• Matthew Walker

DIGITAL ORCHESTRA | ambience.

I'm listening to Chris Roe's soundtrack to 'Mission Control : The Unsung Heroes of Apollo' whilst writing this post. It's a great soundtrack, and a brilliant film too. It's the sound palette that's bringing home a more traditional soundtrack that I'm currently writing. I began this adventure with Michael Kamen's 'Band of Brothers' as the inspiration, and I think between these two great works, I've managed to really tap into something deeply rooted in the emotional context of space travel.


This work could be my best musical work yet, and I feel utterly privileged to be a part of this great development team at Auroch Digital.

I just wanted to talk a little about my use of ambience on this more traditional soundtrack, and how that is bringing about a real sense of sonic-space, coupled with velocity, dynamic, and expression within the digital orchestra that I'm using.



The Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra offers a wide range of options when it comes to ambience, and setting your palette to a naturally sounding environment, and whilst there are options to take advantage of, I deliberately chose to keep it simple during the compositional stage at least.


Cranking the ambience mics up to 100%, and zero'ing out both the close, and overheads, I'm making full use of only the room in which the instruments were performed and recorded. This adds greatly to the sense of 'space' that I'm looking to establish. This is also handy for any additional drain on CPU, as I'm not needing to use any additional reverb plugins etc during composition.


The Spitfire library is sizeable in its own right, and the mics add to the file size - but limiting any additional fluff at this stage is helping workflow massively, as the library itself can run smoothly. Meaning the composition is left to breath, and fall into place.


The challenge with any digital orchestra is getting it to sound 'real'. Yes you have £££'s worth of top tier samples and libraries now, but they're nothing if not used correctly.


Building in dynamics, expression, and note velocity is key to getting a 'human performance' from the library. You cannot simply just set everything to a fixed velocity, give it a punt, and hope for the best, I mean you can, but it'll sound robotic and won't deliver on the promise that you've made to yourself.


Build your template. Think about the 'space' in which your piece will be 'performed'. Produce a strong composition, and persevere. You'll begin to see amazing results.




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