Creating Old Sounds

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Passmore610
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Creating Old Sounds

Post by Passmore610 » Tue 23 Feb 2021 14:28

Does anyone know if there are any libraries designed to emulate the sounds of the old TV scores, thinking of classic 60s shows like Thunderbirds/Captain Scarlet/The Avengers (no not that avengers)/The Man from Uncle etc?

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Bishop
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by Bishop » Tue 23 Feb 2021 20:18

I'm sure this can be done with regular libraries by tailoring your writing, orchestration and mixing choices to fit the style. To emulate the lo-fi sound quality of old TV scores, try mixing to mono, use steep filters (-48dB/oct HPF + LPF) to narrow the frequency response, add tape saturation, hiss noise, etc.

If you still want dedicated vintage libraries then check out ProjectSam Swing + Swing More, Orchestral Tools Glory Days, and Spitfire Bernard Herrmann.

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FriFlo
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by FriFlo » Tue 23 Feb 2021 22:38

Bishop wrote: Tue 23 Feb 2021 20:18 If you still want dedicated vintage libraries then check out ProjectSam Swing + Swing More, Orchestral Tools Glory Days, and Spitfire Bernard Herrmann.
Only that none of those libraries sound vintage in the way they are recorded. They are all recorded with the usual array of microphones these developers recorded more or less all of their libraries with - in high fidelity! If anything, some of these libraries contain some "old-fashioned" orchestrations out of the box. All the Jazz libraries mentioned do fill some places that your standard orchestral library cannot fill. However, the Bernard Herrmann library by Spitfire always seemed like label fraud to me: It is not really suited to produce that sound - in fact: Spitfire Chamber strings offers way better options for Herrmannesque string sound than that library. Well, almost any string library does ...

So, I would basically would use normal libraries and process them in multiple ways as Bishop already mentioned. Your examples are all 50ies/60ies, right? So, you would have analog recordings with less stereo width and lots of distortion on them. I would experiment with removing some of the high frequencies (really a cut of filter in some cases) and then add some back in by distortion or exciter. Also, some of the low end must be removed as those old recodings simply don't have much of that. Then you could of course add some tape effect and - depending on how bad you wanted - even some crackling and pitch shifting.

The libraries you use should be rather dryish studio recordings, but often the close mics work as well, as long as you can shorten the releases. With the amount of processing applied, the performance is more important then the timbre and room. What is really important is that you got some articulations that were frequently used back then, like all kinds of mutes on the brass and also muted strings. The rest pretty much depends on the exact arrangement.

But often I find, I would not like to do to much of that low-fi stuff. I am rather a fan of getting the arrangement, orchestration and composition right and then play it with the glorious sound of the 21st century - maybe adding some subtle patina to that. I just posted a thread about Mank a few days ago. Haven't seen the dilm yet, but that should serve as a good example from what I have heard from the music.

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FriFlo
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by FriFlo » Tue 23 Feb 2021 22:44

Here is an example: The track has no special tricks applied to make it sound old, yet, it does sound like from an old movie. Other than that, there are some weaknesses in the orchestration - I wrote this more than a decade ago.



Similarly, this track for Bigband. Sounds totally old without any kinds of processing tricks. It is all in the composition and orchestration.


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Cathbad
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by Cathbad » Wed 24 Feb 2021 00:19

Passmore610 wrote: Tue 23 Feb 2021 14:28 Does anyone know if there are any libraries designed to emulate the sounds of the old TV scores, thinking of classic 60s shows like Thunderbirds/Captain Scarlet/The Avengers (no not that avengers)/The Man from Uncle etc?
I think Fritz is right: the great majority of the sound comes from the writing. Musical fashions come in and out and it's pretty straightforward to identify a few and reproduce them. For example, jazz harpsichord was briefly in vogue in the 60s.

Then there is the issue of playing styles and equipment, which also go through fashions. I can certainly hear a difference in the brass playing. There's more bite and brightness to the tone and more immediacy to the articulations. The fashion then was for smaller gear in bore and mouthpiece size, which lend those characteristics to brass, particularly the cylindrical instruments. In studio playing there was more stylistic variation than on the concert stage, hence more license to inflect notes, use vibrato etc. For these reasons, I would rely on a jazz-oriented library rather than something created with today's symphonic sounds in mind. Perhaps the Morricone library from Fluffy Audio might be worth a look too. I hear less of a difference in the woodwinds and hardly any in strings. Wind and string players would give a better insight, I'm sure.

Like writing and playing, recording also has fashions and technology of the time. Here I disagree with Fritz. I think modern hi fi clarity for pastiche styles from the recorded era sounds incongruous. Putting the recorded sound back into the intended decade works nicely, as long as it's subtle enough to be a feeling rather than actually noticeable.


I did something similar with this spoof 70s buddy cop theme. I was aiming for that kind of Jan Hammer/Stanley Clark/Starsky and Hutch vibe, evoking some long-forgotten cop show with questionable clothes and unacceptable hair. Rhodes, wah-wah guitar, crappy synths, groovy bass etc. There are various bits of tape or tube distortion - I don't recall which, maybe both.


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FriFlo
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by FriFlo » Wed 24 Feb 2021 08:49

Good observation, Cathbad. I totally forgot about instrumental differences. I guess, if you ask string or woodwind players they will be able to tell you differences as well. With playing an instrument, there certainly is a completely unrivaled ability to hear those subtle differences. You might also add playing techniques and phrasing to these observations. For example, they had so much more vibrato and the timing was very rubato in the 20ies and 30ies. There are some classical recordings from those times and the phrasing from back then would today be considered tasteless in the classical world! :-)

And I don't disagree with you on the topic of creating some patina with processing. I just don't like that if it is not subtle enough. There certainly are some really bad recordings from the past due to the limits of technology that make the music sound really ugly. I would only make it sound like that, if the music must sound like it is played back in an ancient radio.

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The Impartial
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by Headshot » Wed 24 Feb 2021 20:40

Cathbad wrote: Wed 24 Feb 2021 00:19 Then there is the issue of playing styles and equipment, which also go through fashions. I can certainly hear a difference in the brass playing. There's more bite and brightness to the tone and more immediacy to the articulations. The fashion then was for smaller gear in bore and mouthpiece size, which lend those characteristics to brass, particularly the cylindrical instruments. In studio playing there was more stylistic variation than on the concert stage, hence more license to inflect notes, use vibrato etc. For these reasons, I would rely on a jazz-oriented library rather than something created with today's symphonic sounds in mind.
Yes, Sample Modeling Brass could be a good start. But as far as I know nothing yet allows us to simulate the sharpness/aggressiveness of these old recordings (I love their roughness) :



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTQfqaSOCQY&ab_channel=ULTIMATEbudokai3


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzU9UkVL1QA&ab_channel=jediking12

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Farkle
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by Farkle » Thu 25 Feb 2021 04:01

I love these dry, up close, raw sounds. Give me my 70's to early 80's film and TV scores with that sweet studio room sounds!

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Bishop
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Re: Creating Old Sounds

Post by Bishop » Thu 25 Feb 2021 14:41

FriFlo wrote: Tue 23 Feb 2021 22:38 They are all recorded ... in high fidelity!
That's true.
FriFlo wrote: Tue 23 Feb 2021 22:38the Bernard Herrmann library by Spitfire always seemed like label fraud to me...
The Herrmann library is very disappointing, I think it was partly intended to function as the percussion add-on for their Studio Orchestra range and that is mostly how I would use it.

I think Verta got close to the sound of 1960's TV underscore using standard libraries here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1-l0i0N5HQ

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