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View Full Version : I need help making my tracks less mechanical.


Meteo Xavier
09-09-2009, 10:40 PM
I think if I could go over this, a huge boost in my music making would be had. I've tried and tried about everything I can think of, but all my tracks still come off mechanical sounding and making my tracks seem stiff.

Rozovian mentioned something on linking velocity to attack, which sounds like a great idea, but I don't have a clue on how to do that with NI Kompakt or Eastwest Colossus or the FL soundfonts. I've tried humanizing, I've edited velocities to my hearts content to little if any success.

If you need some examples, you can find some on my Youtube page www.youtube.com/meteoxavier. It really shouldn't be this hard, I hear all kinds of amateur music that doesn't have the obstacles my tracks do. I want to figure out what I'm doing wrong once and for all so I can get to work.

WillRock
09-09-2009, 11:00 PM
Well what I tend to do to get rid of mechnical stiffness, is change velocities lol, also timbre changing through time can help, um... for sequencing, use portamento... thats a great way of reducing the mechanical stiffness of your tracks, best used on leads :P

I saw a tutorial zircon posted about it... i'll try and find it :P

Meteo Xavier
09-09-2009, 11:22 PM
YES. I wanted to talk to you. I just heard your damn Sonic 3 remix and I will be studying it. I enjoyed it immensely.

And I know Zircon's tutorials, but changing velocities for my instruments just makes it mechanical at different velocities. The automatic clips I'm experimenting with seem to help somewhat.

I'm wondering if its just a mastering issue. I've never had any of my songs mastered, but I don't want to pay someone to fix my mistakes every time I come up with a track.

WillRock
09-10-2009, 12:54 AM
hmm listening to your air melody part 22 (which I enjoyed quite a bit) you don't seem to use much vibrato... vibrato is a great way of making things sound more human, as the note isn't constantly at exactly the same pitch... Also try bringing down the decay of your synths or ending the notes just before you hit new ones. Can't say they will work but its worth a try imo.

Haha mastering isn't a problem here I don't think, altho try mastering a track you've finished as an experiment, you can really boost the impact your mix has with mastering.

Best thing you can do imo is to experiment with different settings, see what works and what doesn't :P

Meteo Xavier
09-10-2009, 02:10 AM
hmm listening to your air melody part 22 (which I enjoyed quite a bit) you don't seem to use much vibrato... vibrato is a great way of making things sound more human, as the note isn't constantly at exactly the same pitch... Also try bringing down the decay of your synths or ending the notes just before you hit new ones. Can't say they will work but its worth a try imo.

Haha mastering isn't a problem here I don't think, altho try mastering a track you've finished as an experiment, you can really boost the impact your mix has with mastering.

Best thing you can do imo is to experiment with different settings, see what works and what doesn't :P



Air Melody Part 22 is some of my best work. It doesn't need any more mixing to it. It is also largely synthetic. I mean something that uses more pianos and natural instruments.

Jens Wulvik
09-10-2009, 06:51 AM
As already said, you can do alot by editing velocities. What you also can do, is to "dequantize" the timings of your notes, just a little. As you can understand, a live musician will never hit all notes at the exact time they should be hit, and that is one of the things that makes live performance sound human.

You can variate how much you do this dequantizing to different instruments.
Drums and percussion should be very accurate though, but you can dequantize them a tiny bit. The same rule goes pretty much for the bass too, especially when they're working together with drums. Rythmic chord playing can be a little more dequantized, while lead instruments is usually what can take most dequantizing, since they're not in the first place there to build rythm.

Hy Bound
09-10-2009, 02:25 PM
Along with velocity editing, I would suggest automating the volume of the track so that it sounds much more natural. for instance, having a string ramp up in volume a little bit makes it have more impact. I've never had a problem with the plug-ins you mentioned sounding robotic, so honestly i have no idea. My suggestion is to make sure what you are having the instrument play is humanly possible.

rig1015
09-10-2009, 03:59 PM
I hide all the mechnicalism of tracks with transition sound FX's. Cymbal washes, sweeps, swells, etc.
You could also try wobbling your tempo (most DAW's have trouble doing this with delay plugs) start at 110 bpm, bend to 105 by about 2mins in, and then back to 110 bpm by the end. You could also do this as a dynamic part of the song rather than something to make it sound played, so like before a break down (or during) you could change up from 100 bpm to 70. If you are always just using MIDI triggered sample bank synths this can mess with you so you might want to render your stems of those.

Meteo Xavier
09-10-2009, 05:44 PM
My suggestion is to make sure what you are having the instrument play is humanly possible.

And how is that done exactly? I know it needs to sound human, I don't know how it needs to be edited to make it simulate a human doing so. I understand I need to do it like I would on a piano, but that doesn't create a proper frame of reference.

A picture of a velocity edit that sounds roughly human would be a start.

Dj Mokram
09-12-2009, 02:19 AM
I hide all the mechnicalism of tracks with transition sound FX's. Cymbal washes, sweeps, swells, etc.
This is pure gold. It won't fix your track if it's broken, but it can help a lot in masking the mechanicaly sounding parts.

Meteo Xavier
09-12-2009, 02:22 AM
Its already sort of a trademark/bad habit of mine, but its a good and clever idea none the less...