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Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix

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About the Course

In 4+ hours over 10 video lectures, you'll learn hands-on, how to do a basic virtual orchestral mix!

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Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix™
Comes with 17 Impulses Responses in 44.1 for Early Reflections, Reverb Tails, and EQs (TILT Filters) created exclusively for the course by Numerical Sound

plus dozens of mini-mixes featuring Bricasti, B2, and other reverbs.

This course is for those who create with orchestral samples and recording engineers who’ve had little to no background in orchestral mixing, live or virtual.

IMPORTANT! Video Lectures are downloaded from your Alexander Publishing account. IRs are sent to your email address from Numerical Sound. See Readme First.Doc for complete info.

About Visual Orchestration 3™
Visual Orchestration 2™ taught how to setup the basic virtual orchestral mix through effective setup of your template.

Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Orchestral Mix™ is the next step with this hands-on video lecture course. Using the convolution reverb that comes with your sequencing program and the impulse responses (IRs) created exclusively for Visual Orchestration by Numerical Sound, you’ll begin developing your mixing skills with:

1. 5 sets of Early Reflections covering the major orchestral libraries;

2. 3 TILT Filters that apply EQ to the majority of virtual orchestral instruments (including the complete string and brass sections);

3. 4 Reverb Tails covering the small studio up to a larger recording studio (2.0 seconds RT60);

4. 10 video lectures teaching you how to get your sample libraries into the same room so that you can learn to create a professional sounding mix demonstrating specific spatial placement techniques.

5. 12 different mini-mixes applied in a “dry” room, and then rooms with reverb decay of .85s, .95s and 1.3s to which you can test with your own reverb and then compare the results to additional study files we created applying the Bricasti M7, B2, and other reverbs yielding dozens of study examples.

By using these custom IRs from Numerical Sound, everyone has the same tools to work with. Result: total practicality in teaching you how to mix!

Bonus Materials
Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix™ goes one more step. For those owning the original LASS which came with custom IRs designed by Numerical Sound, you’ll be shown how to apply and use what you’ve got.

For those owning the Vienna Suite with FORTI/SERTI, which was also designed by Numerical Sound, you’re receiving spread sheet listings for all the Early Reflections and Reverb Tails showing you how to mix and match them.

End Results
By the end of Visual Orchestration 3, you’ll be on your way to creating a professional sounding mix of your music.

The 10 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 3: DOING The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix™
Visual Orchestration 2 has ten video lectures with selected audio demonstrations included in the course. The learning principle is this: we teach, you do!

Lecture 1 - The Tools Provided (15 mins)
Overview, what’s provided, explains the impulse responses included in the course (5 sets of Early Reflections, the 4 Reverb Tails and the 3 TILT Filters, and how they’re used to set up a mix), a very brief mini-review of Visual Orchestration 2, what you need to provide to do the course (sequencing program w/convolution reverb).

Lecture 2 - The 7 Starting Points Before You Begin Your Mix (24 mins)
Creating an en effective mix has multiple starting points. These include defining your situation, the goal of your template, orchestration issues in setting up your template, seating issues and why they’re spatial placement issues, your virtual instrument players, and defining what the basic mix is.

Lecture 3 – The Three Spaces Where Orchestral Sample Libraries Are Recorded (17 mins)
Examines the three spaces where orchestral libraries are recorded and how that impacts the mix: the concert hall, the cathedral/church, and the scoring stage/recording studio and how these affect your virtual mix.

Lecture 4 - The Sound You Want, The Sound You Have, The Sound You End Up With (16 mins)
Considers the importance of working out your own sound followed by a review of the following major orchestral libraries: CineSamples, EW Hollywood Series, EW QLSO, Spitfire Audio, Vienna. Also considered are Berlin Woodwinds, Cinematic Strings, LASS, Sample Modeling, and Symphobia.

