Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ode to a whistle

Whew, this piece (my homework from last week) took awhile to sequence and mix due to my schedule at work heating up. Only managed to do bits and pieces over the week and finally got a big chunk of evening free today so decided to finish it.

Learnts lots from this little sequencing piece, for example:

VSL Flute, Solo Violin and Solo Cello
Learnt how to use the performance intervals. Like man, they are soooo awesome. For the flute, I was beginning notes with the portato patch for a stronger attack, then switching over to the performance legato patch for smooth transitions.

On the violin and cello, I attempted to apply the same idea but it felt really static. Experimenting with using the performance portamento patch helped somewhat, but it tended to jump out at me. What I think made it work was to use the portamento patch only for note changes up to a tone in distance; it gave an improved sense of life and yet still be smooth and not too earcatching.

Used my Zoom H1 to record various sounds; breath noises, chair creakings and coughs.
Audacity was then used to clean up any noise (very little, the Zoom H1 is amazing!) and chop up the bits and pieces into usable .wave chunks. Thank you audacity team!
Finally, all these were brought into Kontakt and laid out. If you got a good set of headphones, you may hear these artificial artifacts.

Custom IR
I captured a custom IR for use with this piece. It's not a 4 channel impulse like what's in the vienna suite, but I made it and I like it :P

Mixing was as usual. I had major trouble setting up my spatial acoustics. Today, I decided to check my "final mix" with my Shure SE215 IEMs (and Grado SR80s). Not expecting much, but holy dang, everything jumped out at me. Levels, spatial placement; everything was WRONG.

I then re-mixed with the Shures, and was delighted to be able to find out how much I needed to put the levels for my ER and tails so that the instruments sat in a space I wanted, and I could eq off the highs off the strings and their 'verbs waaay easier.

After the remix I felt that everything didn't sound as boomy and cluttered as before. Maybe because I pushed the two stringed instruments waaay back in the mix, but there are still there to provide a textural bed for the flute to float on.

One other thing I've noticed is that the music is originally composed on piano staves (though the melody was composed first on an irish whistle) with no thought for instrumentation. I think I would actually prefer the flute to be playing higher up in its range where it becomes more sweet, and not so warm and mid-rangey. Something to think about, since the violin and cellos are pretty close as well. On the master bus's EQ, it was all mid range frequencies, no super highs and the lows were remarkably clear.

It's time for bed, I'm so tired.

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