Early21 Aurora Borealis Garnet Lake

This one is about the one time I saw the Aurora Borealis. The guitar was played by me. The strings are Spitfire BBCSO Core. The solo strings are from 8Dio. Appreciate any comments.


That guitar sounds crystal clear man, well played!

Sounds great. Very nice arc to the overall piece. It is certainly evocative of what I imagine the Aurora Borealis to be.

Nice composition! My opinion: Some orchestral sounds, like the strings starting in around 2:57, could benefit from a subtle, longer reverb (4 seconds…?) far in the background to help meld things together. This can make a sampled orchestra sound more believable. If you happen to own a UAD system, the EMT-140 “Orchestra Plate” preset could be a good place to start.

Lovely tune Leon, did you play the piano as well? What guitar did you play on this and how did you record it? Sounds great. You’re really getting to grips with BBCSO Core. Would you recommend it?


Thanks, Chubs! It was harder than I thought it would be to play the two lines together, but I figured it out. I tuned the guitar up a half step so I could use some open strings.

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Raino, thanks for the comments!

Hi eirik_myhr, thanks for listening and commenting. With this particular string library (Spitfire BBC Core), the samples are already quite wet from the sound of the room that they were recorded in, so I hadn’t added any extra reverb. I’ll give your suggestion a try.

Hi Steve, I played the piano parts in, but it’s midi, so I didn’t have to play them in perfectly! It’s The Grandeur from Native Instruments. So far I really like BBCSO Core. It’s a sort of orchestra at your fingertips, already mixed with respect to stage position and mic positions, so you can’t really change that. It also doesn’t have solo samples for the strings, but it does for most other instruments. You can get all the solo parts and the different mic positions, as well as some additional instruments, in the Pro version. The Pro version is quite a bit more expensive, and it’s huge. I’m not sure my computer could cope with it, and I doubt I’d ever get it downloaded. Maybe one day for that.

About the guitar, it’s a Japanese hand-made classical I bought a long time ago for not much money, but it was a good student model at the time. I set up two omnidirectional mics (Rode T-5’s with omni capsules) in front of the guitar maybe two feet apart and a foot and a half back, recording them into a stereo track.

Sample libraries with actual recorded room reverb is somewhat of a luxury, but it also introduces a problem, as it may create an “abrupt” effect when a key is released before a sample has fully played out. Reverb you add yourself doesn’t have that problem, but might not sound as “real” to begin with. It’s always a bit of a tricky balance. With sample libraries featuring a choice of different recorded mic positions (as many of them do now), I often tend to choose settings that are a bit drier than the factory default, and replace some of the reverb with my own, so that I get a bit of both. The most realistic results I find are often when the sample libraries’ recorded reverb is mixed with a post-reverb that has more of a “glue” effect – and neither of them are overdone. :blush::notes:

Thanks Leon, yes the guitar sounds great and I like what you’re doing with BBCSO Core, very impressive. I’ve just bought Spitfire’s Contemporary Drama Toolkit in their summer sale so will be having a tinker with that over the next few months (when I’ve done the garden, the shed, etc. etc.)


A clever & touching composition.
As i’m not used to “orchestra” mixing, i cannot really comment the mix itself, seem really well balanced to my ears,
Thanks, Leon a good start for my week end!

Hi Leon,

Nice very precise composed piece with an interesting melodic scale, so no remarks there. I agree with earlier posts that it could benefit form more reverb in some parts, some instruments sound very upfront in the mix due to that, but thats also a matter of taste and choices you make.
Good job, could fit a documentary or other visual piece.


Stephane, thanks for giving it a listen, and glad you enjoyed it!

Peter, thanks for the kind words. I am going to work on the reverb. I wanted the solo strings a little up front in the mix, but maybe it’s too much.


I really like this piece, the atmosphere, the quality of the instrumentation, very nice achievement.

The melodic F minor melody at the start of the piece played on guitar is really catchy. The use of the following stamps is very tasteful. The effects of strings around 1m32 are remarkably subtle.

Intelligent, sensitive, imaginative music. BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!

Hi Early,

Long time no see/hear!
Great composition, nice melodies.
I agree with the reverb comments, but other than that, great job!


Hi Wim, great to hear from you; hope you are well! Thanks for giving it a listen. Working on the reverb, and a few other things.

Rene_L, thanks for listening, and your kind feedback!

Another beauty Leon.


Thanks for listening, Jonathan!