Do you EQ or Compress orchestral instruments?


#1

Hey all,

When producing an orchestral piece, with multiple VSTi tracks playing the various instruments - do you tend to EQ or compress any of the individual parts?

The reason I ask is, I’m sure that recordings of real orchestra performances of classical pieces are left as bare as possible, so that the listeners get the music as it was really performed. Check out classic FM for example, and how much you have to turn up the volume to reach a level comparable with other radio stations, due to the lack of limiting and compression.

But, when it comes to our artificial / attempts at epic symphonic masterpieces, is it usual to manipulate the highly produced, intricately recorded sample instruments in today’s virtual instruments?

Thanks,


#2

EQ pretty much always in some capacity. Compression never.


#3
ZtarrZound said

EQ pretty much always in some capacity. Compression never.

Any compression for percussion?


#4

I almost always apply a little EQ to most things, to apply a little colour, or to place things in the mix. I mix libraries and have to use EQ to make them fit together a bit better.

benskia said

Check out classic FM for example, and how much you have to turn up the volume to reach a level comparable with other radio stations, due to the lack of limiting and compression.

Classic FM highly compresses and EQ’s its playback. Compare it to BBC Radio 3, and you’ll hear the difference. Classic FM boosts the Bass substantially and highly compresses it which is why it is significantly louder than BBC Radio 3.

Besides, it depends on the style of music you’re writing. More classical stuff will require less EQ than say, Epic Trailer music.


#5

Exactrly. Even scores heavy EQed and compressed, so this is not a dogma.


#6

I always do an 18db cut at 50 - 60 hz to take out sub harmonic mud - that’s it.


#7

I use EQ and compression. But for compressing orchestral sounds right, you need transparent compressor, which preserve transients. You need Eq, for avoiding mud and spectral conflicts.


#8

I once had the opportunity to sit with a “real” engineer as he tweaked the EQ of an orchestral track of mine done with EWQLSO Gold. By making very small cuts and boosts on individual instruments (between 0.1 and 1 dB at certain frequency centers with variable Q settings), he was able to increase the overall realism of the track considerably.

Of course, he had great ears and knew exactly what he was doing, and knew exactly which frequencies weren’t blending well.


#9
InspiringSound said

I once had the opportunity to sit with a “real” engineer as he tweaked the EQ of an orchestral track of mine done with EWQLSO Gold. By making very small cuts and boosts on individual instruments (between 0.1 and 1 dB at certain frequency centers with variable Q settings), he was able to increase the overall realism of the track considerably.

Of course, he had great ears and knew exactly what he was doing, and knew exactly which frequencies weren’t blending well.

I would like great ears but I shall settle for great legs instead.

#10

I do a lot of EQ work, sometimes extensive. For instance, for my Most Wanted trailer entry, I cut a lot of the highs on the violin parts where there is a lot of unwanted noise. Though of course you want to keep some of it for the realism, but it was just too much by itself.
I rarely do compression, sometimes on percussion or brass, but only if necessary. If I do compression on an entire track, it is with transparent compression to so it just kind of glues it together. Nothing else.


#11

EQ its very important thing for everything. I make compresion if is it needed.


#12

EQ is the big part of composition track for frequent EQ,pan, stereo separation,avoid resonances etc.wasted more time than writing itself the track.
I spend a lot of time for EQ and even for Orechestral instruments.


#13

All the time! Just do whatever you have to do to make it balanced and clear. If it needs it, go for it. If not, then so be it! There is no ONE way, in my experience. However, I do have sounds I prefer and tweak EQ the same way a lot of times. Compression, not very much unless its a really soft composition.


#14

+1

bdProductions said

All the time! Just do whatever you have to do to make it balanced and clear. If it needs it, go for it. If not, then so be it! There is no ONE way, in my experience. However, I do have sounds I prefer and tweak EQ the same way a lot of times. Compression, not very much unless its a really soft composition.


#15

When it comes to orchestral tracks:

I put in compression ONLY for the melody-carrying solo instrument. Nothing else.

I know I should be EQ-ing more but I only do it when I personally hear that certain frequencies simply aren’t working.


#16

Most orchestral libraries (talking about the decent - good ones) are recorded in a film scoring stages using various mics (tree, OH, Close etc). Its important to remember that when using condensers in a big hall some low end usually accumulates do to the natural sound of the room or other artefacts. I usually cut everything under 30-40HZ on instruments such as violins, violas, woodwinds etc… It really seems to clean up clutter and make everything clearer. In regards to compression, I almost always soft compress my groups :slight_smile: just feels right, no other justification for it.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


#17
TortoiseTree said

When it comes to orchestral tracks:

I put in compression ONLY for the melody-carrying solo instrument. Nothing else.

I know I should be EQ-ing more but I only do it when I personally hear that certain frequencies simply aren’t working.

+1


#18

Yeah it all depends on the sample and what you’re aiming for. I usually have an EQ and a limiter on every track, but sometimes it’s just not necessary. Have a look at the master out EQ analyzer now and then and watch out for spikes in certain frequencies you may not hear due to fatigue and/or speakers / headphones / room acoustics. To make it sound like a real orchestra performing, low shelf away some bass on all non-bass instruments and adjust high ends so no instrument sounds too close or too far. Panning is important to create space in the middle. Lower reverb output until you can only and barely hear it between the notes.



And then forcefully smash it all up against 0 dB with the master limiter and name it “Inspiration” :wink: