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Navigating the Challenges of Mixing an Orchestral Composition in Logic Pro

Over a year ago I finished an orchestral composition that I'd worked on for a few years—Transition. (See Drawing the Double Bar Line.) To get closure, I got the score professionally printed. Then I exported the composition as an audio file using Notion's built in BBC Symphony orchestra sounds. The result didn't sound quite the way that I imagined--the balance was off. I cobbled together a better version using Hindenburg audio software, but still wasn't satisfied. This year I did what I should have done a year ago--began to learn Logic Pro.

Logic Pro is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that can be used for music composition, recording, and mixing. Earlier this year I learned to use it for assembling music compositions, but I shied away from mixing because mixing seemed too complex. I finally came to realize that mixing is what an orchestral conductor does. The conductor balances the sound, brings out aspects of the melody, adjusts tempo as needed, and so on. Because any music I write is not going to be performed by live musicians, it's up to me to "conduct" it by using a mixer. I started learning this week thanks to the YouTube channel I'm halfway through the first 1.5 hour tutorial and already I've learned a lot. It's complicated. The mixing process itself is quite time consuming and detailed.

I have thirty channels that get routed to submixes, that in turn get routed to a room ambience effect. Each channel has individual gain values, compression, and equalization. It may look like a lot, but I've heard of mixing setups that have 96 microphones. By comparison, mine is small. I have a lot more to learn so I plan to keep at it in the upcoming year.

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