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Gario

*NO* F-Zero X 'Catcher of the *Orchestral* Dream'

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J-BHarmonized
James High
 
33741
 
Submission Info:
F-Zero X
Catcher of the *Orchestral* Dream
Original Composers:  Taro Bando, Hajime Wakai
 
I've been working on improving my ability at making orchestral melodies.  My goal is not necessarily realism, but rather my focus is on the melody...as of now at least since I'm having to stay cheap in terms of sample quality.  If you've ever heard of DSK music, I mainly use their soundfonts.
 
Edited by Liontamer
closed decision

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Well, this one is actually a pretty cool arrangement, with workable production values and some really good samples, as far as I'm concerned. The orchestration is actually pretty well done as well, so kudos for that.

There's a lot to dig about this, but there are debilitating issues that hold this one back. First, the instruments are sequenced in a manner that makes them sound mechanical. Every instrument has the same articulation throughout, and the dynamics sound stiff (allowing no variation within phrases, giving it that realistic touch). That lead violin/viola, for example, swells into every single note, with background instruments either ALWAYS having a hard attack or having a swelling attack to go with them. There's nothing wrong with those particular articulations, per se, but they need to be utilized appropriately; swelling into the first note of a phrase and having the violin play legato for the rest of the phrase, for example, will give the instrument that much needed human touch, since that's how a human would perform it. Since you're using soundfonts it's a touch tricky, but one can achieve this to a believable degree by playing around with the sampler's attack and release envelopes (no attack being a sharp articulation, low attack being legato, middling attack giving the instrument a more sweeping note, etc.), so play around with those options to get the right sounds.

The entire track also sounds like it's highpassed to a certain degree - there's virtually no lower end to speak of, which makes the entire track sound thin. Open up the lower end of the EQ range on this bad boy and it'll breath life into the whole thing, given that the arrangement is mixed in a way that doesn't cause any other production issues in the process (like limiting and compression errors).

I like the idea, and I think what's here is a solid base to work from. Listen to other orchestration on both here and live performances on YouTube to get an idea of what you're shooting for as far as humanization is concerned, and allow that lower end to pass through. You've got the tools to get this just right (again, the samples, even being soundfonts, sound fine for OCR purposes), and it sounds like you got the chops, so give that realism some more attention and let's see this happen. Good luck!

NO

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I don't think the lack of low-end is as egregious as Gario described, but it definitely is lacking, especially for the genre.  You have instruments that should be covering the lower bass range but don't, and the effect is to make them feel insubstantial; in some cases, it's hard to tell what the instrument is because its key frequencies have been muffled.  This is a comparatively easy fix, so it should definitely be something to bear in mind.

As for humanization, it's sort of in the uncanny valley, unfortunately.  Some of it is so obviously fake that it sounds like a 32-bit game soundtrack, which is generally OK, but the sample quality for most of the instruments is high enough that the mechanical articulation is jarring.  On the other hand, I've heard much worse; the settings you chose might be overused, but they're pretty good choices most of the time you use them.  The worst offenders are in the accompaniment, not the leads, so it's not unbearable.

The arrangement is also very solid, and it's a effective, creative take on the source.  I think the production quality is high enough, if only barely, to effectively communicate that arrangement in an enjoyable way without any dealbreaking flaws.  I would love to see this improved upon but I'm OK giving this a

YES (borderline)

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I'm pretty much in direct agreement with Gario here. The biggest issue to me is the mechanical nature of the attacks and lack of humanization as a whole, but I also do think the low end could use some TLC to fill out the soundscape a bit more. It's definitely tougher to work with less than ideal samples, but you can get them to sound pretty solid with work. You're on the right track here.

NO (resubmit)

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What Gario & Deia said.  Humanization needs work, but also, the frequency balance of the mix feels off to me, a lot of mid-high content, some of it bordering on piercing.  The arrangement would work with better production for sure.  The mix also gets super busy around 1:20 and on.  Loved that ending though.

Clean and balance things up, and this could work, but right now I feel this needs another pass.

NO

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Co-signed with Gario entirely. The lack of humanization bothered me a bit less, but it still did, and this would sound much more solid if it were addressed. The textures were pretty cluttered, and there was indeed not much low-end presence. The arrangement was creative, but I'd also recommend doing something different with the lead writing or instrumentation at 2:09 to vary things up more for the final section, otherwise this felt too repetitive for a closing section. Good base here, James; see what more you can do to polish this up!

NO (resubmit)

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