I'm scoring the music for a computer game. Because it's a computer game i'm anticipating that its going to be played on some crappy systems. The style of the music is orchestral. Somehwhat like the Transformers music. ie not too complicated, full on strings and percussion.
My problem is getting it to retain the ambient quality on the more tinny laptop systems. I'm using an MPX1 lexicon reverb which is decent but the music sounds so much dryer on a laptop.
Any ideas? I can't just turn up the reverb as that'll swamp everything.
These are my ideas:
1) Before routing to the Lexicon use a more roomy reverb (or even delay).
another thing...on a game I just did last year we had to really restrict the dynamic range due to the immense amount of gunfire and sound we had to compete with. That actually helped the tails a lot, as they got inevitably brought up. So you might consider limiting the mix to some extent, as well as working on the frequency colour of the tail. Massey limiter sorted us out brilliantly (sometimes in combo with Vari-MU and a massive passive to bring up the high 'air' that was lost to some extent in that process)
I now chain reverbs on the samples, when I'm forced to use them in the final mix...using one convolution reverb for the early reflection and part of the tail, blended to taste with a 480 large random hall at around 2.6 secs reverb time, (which IR-1 has an excellent one, lucky enough to have the real thing, but the convolved one is pretty damn great in most convolution reverbs, certainly good enough on multiple tracks and nothing exposed like vocals etc.). That gives you a sense of depth from the reverb that's lacking from most orchestral work, and simulates the surround mics/artificial reverb combo that most scoring mixers favour.
The ambient sound of the environment (depending on the game, of course) can really eat your tails too. My mixer and I ended up redoing quite a few tracks once they were slid in...playing them in context they sounded very different. That said, the speaker systems on computers and consoles are not often as crappy as they once were, so don't worry so much about that. They tend to flatter, though it's worth checking on a pair of cheap speakers, and being careful with the dynamics.
The MPX1 is a pretty crappy reverb to be honest.
I've always found it to have very little definition and depth.
In fact, I woudls ay most plug-in verbs these days soud better than an MPX1.
I would suggest forget using the outboard verb, and finding a really good plug-in verb. Especially for surround.
IE., ALtiverb which some really great sounding responses.