Escape From Tartarus

Hi, This was a great opportunity to test out Spitfire’s Scraped Percussion. This piece is sort of Mussorgsky meets JunkieXL meets someone who has trouble using her phone.

It’s in g min. The opening section & recap stay in g min with only a V chord before the tempo change.

I have the melody in the low ww, str & brass. The high ww’s have a whole tone scale to take advantage of the Devil’s interval in quarter note triplets hoping to give it a three against four feel.

The changes for the middle section are g min, D7, em, C7. For the recap I shifted the pitch down randomly on the Strevnos choir sopranos & automated the volume to get a wailing sound. Also, I dropped the pitch 2 octaves on the Albion One trellis perc and added tape delay.

During the recap also is a tribute to Spinal Tap’s “Christmas in Hell”… At least that’s what the bells reminded me of.

I used a lot of free Spitfire LABs for this with Albion one strings & Studio Brass & woodwinds.

Thank you. I’m glad I made time for this.


Awesome! You have my vote! :ballot_box::slight_smile:

The atmosphere is superb and on point. The middle part has a cool theme and vibe to it. Mixing-wise I need to check later on my :headphones: and I will get back to you!


Hi @Fran1,

three things which I heard a second time on HPs.

  1. In general a lot of reverb I believe. Sounds here and there maybe too washy, although it can be used as a “flavour / color” thing.
  2. At some points it sounds “over-driven” kind of clipping, in terms of distortion. Beginning of middle part. Have not measured your output, however, if you use a limiter, if you have a good one, you can easily drive 3-4 into it. Peaks even at 6dB reduction can sound great. If you overuse it, the low-end starts to distort due to the fast attack / release times.
  3. I am not sure, if you need to use too much of your woodwinds. I would use them more for FXs. You have a whole arrangement there. Just saying that WWs are not “first-choice” for using in dark moods, (only woods fx…tongue fx, falls-down…) and another thing: the WWs are in a completely “other” room. You either need to glue them with your master-verb together or you the same room as strings. That would help to put them into the same sounding room. (This is a lot of times tricky, due to the fact that all major libraries use different rooms…). But it’s a good exercise for your ears as well, to make sure you get it right at some point :slight_smile:

Kind regards,
Alexey :slight_smile:


Hi Alexey @jlx_music , Thank you. I used a really long reverb on a couple of the percussion tracks hoping to give it a “far away” sound. Then the whole piece uses a Big String Reverb 2.4. I usually stay with a small Plate reverb.

You’re right about the WW reverb. The Spitfire Studio Strings are dry. These are some of the things I’m still working on. Trying to hear the difference in reverbs, compression and also loudness. I didn’t spend a lot of time metering the piece (sort of ran out of time) other than to make sure nothing was clipping and it sounded the way I was hearing it.

I used the high WWs not just because I play them :slightly_smiling_face: I wanted the high trills and whole tone scale to add to the confusion of trying to escape the pit of hell and work the tri-tone C#-G into the fairly simple g min melodic material & harmony.

Thank you for taking the time to go through this. All of this is very useful. I’m finding I’m hearing these things better than a year ago, but I still have a way to go.

All the best,



I really like the ominous feel to it. It feels as if one is running through a dangerous, creepy forest trying to avoid the goblins. But there is a bit of clipping throughout.

1 Like

Hi John @jphturtle Thanks. One of the things I’m working on now is loudness. I didn’t put anything on the Master except for reverb (that I’ve now turned down a little) until I got the parts where I wanted on the mixing board.

One of my issues is knowing what’s loud enough for digital, or any, playback. On the Master I put the Adaptive Limiter last before the Multimeter. The Out Ceiling is -1. I had the Gain up to 8. I think that was one of the issues. I’ve turned it down to 4.9. Should have spent more time with the meter.

Any Mastering tips are most welcome.



1 Like

I personally would not put reverb for mastering a song. I would not put to much reverb on the percussion. It sounds wooshy. I would use reverb on the bus channels, but only a bit to enhance the sound - you can not hear it. For mastering I use EQ and compression.
This is my opinion. But I like your song.

Klaus Ferretti

1 Like

Thank you Klaus. I’m going to revisit the reverb. I’m beginning to hear the difference. It’s taking a while. :slightly_smiling_face:

Really good composition - a lot going on in the middle section and intro has fantastic mood. Definitely watch for clipping - you can alway put a limiter on things like your drum bus and stuff that has large quick transients just to control things and always try and gain stage tracks - keep an eye on things especially if you use analog modelling plugins as these can really make things hot - try to put no more than -18db input into them if you can as that is roughly equivalent to 0 on VU meter. you can’t input them hot in a digital domain like you can with analog hardware.

1 Like

i like your composition, but as the other said there is a too many reverb, it is not used to add more, some library has alreday reverb on their sound, just add a little to add some deep but not too much
good job on the two part of your composition it bring variation and different ambiance but stay in the dark

1 Like

Hi, Thanks Phil. I tried to make all of the adjustments in the mix and stay off the Master. I’ve revisited this one, cut back on the reverb and added a multipressor & adaptive limiter to the Master. I’ll go back and take a look at your suggestions. Still a lot to learn.

1 Like