Lecture 5 - RT60s of Rooms and Orchestral Sample Libraries (18 mins)
RT60s of specific rooms where film scores and orchestral sample libraries have been recorded along with the finished RT60s of specific libraries to begin learning the issues of getting everyone into the same room.

Lecture 6 - First Steps in Working With RT60s and Early Reflections (19 mins)
In this lecture, you’ll learn how to test and pick early reflections based on the libs in your mix, and the sound you’re trying to achieve. Reviews the ERs/Tails for LASS and Vienna Suite’s FORTI/SERTI.

Lecture 7 - Assigning the Short and Medium Early Reflections (48 mins)
This lecture teaches how to set up your own scoring stage with the appropriate Early Reflections.

Lecture 8 - Working With TILT Filters and High Pass Filters (EQ) (19 mins)
One of the most difficult things for composers and songwriters to learn is how to EQ. TILT Filters and High Pass Filters help solve that problem by letting you pick, listen and choose the solution that works best. Concepts are applied to four popular string libraries, two of which need spatial placement and two which are already positioned, each with increasing RT60s: Vienna Orchestral Violins, Vienna Dimension Violins, Berlin Violins 1, and Mural Violins 1. Here you’ll learn how to apply TILT Filters and HP filters to the Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Harp, Celeste, Violins, Violas, Cellos, and Basses.

Lecture 9 - Spatial Placement (51 mins)
Building on Lecture 5, you learn how to get libraries recorded in different rooms to match in their seating arrangements. You’re recommended to have Virtual Sound Stage to get the most out of this lecture.

Lecture 10 - The Transformative Power of Reverb (24 mins)
This final lecture provides a collection of four mixes in different size spaces with reverb tails of dry, .85s, .95s, and 1.3s. You will download and practice with several dozen mixes based on the instructional steps in the lecture. You then apply this with your own reverbs. Demonstrated reverbs include the Bricasti M7, B2 and others.


Ernest Cholakis
Bruce Botnick, engineer for The Doors, Jerry Goldsmith and the Beach Boys Pet Album project had this to say about the Impulse Response work of Ernest Cholakis:

”The best impulse responses I ever heard are from Pure Space [Classical and Mystical Reverberation Impulses]....Ernest Cholakis out of Canada is the genius/mad scientist who listens to music. He's mathematically figured a way to eliminate all of the electronics from the sample. They sound extraordinary. An acoustic room-it blooms. You make the sound and then it [snaps] responds and the room does it's thing. The majority of the digital reverbs are very linear and they die off, but Ernest's samples are extraordinary. I've got one that I think sounds super close to chamber four at Capitol, which is *the* chamber."

Ernest’s work with IRs includes his own Pure Space Classical, Pure Space Film, FORTI/SERTI for the Vienna Suite, eight (8) software products for Reason (including Bass Tilt Filters, Midrange Tilt Filters, Treble Tilt Filters, Tone Mutation, ReStereo, and RiVerb), and now this special package for Visual Orchestration 3.

As an instrument developer, he co-produced with Dan Dean the Bluthner Piano.

Many of Cholakis' unique drone tones have been used in feature films, film trailers and TV by many well known film composer and several movie studios such as Paramont Pictures, Warner Brothers and Lions Gate Entertainment, who have licensed material directly from Numerical Sound.

Cholakis has co-produced the world's most recorded drummer Bernard Purdie, the world's most sampled drummer Clyde Stubblefield, and top Reggae drummer Sly Dunbar.

Peter Lawrence Alexander
Peter Lawrence Alexander is the first American to create in English the multi-volume Professional Orchestration™ Series which has been endorsed by winners of the Academy®, Grammy®, Emmy®, and BAFTA® Awards. He’s also the author of How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite, The Instant Composer: Counterpoint by Fux. Writing For Strings, Applied Professional Harmony 101 and 102 and the popular How MIDI Works. He’s also Film Music Magazine’s award winning Music Technology Journalist.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with a BS In Music Composition, he has studied counterpoint privately with Dr. Hugo Norden of Boston University, and orchestration with Pulitzer Prize nominated composer Albert Harris.

