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Jazz Jackrabbit - Tubelectric

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#21 Gario

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:10 AM

MOD REVIEW:

Nice sound design on this one - I'm enjoying it the old school synths used throughout. I can understand the complaint that the synths may be too vanilla/retro, but in this context I feel they're well used. The arpeggio in the beginning was particularly effective.

The production on this one is really hot, though - it sounds like the lead synths and bass are heavily limited and loud, which really makes the overall mix a mess. I recommend removing limiters and compressors and re-mixing the overall track to find a better balance to the mix, then use very little limiting to boost the volume a little, if needed. Work with it at a relatively quiet level where there is no clipping in the track, and boost the levels once you get it sounding cleaner and more crisp, overall.

The arrangement doesn't hold my attention very well. The stacking textures style of arrangement works well enough in longer tracks, since there's time to build the track, but in a track that's less than three minutes with a one minute build up there's just too little time left to spend on developing the themes and material of the source. That forces you in a position where you need to be pretty conservative for the rest of the track, just to lay the original themes out there. The source is 1:52 minutes - with the minute of build up you have, that leaves you with barely enough time to just relay the original source to the audience and end the track (which is what it sounds like you do, for this track).

I like the sound design, though, and the track overall sounds full, and is fun to listen to. I just don't think this one would be accepted on the panel, and since the issues are with the structure of the track itself and how it forces the music to be too conservative, I can't say it'd be worth trying to make it work for OCR, either. Save for the loudness issues, this is a good track - just not one that I could see OCR passing due to the site's policies.
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#22 lazerblade

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:24 AM

It has been awhile, but I spent a lot of the time benefiting from the awesome critique. I decided to out the time constraints and free the track to spend as much time on the progression and structure as I felt necessary. The mix has been greatly improved because the mention of removing the compressors led me to go back over them and see that I had somehow left the makeup gain way too high on all of them. The main things I'm unsure of now are the performance, (I tweak all parameters live) and the structure esp at the end.

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#23 timaeus222

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:42 AM

The lead is overpowering the drums quite a bit. Notice how whenever the lead plays, you can't really hear the kick or snare. The hi hats somehow seep through.

I think aside from that, the production is sufficient, for the sounds you're using now. If you want it on OCR, though, you'll need to think about how to broaden your sounds and find more sounds to add to your pool of instruments and use more than just a few instruments throughout the entire song. I think I counted a kick, snare, cymbal, hi hats, 3o3 acid arp, saw arp, white noise with an automated thin-Q bandpass sweep, pluck arp, saw lead, bass drop, and a pitch bended poly saw (drop transition). From there, you stopped introducing new things. I think if you put in more instruments and rotate them to give your song a certain progression, it'll keep more people's attention than it could now. When I write remixes, I tend to have more than 10 instruments or sounds. Usually I land around 30-50. I know that's a lot, but about 1/3 of them are usually drum samples, and those are usually layered as one drum sample instance, at least for me.

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#24 lazerblade

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:28 AM

I think you might be putting undue emphasis on number of sounds as opposed to composition. However, in a progressive track like this, especially one where the arrangement is starting to get old during the jams, more instruments would probably help. Besides, you gave me an idea I wanted to try. ;-)

Anywho, this version contains better mastering, better lead vs. kick mixing, jam tweaks, an extra lead instrument for some parts, improved dynamics on a few sections, and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.

