Category: Software

Software we love: ValhallaRoom

Reverb is an indispensable effect for anyone doing their own mixing (and don’t we all do our own mixing from time to time?). Finding the right reverb for the job can sometimes be tricky though. I can’t imagine ever having just one reverb that fills all my needs, but it’s great to have a few go-to units on hand as first-responders. ValhallaRoom is just such a plugin.

Created by Seattle’s own Sean Costello, ValhallaRoom is an algorithmic reverb with a clean, simple interface. Teakers will appreciate the wealth of controls, and the tweak-averse will find plenty of presets to play with. The Decay slider can be cranked up to an enormous 100 seconds, allowing for some massive-sounding effects. And the unique Depth slider lets you easily crossfade between early and late reflections, effectively moving the imaginary mic closer or further away.

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Compressors Made Easy

To really hear what a compressor is doing, set the Ratio and Threshold at their maximum.

Compressors can be confusing little buggers. When I was a recording novice, I was often baffled by them and was never really sure if they were doing anything. Even now, with more experienced ears, it’s still sometimes hard to tell exactly whether a compressor is adding anything useful to a track.

A compressor’s effect on a track can be subtle—and that Makeup Gain knob doesn’t help, since we usually perceive “louder” as “better.” I’ve often discovered, after thinking I’d improved my audio by adding a compressor, that all I’d done was make it louder. A few years ago I learned this handy trick for setting compressors: go way too far with the compressor’s settings so you can really tell what you’re doing, and then back them off:

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Action Cue in 9 Minutes

Here’s a great tutorial from composer Michael Patti and Cinesamples, wherein Mike creates an orchestral action cue in 8:57. He doesn’t mention what sample libraries he’s using, but I can only assume they’re all from Cinesamples since they’re sponsoring the video. The video is a lot of fun and highly educational to boot.

Thanks to Film and Game Composers.com, where I originally saw the video.

Edit: Patti does mention one of the libraries he’s using. The trumpets are from EastWest (I’d imagine from EastWest Symphonic Orchestra
). And for those curious about the octatonic scale (also called the diminished scale), there’s more info here.