So I'm working on setting up a orchestral template in my DAW (Reaper) that I can use as a starting point in new compositions. I use Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass for composing.

I was wondering if any of you have an idea on how to structure it all. I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing and was hoping for some guidance. So far I have sections  with:

Short Strings

Long Strings

Short Brass

Long Brass

Short Woodwinds

Long Woodwinds


But should I make sub sections under short strings for cellos, viola, bass etc. or will that make the template to big and complex. Is it better to make sections (ensembles) with cellos, viola, bass loaded on top of each other. Really cant find the best approach. 

How to organize your orchestral templates?

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  • For now I'm just making the orchestra template to make the whole process of creating a new track easier. So far I have 52 tracks set-up in groups with names and colors and so far its looking pretty decent.

    Just having a basic reverb and mixing done from the start will save a lot of time. Actually I cant believe I have done so many tracks without a template, now it just seems like such a waste of time not having had one.

    As you say it seems everyone does their templates in a different way, I just thought there was a clever way the pros do it.

    "Mixing to stems" never knew what that meant so thanks for the link. Theres always new things to learn :-)

  • Personally I like to get my main ideas and format out before anything else.  I also include the instruments that I am pretty much guaranteed to use in every score (percussion, taikos, etc.). I have a basic string patch and basic horn patch to get my ideas out, and later on I will expand that track into the individual instruments to start mixing.  I also do a lot of electronic music as well, so my favorite synths are onboard too (Omnisphere, Nexus, Sylenth).  I have everything bussed to a main verb channel (True Verb) that is set up with a large concert hall setting, and I adjust the pre-delay depending on the tempo of each new track.  Every track already has an EQ plug-in opened so it is ready to tweak.

    It really comes down to personal preference, I actually do not like using the typical orchestra layout in my templates because it's rare that I write music that is in that format or that uses all those instruments.  Just wasted tracks IMO :)

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