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About APZX

  • Rank
    Mudkip (+150)
  • Birthday 10/04/1989

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Warner Robins, GA


  • Biography
    Just a guy trying to make music.
  • Real Name
    Austin Simons
  • Steam ID

Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    2. Maybe; Depends on Circumstances
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
    FL Studio
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Drum Programming
    Mixing & Mastering
    Recording Facilities
    Synthesis & Sound Design

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  • Skype
  1. I read through the Judge's decisions, gave a listen to your track, and the original. So, I feel the track still needs some work on the mix. Now, let me be clear I do really like this track. Lively and lots of energy. But you really should take a step back and try and listen to this from the perspective of a listener that isn't you. For me, I find the mix too bright, the drums lack impact, and there just isn't a lot of depth to the mix as a whole. Take a step back and really objectively analyze your mix. I really don't what kind of advice to offer for this because it really is one of those situations where you have to see before you can offer advice. In general I'd try toning down the highs a bit (2-3dB) and try to work the 300-1000Hz range a bit more to give the track some more body. Past that I don't know where to start. Try this though. Pick 3-4 instruments that you want to be your focal point in your track and mix those together and then add the others as support around those. That may help you finding a clear direction on how to approach the mix as a whole. Just my thoughts.
  2. What I meant by that was that it is due to me being unfamiliar with source makes it hard for me to say whether or not the track does enough personalization to the source. I know Corneria pretty well, and it is well integrated and such, but I just cannot say about Volley Fire, you know? Beefed up and exciting is just what I say. Typically, most tracks end on a high energy finale. So, the thing that was disappointing about this track was that it didn't have that high energy end to it. Not that is a bad thing, but at a minimum you've got to differentiate that last part from the rest of the track enough so that it stands on its own, which right now it does not. You don't have to make it super high energy and super duper climatic. It could simply be an interesting interplay of the sources or another style of interpretation on them. It just has to be different enough to separate it from the rest. This is kind of the downside of not working with a DAW with your principle sound choices unfortunately, and really I could see this going both ways depending on what it is you want. I can tell you that it'll be easier to do an electronic interpretation than an orchestral one simply due to the sound palette you have available with VSTs for electronic sounds rather than orchestral ones in terms of price. Personally, I'm a lover of string machines and pads from synths. There is a lot you can do with those if that is the path you want to go. If you want real strings then you'll have to fork over some cash for some sample libraries and work with their triggering schemes to make them work for your composition, which leads to the humanization bit. See, as humans we're not perfect with timing. A computer is perfect with timing. Which in some circumstances is very desirable, but with any real instrument it isn't. So, you'd have to play with the velocity, triggers, note timing, and automation available with the sample library to make it behave the way you want it to and make it sound more human. Then of course you do have to take into account just how a human would be able to play the instrument. Most of the time they are transposed instruments as well in that the note you write isn't necessarily the note that they play. They could be an octave lower or higher. We've only got so many fingers so climbs up and down are limited by that. There is a lot to it, and I'm not very good at it lol. The best I can do is give you an okay piano. I'm sure there is at least one other fellow out there who could give some pointers on how to humanize a bit for stringed instruments. So, DAWs are a bit of a learning curve regardless of which one you go with. I just mention Reaper because you can get a 100% fully featured DAW for $60, but lacking in VSTs for making bleeps and bloops with. With FL you kind of have to jump to $200 to get it mostly usable and really if you want something that will get your feet wet with you'll have to go $300 for the extra plugins on offer. With that being said I compose in FL and mix in Reaper. And there is a reason for that, while Reaper's piano roll works, it is cumbersome at best IMO. Honestly, we could talk for days on which DAW is the best starting DAW and still not come to a conclusion. There are just so many variables at play here that you have to basically figure out what works for you and roll with it. Go listen to some Rock and how the drummers use the cymbals to indicate that the track is about to do something else. The little roll you have their just tells me that and it works if the pay off right now is a bit lackluster lol. Drums are one of the hardest things to get right in general. Since you're not using a DAW at this point it'd be kind of counter productive to really talk on it. FL won't drop the sounds out if its "hands are full". Check to see if there is a Limiter on the Master Out, and if it is there remove it. This can cause sounds to sound like they're dropping off when they're not really dropping off. The real problem you run into is that there is a limited amount of frequencies and dynamic range available. That is what ultimately limits how much can stuff into a track. There is a lot of information out there and it can be difficult to get your head around all of it. Take it one step at a time and eventually things'll start clicking. When I come onto this board I tend to look for the WIPs and then look at the thread and see what is said. If I feel I can offer advice that hasn't been brought up already I'll add my $0.02. If not I just move on. I try to at least get the ones without any responses, but I miss a lot of them anyway. But I at least try.