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#25 timaeus222

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:03 AM

I think you might be putting undue emphasis on number of sounds as opposed to composition. However, in a progressive track like this, especially one where the arrangement is starting to get old during the jams, more instruments would probably help. Besides, you gave me an idea I wanted to try. ;-)

Anywho, this version contains better mastering, better lead vs. kick mixing, jam tweaks, an extra lead instrument for some parts, improved dynamics on a few sections, and probably a bunch of other stuff I'm forgetting.

https://dl.dropbox.c...ove - WIP10.mp3


Nah, I just meant you needed more different sounds in general to make the song not sound so much "the same" throughout as just a "consistent feel" throughout. I'm trying to get you to create a track with a more complex and rich atmosphere, not necessarily more packed with filler sounds or super high quality with awesome sounds. The ones you had were fine, just expand the amount of instruments a bit more to create more distinct sections to the song. :)

Listening again, I hear these things:

The waveform looks good, I think the mastering is great.
At 0:25, the plink-like arp that comes in might be panned too far left, I'm not entirely sure. I hear more of it on the left than the right, and it's kinda awkward. Maybe do some automated panning?

I'm not sure what's at 0:53. If it's a sudden white noise transition, it'd be great if it came a bit earlier. :)

For some reason though, at 1:01, when the lead comes in, it's still too far in front. The snare and kick are being obscured. Try turning up the volume on the kick and snare all the way, and using a good quality compressor to keep them from hitting the limiter too hard. Then try lowering the volume (just a bit) of everything except the drums by the exact same amount. Maybe then that'll leave headroom for more ideas.

At 1:55 - 2:39, there are actually too many instruments there in the same frequencies, so it sounds muddy. I know I said add more instruments, but I meant fill frequencies that are kinda empty. :P Maybe it's time you did some more instrument-hunting, to find more resources than what you have right now. I'm still staying aware of anything interesting these days.

I also expected the lead to stop at 2:24, so maybe that's a good time to put in a transition into a new section for the song. This time, try breaking away from the feel you've had going for the rest of the song and changing the rhythm. I'm not sure what you could have in mind, but maybe a breakdown section of some sort could help. Taking away the drums, changing the time signature, using a new drum rhythm, or anything like that could make this work.

Maybe another thing you could do is automate EQ bands to lower the frequencies that would have overlapped if a new instrument came in. That way, that instrument has room to breathe, and things aren't clashing as much. :)

Sounding a lot better, keep it up!

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#26 lazerblade

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:01 AM

I was a bit suspicious of that panning. I'm very new to stereo imaging, (I used to do only LRC or total center not long ago) so I'll try to balance them out.

At 0:53 and several other parts of the song is a reverse clap/snare sample. I use it when I want a more harsh notable transition. Perhaps I should tone it down or replace it with whitenoise at that part.

I'm not sure why you keep asking me to find more sounds. If I need a certain sound, I usually dig into my VST collection and create one myself. Most of the sounds in this track are my work. Only some of the drums and the drop sample are not. I also have growing sample, preset, and vst collections. I always keep my eye open for more sounds to download and try to keep learning more about sound design though.

I definitely agree about the freq muddiness. I kinda liked the idea of a really ambient distorted synth guitar for that part and wanted to try it, but it needs work if it's to be used at all there.

The arrangement and structure are what I need inspiration for now. Kind of like what you're saying. Maybe new beats, new instrument, new timing, maybe just end the track sooner, or whatever. When inspiration sneaks up behind me and stabs me in the thorax I'll start on the next update.

#27 timaeus222

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

I'm not sure why you keep asking me to find more sounds. If I need a certain sound, I usually dig into my VST collection and create one myself. Most of the sounds in this track are my work. Only some of the drums and the drop sample are not. I also have growing sample, preset, and vst collections. I always keep my eye open for more sounds to download and try to keep learning more about sound design though.


I'm not actually asking you to find more sounds. Just more flexible VSTs. I'm asking you to be aware of any new VSTs that warrant your attention (those that are capable of some really great synthesis, AND are inspiring), and it looks like you are. Just don't limit yourself to the free stuff. Be on the lookout for the good commercial VSTs too. Look at reviews and seriously consider buying something that you believe you'll keep using for a long time.

What I mean by more interesting sounds is that I'd like to hear more than just basic saw waves and all those basic waveforms, plus a few interesting things. It'd be great if you spent more time adding subtleties that, although most people wouldn't notice, add more to your remix and really make it stand out.

