Clockmaker Shop v3.0

Let’s try this again.

I wrote this song in 1990 for an acoustic guitar, cello, glockenspiel, and woodblocks. In 2004 I arranged it for orchestra, and then redid the song in 2010 to take advantage of Kontakt’s sound libraries.

The problem in 2010 was that I still didn’t know what I was doing with regards to orchestral arrangements. Lenny correctly noted that the dynamics were…well…monotonous (unusual pun, but definitely intentional) and pointed out a few other things that weren’t quite right.

Now I’m a lil’ bit older and wiser as an arranger / mixing engineer (though still amateur) so I broke out the version from 2010 and fixed the parts that were wrong. The song now plays better and feels more like a true orchestra instead of a hack like it was last year.

In any case, enjoy.

Clockmaker Shop

Hi Larry,
The arrangement certainly supports the title and the theme. Thought it was sounding just a little brash here mixwise, but all in all quite a compelling track. The length is just right, if it was any longer and you really would have needed to take the listener to another ‘time’ and place :wink:


Yeah, I agree about the length. I’m getting better at arranging but I am still quite far off in terms of authoring of classical pieces.

As far as the mix goes, can you elaborate with specific examples? Since classical music as a genre is so different from anything I’ve done before I’m trying to learn but it’s difficult to do so in a vacuum.

I think its a combination of sounds that contribute to the overall brash sound - there’s a lot of ‘metal’ in the mix! :slight_smile: Crashing cymbals, bell sounds, chimes, brass etc, and also that arpeggiated part that plays through most of the track starting at around 10 secs. (What is that actually?), Added to that also are the high notes on the strings.
Collectively you got a lot of stuff happening in what I’m guessing is creating a lot of content around 3-4Khz range. I certainly found with orchestral stuff I’ve done in the past that this was a problem area and I often applied generous amounts of subtractive EQ in this range. This mix also sounds a little ‘left-heavy’. While I know orchestral sounds have their rightful place, I wonder if some of the percussive stuff the ticking clock itself could go more over to the right? AND also, maybe some more bottom-end components would help offset the overall toppy sound?


I tried to model the panning based on “traditional” orchestral seating charts so I can see why it can be left heavy because I approximated the amount of panning (i.e. L96 vs. L48) based on eyeballing the chart. I’ll see about rebalancing.

The subtractive EQ is a good idea. I do have, however, double basses there that may simply need to be pushed up in the mix. Perhaps a combination of the two. I’ll have a go at it.

Another thing I noticed upon listening to it a few more times is that the trombones are a bit brash too. I made liberal use of the Expression CC in lieu of Note On velocity (all combined with volume automation). I think I may tune down the CC to get a smoother sound (i.e. not as much buzzing in the mouthpiece) and push the volume up a tad to compensate. That should help a bit too.

Finally, that’s a sitar doubling a steel string acoustic. Both are VSTs.

  • Boosted the bass violins overall
  • Boosted the bass EQ on the master bus
  • Reduced the top end EQ on a few more instruments (namely the sitar)
  • Rebalanced the panning somewhat to pull the instruments closer to the center
  • Made significant changes in the volume automation of the various tracks including the master bus to accommodate the new volume levels

I did not mess with the Expression CC on the trombones after I realized that the only time they playing is to provide backbone. As such they need to exhibit strength.

Current version is at the same URL.

Hey Larry, this is sounding pretty good to me. Good work :sunglasses:

Thank you.