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  • Writer's pictureHaakon Davidsen

In-depth look on my template and plugins

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

NOTE: This is starting to get pretty old, and I have updated my template multiple times since I wrote this, and a lot of the plugins are changed. A new post will be made at one point. Hi! I was asked on Twitter recently about my orchestral libraries and plugins, so I decided to make a blogpost about this. This will be my first in-depth look at my workflow, and I hope it can be useful to you. First, here are my hardware: - iMac early 2015 27" with 64GB ram - Akai MPK261 MIDI-keyboard

And that is basically it! So, on to the software: I use Logic for composing. I find it to be the best and easy DAW for me. I used Garageband until 2011, but I wanted some more control over the music and plugins. And since I was used to Garageband, Logic was an easy choice. I have tried Pro Tools and Cubase, but I find Logic to fit my workflow the best. When I want to notate the music, I use Notion. While there is better options for notation, Notion offers an iOS app that syncs in iCloud. So when I edit the scores on my Mac, it automatically updates on the app. Great for composing on the go. My orchestral template is mostly based around Kontakt. Kontakt is the sampler I load almost all my orchestral instruments in. For each track/instrument I use, I load a single Kontakt instrument. This is way more flexible than using the mulit-output function, because it is easier to change volume and mix while I am composing. Since Logic disables all plugins not used, there are no performance loss. I sometimes use Orchestral Tools Sine Player, but since I only have their free "Layers", it is only used when I want to add some nice ensemble chords. For drums, I use EzDrummer 2. Fantastic drums, and offers also a midi-drag function, so I can drag the grooves and fills into other drum libraries too. And EzDrummer is so easy (pun intended) to use. So what kind of instruments do I load into Kontakt? Woodwinds mainly consists of Berlin Woodwinds, Hollywoodwinds (for runs), Cinewinds Core (for up-front solo lines) and 8dios Symphonic Shadows for SFX. I also use Embertones Popelka Bassoon a lot! For ethnical stuff, I have Cinewinds Pro. Brass is a mix between Berlin Brass and Cinebrass Core & Pro. When I want separate lines and chords, I always use Berlin Brass. When I need a more punchy, brassy or cinematic brass line, I use Cinebrass. They both blend very well. Cinebrass is a much easier to use and more playable, so I often tend to sketch in lines with it, even if I know I will replace it with Berlin Brass later. Percussion is only Cineperc and Orchestral Tools Timpani. The timpani in Cineperc is very good, but has a bug where the dynamic layers are not correct. This drove me insane, so I switched out the timpani. Everything else is Cineperc. I also use the drum set a lot, but I use EzDrummer for grooves and then just copy it over to Cinepercs drums. I sometimes use SAGA Percussion when I want some low, punchy percussion. Harps is Cineharp (the new one). Choir is Voxos. Piano is Cinematic Studio Piano. But I often change it to Soundirons Emotional Piano, Embertones Walker or VSTBuzz L.O.V.E piano, depending on what kind of piano I need. Strings are Cinematic Studio Strings. They are the best strings I have ever used and heard. I always layer them with Cinematic Studio Solo Strings, for a fuller sound. I have 8dios Agitato strings in my template, but I dont use them very much. For string runs, I use Orchestral Tools String Orchestral String Runs 2. Solo violin is often Embertones Joshua Bell Violin (I only have the Essential version), and sometimes Cinesamples Tylor Davis violin. And sometimes I even load up an extra track with Cinematic Studio Solo Strings and use one for layering strings and one for a solo line. When I want measured trills, I use Orchestral Tools string FX. And for other SFX, I use 8dios Symphonic Shadows or Orchestral Tools string FX. When I need a bass guitar, I always go for the Fender bass from Project Sams Swing! There are some guitars in my template, that are the guitars from Pettinhouse. And that is basically what I use the most. There may be some changes depending on each track, but that is what I use in 99% of the times I compose. Here is pictures of all my tracks:

Some people dont like using templates, because they want a "new" sound every time. But I dont like to use much time on the technical stuff. Maybe I am just lazy. When I am finished composing, I always export each stem into a new project. This is what my stems look like:

- High Woodwind - Low Woodwind - Woodwinds Runs & SFX - Woodwind Solo - French Horns - Trumpets - Trombones - Tuba - Brass SFX - High percussion - Mid percussion - Snare - Mallets - Low percussion - Drum kit - Piano - Harp - Choir - 1. violins - 2. violins - Violas - Low strings - Strings runs & SFX - Solo string I have found out that this gives me much flexibility, but also makes it easy to mix. I EQ out all low dynamics I dont want, and other frequencies that might crash or I dont like. I use four instances of Valhalla Room for reverb (one front, one mid, one back and one "glue"). All strings and all brass goes through Waves CLA-2A. I just use the "Start me up" patch. It glues the instruments together, and gives them a little bit of nice, subtile distortion. All tracks goes through Waves J37 tape saturation, to make the whole ensemble "warmer". For mastering, I just use iZotopes Ozone 8. I masters the track way better than I would have done, and makes the whole process faster. So thats it! Hope you all enjoyed this little in-depth look. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact me! Haakon

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Dec 02, 2021

Yo man sick dud mhmmm yeee less go

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