Here Brian offers his various techniques for making string sections that aren’t "real" string sections in the traditional sense sound convincing and warm. His perspective on how strings should sound in a pop recording stem from his experiences in real orchestras during his many years as a concert percussionist, and draw from valuable first0hand knowledge of how acoustics and environment shape the way a string orchestra grabs at the emotion of a song.
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- Strings are the classic instrument group that are…most often referred to as 'sweetening' in pop music.…Along with horns, of course,…and I spend most of my energy…these days on string sections that have been…sampled in by a programmer…with some very sophisticated sampling software…that's available to us now.…But, I want to show you something that's…way more interesting, I think, than that, today,…and this is a string section that was played…by a single musician,…overdubbed and overdubbed and overdubbed,…and let's kind of scroll down,…we started at Strings Mono 1,…and he goes all the way down to…Strings Mono 14, and then I made some stereo pairs…all the way down to…let's see, it looks like four pairs of…oh, more than that,…one, two, three four,…yeah, four stereo pairs of strings…and it's all this one guy.…
So, although these strings are real,…it's not quite like having 15-piece orchestra…all on the floor at the same time.…But it is something that you'll see a lot…and can economically make happen for your productions.…
Brian starts with the basics of creating a mix template and getting a good raw balance of the instruments in the mix. He then dives deep into signal processing techniques on many types of instruments, including drums, bass, guitar, keys, vocals, percussion, strings, and brass. He'll pick out and treat individual tracks with compression and EQ, add space with reverb and echo, and modulate the sound with flangers and phase shifters. Pro Tools is used throughout the course, but the techniques will work equally well with the DAW of your choice.
- Customizing a mix template
- Understanding the interplay of volume, panning, EQ, and dynamics
- Processing drums
- Processing lead and background vocals
- Gain processing
- Treating the bass guitar and synth guitar
- Placing piano in the mix
- Treating strings and brass