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  • Making tracks actually sound like real scores...

    Hi everyone,

    It has been 2 years now that I have been trying to get my stuff do sound like Media Ventures stuff (Hans Zimmer, Harry-Gregson Willams, etc). I am not trying to get my melodies to be like theirs, I am trying to get the same sound quality. Sometimes I get close, but I never get it right. I have even once recreated a track of Zimmer's just to see if it was my orchestration that had problems or my mixing/equing/compressing.
    The latest reverb that I use is the Waves IR-1, with the Sidney concert hall preset. I find it to be the best so far.
    Take Zimmer's track "Molossus" from Batman begins for example. It sounds like what I want my stuff to sound like (sound quality wise).
    When I create my own music, the sound seems to be more in my face. The ensemble strings do not sound as "ensemble-ish" as zimmer's stuff. Now I know that Zimmer uses real orchestras as well as sampled ones. I have heard a demo on VSL's site which sounded pretty close. It's The Battle by Matthias Guenthert.
    Now, as I am listening to "Molossus" right now, I am noticing that even though the sound is in my face, it still has some depth. I can also notice the sampled strings in some parts, yet they blend in perfecly. Is this a question of reverb? or compression? (i am pretty sure there is compression on zimmer's tracks)

    To acheive this kind of sound, do I need compressing (on the overall mix, individual tracks?)? which kind of reverb do I need (convolution, or regular)? I am not trying to get my orchestra to sound like a real orchestra performed by a symphony as if I were in a symphony hall. I am tyring to get the same sound as Zimmer's.

    I have tried different ways of mixing: mixing right in midi, or mixing after bouncing all diff instruments to audio files. which is right?

    I am on a PC running Windows XP Pro, Gigastudio 3.1, Nuendo 3.1, Soundforge, all Waves plugins, Gigapulse in Gigastudio.

    I also noticed that the vienna samples are wide stereo, do i need to decreased the width in gigastudio?

    I have so many questions, however it would take too long to ask them in one post.

    I have basically been mixing pretty much with trial and error, not knowing what I'm doing. I can mix a techno track or anything else pretty well, all except a zimmer like orchestral track.

    Thank you all

  • Hi,

    mixing a piece is not an easy task and entirely different from composing a piece, so you'd probably need an audio engineer to get your tracks to sound like Zimmer's - I'm pretty sure that's what he does [[;)]] But if your tracks sound to much forward in the mix, take back their volume and give them more reverb. Also, narrow the stereo width so that an instrument won't sound all over the place (in Cubase/Nuendo, right-click on an audio track's panning display to switch to "stereo dual panner" where you can adjust left and right panning separately).

    For more professional info, maybe Dietz will chip in who really knows what he's talking about ...

    VSL manuals

  • Hi there chem,

    You could also check out Beat's tutorials here:

    Hope this helps


  • Thanks a lot, i dont have the money for an engineer lol, and my goal is to sort of make everything myself [[;)]] here are few recent tracks:

    There are 4 or 5 files in there. They are pretty short tracks.

    "Venstu Dreadnaught" is the oldest, "Trying to finish" is the latest.

    Btw, the titles were randomly chosen [[;)]]

    I'm looking for comments about the sound quality, however comments about the music is also welcome [:)]

  • Hello Chemicalseb -

    As much as I'd like to give you advice in the sense of "How to mix like Bruce Swedien in 10 minutes" - I have to admit that this won't happen. The scores you hear in Hollywood-cinemas nowadays (and the Media Venture productions in special) are far from what we would call "puristic" in a technical meaning of the word.

    While classical recordings are more or less trying to be "true" to the impression heard in a concert hall (although even _this_ statement has to be mistrusted a lot!), this is hardly the case with movie scores. About every trick sound engineers came up with during the last 50 years or so gets used there: Multi-Tracking, editing, EQing, compression, synthetic effects ... you name it.

    The idea behind the Vienna Symphonic Library was to create virtual orchestral instruments that are so pure that you could treat them as real recordings, which means that you have all the technical and artistic freedom on the one hand, but on the other hand you have to _make_ these aesthetic decisions. You are able to follow a classical approach with our samples, but nothing hinders you from going the heavily processed route, too. But the latter option means that you will have to work in a similar way as the "big guys" if you want to achieve a similar result. People mixing (and recording!) this stuff are sought-after, many of them with dozens of years of experience and "golden ears". I simply can't sum it up in just one forum message (or two).