For example, layering specific sounds to get a sound that you want that you don't have. On a remix I'm working on right now, I spent about a half hour picking bass tones to layer to get the right bass tone, and I ended up mixing an FM bass, two different PWM basses, and a funk pulse bass. It sounds like this:
http://www.box.com/s...vryknxo6fg7olvh

There was a funk pulse bass to give it a big low end, one PWM bass to give it a powerful treble tone, one other PWM bass to add more to the treble to let it pierce through a thick mix, and an FM bass to round out the overall tone.

So what I'm saying is take your ideas to the next level and make your sounds attractive. Add some expressiveness with vibrato, tremolo, pulse-width modulation, phaser, chorus, sync, and so on. Think about if other people might think "Damn, that's a really cool sound. How do I make that?" If they think "Oh, that's a pulse wave" or "That's a square wave on a low octave with some detuning", it's because it's a simple sound. Add some interest into your sounds, and it'll make your tracks much more appealing to more people. ;)

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#28 lazerblade

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:55 PM

Gotcha. There are definitely more commercial VST's I want to collect. E.G: Zebra2, which looks like a sound designer and synth hacker playground.

It's true that this track lacks a lot of the complex layering and synthesis techniques of other modern EDM, and it's true that that will negatively effect the number of people who come to it for the interesting sound design. However, I chose a retro style for this track and intentionally limited myself to simple synthesis techniques because I have an uncanny love for 80's acid House. If that means this track doesn't make the cut for OCR, so be it. My next remix targeted at OCR will be in a more modern style with more obfuscated sound design. I am omni-genre in both taste and production.

This track is still going to be the application of my idea for mixing classic acid basses and arps with breakbeats and synthpop leads.

#29 timaeus222

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

Gotcha. There are definitely more commercial VST's I want to collect. E.G: Zebra2, which looks like a sound designer and synth hacker playground.

It's true that this track lacks a lot of the complex layering and synthesis techniques of other modern EDM, and it's true that that will negatively effect the number of people who come to it for the interesting sound design. However, I chose a retro style for this track and intentionally limited myself to simple synthesis techniques because I have an uncanny love for 80's acid House. If that means this track doesn't make the cut for OCR, so be it. My next remix targeted at OCR will be in a more modern style with more obfuscated sound design. I am omni-genre in both taste and production.

This track is still going to be the application of my idea for mixing classic acid basses and arps with breakbeats and synthpop leads.

That's good. I would have recommended Zebra2 as well. That's what I used to make that layered bass sound.

I understand that you want to go for a specific style, but that doesn't necessarily limit you to the few instruments in that style. Lots of OCR artists have remixes that mix several genres. Although 80's Acid House is pretty specific, there are more than just those specific instruments that can go well with that genre... right? :P For example, I don't think I heard this:


Then of course you can always give your sounds more life, if you don't want to change them or add more. Craft the tones some more to keep sort of the same tone, but with your own touches to it, like vibrato, phaser, chorus, etc.

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Might collab to add: Piano, E.Bass/Guitar/Piano, Drums, Synth, and Glitch FX.


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#30 lazerblade

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:55 PM

I decided to take the sync on the lead from "a bit for flavor" to "a crazy ton" and layer it with another synth lead and a supersaw/organ thingy. Also, lots of mixing improvements. I think I may have overdone the DRC during mastering, but I'm not sure. At any rate, I think the overall sound has improved as well as the lead, although now it feels even more like it should be a different instrument during the jam section.

(Trying google drive as a host. Please let me know if this does not work for you.)

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#31 timaeus222

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

The link works, but I'd suggest using a host that is better oriented to music hosting, like box, soundcloud, tindeck, etc.

The new lead sounds pretty good, but it can sound even better. Try adding a slow LFO to modify the tone as it's playing. Maybe synched to a 1/1 or 2/1 rate? (that means 1 cycle per bar or 1 cycle per 2 bars respectively)

That remix I mentioned earlier, "Jazz Castle Adventure", is a great example of a really good sync lead.

