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Reverb for orchestral and acoustic arrangements?


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I like writing orchestral and big band stuff with libraries like EWQL and Broadwayy and while I've gotten decent sound out of them, I feel like I'm not touching their true potential. I've heard really good VST based stuff from mixers on this site (like Beckett or ) and I'm getting nowhere near that level of sound it feels like. What are my options when it comes to emulating acoustic realism? I have various libraries (though I mostly use EWQL platinum and other EW libraries) and aside from EW Spaces I don't really have any other reverb plugins.

What I've been doing is adding an instance of reverb to each individual instrument, but that doesn't seem to be the best option. Not only is it memory intensive, but to mirror the spacing and spread of instruments in an environment it seems like it'd be better to send everything to one instance of reverb and try and pan from within there? Or maybe I should just try to work with the mic positions of my instruments and avoid reverb?

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You should use both mic positions and reverb. Mic positions for presence/"dry mix", and reverb for perceived depth. Generally, you want mostly close mics for the flexibility of using reverb, but having some percentage of stage mics enabled helps creates natural width. As for reverb, this video may help you to remember (?) what each reverb parameter does.

I would use reverb instances on collections of instruments, namely a separate instance for each woodwind ensemble, strings ensemble, brass ensemble, etc (i.e. in a Send). You've seen this image; maybe go back to it and see what you now can get from it (remember that the times are decay times). Here are some posts I remember that may help.

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7 hours ago, mickomoo said:

I like writing orchestral and big band stuff with libraries like EWQL and Broadwayy and while I've gotten decent sound out of them, I feel like I'm not touching their true potential. I've heard really good VST based stuff from mixers on this site (like Beckett or ) and I'm getting nowhere near that level of sound it feels like. What are my options when it comes to emulating acoustic realism? I have various libraries (though I mostly use EWQL platinum and other EW libraries) and aside from EW Spaces I don't really have any other reverb plugins.

What I've been doing is adding an instance of reverb to each individual instrument, but that doesn't seem to be the best option. Not only is it memory intensive, but to mirror the spacing and spread of instruments in an environment it seems like it'd be better to send everything to one instance of reverb and try and pan from within there? Or maybe I should just try to work with the mic positions of my instruments and avoid reverb?

You want to use reverb as a send, not an insert. 

Create a track that has your reverb set to 100% wet, 0% dry and send your tracks to it. The higher the send level, the more reverb you get. 

Mic positions are great because you get the hall or scoring stages natural reflections, but if you're using different libraries, they won't sound as cohesive because they sound like they're in different places because they are. 

Which, for achieving acoustic realism across the mix, is not what you want

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EWQL SO Platinum is recorded in orchestra position in a concert hall, so you should be able to get decent results by simply running it through Spaces without changing the panning. It's dry libraries such as VSL that require more finesse with reverb.

Very interesting to revisit my old reverb chain via timaeus's post. My current approach is to match dry sounds to the EWQL Hollywood series with Spat. But for the Hollywood series itself, which is recorded in position with multiple mics like EWQL SO, I basically just run it through Spaces unless I need some sort of special sound.

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