  3. Before I go further I'd like to throw the idea of grabbing Reaper initially rather than FL. Not the easiest thing to work with for sequencing but an extremely capable DAW, and there are plenty of free VSTs out there to get you started that sound fantastic. Just throwing it out there. Anyway, back on topic. Does the overall composition work? It sounds smooth enough to me. Not sure exactly on the direction you want to go with it in terms of sound choice overall so that kind of limits what I can say in that regard. If you're going for a more electronic approach then you'd be fine with your current notations as it were, but if you decided to do something more orchestral in nature than you'd need to humanize this more. Transitions sound mostly fine to me. 1:13 though is just kind of lacking. The bass kind of rolls into the next section and splash cymbals indicate that something is coming up, but what really makes it underwhelming is the snare. It just does not sell it. I dunno if it is the sample in use here or velocity or what, but it just doesn't work all that well. Granted with a full on DAW you could just put a noise sweep there to make it more "exciting", but as it stands I don't buy it. At 2:24 the draw down works wonderfully, and 2:45 the cymbals and little kick roll work again. So, that really isn't the problem. Personally, I felt that the last section could be beefed up and made more exciting. There is more going on in the beginning than at the end and that is kind of a shame because you've got some really nifty ideas in the beginning and it seems you kind of ran out. What also is kind of a downer is the length of that section it just seems so short compared to the other parts. Maybe another 15-30 seconds. I think that'd really even it out. I found it interesting enough as an overall listen. I mean really as I'm typing this it is playing and it isn't boring. Plenty of things to keep my interest. Lots of details in things. Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with the Volley Fire soundtrack to really say "objectively" if it is "remixey" enough. I say that not as a bad thing on your part, but a quick perusal of the provided video and I can hear motifs here and there, but it is kind of difficult to really pick out exactly what parts of that video you're remixing.
  4. This was a rather fun little source. My sub is up.
  5. What is that? 8, 9 different stylistic takes on the same exact source in less than 3 minutes? I'm not sure whether or to be impressed OR to be saddened that I can't write something that crazy. You know if I'm being honest for a second in the very first few seconds of the track I thought I was gonna have to say watch your highs as you'd basically already saturated them early on. However, I don't have to say that except do be a bit mindful of them. Some parts of the track are slightly piercing. With that being said I basically had a smile on my face listening to this. 1:20 is just simply awesome. Love the chants. Anyway, I guess the only way to tackle this is by each section. 0:00 - 0:19 Starts off pretty simply enough. Big drums and bass with a lead and the twinkly little bells and then transitions to: 0:19 - 0:30 Actually a wonderful transition, but perhaps lacking that little bit of "explosion" you'd expect. Maybe a pad or strings to fill it out? Anyway, the track then decides to transition to: 0:30 - 0:40 The transition to this section was a bit abrupt and not nearly as smooth as your other two. But the xylophone is a nice touch and the Piano (whatever it is) is a almost too harmonically dense for its purpose. Cutting out just a smidgen there will kind of help it fit a bit better with the rest of that section I think. The track then decides that it has had enough of this and moves on: 0:40 - 0:53 The transition to this section was extremely lackluster I must say. But I do rather like the chiptuney vibe it has on offer. But like that one person you know who can never stay on topic the track changes the subject again: 0:53 - 1:20 While I love all things twinkly, watch the energy up there, mmmmk? But then because the track wants to surpr...CACOPHONY!!1!!1!!!! But really nice drum work in this bit honestly. Plus, I dig the bass. 1:20 - 1:40 ooo ooo ooo ooo . . . yeah! Kind of echoing back to the beginning with the drums here. The kick has a pretty beefy sustain which sounds like it is interfering with the bass a bit, and then my gaming habits the track has decided that it has had enough of whatever it was doing and moves onto the next game: 1:40 - 2:02 The transition here was simply wonderfully executed and completely flips everything on its head. From super up beat to this nice slow beat thing. Also, love the bass here. The background synth lead is wonderful and the almost shakuhachi main instrument is kind of ghostly which I love. 2:02 - 2:06 Clearly the best part of the track. Needs moar cowbell though. I dunno, if this'd make it past the judges or not. I mean if you think about it for a second this is basically the exact same source a bunch of times over with different stylistic takes on it. Clearly, quite a bit of thought has gone into it and such, but it seems as if there isn't enough source to really expand upon without it primarily becoming your own writing or that you couldn't stick to a single style and run with it. But ignoring that thought for a minute though. There is definitely something here, what I don't know yet (not sure I ever will honestly). I mean this is almost too silly to be taken seriously, but at the same time it so infused with "charm" that you can't help but to take it seriously. You got me man.
