a stereo track is more useful.
Usually orchestras are recorded by using multiple microphone positions. For example: The entire orchestra is recorded with a Decca Tree mic setup that’s positioned behind the conductor and is picking up the full orchestra’s sound. In addition, every section of the orchestra has its own stereo mic pair that is positioned very closely to the performers.
What most audio engineers are doing in a setup like this is simply layering the full orchestra sound with close mic positions, and they mix the individual sections more easily through those close mic setups. Here’s what I do:
I use the full string section from Symphobia (e.g. Sustain strings) and layer it with LA Scoring Strings sustain patches. What I like about this approach is that Symphobia has the “room sound” and LA Scoring Strings are very dry, because of their close mic setup. Now, according to the chart above, I ould pan the Symphobia strings from -100 to +100, and individual sections of LA Scoring Strings I pan appropriately to the chart (e.g. first violins from -100 to -20, Cellos from +12.5 to +73, etc).
I repeat this process for every instrument section in the orchestra. If I was using Symphobia Brass, I would pan it from -37.5 to +37.5 according to the chart, and layer that patch with individual patches of Orchestral Brass horns, trombones, trumpets and tuba panned appropriately to their position within the orchestra. I’ve noticed that Studio One doesn’t have the option for dual panning for the stereo track, so I use Binaural Pan as an insert to take care of that problem. (Note to the developers: Make sure you include this in the next patch please!) [editor’s note: We hear you!]
Although this can be taken care of when bouncing tracks by bouncing a single stereo track as dual mono, this approach introduces a problem. If you’re applying EQ on that stereo pair, you will have to insert an EQ on both mono tracks or route the mono tracks into a stereo submix, and then apply the EQ on the submix.
As a matter of fact, that seems like a good stopping point. Next time, we’ll take a look at EQing our orchestra to minimize competition between instruments for your ear’s attention. We’ll follow that up with a few words on reverb, and how to accurately re-create our orchestra’s cavernous environ.
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:
Studio One is available in a number of versions: Artist, Producer, and Professional. In this video, longtime PreSonus advocate Byron Gaither breaks down not only why Studio One is right for you—but also WHICH Studio One is right for you. From bedroom producers to established rock stars, you’ve likely heard rumblings of people quitting their old DAW for PreSonus Studio One.
So, you should take a good look at this—we’ve got a version of Studio One in your size.
WAKE UP. This is important. I know that “Track Management” doesn’t have the same zing as “Transient Beat Detection,” “Groove Templates” or “Lap Dance,” but pay attention.
You kids today have too many options. One of the potential pitfalls of a DAW with unlimited tracks and drag’n’drop instrument placement is that an overzealous producer might just use too many tracks. It doesn’t take long until you have to scroll down to find your MIDI, and your audio tracks are up top, your rack tom is next to the hydrocrystalophone track, and damned if you know where the vocal is.
Proper track management avoids all this. You have a lot of options: Folder tracks, color-coding… oh, just watch the video. And go clean your room.
Byron Gaither is back, and he brought an autoclave-warm scalpel with him. This video takes a look at surgically-precise drum replacement via Melodyne, as opposed to the usual sort of dull and rusty sidechain/gate/MIDI-trigger pokery that you may-or-may-not be have developed a tolerance for. I know we’re always talking about how easy everything is in Studio One, but this strikes even me as a little ridiculous.
Seriously, don’t blink. I had to watch it twice, it went by so fast. Get yourself 50CCs of efficiency, stat.
By Nikola Jeremić
[editor’s note: Nikola is a film composer and music director who resides in Belgrade, Serbia. He came to our attention via this video which caught my attention. I invited Nikola to supply us with a blog post on composing for film… and he supplied us with enough material for about 4 posts. 🙂 Nikola, thanks for going above and beyond. -Ryan]
I know that most of you composers out there have already committed yourselves to your most favorite DAW software, and I know how hard it is to start from scratch on something new. To tell you the truth, it was the same for me as well.
