Bring Analog Love to Software Sounds

Hey guys, what’s up? I’ve got a quick video for you this week on how to bring your software instruments to life a little more.

So synths, strings, organs, any kind of virtual instrument you may be using. These are some strings, I printed them down. They’re from Native Instruments. They’re the Session Strings package. It’s kind of a ballady tune. I’ll play the track for you and then we’ll get into some options you have to sort of uncheapen them.

[mix]

So as you can tell, they sound pretty legit in the low range. I mean, that cello…

[mix]

Double bass stuff sounds great. But when it gets up top and certain places in the mid-range, they lose their authenticity. So first thing we do, we’ll do a little bit of EQ on them. Here we’ve cut a little subby 30, cut a little 500, boosted a little 1.5kHz, and boosted a little 15kHz.

This is an API 550b. Here’s what this sounds like soloed.

[strings with and without EQ]

That’s with it. Without. With. Without. With. Without.

So that’ll cut a little bit of that mid-range, that 500 kind of boxy sound out. Then some of the subby stuff that just doesn’t need to sit in the track. Then a little bit of 15kHz, some sparkle up top. It’ll help brighten them up and kind of give them a little wider sense.

And then you can use one of these Lo-Fi plug-ins. This is I think made by AVID or Digidesign. One of those. I’ve got a tape saturation setting on here. Basically all you’re adding is a little bit of distortion and a little bit of that analog feel, so check that out.

[strings with Lo-Fi]

This is with it. That’s with it off. With it. With it off. With. So now we’re getting there. I mean, if it’s soloed, you can kind of tell. Here’s with the track.

[mix]

So you know. Really starts to fill out. Starts to feel like an actual strings section.

Another thing that you can do is use one of these tape plug-ins. I’ve got Virtual Tape Machines from Steven Slate. That’ll definitely bring a little more life to it as well.

[mix]

Let’s go to the last part.

[mix]

Really kind of makes the bottom end do some cool stuff. Here’s it soloed.

[strings]

Here’s in the track.

[mix]

So yeah. A couple of quick things you can do to some strings to bring some life into them and make them not feel so sterile, so cheap. Like I said, parts of the frequency range, I think these guys are nailing with these software instruments, and the other parts, especially when you go up top or certain places in the middle it gets a little cheap sounding. 500ish, I don’t know, you tell me.

But yeah, I hope this helps you out and we’ll see you next time.

Mixnotes

Mixnotes

Mixnotes is a YouTube channel with tutorials on mixing, recording, business, plugins and more. We've partnered with them to feature some of their videos on The Pro Audio Files.
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