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    Bicester, United Kingdom


  • Biography
    Just a guy trying to make music.
  • Real Name
    Austin Simons
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    2. Maybe; Depends on Circumstances
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
    FL Studio
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    Mixing & Mastering
    Synthesis & Sound Design

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APZX's Achievements

  1. Oh 100% it is over compressed. That was kind of what I was going for though. The original composition has a constant like low brass stab that I used as inspiration for the kick, and in fact the kick is not a normal kick. The sample is called a box drum but it has such a nice transient. But the real idea behind the entire thing was to kind of go against Von Bolt's character traits. He is shall we say very traditional, and I thought it would be kind of fun to take his theme and compose it in a manner that was antithetical to his character but also had a level of superiority to it because he thinks (at least) that he is better than everyone else. Something along the lines, "Back in my day we'd _____." or "Get of my lawn you young whippersnapper!" But yeah as I was mixing this, I just started to turn everything up an extra notch, and when it wasn't gelling. I just kind of you know turned the threshold down and ratio up on my compressor and pressed a button that lifts the highs in the sidechain to compress those more. If I recall at times the compressor was pushing like -9 or -11dB. So, yeah you're not wrong that it is over compressed. But it is intentionally just a pinch above like most everything about it. I tried not to nuke it, but it is very much pushed rather hard.
  2. Even crazier too. There is only three remixes in total for Suikoden 2 👀
  3. Oh bugger, I didn't check PRC That is okay though because I have an alternate. @Bundeslang Since this just started I have an alternate that I know for sure isn't on PRC and there is only one of the games tracks on OCR because I'm the one who did the only remix of the game. The Lawnmower Man's Virtual Reality/Cyber Run. https://www.vgmusic.com/music/console/nintendo/snes/lmmcbyrn.mid
  4. I'm not sure that what I'm cooking up will be Halloweeny enough, but I'm going to try a bit of a Psy-ish interpretation of it. Don't expect the best Psytrance, but it'll definitely be fun, and I'm going to try and creep it up a bit. So, oughta be fun.
  5. I think the judges did a pretty solid job of commenting on the composition part of things. So, I'll just leave my comments on the mixing aspect. You still have the problem of the overbearing bell in the intro with its super long sustain/reverb. Personally, I'd mask it with a chorus effect. At least that is what comes to my mind as an initial try. The issue here is that it is mainly a pure tone and those can be really annoying to listen to and deal with. It is just the sound that is the issue not what it is playing. The drums could definitely use some extra oomph as it were. If you want to keep the sound about the same but just have some extra to it try parallel compression. If you want a bit more color then you can use some buss compression on them. There is still some extra low mids in the track. Honestly, I think it is a combination of just too many instruments not being HPF'd high enough or at all. Let one key instrument hang out there rather than letting all of them. That is a really hard part of a mix to get right. Agree with the Judges though. Really awesome track under here
  6. Got something in. Sorry for the hiatus. After PRC443 I did actually remix Flight, but its currently in the judging queue. And then I jumped on SeeDs of Pandora album project and did a remix of Overture and Ride On. Finally, with all of that sorted out I'm hopefully back for just some lighthearted remixing fun.
