Music Composers Unite!
This is, by far, a topic that continues to elude me. I've been composing for over 15 years, and working with DAWs for 7 years with very minimal training by a local recording engineer. Most of what I've learned about mixing I learned from trial & error and discovery.
I've become a bit proficient in mixing my digital rock works with the use of compression and EQs, but it seems orchestral work hardly comes out with the right sound when using pre-mastering compression.
An example of what my orchestral mixing sounds like now, I posted a score montage from my most recent job, the Eve of October Score Montage:
If anyone has tips, advice, or knows a great resource for learning orchestral mixing, I would really appreciate the input.
I liked you music and it sounded fine to me through computer speakers.
As you have asked for advice though I would suggest you never use pre-mastering compression - what is the intended purpose? Also why eq such a perfect sample library? There is a tendency to use plug-ins just because they are there but if they are not necessary don't use them. As for mastering, that is really difficult. You need exceptional speakers, in an exceptional room, with exceptional experience and ears.
What sound are you after? To get a good orchestral sound with samples takes a long time, the individual parts have to be played to emulate the bowing and phrasing of real instruments, which means an in depth knowledge of orchestration and the playing techniques of orchestral instruments. All this can be learnt but it takes time.
The music business forum of the British magazine Sound On Sound (soundonsound.com) has a few very experienced people working in the same field who give advice. Maybe you should repeat you post there. However as a British person myself, I have to say that the British are inclined to be rude on forums and there are a few silly people who have to post inane comments.
Using compressors was a habit that I started because listening to the raw MIDI form of the VST's samples had the levels very low and quiet, and I've come to understand that many cues are actually finalized that way. I would normally use the compressors just to enrich the sound and bring it forward. Since many Japanese recording engineers tend to bring their orchestral mixing forward by several means I figured it was a matter of preference in the way things were mixed down, and adopted that mindset. In the case of the Eve of October score, I used iZotope Ozone 4's setting "Symphonic Master", so I had assumed (maybe foolishly) that there was such a thing as bringing orchestral mixes forward with proper EQ adjustments.
Granted, I'm willing to accept that it possibly should not be done that way. I'll check out the website you recommended, and thank you for the warning.