Here’s a true story: I accidentally came across PreSonus Studio One from a friend of mine who bought a PreSonus AudioBox and got Studio One bundled with it. He uses a different DAW, so I took Studio One for a test drive—and boy oh boy, was I mind-blown. I got addicted from the moment I started using it.
First of all Studio One LOOKS COOL! Second, it is totally easy to use even if you’re new to it. And last, but not least, every single track that you bounce from it sounds GREAT!
Since I am a composer myself, I like to make my own default template for writing orchestral pieces or contemporary hybrid soundtracks. It’s very easy to do that if you’re using Studio One. My default template for scoring consists of 6 instances of Native Instrument’s Kontakt that are loaded into Studio One. I have to point out that my PC is a bit older, so I can’t afford to load a bit more of virtual instruments because, believe it or not, I am using a 32bit Windows 7 based PC with 3.5GB of RAM and Intel Dual Core processor.
My main orchestral library is Symphobia. I’ve chosen it because it covers everything that I need, and it sounds great. I am layering the string section of Symphobia with LA Scoring Strings, Symphobia’s brass with Orchestral Brass Classic and Symphobia’s Woodwinds section with EastWest Symphonic Orchestra Woodwinds. My percussions are mostly from True Strike library, and my choir is Requiem Light.
Now then, having said that, my template is rather simple, yet very effective. Why 6 instances of Kontakt you wonder? My default template has strings, brass, woodwinds, choir & vocals, percussions and the sixth one is for other types of non-orchestral instruments. Every one of the 6 sections has its own Kontakt, and every Kontakt that’s loaded has 16 MIDI channels and lots of outputs (I’m using 16 stereo outputs in every Kontakt), so I’m using 16 instrument tracks for every Kontakt that’s loaded. And of course, they are all nicely sorted out into folders. So it’s a total of 96 instrument tracks. And here’s how my default edit window looks like when it opens up:
I’ve marked the sections of the orchestra in different colors for easier orientation. Strings are brown, brass is yellow, woodwinds are green, choir & vocals are blue, percussions are white and those other instruments are red. It’s easier to spot them when they’re in different colors if you are working with a big orchestral template. Of course, you can use your own color patterns as you see fit.
Studio One integrates with third-party VST instruments very easily. When you’ve created your desired number of tracks and sorted them out into folders, next thing that you should do is patch the instruments’ inputs into proper MIDI channels and route Kontakt patches into proper Kontakt outputs.
For example: I’ve named my string section tracks as Strings 1 – 16, and I’ve assigned them to their proper MIDI channels 1-16 to match the channels of Kontakt. I’ve also named the Kontakt instance for string section as “Strings”, so I know that it’s only using string patches. Strings 1 are using MIDI channel 1 of Kontakt, and the patch output inside Kontakt is routed into channel output 1 of Kontakt, as you can see on the picture shown. And that goes for every channel of every section in every instance of Kontakt.
Of course, I will rename the tracks properly when I have decided which articulations and which instrument from the section I am going to use for the project. And that varies from project to project. That is why I am naming the tracks as 1,2,3,4 etc. in each section. For example: String tracks are named “Strings 1”, “Strings 2”, etc. you get the point.
Next, activate those Kontakt outputs to be used as individual tracks in Studio One Console (Mixer). Here’s how you do it: You open the Console view (default is F3) and click on the bottom left side where it says “instr.”
Now the list of all of your loaded VST instruments will show. Click on the little arrow pointing down to the left of your first Kontakt and click “expand” on the drop-down menu. You have to check out all the channels of Kontakt that you want to use in order to be shown in the Console Window.
Repeat the same process for other instances of Kontakt hosting other orchestra sections and you’re good to go. When you want to save your template, the only thing that you need to do is click File/Save As Template, and name that template as you see fit. Every time you start a new orchestral session, you can load your template from the menu that opens up when you’re creating a new song. That’s pretty much how I do it.
