Limits of Orchestral Mixing

Be realistic about what is achievable in a professional mix and what not. Especially on orchestra recordings where the whole orchestra has been recorded in the same room at the same time, there is no real possibility to heavily alter the mix.

Usually every instrument is present more or less on every microphone so raising the level of one microphone might also raise the level of the instruments that are sitting nearby. No mixing engineer can turn a bad sounding orchestra in a bad sounding recording venue with bad orchestration into a first class hollywoodish sound.

Apart from the levels that can only be adjusted in a very small range, also the room itself can not really be heavily altered. You can add reverb but on a small recording stage, the result will just sound like a small room with reverb and not like a big recording stage. A good mix will add a certain transparency and balance to the sound, will influence slightly the sound characteristics of the ensemble but will never have a huge difference compared to what you heard in the monitor mix.

If you want more mixing freedom you need to record the ensemble in separate groups which however comes with downsides on the performance side.


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