Back on Track – Mixdown
Having successfully completed the emergency mix, I’ve been able to get back to moving forward on Praise to the Lord the Almighty. As of this writing, I’m almost complete, but let me catch up on what came before.As of my last writing in this topic, I was layering GPO string sounds to create a fuller section. The first bug to come was in placing the resultant audio tracks into my DAW. For starters, they didn’t line up. That wasn’t a huge problem, and solved per my post on Making Music. Once I had everything into Power Tracks and lined up, then it got interesting.
Mixing an entire orchestra was more difficult than I anticipated, and I figured it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. I used dynamic controls in Finale (f, p, etc.) to get the parts balanced, but I was only able to get close. I had to add some automation to the final mix to get it to balance all the way through. As of right now, I’m not completely done with that step, yet. I thought I was, but each time I listen to the rendered version, I find there is something else I want to tweak. Since rendering takes 6-8 minutes (I need to measure it sometime), that’s a lot of time between making a tweak and evaluating it. Note that for some reason listening to playback on the DAW isn’t exactly the same as listening to the rendered .wav file. Plus I can burn the .wav to a CD and listen to it upstairs on the stereo, in the car, etc.
There was one other issue that I ran into. I was hearing an unpleasant phasing sound (like a slow wah-wah) in the violins. I soloed the track at it was still there, albeit at a reduced level. When I soloed the violins and violas together, it was worse. I’m pretty sure the problem was with layering the string sounds. Since I had a half dozen different patches playing the exact same MIDI data, the small, REGULAR variations in the samples were causing the phasing. I suspect that the answer is more work than I currently wish to perform. Instead of having 7 instruments playing off the same MIDI track, I need to create a separate track for each instrument before applying the Human Playback. That way the HP variations will keep the regular variation in the samples from causing the phasing. It’s too late to do it now without erasing all the HP and re-recording it, which means re-rendering each track and re-importing them into PTPA.
My work-around was to eliminate all of the solo strings and just go with the sections. Not perfect, but I can’t afford perfection right now. Next time I’ll know. My next two posts will deal with the topics of Convolution Reverb and what I went through to get a good MIDI piano track. After that, I hope to point you to a published version of the song!
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