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Gario

OCR03679 - *YES* Mega Man 5 "A Crook Man's Eyes"

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Link to MP3
 
Contact Information:
ReMixer name: Nightswim
Real name: Fin Leavell
Email address: 
UserID: 34280
 
Submission Information:
Name of game: Mega Man 5
Name of individual song arrange: Dark Man Stage
Composer: Mari Yamaguchi
System: NES
 
Additional information
On this occasion Nightswim was comprised of:
Fin Leavell - synthesizers, programming, piano, & guitars
Felix Chang - violin
Paul Lapinski - bass
Tim Grisnik - drums
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Mastered by Dan Suter
Mixed by Paul Lapinski
Engineered by Ryan Viti and Fin Leavell
 

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Synth-rock-violin Mega Man 5?  Good week for me!

There's a lot here that I love, but what's killing it is the balance on that violin.  All the high synths and both guitars are conflicting with it heavily, and it's just getting obliterated.  It's your lead, it needs to shine!  It's also super wet, the combination of which sounds like I'm in the studio with all the other instruments, but the violinist is in the bathroom next door.  (Well, a really large bathroom, but hopefully you get the idea.)

The bass was suffering from balance issues, too, covered up by some of the synths and some of the rhythm guitar.  I think it was even more severely squelched than the violin, but because it wasn't the lead, it didn't stand out as much.

The ending was also a little disappointing, not much of a climax there, just a guitar hit and a fade out at the end of a loop.

Polish up your volume levels and EQ, and maybe come up with a more satisfying ending, and I hope you'll send this back to us.

NO (resubmit)

Update 10/18: Since this has gone up for a re-vote, I've listened to it again, and on new headphones, but I stand by my position.  The violin is substantially drowned out, and I don't think a simple volume increase will fix it--it's hard to tell because of how quiet it is, but I'm hearing overlapping frequencies as well, and addressing those will take some equalization work, which is not a 5-minute fix.  And please don't make everything but the violin quieter per Gario's suggestion, as the bass guitar is also already far too quiet.  The ending of the arrangement is not a dealbreaker and not worth re-recording for, though I stand by my opinion about it as well.

Edited by MindWanderer

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Really cool adaption here, I think the sound choices are really solid and the energy is pretty good. I'm going to agree that while the violin is legible, it feels like the rest of the mix is trying to muffle it, which sounds odd. I'd love to get the balance adjusted so it can come out stronger. I know it's pretty hard to balance violin into a rockband, OCU had to deal with that, and it is not easy. That's the biggest issue I'm hearing, though I will nitpick that the 2:30-pretty much the end sounds pretty similar to what was played before, and some more variation there wouldn't hurt. I would be fine if the arrangement stayed as-is, though.

Hope to hear this again!

NO (resubmit)

EDIT: Relistened to this, and while I think the violin is still an issue, I can agree it isn't a dealbreaker, but it's still close to me. There's a loss of energy because I have to focus hear a part which should be loud and clear, and I think it detracts. I still think the arrangement is pretty nice, too.

YES (borderline)

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Wow, considering how crisp everything is in the beginning, I was pretty shocked at the straight two NO's. Then the violin part comes in and... yeah, it's mixed quite low in the mix. Considering just how important the violin part is to the track, the mixing really impact this track heavily.

All I'd be looking for in this would be a re-balancing of the violin in the mix so that it's more prominent and this would be good to go. While the ending is a little basic, I wouldn't dream of asking for a re-recording of this - just fix the mix in the post production and this would be a great fit for OCR.

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EDIT (10/18): To re-affirm where I stand, and on request of Larry & DjP I re-listened to this overall to see if it changed where I stand. I hold the same place that I did before, but I'll clarify a bit on why:

Everything in this is absolutely great, except for where the violin stands in the mix of this. Normally the mixing of a single instrument wouldn't cause me to reject something, but the violin is the centerpiece of the track, with it's great solos and how it carries the lead for most of the arrangement. This is less "The cool texture or one of the leads is buried in the track" and more "Van Halen's lead guitar work and solos (the whole reason you're listening to a Van Halen track) is being drown out by everything". That's wholly unacceptable, especially for something that's otherwise this great.

This isn't a hard fix; hell, if I had the individual tracks I could easily fix it in three minutes by taking every track in the arrangement sans the violin and turn them down by 10-15%, then use a limiter to regain some of the volume losses (not too much to cause limiting artifacts, though). That's it - not a huge deal when it comes down to it - but it doesn't make it any less important of a fix. I gave this a NO rather than a conditional-YES (which would be normal for a single debilitating issue) because fixing mixing, ESPECIALLY making a particular instrument louder, can cause problems with the rest of the production when the loudness is at it's ideal place already; it may not be a quick five minute fix for the artist.

Because I described a process that would legitimately fix the issue quickly I'll give it a conditional-YES, but this is an exception rather than a rule for me - mixing issues that pull me back from a YES will normally get a NO vote due to the reason above. It would be a mistake for the artist to not fix this issue, since it does diminish the entire track.

YES (CONDITIONAL on the violin levels)

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So one of the artists emailed us because they were pissed off at the rejection and they threatened legal action if the artist information wasn't removed. That's pretty diva-ish and a beyond-the-pale response, but I did want to check out the track in question. Whether an artist is polite or angry, any time an artist is outspoken against a rejection, we're willing to revisit it. That's especially if another judge agrees that a mistake was made. djp also would have YES'ed this, and although his bar is lower than the panel's, I wanted to also listen to it to see if I agreed based on his reaction. IMO, the judges were wrong, so I'm disputing this decision and casting a YES vote. I'm also asking for a majority vote of 5 votes either way to close this out.

