Orchestral positioning

Part 1. Panning
Left, center or right. It might seem basic and arbitrary, but it’s more important than you might think.

Part 2. Reverb in theory
Reverb. How does it work? Why does it work?

Part 3. Reverb in practice
Some more technical pointers on how to set up a nice orchestral reverb in your DAW of choice.

Part 4. Reverb and realism
This article features some highly subjective (but hopefully useful) thoughts about reverb, virtual orchestras and realism.

Part 5. Choosing a reverb
Algorithmic vs convolution, stereo processing, and some plugin recommendations.

The sample quality myth

Part 1. All that glitters is not gold
Is sample library quality actually the most important aspect of a virtual orchestration?

Part 2. Know your instruments
Before the sampled instrument there was the real instrument. How much do you really know about them?

Part 3. Know the style you’re working in
An orchestra should be something greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s your job to make it so.

Part 4. The human factor
Realism. What is it good for, and when?

Vintage virtual orchestration on a budget

Part 1. Overview
Virtual orchestration did not begin with software samplers and sample libraries, so why not treat yourself to some free VSTi’s that emulate the days of yore?

Part 2. Yamaha S-YXG50
A look at Yamaha’s classic late 1990’s soft synth.

Part 3. Sonic Charge Cyclone
A very truthful emulation of a Yamaha TX16W sampler.

Part 4. E-MU Protues VX
The virtual version of E-MU’s classic Proteus 2000 sound module.

Part 5. The real deal
The actual hardware is still around, so keep an eye out.

Part 6. But… why?
What’s the point of all this anyway?


Mixing and processing a virtual orchestra
Some guidelines on using EQ, compression and stereo imaging in your orchestral mixes.

Layering orchestral samples
Various tips on how to layer different libraries to create a bigger, bolder sound.

Let the samples dictate the music
If your samples won’t let you do what you want them to do, let them do what they’re good at and pretend that’s what you intended all along.

10 tips for getting out of a creative rut
When it feels like all your ideas are crap — or maybe you can’t come up with anything at all — here’s some stuff to ponder.

6 Responses to Articles

  1. Pingback: Orchestral Positioning: Reverb |

  2. Pingback: Share knowledge, don’t hoard it |

  3. Pingback: The sample quality myth Pt 4: The human factor |

  4. Yvon Tramblay says:

    First of all, thanks a lot for your articles! It’s really great, detailed and very useful (although I admit I often find myself breaking a few of your rules on occasion ^^”)

    Which brings me to my question, would you have a few tips or articles recommendation on how to approach mixing for electronic music (especially today with the retro craze for 80s-70s type of mix, it would be very useful)? As I find myself moving farther away from aiming to sound “orchestra-like”, I tend to aim a lot more toward an electronic/new age style of sound and I just discovered that….. well, I really do not have any basic knowledge on how to approach this, and often end up just doing some trial and error and repruducing effects and gimmicks from tracks by jean-michel jarre, vangelis or even pink floyd… (It’s a little embarrassing to admit). I think that at least some basic knowledge would be really useful and let me really know what I am doing when experimenting.

  5. Pingback: Useful Stuff – Matt Brown – Masters

  6. Pete Zenk says:

    Thanks a lot! Brilliant articles, very, very valuable.
    BTW: I pasted the whole stuff into one big document, ’cause I had difficulties reading white on block on my laptop screen.

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