  6. Distorted 606 or 707 man.
  7. Been pretty good overall. Lots of sites and eats, but just the timing is kind of what kills the compo for me lol
  8. I'll see if I can get something up, but I kind of doubt I'll have the time. I'm currently on vacation and I'm still in the process of reorganizing my house when I get back. So, yeah
  9. Good on ya Dex. Only major criticism I have was your finale. Sounded a bit "rushed" with the drums. Otherwise very solid.
  10. Verdict Rendered Judiciously.
  11. I really don't want to go on a big side discussion covering loudness, but I'd like to point out a couple of things that may be hampering your ability to make it as loud and sound as good as you probably want. First, watch your sub energy. It is extremely expensive in terms of headroom in a mix and it also makes your compressors and limiter/s work much harder. Higher frequency material on the other hand is basically free in terms of headroom. Second, watch the amount of energy you give to high frequency material because while it makes things sound louder it can easily make a mix very difficult to listen to. As a general balance I think you've got about 2-3dB too much sub energy and perhaps about 1-2dB too much high frequency energy. Tone those down and then see how much louder you can make your mix. I think you'd be surprised. In general the mix sounds all right. The snare is a bit weak and the tambourine has WAY too much power and emphasis (completely out of place with everything else). The kick also lacks any real definition in the mix and I can hear the limiter pumping (though it could be sidechain compression with the kick). There is a lot of different directions you could go with this mix if this is the general vibe you want. Rather than blast you with a billion different ways to get similar results in a more controlled manner, I think you'd be better served by creating a more balance mix and then tweaking from there. If you wanted this could really turn into quite a long discussion on mixing, but I dunno how obsessed with mixing you are. Now, for the composition. It follows the source quite closely, which isn't inherently bad or such and if you're doing this as an exercise then this is pretty darn awesome. If you're aiming for the Panel then I'd say this has a long way to go. That is to say that the remix is just too similar. You've got a similar vibe, similar instrument voicing, and the like. You'd need to personalize it more. I like quite a bit of the sound design going on. The crystalline pads and the pluck (sounds FM-y to me) are a couple of stand outs, but I do quite like the bass (again sounds FM-y and I love FM bass). Though it does have a bit of an unpolished feel to all of it. As if the sounds are at this point sketches of the final version of what they're meant to be. Again if this is an exercise in making something then it is pretty good. Plenty of vibe and plenty of potential. Just my thoughts.
  12. I wouldn't say that the Juno is the end all be all of your synth woes. Sure I can make some great leads with my modular or Mopho or Radias, but I can also make some great leads with Synth1, TyrellN6, PG-8X, U-No-LX-V2 (Juno emulation), Sylenth1, or Diva. It just comes down to how you program them. As I said certain synths have functions that others don't have. The question with most any synth is how you program it. Here is a quick example of some various VSTs doing roughly the same kind of lead. This lead is basically a saw, PWM, chorus, delay, and reverb. The synths involved are TyrellN6, Synth1, U-No-LX-V2, Sylenth1, Diva, and PG-8X (not in that order). This isn't meant as a use this synth for your track kind of thing, but just as an example of various synths doing roughly the same kind of sound. I could fire up some of my hardware and do the same kind of thing. The question is can you pick out which is which and does it matter? Which sounds best to you? Take a stab at which one you think is which and I'll tell you if you're correct if you want. 3 of these are freebies and the other 3 cost $$$. I guess the point of this is to show you that you don't necessarily need some old vintage synth to do something you already can. The melody in case you're wondering comes from Bandlands on Rayman.
