Round-robins and the Art of Trailer Scoring

I have noticed that many trailer-oriented percussion libraries have no round-robins, and sometimes, not even velocity layers. While that makes perfect sense for techno, EDM and the like, where the resulting machine gun effect is often both desirable and intentional, it kind of rubs me the wrong way when combined with an otherwise lush orchestral or hybrid arrangement. And yet, I hear a lot of this happening, sometimes even in professional trailers.

I don’t know… I suppose it works when it’s motivated and obviously intentional, but for the most part, it just sounds off to me. Maybe it’s just that my ears are over-trained? :smiley:

For any type of “real” percussion I most certainly agree with you. I need lots of dynamic layers and round robins, or else I lose the feeling when recording the performance. But if it’s just an added layer for extra epic impact, on top of the rest of the percussion mix, I still find single samples usable.

1 Like

The thing with Trailer Scoring is, that the production itself is “overproduced”. What I mean is, that everything just seem to want to be perfect, everything has it’s perfect place, but at the end of the day, it’s not unfair to say, that everything is just to “overprocessed” and “over compressed”. This is fact. I guess you know Thomas Bergersen. Lately I bought “Illusions” the CD and I was totally sad, shocked and pissed off (sorry for the words guys) at the same time! How in the world could they destroy the music by limiting everything until the whole tracks reached a level of -7LUFS or even 6…, something like that. (Need to check out once again.) But the most important part is, when you check out the PEAK/RMS ratio. It showed me 3dB-5dB almost at any point of a track. This is totally wrong, especially when we talk about a CD with 16bits, so 96dB headroom and the style of music he writes. So when you hear the track, you feel no emotions at all, because you don’t have any dynamics at all. I really thought they would just have a “real mix” for a CD, so let’s say we have -10LUFS, so 4dB more peaks in average, which is much more music friendly. I understand that for Cinema and TV you need to compress and compress and compress until you have a fat sausage, but for a CD it’s not the right way to go, at least for me. This is reason why people still buy a real CD, they want to be reached by the music and the quality. In my opinion they destroyed it. Invested more money than we can think of and at the end limiter ceiling till -10dB…really?

So because TB and Two Steps From Hell is the real deal, so the “reference”, nobody will ever care about the “round-robins and dynamics”, because even if you do this, it all will be lost after the final compressor/limiter. Everything will be not in the face, but “besides your face”…haha

So I can say to 100% that your ears are not over-trained, they just hear the right and wrong things at the same time. This genre is NOT about the music at all, it’s only about getting the ATTENTION, and you can grab attention ONLY by making something louder, this is human nature I guess and the reason we had the “loudness war”…:slight_smile:


I agree, and this is why I can not listen to trailer music and epic music, or even heavy metal or EDM for too long. It is way to crushed, no dynamic curves and movement.I still like the music, but after 1-2 tracks my ears are tired and I can not continue listening.

I am a huge fan of dynamic range, and I think even -10dB LUFS integrated is too compressed. In a real world orchestral performance you have soooo much dynamic range and movement.

This is why I am glad that loudness normalisation is finally becoming standard. It seems they settle for a compromise of -14dB LUFS, which in fact is what most great pop music of the classics was mastered to. This is a dynamic that we can enjoy listening to for a complete album at high levels on our stereo system or headphones without feeling brainwashed or ear fatigue afterwards.

1 Like

Yeah I’ve noticed this too, I think the best way to get around it is to both subtly automate the level and top end of the EQ to vary Rolfe hits ever so slightly, and also use a transient designer to Add verity too. If your still wanting more then just use a very subtle chorus plugin too.

I’ve noticed that instead of using multiple velocity layers at RR’s most manufacturers just give you a few different hit sounds that have been changed slightly. You could also just create more subtle bounces that would really bring out your variations too.