He’s coordinated beta test teams for the Vienna Symphonic Library and co-produced the Modern Symphonic Orchestra orchestral sample library for Creative Labs. As a media researcher he’s done studies showing geodemographical radio station listening patterns by day part, and in working with renown radio programmer Jack McCoy’s RAM Research he laid the research foundation for what later became Arbitron Information on Demand. He’s currently under contract to produce library music for film and TV.

FAQ On Visual Orchestration 3

What's the teaching idea behind Visual Orchestration 3?
The teaching idea is you're recording with that which has been previously recorded. With that we recognize that no two orchestral sample libraries have been recorded in the same room. As such, each library has its own set of early reflections and RT60s (reverb decay) ranging from .77s up to 2.6s. Thus, the challenge for the composer, or songwriter, beyond creating a new work, is how to produce it so that all the libraries come close to sounding like they're in the same room. With this, we observed that there were three types of rooms where sample libraries were recorded. Then we looked at the reverb tails of specific rooms where both film scores and sample libraries have been recorded along with the projected reverb tail of the finished libraries.

How did you come up with the RT60s for each library
Ernest Cholakis of Numerical Sound developed a methodology which allowed us to project what those numbers were.

Why is this important?
In Visual Orchestration 2, we showed how the RT60 of the finished recording was often different, larger, then the RT60 of the room where the orchestra was recorded. This is also true for sample libraries, but surprisingly, these RT60s get smaller, not larger. Once you see this information all laid out, the understanding of how to get everyone in the same room in your template is simplified.

Why did you decide to have Numerical Sound create custom Impulse Responses for Visual Orchestration 3?
In his work with impulse responses, Ernest had developed an approach that took the main parts of a reverb unit and broke them down into component parts. This made learning and teaching recording concepts much easier. Since nearly every sequencing program has a convolution reverb, this meant we could provide the same tools to everyone so that it became a hands-on learning experience.

So what were those elements?
Room size, early reflections, EQ, and reverb tail.

And what was next from there?
The next step was applying the concepts learned from the IR's to an algorithmic reverb unit

Of all the software reverbs out there, and I looked at about a dozen. I settled on Ircam Tools' Verb Session because its controls were the most similar to Ernest's components parts approach. So what you learn with the impulse responses, you turn and apply to an algorithmic reverb. And the two just happen to work well together, too. So this way the composer gains a starting foundation with both convolution and algorithmic reverb.

Does a student have to buy Verb Session to do the course?
No, they can apply the information to whatever algorithmic reverbs come with their sequencing programs. They can also download a trial version, too.

What are the impulse responses that come with Visual Orchestration 3?
There are five rooms represented by early reflections, four reverb tails, and three TILT filters. These cover most of the sampled orchestral instruments in a template.

What do you mean by the terms basic virtual orchestral mix and advanced virtual orchestral mix?
In the virtual orchestral world, I've defined two types of virtual orchestral mixes. The first is basic, the second is advanced. The basic mix, our sole focus for this course, is either a single library recorded in the same room, or a mixture of libraries that are being combined in the same template but not layered.

And the advanced mix?
The advanced virtual orchestral mix is the one where you're layering different libraries together, for example, to create a violins section with, say, two or three different violin libs playing the same line.

Where does spatial placement fit in with this?
Well, spatial placement is about where you place the sound stage left to stage right and stage front to stage rear. Once you buy two orchestral libraries from different companies, you have to learn how to spatially place them. So we look at several techniques and tools to accomplish this.

You have a couple of mantras for Visual Orchestration 3. What are they?
The two are, "mixing is an ear training experience," and the second is, "we record with that which has been previously recorded."

If you want a good orchestral mix, then you need to listen to a wide variety of orchestral mixes to know what that is. And that certainly applies to spatial placement, too. No one can hand you a piece of paper containing The Answer because there are many answers.

