Brass Ensemble Mixdown

mixdown brass instruments

I’ve been using Ntrack for half a decade or so now. I’ve just finished recording 3 days worth of brass ensemble music (2-3 trumpets, 1 french horn, two trombones, & tuba) Anybody know a good tutorial on mixing this down?

Really like this forum. Helpful and non-offensive. Had to become a member!

Start HERE maybe?


thanks D

I actually spent the evening reading the great tutorial/article by Jezar, that 42 page thing. It was great. I learned a lot.

I’m still exploring, and curious about methodology used in some of the classical side of recording ensembles, such as Empire Brass, etc.

Any leads there?


I can’t help much there. I have never done any recordings like that. Geetars, drums, bass and keys about covers my experience. Never recorded any horns… would like to though.

Sign up over there at Audiominds and post the question on the forum there. I think there are quite a few horn player/recordists hanging around there.



Hi Beni,

Hopefully, Marce will see your post. He specialises in orchestral music and may be able to give you some specific tips. If you see him on the board, give him a PM.


Here is a good link to seating charts for common periods in classical music. For your use, you probably want to pay attention to the Romantic period as with Wagner et al… that is when heavy use of brass really came into vogue. During the Baroque and Classical they had brass, but it was usually limited to trumpets and maybe F Horn and the Modern crams all the brass into a corner. These are no hard and fast rules as you may not want to be symphonically accurate in your placement.

If you are after a more big band sound… think risers with low brass in the back (tuba/trombone), trumpets in the middle rows, and wood winds in the front rows.

If you are going for concert band…

Saxophone section: 1st tenor on stage right (by the rhythm section), 2nd alto to his/her left, 1st alto in the middle, 2nd tenor to his/her left, and the baritone on stage left.

Trombone section: 2nd trombone on stage right (by the rhythm section), 1st trombone to his/her left, 3rd trombone to his/her left, and 4th trombone on stage left.

Trumpet section: like the trombones but in front of them

Rhythm section: drums by the trombones (stage right), bass by the drummer’s hi-hat or ride cymbal (in the curve of the piano), piano on stage right with the soundboard or lid towards the ensemble


One point, if you have three trumpets on separate tracks, don’t pan them all to the same spot. Say you want them at 2 o’clock on the right, pan them to 2 o’clock… but then pan each slightly apart from 2 o’clock. Other wise, it sounds like you have 3 trumpet players sitting on each other’s laps. That isn’t how it works in real life. You have three players all in the same area, but each a foot or so apart. So maybe center one at 2 o’clock and put the other two slightly to the left and right of the center player. Not that 2 o’clock is where you should put your trumpets, that is just an example, but I wanted to illustrate the idea of subtle panning tricks you can use to add realism to the space.