  7. @Rapidkirby3k All right, now I have some more time to write a more full post regarding mixing and hopefully build off of what @Meteo Xavierhas laid as a foundational basis. Equalization - There are charts out there for starting points when it comes to EQ, but they are nothing more than suggestions and at the end of the day its your ears that determine where the EQ ought to go. One thing that must be remembered regarding EQ and compression (I will get there as it has not yet been mentioned) is the idea of keeping the overall loudness the same when you are comparing the dry & wet versions of the sounds. As I said prior our brains lie to us. One such way that also lie to us is if a sound is louder it will sound better 99.9% of the time. So, to properly compare between a sound that has been EQ'd versus one that has not been EQ'd is to make sure that they are level matched. This will help you make more objective comparisons regarding what your EQ is actually doing. Next, we are actually less sensitive to cuts than we are boosts when it comes to EQ. This means that you can do deeper and more drastic cuts than you can boosts. Something that you will likely find if you read up on mixing enough is something along the lines of "Cut narrow, boost wide." This is not universal by any means, but instead think of it as a suggestion as a starting place. A practical example is a snare drum. If you want the snare to some more bottom end, maybe start around 150Hz. Want more snap to the snare? Try starting around 5KHz. You mention muddy mixes in particular. This is typically because there is too much low mid energy in the mix. This is loosely around 200Hz to around 700Hz. So, focus on what is actually going on in that region in particular to try and clean up some of the mud. One thing that I really want to stress is that music lives in the mids. If you can get the 100Hz to 6KHz or so sorted out you've accomplished the vast majority of the hard bit of mixing. The last tidbit regarding frequency and equalization from me. There is something called the Equal-Loudness contour. Turns out that our hearing is far from linear and our hearing is most linear around 80dB SPL. What these show is how sensitive we are to certain frequencies. For example low frequencies require a lot more energy for us to detect than 2-4KHz. This most likely is a consequence of human speech occurring primarily in that 2-4KHz region. Reverb - I think I did an okay job of explaining the gist of it in my prior post so I won't really reiterate it here. Compression - While this was not mentioned by you and only in passing by Meteo Xavier, compression is an invaluable tool to learn how to use. Compression is the only tool in your toolbox that acts directly on the time domain of a signal. Want a big kick and bass? Well, the easy way is to use something called sidechain compression. Got a lot of big guitars and the vocals are just getting buried? Easy button is a little bit of sidechain compression. Is the vocal just a bit uneven in terms of short term dynamics? Compression. Want that bass to be just planted at the bottom? Compression. Those pads and strings just eating up a bit too much of your available headroom? Compression. So, what is this compression exactly? Well, it turns out that being able to manipulate the volume of a signal automatically not only saves a lot of time because you don't have to automate as much, but it turns out that it can do things like make a sound a bit more consistent in its overall dynamic range. Now, I could go on for honestly hours about different types of compression and such. However, that really doesn't explain what it is that a compressor does or how to actually use a compressor. So, here is my little spiel about a basic compressor. There are two different topologies of compressors and four primary controls to compressors. For the topologies there is what are called Feedback and Feedforward compressors. The important distinction here is where the brains aka the detector of the compressor is fed from. In a Feedback compressor the signal feeding the detector comes after the gain control element (this is the thing that determines the type of compressor like a JFET, VCA, Opto, etc...). In a Feedforward design the signal feeding the detector is more or less the same signal that enters into the gain control element. This is important to keep in mind because it does influence the way the compressor sounds and the way the compressor behaves. In a feedback design the control element takes longer to react because the signal has to go through it before the compressor can do anything about it. In a feedfoward design this is not the case. Some compressors allow you to choose between feedback and feedforward. My suggestion is to simply switch between the two and see which one you like more. It is as simple as that. There are many great and famous compressors in both camps. Pick whichever one does what you want for the sound you're working with. Now, the important controls in a compressor. Threshold, Ratio, Attack, and Release. All the threshold does is determine at what level will the compressor even start reacting to the incoming signal. So, if you've got say a signal that never goes above -10dBFS, and you've got that threshold at -6dBFS. Well, then the compressor will simply never react to the signal even if it had an infinitely fast attack because it never exceeds the threshold. Now, this isn't strictly true, but that is because it has to do with the Knee of the compressor, but I will come to that when talking about the ratio. The next control is the Attack. What the Attack determines is how long the compressor must wait after the Threshold has been exceeded before it will begin compressing. So, if the attack is say 1 second. Then the compressor will only begin to compress if the Threshold has been exceeded for 1 second or more. The Release determines how long the compressor will wait after the incoming signal has fallen below the Threshold before the compressor will actually wait to stop compressing. Going with a 1 second release then the compressor will only begin to stop compressing once the signal has fallen below the threshold for 1 second or more. Now, comes the fun part the Ratio. The ratio determines exactly how much the compressor will actually compress a given signal. This is easier to explain with an example. If the ratio is say 2:1 then for every 2dB that the signal exceeds the Threshold then only 1dB will come out of the compressor. That is all there is to the ratio of a compressor. I did mention something called the Knee, and my explanation of the controls assumed what is called a Hard Knee. What a Hard Knee means is that the compressor will only start reacting to