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Dvorak 9th Mixing Feedback Please
Last post Sat, Oct 06 2018 by Paul McGraw, 10 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Sep 14 2018 15:21
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 351

Will you please give me some mixing feedback? My ears are not as good as they once were and I need to know if I am on the right track. The piece used is the Dvorak Symphony 9 Fourth Movement. I have only finished the exposition section.

This is 100% VSL plus the Spitfire Symphonic Strings. All 8 woodwinds are individual instruments. Horns and Brass and timpani are all VSL. I had the most trouble with the strings. It is difficult to get sampled strings to sound as rich and complex as real strings. In this case, I used VSL Orchestral Strings plus VSL Chamber Strings, plus Synchron Strings (room mix), and that still wasn't a rich enough sound so I added Spitfire Symphonic Strings. I did not use the Appassionata Strings because they seemed to decrease the "bite" that I needed. 

I used a CD of the London Symphony Orchestra and copied that into Cubase. Then I used the Cubase tempo matching feature to create a tempo map so that my version would exactly match the tempos of the LSO performance. Here is the CD of the LSO.

Dvorak 9 CD of the LSO

In this version, I used MIR Pro, Synchron Stage without any other processing EXCEPT I have a VSL compressor on the clarinet for the solo. All instruments are 30% to 40% wet/dry. The overall wet/dry offset is -25%. 

Dvorak 9 MIR Pro Only

In my final mix, I added several additional elements. I used Fabfilter Pro Q2 to match EQ curves with each of the strings groups. I added three instances of Altiverb (front, mid and mid-back) and sent a small amount of each group (woodwinds, horns, etc.) to the appropriate Altiverb (Mechanics Hall), but just barely heard. In the Final Mix I added a small amount of Cubase Magneto (tape emulation saturation), a small amount of Stereo Widening, and a small amount of the VSL exciter. Here is a link to my final mix.

My final mix

So please provide some feedback. Is the final mix better than the MIR Pro Only? Is there something else I should do? Please share your thoughts.

Based on feedback I received on other forums, I did a remix. I think it sounds even better now. If anyone is interested in what I did, let me know. Here is the Remix.

Dvorak Remix based on Feedback

Paul

Posted on Fri, Sep 14 2018 15:43
by fahl5
Joined on Fri, Feb 04 2005, Hall One, Posts 922

Great to see you working on such powerful symphonic music.

Just an Idea, if you use Synchron Strings, they as far as I can see do have no problem with "bite" at all.

Especially the tremolo are able to be done perhaps notably more excited if you dont use tremolo patches, but program the 1/16 notes with the incredible supershorts of the Synchronlibrary. They do have Roundrobin capacirty enough for not sounding mechanical as you perhaps might fear, but the fact, that they are metrical correct adds a lot of excitment this passage seem to ask for, while I fear in my humble opinion, the Spitfire Symphonic might give you perhaps strings for long chords, .....but "bite"? But I dont know of course exactly for what purpose you have used them,.

Anyway I like very much it how you try such great music.

http://klassik-resampled.de ... 3443 mp3 with 162 hours of sample based interpretations of complete Scores from 7 Centuries

http://synchron.12sf.de ...Synchron-Strings explored in 44 mp3 with more than four hours of complete and ambitious scores from 19th, 20th and 21th century produced with Synchron-Player Strings.

...anything comparable anywhere?
Posted on Fri, Sep 14 2018 18:20
by MMKA
Joined on Tue, May 22 2012, Posts 264

Hi Paul, that sounds wonderful. Especially the strings, very real and expressive. Ok, some places are a little different as the cd, but that doesn't matter at all. It's a rich strings sound, what you get here.
Because you asked for feedback: perhaps you can get some more expression in the clarinet solo, that sounds a little flat to me.
Concerning the MIR Pro version and the Full Mix, I find it difficult to make a choice, I think at the end I should choose the full mix, but I think, this is a matter of taste, and there are also moments in the music that I should choose for the MIR Pro version. The MIR Pro version is a little more direct, and sometimes that gives more detail but in other moments I like the more mixed sound of the Full Mix.
You wrote that your ears are less good, and of course I believe you. But at the other hand you make a wonderful piece of music, so that should give me the idea, that for this kind of work your ears are well enough, happily for you!
And for you perhaps nice to know: comparing the different versions I had all of them in a different tab of the browser. In a certain moment I was writing this and listening and thought that I was listening to the cd version, and: tada... it was the full mix version.

Posted on Fri, Sep 14 2018 19:32
by Gustar
Joined on Wed, Sep 05 2018, Posts 11

That's impressive!

