Orchestral reprise of Planet of Beautiful People

I’m hoping to get some help with this. It’s part of Steban’s collaboration and it reprises his song here:


This is done with the East West audio library which I’m still fairly new to so please bash at will

The arrangement sounds fine to me.

It’s a little hard to tell without context. There are definitely some parts where the fakeness really shines, but when it’s set as BG, it might not be a big deal. The fast parts very much give it away. Fast runs on strings are hard to do right without a sample library that is really set up to be able to handle them well, and I don’t think this one is.

Also, I’d really like to hear more room sound. It sounds like you are using only the close mics, which makes everything feel disjointed. But again, that might be the right sound for it when it’s set as background music, but on it’s own

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@bozmillar thanks for listening. The EW Hollywood Gold series has only “mid” miking but it does offer different articulations. You can have sus, legato, detache, and staccato plus some effects. The string runs are either arpeggios or scales and the most prominent scale run is at 0:46. and the articulation there is staccato round robin, I thought the legato articulation sounded blurry but perhaps it would be better?

The only effects are EW Spaces reverb on a buss and Proximity plugin on some channels (not the strings) in order to give a distance effect from the sound source, sort of like a more complex pre-delay. I set the reverb a bit low but I can easily crank it up a some.

I don’t know if Steban will do any voice over on this, he may.

First, wow, Ingo! This exceeds my expectations for creativity and orchestration. I agree with boz that sometimes the sometimes the strings sound digital, but remember, this is 400 years in the future, and peoples’ tastes change. We benefit from it not sounding like a perfect orchestra all the time. To me it is like how certain things like the fast runs get abused over the centuries just to outdo the past.

I did think the overall volume was too low for the stand alone refrain, and a little too dry a room, and I thought it ended too abruptly, and there were some spots I heard a faint feedback buzz from somewhere. So no offense to your mix, but here is a quicko remix where I doubled the track and added some effects on half of it. I am sure I went overboard, but I like the 1/4 ping pong echo and sitting in the front row vibe, and I did fade out the ending. I still hear the buzzing in a couple places, but I do listen loud. I’m thinking it is slightly too loud now, maybe could be varied a bit for more drama, but I like it!

I listened after Planet Hollywood, which would have the final narration next, and then this refrain to close out everything, and I can believe in it. Feels very Hollywood! The credits are rolling to the end…

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@steban I’m perfectly OK with your remix. As I said, I went dry and conservative with the original and my sample library is not state of the art so in this instance especially I think it invites some tweaking, and I look to you for production decisions anyway, this is your baby!

Yes, the ending is abrupt, it’s almost 5 minutes at that point so I thought of shifting gears and doing something spacey and ambient or else just a little piano coda to tie it up, but a fade out works too so whatever you want we can try!

Well, in that case, Ingo, I think we are cooking with gas. Fade out for me is good. I think your instruments sound superb, the arrangement is rich and exciting, too. I really like the stops and change ups that are constantly happening. It is impressive how both songs sound so different and yet so connected. I’m now thinking the BG music near the beginning behind the POBP show announcer could be the drier version of this excerpted as necessary to fit. You may not have the Diamond version, but Gold is still so powerful a VST. And you are so much better than I in this area, dude.

I will fiddle with the exact mix, try a couple db lower volume in places, but I am ecstatic!

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OK, @steban thanks for that, I will start on some tracks to go behind voice overs or what ever else you need for the POBP collab.

And if any one has more suggestions for this track I’m definitely interested for my own education, even if it might not affect the project version of this track.


You are familiar with the concept of divisi?
At the moment many of the chords sound “keyboard” and with the modern sample libraries this can be avoided almost completely.

Here’s what cause me to buy LASS:

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Hi Sven, thanks for commenting!

Without running to the mighty wikipedia, as I understand it, divisi noted in a score tells a section of instruments to divide their members in order to play a second line, usually harmonizing with the first line?

In the Hollywood strings library if I put in midi events denoting a melody and then add a second series of events as a harmony line I believe the samples don’t divide but rather just double, albeit in harmony. I haven’t seen anything in the manual talking about that so I usually just add a second track and maybe use a sample with less instruments in it if available.

Now your point I think is well taken in that nowhere in this piece do the sections play in harmony with themselves, and in the sections of this piece where all instruments play simultaneously the instruments are all sounding unisons with some octave doubling for trombone, cello and bass, which makes a very strong, penetrating and somewhat raucus sound. Not a good example of orchestration I think is what you are saying, and if so I certainly agree, I could have gotten a fuller, more harmonious sound by either using divisi in the sections or expanding the unisons between sections into a wider stacked harmony arrangement. EW may not give me options for divisi but the choice was mine and I think your criticism is correct. Thank you for that.

The LASS clips are beautiful, I’ll definitely put them on my want list.

Here is my Sibelius score which I exported as midi into Reaper and then added key switches and CC events as best I could to get the result you have heard.

POPB refrain.pdf (260.6 KB)

Yes, they are subsets of for instance violins.
You might had violins 1 and 2, and they are then divided into a,b and c.
They may play the same or different articulations, and they are panned differently.
The CC values may be moving differently.
If you don’t have a variety of samples, you can made 2a different from 2b with slightly different eq etc
Lots of different way if creating variation, making it sound organic…

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Good tip Sven, thanks for that.

Good themes. I think it would sound a bit better if you worked on the arrangement a bit more. For example harmonizing some of those melodies and adding counter melodies. If you have a whole orchestra why not use it. Of course you don’t want to do it all the time, but changing the texture throughout a song is what makes orchestral pieces beautiful.

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Hi Chandler, thanks for listening and commenting. I agree that developing and arranging of themes makes for better orchestral work. I may work on this piece further in the future and take your advice.

Because this piece is a reprise of a pop song in a musical we are collabing on here at IRD, I felt it was already a bit long at almost five minutes. I have included some development of the two themes from the original song but I made the choice to try and make it short and “punchy” so I’ve mainly just stated the themes and added a bit of fluff.

I do hope to make better use of orchestral settings. One problem I have is that I need to have a system that is set up to make orchestral writing easier, my current computer can’t handle much more than a string quartet without printing tracks.