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Author Topic: Mixing a "punchy" orchestra sound  (Read 3726 times)

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June 10, 2014, 01:18:15 PM
Hi everyone,

A year or so ago, I finally splashed out on some orchestral patches.  Now I've written a bunch of music that's sort of "cinematic-pop".

I'm having some trouble with the mixing, though.  I want the climaxes of the orchestra to sound really punchy, exciting and grand, but I also don't want it to wash out everything else.  I personally keep wanting to beef the orchestra up (it's not yet as mighty as it is in my head), but I get feedback wanting more of the vocals, and I'm trying to keep the mixes clear.

Any idea how to handle this, any tricks I'm missing?  In case it's helpful, here are some example tracks:

Thanks. :)
« Last Edit: June 10, 2014, 04:15:41 PM by brokencity »

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June 10, 2014, 04:06:20 PM
I think the orchestra sounds just fine (perhaps there a bit too much verb on them IMO). I feel many of the other elements aren't in their place, the drums are lacking bottom end oomph and you could easily get away with more compression on the vocals (perhaps a bit of distortion à la Spike Stent to keep them on top of the mix). As a learning process you probably ought to try to match the sonics of Hurts' first album Happiness (which is better sounding than their second effort, more punchier). Bright vocals, punchy drums and wide orchestration. Rarely it's the orchestra itself that sounds punchy per se but many of the other elements in a cinematic pop song.

My personal favorites in a "punchy orchestral" genre are Björk's Homogenic and Vespertine albums. In both albums it's the drums (more in the former) and especially the vocals (which have been given an intensive sound) which make that punchy sound IMO.
"You don't go to a record school to go to courses, you go to record school to record there!"

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June 10, 2014, 05:29:08 PM
Thanks for the feedback Spede, and also for the reference/listening recommendations.  I love that Hurts album, but never thought to use them as a reference.

That's a good point about the orchestra not being as "punchy" as the surrounding elements.  Part of my trouble is that I think I want to sound like cinematic/trailer music (e.g. Two Steps From Hell) and I like how a lot of my backings sound as I'm writing them - until I make space for the vocals on top.

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January 22, 2015, 08:43:24 AM
Ask you to take the good posts like this again.