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SoundChris
SoundChris
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Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-09 20:58:31 Reply

Hey there - i always asked myself if there are any guidlines how to EQ a full orchestra (the single instruments in context and also the sections). I am using hollywood strings right now - gold version - and the diamond would include an auto-EQ and auto-Pan option. Hm ... sounds interesting, but is this really worth that much money to upgrade?

I am not sure but i think i have asked something similar quite a long time ago but still havent found a good way to EQ the orchestra. I know that the selection of instruments and also the orchestration is one of the key aspects and every instrument should have its space where it can flower out. When orchestrating i always try to follow a few basic rules to keep the track as clean as possible - sometimes it still does not work the way i wanted it - the track is still intransparent and i have to get it more clear with compressors and volume / gain editing (which i dont think is a good idea :D ) and i am thinking of the use of EQ presets or just some guidlines ... i am quite sure a lot of you guys also have / had to struggle with this. So please introduce me into the of EQ improved midi orchestra composing :D

Really - i would be very thankful for any tips!


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sorohanro
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-09 21:16:03 Reply

Here a list of instruments and their main harmonics and qualities:
http://vs840.vjam.net/eqprimer.pdf

And some more stuff:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug01/articles/usingeq.asp

Orchestra EQ?

samulis
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-09 23:31:10 Reply

As far as EQ'ing orchestral stuff, it's really "to taste". Basically, increasing or decreasing parts can have an effect on the tone of the ensemble. More highs can add more airy or bite, more lows can (if careful about mud), add more warmth.

Certain sample libraries are known for having certain characteristics. EWQL last I knew was known as having too much mids. Reducing this can help fight mud and add clarity, but remove some warmth. It's all about the coloration you are going for and your personal tastes.

The other use is to get instruments out of the way for others, like trying to mix cellos and horns when they're in the same register. When dealing with a real orchestra, you can't turn a knob to fix that (but you can use mutes, dynamics, and 8va/vb to fix it as people have done for centuries), so I don't know if that's really most applicable to orchestral music as much as electronic and pop styles. I would assume EQ for orchestra would be a lot more subdued than mixing a jazz or pop track where you have different EQ for each drum mic and compression and all that jazz.

When dealing with low-quality/free libraries or samples, it's almost required to EQ the tracks to improve the tone.


My Music - Virtual Instruments - About Me
Orchestral Composer, Sample Library Developer

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KatMaestro
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-10 09:23:12 Reply

Certain libraries already have well-balanced sounds and don't need extra EQ or mixing, such as EWQL. There are some libraries, such as LASS which needs a lot of mastering work. For me, usually orchestra QEing only involves adding the warmth and smooth sounds to certain part of the original sound, for example the Adagietto.

I tried to find tutorial online but found only a few. There is a thread on GPO forum about this, then this. A thread on OCremix about EWQL.

Daru925
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Salut!
I create 3D art here, and you can listen to my album there! Comments/Feedback appreciated.
Merci! :)

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JacobCadmus
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-10 11:27:59 Reply

This is gonna be a neverending battle, whether you like it or not. You'll find yourself needing different EQ, reverb, etc. settings between certain projects, as much as you would need different gain levels or different sound templates. The best thing you can do is use very subtle EQ curves, especially since most high-end libs are already well-processed. Also, keep in mind that other effects like reverb and compressors affect frequencies as well, and are often the culprit(s) for muddying your mix more so than EQ.


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SoundChris
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-18 06:37:48 Reply

Sorry guys for my late reply - i was quite busy and almost forgot about my own thread - how embarrassing :D

@sorohanro and @Daru925 : Thanks a lot - the instrument hz - map idea is quite helpful. I tried to EQ some classical instruments but found out that there are a lot of frequencies in any samples which are very far away from the instruments usual range. If i highpassfilter lets say the oboe there are still a lot of things going on over 10khz - breath noises, mechanical instrument sounds and stuff, so this approach is really useful to bring out the instruments core-frequencies but also kills details. Maybe this isnt a problem because if there is really a lot going on in your project you wont notice all those little details of the samples. But the result would be that if an instrument plays solo i needed another instance withaut EQing to get it mor human and realistic. Dont know - maybe i am wrong - i am quite new to this materia :D Thanks a lot for your help - highly appreciated!

@samulis and @Elitistinen : Yes - a lot of libraries are already a little bit pre-EQed. But i dont understand why EWQL offers "Auto-EQ" in the diamond version of hollywood strings / brass / winds? I mean - sure i am getting better with the time when i want to achieve a clearer sound, but if i am listening to the hollywood string demos everything seems to be so lush, clear, brilliant ... ok it was created by thomas bergerson so i think its not a surprise and i am also aware that it takes a lifetime to find your way to get near to this kind of sound. But it just feels i am lightyears away and thats something which annoys me :D

@JacobCadmus : Indeed - it always depends on the project, the room size, the panning - every different piece needs an individual approach. But i am quite sure that there are some kinds of rules like: punch the strings at 1.5 khz to make them more brilliant, reduze the brass at ... to bring out the strings better - but without taking the brass section´s power - maybe muldicompressing?

Thanks a lot guys for your helpful comments!


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JacobCadmus
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-18 08:32:38 Reply

At 6/18/14 06:37 AM, SoundChris wrote: Indeed - it always depends on the project, the room size, the panning - every different piece needs an individual approach. But i am quite sure that there are some kinds of rules like: punch the strings at 1.5 khz to make them more brilliant, reduze the brass at ... to bring out the strings better - but without taking the brass section´s power - maybe muldicompressing?

Not sure if most of that pertains to what I was saying. But anyway, keep in mind that all those rules and diagrams are just starting points. Ultimately you'll have to develop your ears, because data can often be deceiving. Samples in general react to a room much differently than a live performance, and even if you have a bundle of libs from the same developer, same studio, etc. you'll find yourself breaking the rules (experimenting) a lot to get a balanced mix.


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KatMaestro
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Response to Orchestra EQ? 2014-06-18 13:03:24 Reply

At 6/18/14 06:37 AM, SoundChris wrote:
@samulis and @Elitistinen : Yes - a lot of libraries are already a little bit pre-EQed. But i dont understand why EWQL offers "Auto-EQ" in the diamond version of hollywood strings / brass / winds? I mean - sure i am getting better with the time when i want to achieve a clearer sound, but if i am listening to the hollywood string demos everything seems to be so lush, clear, brilliant ... ok it was created by thomas bergerson so i think its not a surprise and i am also aware that it takes a lifetime to find your way to get near to this kind of sound. But it just feels i am lightyears away and thats something which annoys me :D

From what I learned about people's criticisms on EWQL product, many disappointed the real sound of its product. ( @Rampant ) Similar to Rampant, I was temporary banned from their forum after I brought up many questions and demands about demos with actual library sound. From those days, I learned the hard way that all their demos are dressed with heavy EQ to sound impressive. I said goodbye EWQL products since then.