Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

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mromgwtf
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Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by mromgwtf » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:16 pm

Like, srsly.
Every instrument in the orchestra sits perfectly in its frequency range, has perfect volume. Was God a mixing engineer?
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by fragments » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:31 pm

I imagine that has a lot to do with arrangement and composing on the composers part. Also one might think of a conductor as a live mix engineer? I know pretty much nothing about orchestras so I'm not sure, but I feel like arrangement and composition, sample selection and sound design are about 50% of mixing in my tunes.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by titchbit » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:49 pm

Probably has more to do with the design of the instruments than anything. You know like the thickness of the wood, size of the chamber, thickness, length, and tension in the strings, and many other factors determine the frequency of the sound they make, right? Designing those instruments is a science.

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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by fragments » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:54 pm

dubunked wrote:Probably has more to do with the design of the instruments than anything. You know like the thickness of the wood, size of the chamber, thickness, length, and tension in the strings, and many other factors determine the frequency of the sound they make, right? Designing those instruments is a science.
Yea, this as well. But don't most of the instruments have at least a few octave range? Even then, composition would have to play a big role. But that's a great point as well dubunked. :Q:
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by tpc_uk » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:58 pm

it basically because everything is in tune, all the composite parts are in key for a particular piece of music and not all instruments play at the same time, so tuning & arrangement I guess.

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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by Icetickle » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:10 pm

The thing with orchestra is also that you get "LIVE" panning. :D
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by Crimsonghost » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:54 pm

I was readin FM recently where they did a peice on orchestral arrangements. Some pretty interesting stuff in there:

1. You have a lot of different instruments playing things in different octaves: double bass, cello, violin, viola, ect.

2. A lot of those instruments are playing harmonies or counterpoints. I'd assume this helps to avoide clashing frequencies?

I'm also assuming that since and orchestra is essentially in stereo that that would have something to do with it. (My brain is too tired to use my words, so I'm sticking with that :dunce: )

Anyways, was a good article. Made me want to play with some arrangements.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by titchbit » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:49 pm

fragments wrote:
dubunked wrote:Probably has more to do with the design of the instruments than anything. You know like the thickness of the wood, size of the chamber, thickness, length, and tension in the strings, and many other factors determine the frequency of the sound they make, right? Designing those instruments is a science.
Yea, this as well. But don't most of the instruments have at least a few octave range? Even then, composition would have to play a big role. But that's a great point as well dubunked. :Q:
I don't know specifics but they definitely have a range of octaves, depending on where they hold their finger on the string. (played cello for a few years in grade school) :lol:

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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by SunkLo » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:30 pm

It's all arrangement.

They also all share a space and have very defined roles in filling the frequency spectrum, so it can be a very cohesive wall of sound. That combined with attention to dynamics and voicing, and careful use of negative space means it's already pre-mixed at the source.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by hutyluty » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:17 pm

i used to be in an orchestra and its mad how different it soudns from in the middle as it were, like i was sat at the left centre and basically all i could here were the timps behind me and the brass blasting out to my left while the violins and cellos were practically inaudible but then on a recording from the conductors stand it all balanced perfectly.

that's what the conductor is for basically, keeping the balance right, in rehearsal he (or she) will let people know when they are playing too loudly or quietly- basically if it sounds right- often at a concert venue like a church or w/e you'd have to switch it up because the acoustics were different, the conductor acting almost like the guy at a mixing desk. So basically it's because they work at it a lot, it doesn't just sound that good when they first play a piece of music. (plus all that stuff about natural panning, frequencies spread out through the instruments and stuff too)
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by Artie_Fufkin » Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:19 am

dubunked wrote:
fragments wrote:
dubunked wrote:Probably has more to do with the design of the instruments than anything. You know like the thickness of the wood, size of the chamber, thickness, length, and tension in the strings, and many other factors determine the frequency of the sound they make, right? Designing those instruments is a science.
Yea, this as well. But don't most of the instruments have at least a few octave range? Even then, composition would have to play a big role. But that's a great point as well dubunked. :Q:
I don't know specifics but they definitely have a range of octaves, depending on where they hold their finger on the string. (played cello for a few years in grade school) :lol:
I'm sure the composers don't generally have the cello play up high into the range of the other instruments, unless there is space for it or for effect. I'm not too familiar with how cello sounds when you play the upper range, but I'd bet it doesn't sound as full as the viola or violin if the higher register of the cello is in the middle of their range.
It's definitely a mixture of both the instruments being suited for certain roles and the composer being aware of that.