the signal once the Threshold has been exceeded. Sometimes though it is desirable to have a compressor that starts to compress a little bit before the actual threshold is reached. This generally results in a smoother compression action. This is called a Soft Knee. And it is typically done in dB. Assuming a Threshold of -10dBFS and a Knee of 3dB means that the compressor will actually start reacting to signals that are at -13dBFS, but at a reduced ratio. The ratio of the compressor will increase in tandem with the signal level until the Threshold is reached at which point the compressor will simply use whatever ratio that is dialed in. Something like Fabfilter's Pro-C or even the Fruity Limiter actually do a good job showing how the Knee, Ratio, and Threshold interact visually. Armed with that basic primer you can actually start to really experiment with what a compressor will do to a signal. Sidechain compression now is a cool technique. Essentially, all you are doing is hijacking the brains of the compressor and feeding in a signal of your choosing. Put another way. You're going to be compressing one sound with another. The most common technique these days is that big pump you hear in EDM. In that case the bass, pads, or what have you are being compressed by the kick. This turns down the volume of all of those sounds whenever the kick hits and creates that pumping sound. I could go on further, but I think between myself and Meteo Xavier you have a good primer to start building your skillset. Most importantly, try different things and find things that work for you. And lastly practice. Mixing is a skill and needs to exercised
  8. Most DAWs have a control to control the width of a sound. In Reaper there are four different modes for the way the mixer handles panning aside from the pan law. The Stereo Pan mixer setting has a normal pan knob and a Width knob. Set the Width knob to 0 to mono a track for example. Failing that Voxengo offers their Mid-Side Encoder (MSED) plugin for free. Click the Side Mute button and the signal will now be mono. Some further notes regarding reverb. Reverb is traditionally a send effect. In ye olden days this meant that if you wanted reverb applied externally you used an auxiliary on the mixer and sent that off to the reverb and returned it into the mixer. I mention this because it is an important factor to consider when you're mixing as a natural consequence of this limitation was a homogeneity in the way that reverb sounded. Another thing to keep in mind with reverb is to actually control the frequencies that are entering the reverb and/or exiting the reverb. If you go read up on mixing you will see that you're told not to send bass instruments into reverb. The reason has to do with keeping the mix's low end from getting too cluttered. But if you say add a HPF before the reverb? Well, now that simply is not a problem. The same applies to the high end of a reverb. While it may sound counter intuitive at first by using a simple HPF and LPF entering into the reverb you can exert even more control what is actually going on with how your reverb sounds. Going further is not thinking of reverb as reverb, but instead thinking of as another pan knob. Except that instead of panning left & right; reverb pans forward or backward in the mix. The more reverb a sound has the further back it will sound and the less reverb it has the closer it will sound. By using the same reverb across the instruments in your mix you can then use reverb to place instruments in front or behind others creating the illusion of depth. Couple this with controlling the amount of the dry sound that goes into the master and you have complete control over the depth of the sound. This is one of the reasons that you see the option for Pre-Fader Listen (PFL) in your DAW. In dense productions you may want to avoid using an actual plugin and instead opt for using a delay plugin instead. The reason being that at the end of the day reverb is really nothing more than a ton of diffused echoes. A properly configured delay plugin can emulate a reverb in the context of a full mix, and since it is a delay plugin you have considerably more control over the echoes themselves. Turning over to the comment about cutting bass from bass instruments. This may in fact sound crazy, but it is very sound advice in certain situations. See, our brain lies to us. One strange oddity of how our hearing works is if you say remove the fundamental out of a bass sound but leave the rest of the harmonic structure the brain will quite literally replace that missing fundamental harmonic. This is because all the rest of those harmonics are there, and thus that fundamental harmonic must also be there. So, by removing bass you haven't effectively lost anything and you've just gained valuable headroom.
  9. What makes you struggle on this? Because to me I can conceptually see an idea here. If you take inspiration from the game on how you want to tackle this for example, and you most certainly do not have to. In that case Squall is taking Rinoa to the city of Esthar. Here you can think of Rinoa's fainting being symbolized or what have you as one of the vocals getting more distant and overall less coherent. Then when Squall actually decides to do something about it you can contrast that with a vocal that starts off as incoherent and starts to become more forward and coherent which works in a composition sense because you'd effectively be going from incoherence that leads into the bridge and then building out the bridge into the chorus you solidify everything. At least as a sort of rough idea. You'd have to play with it a bit to work out some kinks I'm sure, but it may be worth experimenting with at least You can do a wall of sound approach if you want. But if you want my honest $0.02 don't try and approach it like that. Instead approach it from a voicing perspective. You know what frequencies you want to cover. Figure out what sound not only adds to the composition, but does so at that frequency you're wanting to fill. Then when you do get to mixing it, which I would suggest you do separately from the composition as they are functionally two different stages, you do not have to do as much forcing to get things to sit together. Instead your energy is dedicated into sprinkling in color throughout the mix to enhance it. The other thing is do not be afraid of compression either. EQ is great. Compression is great. EQ & Compression = Awesome. Couple that with good balance, use of panning, and use of depth and you can send that part off to the ends of the Galaxy. I dunno just throwing out ideas here because there is more than one way to approach this. As I said before I think this is a great approach and idea.