If I were to suggest something to take a look at, it would be the brass motif from 0:16 to 0:29.
In the LSO version, it has a bit more bite than in your full mix version and cuts through the rest of the orchestra.
In your mix, I feel it gets a little lost compared to the rest, which is probably because the volume balance is not 100% perfect (in case you want to get as close to the LSO version as possible).

You could also try to raise the presence range in the brass with an EQ, maybe a few dB @  around 2.5 KHz and see if you like it. But all in all, I like your final mix better than the "MIR Pro only"

Posted on Sun, Sep 16 2018 20:24
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 351

My thanks to everyone who replied! 

I received a number of suggestions on this forum and on other forums. In response, I did a Remix incorporating all of the suggestions I have received. I think it is even better now. Here it is.

Dvorak Remix based on Suggestions.

Posted on Tue, Sep 18 2018 18:19
by Guy Bacos
Joined on Sun, Jan 16 2005, Quebec, Canada, Posts 1973

Great work Paul.  If you could tweak the brass a bit, EQ?, it will raise it a few notches. 

Posted on Tue, Sep 18 2018 21:58
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5164

I listened to the Mir pro only and the "final mix" but thought the Mir pro only sounded much better. There is something wrong in the later version, but I can't tell exactly where it went wrong.  The Mir pro sounds more natural to me.  Great performance anyway!   

Posted on Mon, Sep 24 2018 18:35
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 351

Thanks Guy and William. 

Guy, this piece (at least in the section used) is not a difficult one for brass, but I agree it could sound better in my samples version. So I doubled the horns and trumpets with Spitfire horns a2 and the Spitfire Solo Trumpet. I think that thickened the sound enough. I hated to use a non-VSL product.

William, you have good ears and I bet I know what is bothering you. In the MIR only version, there is no added EQ, or compression, or widening, or tape emulation, or exciter, or anything but MIR Pro. In my final mix and remix I use EQ, tube compression (only 1.5 to 1) and tape emulation to try to "fatten" the brass and move it back on the stage. On the master output I then use the VSL exciter, another tube compressor (only 1.5 to 1), and a stereo widening at low setting (125%) plus a very small amount of MIRACLE. After all of this the frequency analysis of my mix is basically identical with the CD. But . . . a lot of processing going on. Is it good or bad? I am not sure. Here is a video of the frequency analysis using Fabfilter Pro Q. Mine is on the left, CD is on the right.

EQ analysis

Posted on Sat, Oct 06 2018 11:55
by Pieman1560
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, Gloucestershire, UK, Posts 31

Hi Paul

I have to say i think you've done a magnificent job....i think it sounds wonderful! and to me its almost indistinguisable from the LSO Cd version, which in itself is an achievement i dont think i'll ever be able to get near to.

I liked all the versions you did. I prefered the Mir version best before you did the different remix, which i think is better as a finished product, as thats the one i cant tell the difference between the CD but the MIR version to me has a rawness thats just lovely....sort of like your listening to the best orchestra on the planet rehearsing, which in itself would be brilliant thing to hear, and i think you've done an incredable job.

Trust me, there is NOTHING wrong with your ears! or the judgements you made in your mixes, i'd take any of those in a heart beat!

Loved the idea about importing the CD track into the DAW to get the tempo track perfect.....thats a brilliant thing to do....and one i'm going to borrow!

With kindest regards

Paul

Posted on Sat, Oct 06 2018 12:23
by Paul McGraw
Joined on Mon, Feb 29 2016, Georgia, USA, Posts 351

Originally Posted by: Pieman1560 Go to Quoted Post

Hi Paul

I have to say i think you've done a magnificent job....i think it sounds wonderful! and to me its almost indistinguisable from the LSO Cd version, which in itself is an achievement i dont think i'll ever be able to get near to.

I liked all the versions you did. I prefered the Mir version best before you did the different remix, which i think is better as a finished product, as thats the one i cant tell the difference between the CD but the MIR version to me has a rawness thats just lovely....sort of like your listening to the best orchestra on the planet rehearsing, which in itself would be brilliant thing to hear, and i think you've done an incredable job.

Trust me, there is NOTHING wrong with your ears! or the judgements you made in your mixes, i'd take any of those in a heart beat!

Loved the idea about importing the CD track into the DAW to get the tempo track perfect.....thats a brilliant thing to do....and one i'm going to borrow!

With kindest regards

Paul

Thanks, Paul, I really appreciate the positive comments. It is very good to hear that you enjoyed the track! Now I wonder if I can transfer what I learned to my performances of my own compositions. I could not have gotten results so realistic without a CD track to emulate. The push and pull of the tempo of a live orchestra truly makes the music breathe and come to life. Some of the tempo fluctuations are created by the conductor, but not all. Some tempo fluctuations just occur spontaneously within the orchestra itself. That is hard to capture in an original composition. Best regards,

Paul

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