    On the top of it, much of the sound you are aiming for is based on typical arrangement tricks, giving the mixing engineer even more options to get "that" sound.

    The good thing today is that it's not so much about money anymore - it's more about time: You can have the possibilities of a big studio from 15 years ago inside a PC (like yours) today. The bad thing is that you will have to make your own experiences and learning steps to make use of all these possibilities.

    While I can try to give you good and practical advice on every tangible question, I really don't know where to start in your case. How deep is your self-taught insight into audio-engineering? Are we really talking about the very basics, or are you actually a "home recording professional"? There are several good primers on the net regarding audio-mixdown and its background. Attending full-blown mixing-sessions (just for listening purposes) would give you invaluable impressions, too.

    The point is: It would help a lot if you knew what to ask for, if you catch my drift.


    ... this is maybe not the answer you were longing for - but a honest one, at least. Please don't stop asking; together we will find solutions in your quest for "that" sound. It just can't be the push of One Magic Button, though ... [H]

    All the best,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Dietz,

    I'll give you a little of my background on producing/composing/engineering.

    I am currently 18 years old. I first started playing piano at the age of 5 until now. I first started making music on this game called "MTV Music Generator" on playstation 7 years ago. That was in 1999 I think. That initiated me to sequencing. I then started making music on the computer in 2000. I first started on Digital Performer doing all midi, no audio. A year later I started doing audio in DP2.7and 3.0. Then I briefly moved to Logic where I did both audio and midi. That was in 2002. I had just learned compression/gate. Then in 2003 I fully moved to Cubase, and I have been using it ever since (except for the switch to Nuendo). I have been using Gigastudio for about 2 years now. I also have been using reason, and briefly tried fruity loops. I do not have any problems when it comes to how to sequence, edit, etc. I do have an actual mixer, which i used to use before doing audio. I also have two hardware compressors, two microphones, and couple other hardware pieces that I do not use anymore. I find myself to be methodical and perfectionist (usually kills my creativity when I cannot get the perfect sound). I like to have a routine that I use everytime to get a similar sound everytime. I guess my quest is to find this "routine" that will get me to that "sound" I am looking for.

    I hope this little bio helps on what I have been doing.

    By the way, did you take a listen to my short samples?

    Those are short examples of what I can get to. I think they sound pretty good, yet it is not the "sound" I am looking for [;)]

  • I think that´s a good kept secret of the good engineers like a good cook and his special sauces. [[;)]]
    Sure mostly will depend on the know-how but also a bit what equipment
    somebody has.
    A good way is to learn the Basics and of course also learning-by-doing (to learn from the own mistakes and trying to make it better in life is [8-)] )
    Maybe you can also ask Alan Meyerson (the chief-engineer of Media Ventures) directly something over where he has already written some messages.


  • Hi All,

    The orchestra on Batman is quite a bit different in layout and strength to a regular symphony orchestra.

    12 Violin I
    12 Violin II
    6 Violas
    16 Cellos
    8 Basses

    Violins I + II are arranged opposite each other, so facing the orchestra from the left is Violins I, Violas, Basses, Cellos the Violin II

    score was recorded at Air Lyndhurst Studios in London UK by engineer Geoff Foster Neve desk staright to Pro Tools via Prism A-D's

    There you go, that's all you need [:)]



  • Think you mean 16 Violas! [[;)]]


  • It's almost like you were there [:D]

  • I've always had problems making things sound truly real -- I've never been able to achieve the realness that Maarten Spruijt achieves on his tracks -- but ALtiverb has sure helped in that regard. The other thing I've found that works even better than a great reverb is mixing articulations of an instrument. It involves a lot of nitpicky programming, but it's super-effective.

    Also, for what it's worth, even when I've had tracks that didn't QUITE sound like a real orchestra, when they're mixed into a film, suddenly they do take on a very realistic sound. I think it's just the presence of "air" surrounding the dialogue and music.

    Just my $.02.


  • Why was the orchestra used in Batman recorded that way?