  10. To be sure I'm making the correctish sorts of comments I went back and gave a listen to the original. Though I was already pretty sure I remembered the track well enough as I have played enough FFVIII in my life. Without question it is a solid sound upgrade from the original with its subtle twists in the intro. I really like the flow you've got going on here too. The movements are nice and smooth. I also know that this is a WIP so I am only going to offer some things to consider and be mindful of moving forward. The vocals are a bit low and if you want to keep the wonderful dynamic flow you've got going and keep their clarity you're going to have make a decision on what gives way. Right now the vocals give way to the track, but I suspect that it will have to be other way. The big move at about 2:00. You bring a vocal way out in front that not only occupies a different space to the other vocals used earlier, but also with how much more upfront it is in comparison is sort of where my comment regarding the vocals comes from. The other thing to consider at this point is if you want more instrumentation or not. The vocal does a great job lifting the track, and the SFX and instrumentation leading up to that point indicate that you want to bring more into track. But you do not. Sure the bass is fuller, but really besides the drums and an additional guitar there is not much more here on offer. Which is honestly in fairly stark contrast to the first part. In the first part you've got this wonderfully spacious intro with just gorgeous application of reverb and intentional usage of space. And the build up to the next part is also just as brilliant. You still have great usage of space, but the usage of reverb drops of quite substantially and where I feel the vocal here should be in an giant outdoor space sounds like its on a large stage instead. The suspension of disbelief here just is not working out. Also, if I'm being honest I kind of expected it to be just a bit bigger at that point. Again I reiterate that most of these comments are really meant to get the noggin churning. They are not a knock or anything. I think it is a great start with a ton of potential going forward if you decide to do so.
  11. Eh? TyrellN6 (bass and lead), Synth1 (brass, pad/lead), CZ V (underlay for the main brass to add some more character), Jun-6 V (brass & lead), DX7 V (mainly used for bright sounds here, but of note the arp and the main synth sound as Sector 4 comes in are from the DX7 V), SEM V2 (chiptuney sound), Synclavier V (choir), Piano V2, OB-Xa V (thick pad in Sector 4) and various assorted FX sounds and drum sounds from Wave Alchemy. For main processing it is mainly a lot of Plugin Alliance and D16 stuff with most of the reverbs coming from Valhalla DSP of special note though is the reverb on the piano, that is an IR from my Kurzweil Rumour. I would also like to say that you are not hearing these sounds as they really are, but rather after quite a bit of processing including real hardware in the mixing process (namely master buss compression and EQ). Edit - I kind of feel like I left a bit too much out at first. So, here is a more full breakdown and a few tricks I used. I'll start with the intro brass which comes from Synth1. This uses two features of Synth1 in particular. Technically, the sound is a single oscillator. However, Synht1 has its own implementation of a supersaw type thing via the det knob under Oscillator 1. Switching it to a saw and giving that knob a twist so that the sound is just a little bit past a full unison stack. The next trick is to use the Unison mode of Synth1 as well. Just two voices and crank the sprd control all the way over. This gives the sound a nice stereo feel. From there the envelopes and filter just tweaked to taste. However, there is more at play here. I did use the two LFOs as well. LFO 1 is quite slow and is only just engaged on the Pitch of the oscillator. This gives the sound a slight off canter pitch like a VCO that is just a bit too drifty. The second LFO is modulating the filter cutoff a bit for just a little bit of extra movement. The main brass is from Jun-6 V. The actual sound is nothing all that special. Just a fairly typical brass patch that one would do on a Juno with a small ramp in on the vibrato. The real trick here is a very old technique. I duplicated the sound then grabbed the master tuning knob and raised one a few Hz and lowered the other one a few Hz. Then hard pan. The lead sound in the first part is from u-He's excellent TyrellN6. This is a purely square based sound that uses PWM for the main movement of the sound. However, for some extra spice I mixed in a teeny tiny bit of ring modulation. This gives the sound just that bit more of an extra edge. The pad that I bring in in the intro is also from Synth1 and