Pro Audio Files

EQ Ear Training Premium Courses

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.


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


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.



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.


Let’s go to the last part.


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


Here’s in the track.


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 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.

Free Video on Mixing Low End

Download a FREE 40-minute tutorial from Matthew Weiss on mixing low end.

Powered by ConvertKit
/> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> />