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Tips for full symphonic metal

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by newamerikangospel, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. newamerikangospel

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    My studio computer died, so I have been doing a lot of searching for tips/tricks with large orchestral sections while waiting for the parts to come in to build another. The music is blackened-death-like? (Fleshgod Apocalypse is the best example). All of the examples I can find are dealing with EQ sculpting, but I cant find anything about stereo field, saturation or parallel processing. Does anyone have any experience with this?
     
  2. Old Man Doom

    Old Man Doom Member

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    Know the sound you want beforehand. Do you want the orchestral components to sound like an orchestra accompaniment, sound reinforcement, synths, etc.? So, if FA is your reference, then you should view the orchestra as another instrument that takes up space not only in the stereo field but in the arrangement most importantly. Yes, EQ sculpting is crucial, but that won't matter if you have your brass, strings, woodwinds, and percussion playing full blast while you've got a metal arrangement underneath at all times. My advice would be to really be conscious of what is the main focus of any given riff or section (i.e. Let the brass really drive home a melody and lay back on guitars to support the strings with the underlying chord progression). Being conscious of the dynamics in the arrangement, especially with as dense an arrangement as it's bound to be, will really help down the line in the mix.

    As far as your other mix-related questions (saturation, parallel), I haven't run into any special techniques to use on orchestral elements. Be wary of your air frequencies since they will build up very quickly with all the brass and strings. Also, be wary of reverb build-up. I have also found that you really want to pay close attention to how the brass sits in your mix because if its too thin or not present enough, then sometimes the fortissimo dynamics in the low brass (baritones, tubas, trombones) will sound a little too much like farting instead of having that sharp metallic attack that we all love. Maybe it's just because I'm a former brass player, but I tend to leave more room for brass in the arrangement and mix.

    Hope that helps a bit. Just my take on it.
     
    egan. likes this.
  3. egan.

    egan. daylightdies.com

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    OMD gives good advice. If the arrangement doesn't account for the orchestra you're going to have a bad time. I think the key for strings over metal generally are level riding (and level riding comps) and cutting whatever isn't working/needed eq wise. The you have to apply that EQ concept more severely on the reverb as it will eat up the whole mix otherwise.
     
  4. Potapka

    Potapka New Metal Member

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    Ha, was thinking of starting a similar thread soon.
    Has anyone seen any good tutorials/posts/videos on mixing sympho metal (Nightwish-style, etc.)? I'm looking for any input EQ-wise and, especially, space-wise (reverbs, etc.). All materials I seem to be able to find on mixing metal deal with modern metalcorish stuff, which is not the case.
    I'm usually not the one to make arragement decisions beforehand, I get the material for mixing with all tracks printed.
     
    #4 Potapka, Jan 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  5. newamerikangospel

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    Thanks for the replies, especially Old Man Doom. You hit on what I was trying to find specifically, brass sections. The artangements work pretty well in my pre-productions tracks, sit well together and almost mix themselves volume wise, but i was trying to find a way to make brass "shiny" without being harsh or brittle, but still have weight but not clutter the low mids of the mix, specifically the trombones. I guess I will play around and see what happens. Maybe post raws/DIs one I have the system up, since I havent run across any in the past with music like this.
     
  6. BassTard

    BassTard Member

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    Some good advice here :thumbsup:.

    Just a sidenote: Regarding placement, I find the use of individual L&R paning helpful (compared to traditional balance).

    I think this is really essential! On this note: know your automation. You could feature the orchestra on the first pass of a new theme and then let the guitars take over - or vice versa if you got a real cool riff comming in.
    "Show" the audience what's there once and they will be aware of it all the way through.

    EDIT: And another thought I just had: Enhance certain low frequencies (either bass-guitar or low orchestral voices) before highpassing them. (Easily done with plugins like MaxxBass.) The perceived low-end won't get too thin, but you're still cleaning up down there.
     
    #6 BassTard, Jan 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016

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