uses pretty much all the same techniques as the brass sound except that instead of trying to get a lot of movement from the sound I needed something a bit more static to fill in the background a bit. So, its really just a fairly simple supersaw type pad. Layered underneath the main brass sound is a CZ V that you really don't hear, but it adds a certain character to the sound to help thicken it up. Its just a preset too. Nothing too fancy lol. The high wobbly lead that I used in both parts comes from Jun-6 V as well, and is a preset (mainly cause it takes a bit to tune a self resonating filter), but the trick here is that you're hearing just the filter of the synth The bass is TyrellN6 and is a preset for really just a reasonably generic-ish bass sound. Nothing too special here. The Chiptuney sound is another preset from SEM V2. But in reality all its doing is being a high duty cycle pulse wave to really thin out the sound. Next up are the DX7 Vs. The first one is actually used in the lead up to the main part of the first mix just to help add some extra flair as the track goes into that bit. The next use is the arp that sits in this next section as well. Add some chorus, delay, and reverb to the Xlyophone preset and you'd be surprised at how close it'll be. Then for the transition part I used the Celeste preset with copious amounts of thick chorus, reverb, and delay. The synth choir is from the Synclavier V (Space Choir if you're curious). The next synth bit would be the use of the OB-Xa V where it creates that nice bright saw bit that kind of ebbs and flows with the track. It is a slightly tweaked preset, A Lonely Sunday. The last real sound in play is from Piano V2. The main trick here happened in the mixing stage. So, onto the mixing stage! My main choice for a channel strip (just makes things easier having 90% of the tools I need in one simple plugin) has been Plugin Alliance's Lindell 50. Generally, there is nothing too fancy that I did here. Of particular note is just the amount of additional hi-end I added to the Juno brass. Looking at the EQ and I've got a 9dB boost on a 20KHz hi-shelf... The piano though got a lot of attention. I was fairly heavy handed in the application of EQ here. Main thing though is a 4dB boost at 1.5K and a 9dB boost at 75Hz. I then tamed the low end with a 30Hz lo-shelf and rolled a bit of the high end off with a hi-shelf at 20K down roughly 4dB. But that is only part of the battle. The rest of the sound comes from the reverb. As I said previously I used an impulse from my Kurzweil Rumour. The particular one is the Dreamverb preset. This is a big lush reverb. But it can be slightly too much. So, I rolled off the bottom end at 250Hz and the last trick is to actually use a LPF before entering into the reverb. In this case around 7.8K. The removal of the high frequencies here helps to concentrate the reverb's sound exactly where you want to actually increase and improve the perception of the reverb. Though I am still not done. A typical thing I do is to invert the stereo field of reverbs as it is generally a free way to get a bit of extra stereo width in a track and the is no exception. Pay attention to how the piano's hi notes hit on the right, but the reverb comes in on the left. Though I still wanted more out of the reverb here. So, I opted to add a Baxandall type EQ after the reverb that's main job is to further increase the stereo width of the reverb tail. First, the EQ is set into M/S mode and now my goal is almost create an inverted pyramid of sound. That is I want the low frequencies to be quite narrow but the high frequencies to be wide. So, I set the low shelf quite high (on the mid it is about 230Hz and the Side it is about 360Hz). Then for some extra body the mid gets about a 1dB bump and the side gets about a 3dB cut. Then on the high shelf the mid gets about a 1dB bump at 3.4K while the side gets a 3dB bump at about 1.6K. However, to help tame the mid's increase in high frequency energy it also gets rolled off around 11K. Then to soften up the side's response just a tad it gets rolled off around 18K. Lastly, I add about 1dB of extra level to the side. Besides that all I did was use an 1176 on the kick, a 560A on the snare, and on the master I used an API 529 (nothing too aggressive here, just a smidgen of glue) and MAQ-2NV (minor final tonal shaping of the entire piece) for the final bit of fairy dust. Hopefully, that helps explain some of things that you're hearing.
  12. Not only has it not had a PRC remix yet, but it also has not appeared on OCR. Only the tracks Shotgun and Title are on OCR. And on ThaSauce, which I can only see back to PRC94, there are zero entries for Plok. That actually kind blew my mind as Plok has such an odd, but awesome soundtrack.
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