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Polar Express Suite Remake - Realistic Orchestral MIDI Mockup (incl download midi file)

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Sometimes a new composing project can drive you nuts. Momentarily I have to deal with one of those. I can’t put my finger on it, but something is wrong. Something is missing. Something doesn’t work. Which is really frustrating.

I guess there are many strategies to get out of these situations. One that often seems to work for me, is studying work from others. Doing a remake of an existing score. And that is just what I have done this time. A remake of a small piece of the Polar Express Suite!

If you would like to remake this piece of the Polar Express Suite yourself, you can download the midi-mockup of this project on my Patreon page for free: https://patreon.com/gh0stwrit3r/

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It's a fine starting point. Remember to come back to it often as a reference when you start dealing with panning and all. There's a lot of room in the writing alone so I wouldn't stray too far away from a good set of tree mics.

Is this Ashton's MIDI? https://bit.ly/35U5hkk

I don't know why you would add instruments anyway.

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I'm creating mixes with different mics in the Spitfire Audio Libraries. A combination of tree, close and ambient. Sometimes the tree is dominant (strings), but sometimes it is not (with the brass for example). The link to the MIDI mockup is the one from me, the adjusted version.

The instruments that I have added, were missing in the mockup from Ashton. For example the piatti, desk bells and woodwind runs.

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So what is dominant your brass? I would suggest the tree to be dominant there as well. Close micing brass gives too much low and high.

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The ambient mics are the dominant ones with the brass. With a tree mic in the mix. That gives a great sound and feeling of width. Brass needs to breath.

Closed mics on the brass are indeed normally not a good idea. I only use those for non-realistic stuff, sound design or trailer like compositions.

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Not necessarily. I would suggest you either way try a neutral tree setting without precedence and breeze. The secret to orchestral mixing really is to stay out of the way. There's a reason no orchestral film music mixing engineers don't use it and have tree mics as dominant.

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I know when you have a proper balance in your orchestral template, the composition should mix itself for 90% or so. So I will try different mic settings. Trees only too. I still have to learn a lot. Thanks for the advise!

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On 5/15/2020 at 7:33 PM, bryla said:

Not necessarily. I would suggest you either way try a neutral tree setting without precedence and breeze. The secret to orchestral mixing really is to stay out of the way. There's a reason no orchestral film music mixing engineers don't use it and have tree mics as dominant.

 

I've prepared three (!) basic orchestral midi mockups of the polar express suite. Trying to pin down which one sounds the best.

Now I guess I'm biased. So I'm asking you: which one do you prefer?

In random order they'll pass (starting at 4:05 - so if you wanna skip my talk, go ahead):

  • only tree mics and no extra panning

  • my personal mic preferences with extra panning in Kontakt

  • my personal mic preferences with extra panning in Precedence

So let's vote!

https://youtu.be/hfAVNYpUJvg

Next week I'll return to this video and share the winner. Of course, we run through the midi mockup and the settings in detail.

Libraries used:

  • Spitfire Audio Symphonic Woodwinds

  • Spitfire Audio Symphonic Brass

  • Spitfire Audio Symphonic Strings

  • Spitfire Audio Chamber Strings

  • Spitfire Audio Percussion

  • HZ Percussion

  • 8dio Lacrimosa (female and men)

  • 8dio Liberis

  • Audio Imperia Jeager Violins

  • NI Symphony Series Brass

  • NI Symphony Series Percussion

  • NI The Genteman

  • Cinesine from Cinesamples

  • Sonokinetic Modal Runs

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Thankful! That is what I am! Many of you listened to the three basic orchestral mockups of the Polar Express Suite from last week video. Many votes came in. Some of you shared your thoughts, insights, arguments why one of the three mockups sounded the best to your ears. Valuable information for all starting aspiring composers and I guess for the ones who are on the road for quite a while. One thing for sure, I've learned a lot from it! In this video I will announce the version which is favoured by the people who voted. And of course, we have an in-depth look at the settings of that orchestral mockup version!

 

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