10. November 2020

Breaking down the Infinite Brass Live Video

Our live video featuring Aaron Venture’s Infinite Brass 1.5 in Logic Pro got a lot of attention. We also received a lot of questions how this was done, how the template is set up and what methods were used in Divisimate.

So in this little article those questions are going to be answered and then some – and on top of that we will share the orchestration presets used in the performance.

This is the video we’re going to talk about:

You can download the Divisimate presets used in the video(numbered in order of appearance) here:

 

Now, let’s dive in.

 

1. The Template

The performance was done in Logic Pro, which means there were only 16 individual parts to be played.

All of the brass instruments were taken from Infinite Brass 1.5. As a matter of fact, all the brass instruments werde used with their factory settings – simply opened and done. The video essentially shows out of the box sound. Only the humanization settings were lowered a little bit on the instruments as Divisimate takes care of some humanization in unison passages.

For the Timpani Peter used the Timpani in Spitfire’s Symphonic Percussion. A simple hit articulation was used here with minimal tweaking to the mic positions.

So all in all this is as simple as a template setup can be. Everyone can just load the right instruments in the right position, link the right ports and get practically the same sound.

There was no additional reverb or processing added to the recording. There was a “Scoring Stage” bus in the project from a previous setup, but is not used and all plugins other than the instruments are disabled.

Instrument Layout

Port 01: French Horn 1
Port 02: French Horn 2
Port 03: French Horn 3
Port 04: French Horn 4
Port 05: French Horn 5
Port 06: French Horn 6
Port 07: Trumpet 1
Port 08: Trumpet 2
Port 09: Trumpet 3
Port 10: Trumpet 4
Port 11: Tenor Trombone 1
Port 12: Tenor Trombone 2
Port 13: Tenor Trombone 3
Port 14: Bass Trombone
Port 15: Tuba
Port 16: Timpani

Now what’s really interesting here is the way Peter uses a couple of tricks in Divisimate to enhance his performance.

2. Changing Mutes with Triggers

The mutes in Aaron Venture’s Infinite Brass can not only be switched on the user interface, they can also be changed with by MIDI with CC26. Knowing this, it’s very easy to switch mutes for many instruments at once in Divisimate using the trigger plugin.

Peter set the Trigger to send specific values of CC26 to change mutes as he changes presets in Divisimate.

He actually prepared a preset for the trigger plugin where every line has the CC values for all mutes in Infinite Brass is already set, and merely deactivated. This way setting a specific mute for an instrument in an orchestration becomes the matter of simply ticking a box.

We applied the same method extensively in our SWAM Big Band template.

Values for Straight, Cup, Bucket, Harmon mutes and stopping for Horns are prepared in the Trigger.

3. Mixing with CC7 in Trigger plugins

But that’s not all that the Trigger plugin is doing here. On many instruments in the presets you’ll find a second Trigger plugin. Instead of Mute informations on CC26, that one is sending Volume automations on CC07. By changing the volume for certain instruments the balance in an orchestration can be adjusted the same way it would be within a real ensemble.

As you can see, again Peter created a Trigger preset with a couple of CC07 values he likes to use for different situations and also for generic reset of CC11 and CC07.

In Logic you can set the channel strip volume to also react to CC07, which is what Peter did here. But Kontakt by default will also react with to CC07 with its volume settings. If you’re trying to use this trick with a different DAW, you might need to use more extreme values to achieve the same effect.

04. Dynamic Rolls with the Repeater

When you’re building a playable orchestration, you would want to have the option to play both short notes, which should get a single hit, and long sustained notes played as a roll.

But there’s an issue: when you play short notes with a roll articulation, they will not sound like a single hit. The other way around on the other hand, playing repeated notes with single hits you can get reasonable results, at least in context.

So here’s the thing: Not a single timpani roll you hear in the video is actually a recorded roll. It’s just repeated single hits created by the repeater plugin.

In the Repeater plugin Peter set the stepper to the maximum number of steps and set different values for each of them.This way the individual hits of the roll will get some believable differences in dynamics and not sound too mechanical.

The rate is 16th notes at 160bpm, which is quick enough to generate a nice roll sound without being unnaturally fast.

“Dyn. via CC# 1” makes sure that the set velocity values in the stepper are scaled by the modwheel. This way both the timpani rolls and the brass ensemble are controlled by the same dynamic controller.

So those are the three special techniques for orchestration presets used in this video. You can download the used presets (numbered in order of appearance) here:

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