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Might collab to add: Piano, E.Bass/Guitar/Piano, Drums, Synth, and Glitch FX.


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#32 lazerblade

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:01 PM

This update is mostly micro-improvements. I added some slight vibrato at some parts, increased the pulse-width LFO depth on the main sync lead, changed instrumentation up a bit near the end(although with very simplistic sound design,) and other stuff. This version has an audio glitch right as the drop effect happens before the bass drop. It will certainly be removed before the final submission.

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#33 timaeus222

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:59 PM

I heard the vibrato. It's good, keep doing stuff like that throughout. Add things most people wouldn't notice, and eventually it'll turn out to improve the song a lot. Don't be afraid to modify the melody a bit more, either.

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Might collab to add: Piano, E.Bass/Guitar/Piano, Drums, Synth, and Glitch FX.


"[T]he 4 on the floor is actually driven through the floor[.]" ~ OA


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#34 lazerblade

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:43 AM

https://dl.dropbox.c...ove - WIP13.mp3

I only hope I can make this awesome before I get really sick of it. My creativity and inspiration have gone elsewhere, and this isn't exactly a style I've heard on OCR before. I'm not feeling optimistic, but please do provide criticism and feedback anyway. I think I've squeezed just about enough out of this interpretation of this track, so I'm wanting to finish it and move on. Maybe I'll come back in the future and spin it a different way.

#35 timaeus222

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:36 AM

Production sounds good as it is now, good job! :)

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Might collab to add: Piano, E.Bass/Guitar/Piano, Drums, Synth, and Glitch FX.


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#36 lazerblade

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:34 AM

Production sounds good as it is now, good job!


Yay! Coming from you, whose music I recently listened to and adored, that is very encouraging. ;-)

Status upped to finished. Mod review to come in 48 hours if there are no other fixes to make.

#37 lazerblade

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:42 AM

Ready for mod review. After a 48 hour break I don't hear a bunch of glaring issues listening to this track again, so I'm hoping it's up to snuff.

#38 Gario

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:13 AM

MOD REVIEW

Mmm, the production is much tighter on this one. Nice work cleaning that up for us.

On it's own, I like the track - it builds up to the source material and pulls some funky maneuvers over the source once it gets to he guts of it all. However, as an OCR submission I don't think it would pass, solely because it really does sound too close to the source structurally. Changing the melody around, or a chord here and there won't be able to amend this - it's at the very form of the song that you arranged that the OCR judges would have issue with.

Mind you, it's not an issue with the track that would give you grief on the panel, it's an idiosyncrasy of the site (and it's requirement that the song not sound too much like a 'cover') that is the issue. The style/genre is similar to the original, the form takes no liberties and the themes that are there are played very straight, which puts it in a place that OCR will probably not accept, and for this track there's little that you can do about that.

I enjoy it quite a bit for what it is, so nice work on it. I don't expect it to pass through the panel, though - if you make a new track (probably a different source, as you're probably bored of this one :P) and try to play around with the structure of the track more, as well as placing different sections together in unconventional ways, you'll have a much better chance at passing a track through the panel.

Best of luck, man.
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#39 lazerblade

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

Alrighty then, I officially declare this track done!

I want to thank the both of you for being patient and putting up with it for so long. I learned a ton doing this track, and look forward to doing more of them soon.

I haven't 100% decided whether or not to submit to the judges, but I'm leaning towards no.

I'll show my hand now: I used LMMS to produce this track and Ardour2 to master it. I used open source synths, open source FX, and mostly free samples as well. LMMS has become my DAW of choice, even over FL Studio. I'm hoping that this and future tracks of mine will serve to help dispel the stigma that "LMMS is a neat little idea, but it has a long way to go before you can do anything pro level."





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