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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by Mad_EP » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:45 am

Actually - it has very little to do with the composition, arrangement, etc and more to do with the level of professionalism of the players, conductor & recording staff.


Because there is a LOT of mixing that goes on for orchestral recording - it is just usually it is all done during the set up....

Orchestral recording sessions (whether classical or various studio like TV theme songs) are usually treated as 'live recordings' - ie, even tho edits may be done between the takes, the mic placement, levels, etc are pretty much set up before anything gets recorded.

Case & Point: when I produced the Chicago Symphony radio broadcasts... we recorded the Thursday & Saturday performances. The recording engineer had already done all of the mic placement, levels on the board, etc earlier in the week during the orchestra's rehearsals. He very rarely moved a single fader during performance. This was achievable for a few reasons...

1) the engineer was EXTREMELY good at his job. He has now gone on to win several Grammys.

2) the players are all EXTREMELY disciplined. One doesn't get into a professional orchestra like that if you can't play it exactly the same way in performance as in rehearsal 99.99% of the time.

3) and if all else fails, the conductor is like a producer/engineer as well as the recording producer & engineer.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by SunkLo » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:19 am

Mad EP wrote:Actually - it has very little to do with the composition, arrangement, etc...
I disagree; while the professionalism of the players is clutch in getting a good recording, the part writing in the arrangement stage plays a very large part in how well things mix together. Computers play things with 100% precision every performance and rehearsal but that doesn't cause a mix to gel does it? It sure helps as long as you've also arranged things to sound really good and recorded them properly, but precision alone isn't the special sauce in recordings that mix themselves.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by syrup » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:13 pm

because they compress
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by Artie_Fufkin » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:15 pm

Even if you have highly skilled, professional musicians playing it will still sound bad if the arrangement sounds bad to begin with.
No doubt the recording engineer plays a big role, though. I won't disagree with that. If they throw up a decca tree facing the corner of the room and spot mic just the percussion, I'm sure that would be a nightmare to mix. :6:
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by rickyarbino » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:12 pm

I doubt orchestral recordings are all done with one microphone. And I'd bet that if they are using more than one microphone, then there is going to be mixing involved.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by hutyluty » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:20 pm

well yeah but also orchestras sound pretty damn good live w/ no mics or any of that which is surely the point- not whether they sound good on cd or not
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by SunkLo » Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:41 pm

And they're miced in such a way to take advantage of that natural sound quality. I bet if you close-miced an orchestra in a standard rock band studio setup, it'd sound a lot worse. Prime example of getting it right at the source. First arranging the piece so everything already fits together, then making it sound terrific live and configuring the recording process to compliment that.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by rickyarbino » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:47 pm

hutyluty wrote:well yeah but also orchestras sound pretty damn good live w/ no mics or any of that which is surely the point- not whether they sound good on cd or not
I hear that, but at that point it's like listening to anything moderately produced and mastered track on a system, there's a reason we do that, on some level the music retains the importance of such details. So in essence, the reason we mix is because orchestras sound so god damned good. My point was just toward recording I s'pose.
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Re: Why orchestra doesn't need mixing?

Post by wolf89 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:45 pm

Instrument design, idiomatic composition, arrangement and acoustic design of concert halls means it sounds right live with no amplification .

I imagine a recording to be a pretty big task but mainly based in an understanding of how the orchestra works in a room. Has anyone here ever done it?
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