Tips for Mixing Orchestra Sessions – Or Any High Track Count Song

I love mixing Orchestra music.  To me, it’s the pinnacle of mixing live music.  You have 40+ highly skilled musicians playing and you have the challenge of making sure they are heard, but at the same time, you don’t want to “lose the groove” of the rhythm section. Right?

Here are a couple of quick tips to help you navigate the numerous tracks that strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion can bring to a mix.

  1. Don’t get overwhelmed – Try to mix quickly like a musician would play a song.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the smallest EQ changes while losing the big picture. In this modern day of double-clicking and recalling a song, you should take advantage of mixing a whole song in a short amount of time knowing that you can pull it back up in a cinch.
  2. Mix In Stages –  Orchestral songs can really take it out of you.  If you try to import all of your settings or recreate your mix on every song (if you are mixing multiple songs), you can lose steam in the end where most of the critical changes happen.  Try mixing in stages.  Think static mix then print. Listen in the car or on the old earbuds and then come back and  mix a little more.  There’s no reason to mix the whole song in one sitting.
  3. Always Use A Reference Mix – I do it.  So should you.  Your ears forget pretty quickly.  Sometimes you think there is enough low end in your mix until you hear a Michael Buble mix… that’s why we have reference mixes… it keeps us pressing toward the mark.  You shouldn’t try to recreate the wheel here…. use someone else’s ears to keep yours tuned up.

If you want more (like 8 videos) tips on how to mix a high track count orchestra session, you could check out my course that I created a while back called The MixCoach Guide To Orchestral Mixing.

Hopefully this will keep you pointed in the right direction when it comes to mixing Orchestra.

Have fun!



  1. Hi, id love to pick your brain, are you talking about mixing orchestra live with an audience or did you mean tracking an orchestra in session.? I mix live, i sont have the personality required to mix in a studio, what are your thoughts on gain vs fader position. Do you subgroup, and if so, do you subgroup eq? How hard do you pam and does your pan reflect the acttual position of each instrument on stage or do you fflip the last chairs of strings so you have a little bass on stage right, and sonme 1sts on stage left, etc etc? What are your thoughts on delayingbthe sysytem to yout down stage row and do you add delay to each input to reflect its position on stage? How many verbs do you use? Do you compress?

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