The violin placement should be more upfront, but it's still audible and isn't a dealbreaker, so I disagreed with the NOs. Melodically, the arrangement's pretty straightforward, but the expansive rock instrumentation fit like a glove, and I'm pleasantly surprised how well the e-violin worked with the rest of the instruments. Loved the e-violin soloing as well from 1:53-2:38. The final section afterward could have done something else to differentiate itself more from the first iteration of the chorus, but when the overall expansion and performance are this strong, it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I had no issue with the ending at all also.

The other Js are welcome to their opinions, and adjusting the violin placement would be a nice-to-have touch-up, but on the seesaw of what works with this arrangement vs. what doesn't, it's easily tipped in favor of this track. The other Js should reassess this track, but I think they made a mistake NOing it.

YES

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Sorry NO judges, but I'm with Larry.  If this were my track I would mix it with the lead violin more upfront (less reverb, longer predelay, tad more volume) but dang, nothing dealbreaker here.  Sounds good to me, so much to love here.

I feel like this NO vote is a case of groupthink.  Our standards are high but we generally allow for some flaws.  I don’t disagree with the comments of my fellow judges, but even though the criticisms relate to the lead instrument, I still don’t hear anything dealbreaker.  If the artist wants to make the revisions, that would be great and would only make the track stronger, but if the artist cannot or will not make the changes, I’m still a yes.

TABLEFLIPPING YES

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On 5/15/2017 at 2:20 PM, Gario said:

EDIT (10/18): To re-affirm where I stand, and on request of Larry & DjP I re-listened to this overall to see if it changed where I stand. I hold the same place that I did before, but I'll clarify a bit on why:

Everything in this is absolutely great, except for where the violin stands in the mix of this. Normally the mixing of a single instrument wouldn't cause me to reject something, but the violin is the centerpiece of the track, with it's great solos and how it carries the lead for most of the arrangement. This is less "The cool texture or one of the leads is buried in the track" and more "Van Halen's lead guitar work and solos (the whole reason you're listening to a Van Halen track) is being drown out by everything". That's wholly unacceptable, especially for something that's otherwise this great.

This isn't a hard fix; hell, if I had the individual tracks I could easily fix it in three minutes by taking every track in the arrangement sans the violin and turn them down by 10-15%, then use a limiter to regain some of the volume losses (not too much to cause limiting artifacts, though). That's it - not a huge deal when it comes down to it - but it doesn't make it any less important of a fix. I gave this a NO rather than a conditional-YES (which would be normal for a single debilitating issue) because fixing mixing, ESPECIALLY making a particular instrument louder, can cause problems with the rest of the production when the loudness is at it's ideal place already; it may not be a quick five minute fix for the artist.

Because I described a process that would legitimately fix the issue quickly I'll give in to Larry's peer pressure and give it a conditional-YES, but this is an exception rather than a rule for me. It would be a mistake for the artist to not fix this issue, since it does diminish the entire track.

YES (CONDITIONAL on the violin levels)

IMO, you shouldn't make any exception to how you would vote, and I don't think revisiting a vote is an implication that that has to happen, only elaborating your POV. In any event, like any conditional YES, if the artist is not willing to revise it -- and that what it sounds like based on their emails -- a conditional YES becomes a NO.

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Things start off well with a widely panned soundscape of synths and rhythm guitars. A violin takes the job of the main lead, which has a smooth tone and fits the arrangement well. As we progress through subsequent parts of the arrangement though, the violin isn't as loud as it should be in comparison to the other parts. While I don't think this is deal breaking on its own, I really feel like this needs adjusting. For the track overall - the mixing isn't the clearest I've heard but individual parts can be made out fairly well (when they're loud enough). There also appears to be a right channel bias here with regards to placement of sounds.

During the second half of the middle section around 1:43, I noticed that when the left rhythm guitar changed to offbeats, something de-synced with the other parts playing, which I found distracting. I know the guitar is used as a background instrument here and I do understand what the artist was going for with contrasting rhythm parts, but I felt like the timing was slightly off on something there. Thankfully the section doesn't go for long. The following violin solo is very nicely done, although during the second half when the guitar reenters it's a bit too soft in volume and should again be increased.

On looking at the other judges responses here, considering the violin was the main point of contention and could've been easily fixed by the artist in a short period of time, I'm puzzled by the initial reaction to the NO vote. The production quality on this is ok, but the violin really should've been louder as it's a front and centre instrument playing the main source melody and didn't pop out like a lead should. Coupled with the other niggling problems mentioned, I don't feel this pushes this to a NO, but I would strongly suggest using the feedback here to better yourself in future.

YES

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The arrangement is pretty straightforwards, but it works.  I would've liked to hear more variety in the arrangement than just the added solo break, but I think the new layers of melodies work well to make it something more than a cover.  The mix is good, with the exception of the lead violin which does feel buried in the mix.  This track passes for me, however I would've asked for a conditional on raising the volume on the violin.  It is after all, the main focus of the track and is carrying the main melody by itself, to be honest this is one of my favorite mega man tracks of all the classic series and the original really kicks ass but the issues with the violin lead makes it sound a bit meh at some points.

So this would be a YES (conditional).

I would like to add that mix quality is but one aspect of the evaluation, so pointing out that other mixes have worse mixdown is pointless.  We know that, and those other mixes may have other qualities that make up for it.  Either way, the attitude of an artist has no bearing on our votes, but it's just nicer if everyone is... nicer, y'know?

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Listened to this initially when Larry brought it up on Discord, but waited a bit and going at it again now with a fresh listen.

Straight to the sticking point: violin mixing.  While I agree it could (and should) cut through the mix better as the lead, it was still audible throughout.  To me, the mixing does sound a bit too biased to the backing elements rhythm guitars, but nothing egregious enough to drop to a NO.

Arrangement is super solid and clear connections.  Great creativity in adaptation.  I like.

YES

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