So, to summarize it all: Create a new song and set up the options how you want it (my setup is on 48 kHz, 24 bit because that’s the standard sound setup when you’re writing music for video). Next you load a desired number of Kontakts that you want (or other samplers that you’re using), and create a desired number of instruments tracks for it. Sort out everything into folders and mark the tracks in different colors. Open the console view, select “instr.”, and check all the VST instrument outputs that you want to be active in the session. Finally, save the template and name it as you like. That’s it. Later on when you’re adding patches into Kontakt you will select the MIDI channel for the patch and assign the patch output to appropriate Kontakt output and rename the track in edit window.
Next post: we will pan our virtual orchestra across the stereo image using an orchestra chart for reference and apply reverb—and get these VSTs sounding just like the real thing!
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:
Here’s just a few of the updates in Studio One v. 2.0.5… click through to the Studio One site below for the full list of updates!
• Ampire™ XT amp models were reworked for better sound
• Any command can now be assigned to any MIDI CC message.
• Markers have a Stop flag that stops playback at the marker.
• Manual now available in German, Japanese, Spanish, and French
• Exchange and Sound Set Builder now supported in Artist version
Studio One 2.0.5 update: http://ow.ly/aeMCH
GET STUDIO ONE FREE: http://ow.ly/aeMJC
Perhaps “Transforming Audio” isn’t the ideal nomenclature. In the DAW sense, “Transforming” is all about rendering your malleable, time-stretched, VST-, reverb- and Melodyne-saturated audio track down to a single, elegant WAV. Draw parallells less with Optimus Prime turning into a truck and more with flattening layers in Photoshop.
Transform your audio once you’ve dialed in the effects to juuuuust the way you like them—this process frees up your rapidly aging CPU from thinking about all those heady, pitch-shifty convolution-reverberizing plugins you threw at it. Freeing up RAM in this way means you can apply heady pitch-shifty convolution-reverberizing plugins to some other track. Or you can transform to MIDI.
Fortunately, if you checkmark the right li’l boxes, Transformation is non-destructive. If you’re unhappy with the changes you’ve committed to, you can always bring it back to the way it was before, much unlike my relationships with women.
Our dudes over at Obedia stay busy. Visit them!
Hello to all fellow Artists and Producer/Engineers:
My name is Neil Citron and I’m most known for working with Steve Vai for about 14 years. I’m also an Independent Producer and Engineer for my own company, Citron Musical Services. I’ve worked on every DVD that Steve Vai has done, which all either went Gold or Platinum. Other projects have included No Substitutions by Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, I Mixed Michael Jackson’s Striped Mixes for Universal, and recorded John Waite’s last CD Rough and Tumble, just to name a few.
I’m a guitar player who became an engineer and then became a producer. I’ve worked in film and TV as well, but my first love is making CDs. I taught the actors in Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do to play for the film and did some of the guitar in the film as well. These are just some of the things I’ve been happy to be a part of and I’m always looking for the next exciting thing around every corner.
I recently got a copy of Studio One 2, and I wanted to see what it could do. I was pleased with it and would like to share my thoughts. I usually record a whole song to audition new software so I can get a good idea of its strengths and weaknesses. In this case I started with my friend, and great drummer, Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., and many others) and went into the Doghouse Studio in
Woodland Hills. We mic’d up the set and had Frankie record to a click. I didn’t really have a song written, so I asked Frankie to wing it; a fill into something and a fill out etc. You can always work with more than less, but Frankie has such great song sense, I never did have to edit anything.
Next, I brought the tracks home and started trying out the MIDI and soft synths and was very pleased with the sounds. I found a Studio Piano I liked and started there. Next I used Omnisphere because I wanted to see how third party things worked. Painless is the word that comes to mind. MIDI in, MIDI out, and all is well. I then send some MIDI to my Giga Studio, (Yes I’m one of those guys who still uses Giga!) and again: painless!
Now, on to some guitar, my main instrument. I started with a clean sound, just mapping out the song as I go and trying to get things in perspective. Again easy as pie, and sounding good so far. Very happy at this point which brings me to this: the thing about DAWs is that there are a lot of them out there, and almost any of them you can record a track or two and really like the results. The difference between the men and the boys is when you start stacking things up and your sound stays clear and you hear all the nuances of each instrument.