  13. The mix sounds like it wants to be heavy, but doesn't quite know how to be heavy. There is a lot OF low end in there sure, but what makes a track heavy is in the blend of the low mids and sub areas and then balancing that out with the mids and upper mids and not letting the highs over power the mix for the sake of extra perceived loudness. See, to me the mix seems like it has a giant massive spectral hole in the mids. There is stuff there, but take your guitars for instance. They sound nice and are clear, but I'm really only hearing their upper mid range bite. Where is their meat? Where is that aggressive mid range growl? Consider your bass for a second. There is just sub. Not that there is anything wrong with that in certain situations. Consider your kick for a second too. There is like this flabby beater of a kick. I mean really the kick reminds more of something I'd hear in an urban track. If you want heavy then work those low mids and mids. Also, don't be afraid to get in their with aggressive compression, EQ, and filtering. Now, the lead synths I don't mind from a sound perspective, but they are a bit a bland sounding. Really, it could be as simple as adding in vibrato. A lot of synths allow you to fade in the LFO so on longer sustained notes the vibrato becomes more prominent. Some allow you to modulate the rate of the LFO too so you can create like a ramp up vibrato. In general I rather like the vibe of the track, but there are some issues with the mix that need to be addressed. Some extra attention paid to the synths and I think this would be a pretty solid contender.
  14. Well me entry is up. Pretty simple affair overall.
  15. As for the starting of the mix, yeah pretty much. It is how I start every single mix I do. You're going for an initial impression over all else. You want to nail the vibe of the track before you start trying to corrective or artistic with processing. So, for me personally what I'd try is something a bit more drastic than that. What I'd actually do is narrow your drums down, place your guitars probably around 60-80% out then place the piano hard left or right BUT then run it through reverb hard panned the other way. You may have to do some finessing with EQ and such, but the idea here is brain trickery. You might need to let a little bit of the piano and reverb leak back into the other channel, but I've done this a few times in a few different mixes. Basically, it sounds like piano is out past the guitars. Again creating a layer of complexity to the mix. Traditionally on reverb you'd do some kind of glue reverb that ties everything into the same kind of space. It can be the same reverb that gets a little bit of a feed from everything or it can be separate ones with similar qualities, but they're slightly different for the different instruments. Then you'd use different kinds of reverbs for artistic reasons to get the desired reverb characteristics for that particular sound. Another classic thing to do is actually layering different reverbs and manipulating their width. So, you'd have the reverb that gives the instrument its sense of space and then you'd do stereo manipulation to make the really effecty reverb sound wider than the instrument. When the mix collapses to mono it still sounds like the instrument has some space to it. Yet another classic thing is to EQ the sends or returns from your reverbs to precisely control exactly what it is that is needed from the reverb. Simple HPF and LPF is all you need to accomplish that. Personally, I tend to like to do this on the send. The last thing I do a lot is inverting the stereo field of the reverbs. Like if a sound is panned off to the right, I just like the sound of the reverb more in the left than with it in the right. Just a few things for food for thought. If you're mixing on headphones then it is still possible to do a good mix, you just have to be cautious of certain things. For example you have to take into account the proximity effect. You have to take into account that your stereo image is compromised for numerous reasons. The biggest factors though are a lack of bleeding, the HRTF, and the time differences it takes for frequencies to move around the head which is kind of related to the HRTF. I've done quite a few mixes on headphones and I still use mine from time to time to help with locating certain things that I have trouble getting with my monitors. With that being said you should also definitely be referencing the mix on different systems to see what it sounds like. Cars, home stereos, cheap bluetooth speakers, cheap ear buds, etc.., each tells you something different. If you don't have a system you can trust then this kind of has to be done to ensure that your mix sounds like you want. Another useful thing is to actually contact a Mastering Engineer. I know this is kind of looked upon with a certain disdain in a lot of ways, but most of these cats have extremely accurate monitoring in a very acoustically neutral environment and have a very good listening skills. They can offer quite a bit of advice on things you can try in a mix to make it sound better. I'll certainly say that every time I've been kind of turned off on a master from one and they say what the issue their encountering is and I just do it in the mix the end result is always better. And no it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get a single track mastered by someone who knows what they're doing.