And that directly applies to the second mantra since no two virtual orchestral libraries from different companies have been recorded in the same room. These libs, very definitely, have to be spatially placed so that the samples, as best as possible, sound like a single orchestra.

Then, some libraries are super dry while others have a lot of room ambience baked in that you can't remove. It's part of the library's sound. So what we're teaching in Visual Orchestration 3 gives the composer some tools they need to work with this reality and get a good professional sound, and those two "mantras" are part of that teaching reality.

Put simply, ears needed.

Visual Orchestration 3 Course Reviews
(from genuine course owners)

"I'm so enjoying Visual Orchestration. You explain the lessons so clearly and precisely. They're wonderful to learn from. ...Thanks so much. You nutrition for the music soul."
- Nik S.

"I would like to thank you for what Visual Orchestration 1 & 2 and even more Scoring for Stage 01 and 02 taught me. I think my way of writing improved a lot after following your courses."
- Claudio R.

"Thanks for your efforts in the creation of the Visual Orchestration course.  Never have I seen this material presented in such a clear and succinct way."
- Tim B.

"I'm enjoying Visual Orchestrastion 3.  My initial understanding of all this sketchy at best, but the course definitely takes the mystery out of it for me, so thanks. :) Thanks again for a great course."
- Paul M.

"Going through the courses "Visual Orchstration I-III" and "Scoring Stages 1 & 2" I would like to give you a warm and hearty "Thank you" for this all. I learned so much additionally to my work as a musician and orchestral MIDI-MockUp-er. It was a pleasure and a lots of peace for me to listen to your agreeably sounding voice and your instructions and explanations which helped pointing the way out of this acoustical labyrinth ... that was a good teaching."
- Thomas H.

"Thank you. Thank you so much for your  valuable courses in orchestration, time, and effort. They are treasures in the field."
- Yuan-Mei C.

"I am a happy customer of many of your products including many of your awesome classes! Your classes are 10x more helpful that the BERKLEE classes I took right before! ...I took 2 BERKLEE online classes and they were so general, unhelpful and boring. Mr. Alexander's are priceless! I learn so much from them!!! THANK YOU!!!!"
- Christopher D.

"Peter - Thank you so much for the reply and insight which makes sense. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.  Hopefully this has changed, but I was reflecting that university may do a good job of teaching the craft of composition, but not always the post-production aspects in today's world; a void which you have graciously filled.  Thank you for that!" 
- Joel E.

"Hi Peter, I’ve really enjoyed your courses over the years, Pro Orchestration series, Scoring Stages series, Visual Orchestration series etc. Thank you for sharing your expertise."
- Wayne B.

"I am a composition student, currently on my last year of studying, and a highly satisfied customer of yours, having purchased quite a lot of your material on orchestration."
- Raoul M.

"I am enjoying the course and have gone through many videos numerous times. ...Thanks for your help and amazing classes!"
- John M.

"I’m really enjoying the Visual Orchestration 3 course."
- Joseph O.

"Just wanted to say hi and express my gratitude for all the learning works you make. I bought many materials, including Pro Orch bundle, How Ravel Orchestrated, Writing for Strings, Counterpoint by Fux, Visual Orch, Scoring Stages, etc. There is so much great stuff there to learn. It's also great because it's so easy to understand (though there are some more complex things). I wish I could have more time to study everything, but even scratching the surface of the materials you provide opens ears and mind to some exciting musical ideas. I especially like the Scoring Stages, which is a wonderful learning journey. Can't wait for the next parts. Thanks so much for all you are doing!"
- Michael C.

"I really like all courses, tutorials and materials I've purchased on Alexander Publishing. Best regards,"
- Franto K.

"I have enjoyed the various texts I’ve purchased from you as I find your approach refreshing and with new insights. ...Many thanks for your work so far."
- Alex G.

"Thanks. I’m enjoying your products and will certainly be purchasing more."
- Steve B.

"Hello Mr. Alexander, I am your student for some years and I would say thank you for all your amazing work."
- Giuseppe F.