This is where the software for me lives or dies. I’m sure a lot of you have tried stacking a Hammond and a guitar and some strings and a few horns and then held your ears from all the fighting that was going on.Then you have to start making choices of who stays and who goes. I hate that!!!! Well, I was very happy to not have that happen here. Hammond, guitar, strings, french horn and trombone all playing well together. Remember, these are synths, not 10 people sitting in a room playing, so making these work together is a hard thing to do.
I asked a country/bluegrass bass player (Joan Fraley) to come over and play bass on my song because I wanted to add a different feel in the bottom end to go with Frankie. Also she has a crazy bass collection and knew she’d bring something fun. I tried her Uke-bass first, but went with the Fender Jazz-P bass as it worked with Frankie’s drum sound the best. Next, I played some leads, bluesy in nature to fill in the blanks and finally added a few Ahh’s in the background for texture and I was done. I wanted to put enough stuff in so my mixing would tell me more about the software.
I mix from the bottom up. Drums, bass, guitar, keys, lead instruments or vocals, backgrounds and then solos. I was taught that way and it still works for me, even though I know many do it differently with great results.
After this, I started adding reverbs and delays. I use some hardware as well as plug-ins, so I started by comparing a box ‘verb and a plugin ‘verb. On the snare I put a Lexicon PCM 70 and then went to the PreSonus plug-in to compare and see what’s what. I found a nice plate to compare, and I was pleasantly surprised. Reverbs are getting better, but in the early days of plug-ins they were terrible, so I still go there first.
Then, on to compression. I used the PreSonus compressor with very good results and it was so easy to add. Drag the plug-in you want onto the track and go. That’s just brilliant. My workflow was very fast and easy. I work at a rapid pace as a rule, but I could slow down here because the software kept up. I finished the mix and went into the project section and burned a CD from there.
Usually I have to open another software to continue, so this was a very nice option. I played the CD on my home system and heard NO DIFFERENCE! Usually there’s something you want to change because it sounds a little different, i.e. vocal level, snare a little low, etc. Nothing! I was happy, needless to say. I then mastered it and I was done. All in record time, I might add, and in our business time is money.
All in all I can say that Studio One 2 works well without crashing and has no hang ups. I even tried keeping the buffer low while mixing and had no troubles—and I used a lot of plugins and hardware at the same time! I only had one issue which was answered quickly from support, and that was the Pipeline Plugin for hardware effects to stop latency. It worked well, and I never looked back.
Happy recording to all and I hope your experience with PreSonus Studio One is as good as mine!
All the best,
Citron Musical Services
Wait, what? Sure, you can put an amp in software through modeling, but you can’t put software an amp. Right?
Wrong. True enough, Studio One Orange Edition can only be found in the Orange OPC from—duh—Legendary UK amp sages Orange. But what’s software like Studio One doing in a hardware amp combo? Orange have released a bang-up, bad-ass little combo amp. Unlike the typical “combo” consisting of an amplifier section and speakers housed in a single enclosure, the OPC houses an amplifier section, drivers, and, oh, a WHOLE KICK-ASS 3.1 GHZ 64-BIT PC RECORDING WORKSTATION WITH USB THREE POINT OHH AND AYECH DEE EHMM EYE. All in a lightweight, 2×6.5″ combo that will blow minds, melt faces and yes, it has a PCI-e slot so you can add-on a fancy video card, and then it will run “Crysis 2.”
We’re flattered and honored that PreSonus Studio One was chosen to occupy a little bit of space on the included 500GB Seagate hard drive. Studio One Orange Edition is an upgrade from our more commonly-known Artist Edition, adding Amplitube support for all your tube-modeling needs (and beyond.) Of course, all those Amplitube-modeled amp tones can be routed to the main speakers on the OPC… you aren’t limited to using them in Studio One Orange Edition, they are suitable for performance as well!
Check out this review from the kind folks over at Expert Reviews for more info.