Mixing tips for Violin in Classical Music Production and Pop Music Projects

As you can see the violin is not in the center, but placed somewhere on the left and right. You can pan the violin as follows:

Panning settings: +50 to +85 OR -50 to -85, if your audio mixing software is not using that panning values; alternatively it just mean 50% to 85% in terms of percentage or 0.5 to 0.8 in terms of decimal. You can read this tutorial for more information about symphony orchestra panning.

Compression: Preserving the entire dynamic range is very important in classical music. Therefore, the instrument does not need any compression. Most music sheets for violin in pop or classical music do already includes dynamic markings. Example of these dynamic markings are forte (loud), pianissimo (very soft). If you will be applying compression, you can destroy or alter these dynamics.

Read this theory on dynamic range compression and audio compression tips for more information relating to audio compression.

Reverb: If violin is produced using actual sound recordings from concert hall. The recording itself captures the reverberation of the hall. So it does not anymore need reverb during mixing. But for software produced classical music; then you can apply the following reverb setting:

Length: 2500ms
Attack time: 106ms
Diffusion: 823
Perception: 16
Dry to wet: 73% to 20%
Early reflections: 25%

If the audio mixing software does not have all the parameter settings above (or any plug-in), then focus on reverb length which is important. Reverb is one of the most commonly abused effects in audio mixing. Careful about using reverb as overuse can really make your mix unpleasant to listen. Learn the fundamentals by knowing how to apply reverb to a mix properly.

For pop music (where violin is an added track)

EQ Techniques: The immediate problem of violin is that it conflicts with the vocal frequency range particularly for female soprano singers. The vocal range for this is around 500Hz to 3000Hz, similar to violin. Vocal is the most important instrument in pop music therefore it will be given emphasis in the mix. The following are the suggested EQ for violin:

Cut -3dB to -6dB 1000Hz Q=1.0
Or it depends on the vocal, if singing very high pitch vocals you can adjust the frequency from 1000Hz to 4000Hz.

For EQ settings for other instruments in your mix, you can read this tutorial on the complete EQ settings to start when doing audio mixing.

Panning techniques: Since pop music includes some guitar tracks which are panned at 75% to 90%. You can pan violin at 50% to 75%. You can as well exchange their positions at 75% to 90% for violin; experiment what sounds good for your mix.

Compression: If you have lead guitar tracks in your mix, you can apply similar compression settings. Mostly if it’s just a background and the dynamic range is OK, then it won’t need much compression.

Reverb: You can apply a much lesser reverb to violin since its pop music and not in a classical concert hall. You can start at around 500ms to 1000ms.

Feel free to experiment starting with the above suggestions and continually adjust until your mix sounds great.

Content last updated on July 13, 2012