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Posts posted by Squint

  1. Hey guys, thanks for all the kind words, it means a lot!

    Vinnie - You're right. I only just used Finale to notate the music. It would be crazy if you could get Finale sounding that good! The little bit I mentioned in my writeup about Finale was just talking about when I used to listen to the piece on repeat and copy it note for note on my computer. :)

    Bahamut - Those small mistakes in the performance bug me so much! I hope they aren't too noticeable!

    Again, thanks for the support, and I hope everyone had a great holiday!

  2. Very nice arrangement. Considering that I love jazzy remixes, this is right up my alley.

    However, I am a little concerned about the fact that the judges had to move a remix by the same remixer over the bar yet again by themselves. Yes, we probably would not have heard this wonderful piece otherwise, but I thought the feedback given by the judges is not just about helping the remixers to improve the music/arrangement side of things, but also the production aspects. Taking care of the latter twice for the same person just seems a bit weird.

    Just my two cents.

    Hey Martin, thanks for the comment! I'm really surprised (and relieved) that people seem to enjoy the feel of the piece - I was a bit worried that people would think it sounded too much like someone just trying to be jazzy. Which could still be the case, because really, that's sorta what I was doing anyway! :-D

    I also just wanted to say, I hear what you're saying about the production issues that I had with my first two pieces and how they were resolved. For sure, I agree that production on a remix should be just as important as the arrangement aspect, and so of course, it should be on the artist to fix anything that is unsatisfactory.

    That said, though I was definitely willing to try and fix things up myself (and of course made my attempts at it), Vinnie was nice enough to help me out in the end, as it seemed like just a few little tweeks that were needed to make it sound a lot better, and where I didn't have the proper resources to make those tweeks, he did. He didn't have to, by any means, but that he did, I'm very thankful for.

    Anyway, just wanted to kinda explain the situation, because I don't want to come off as being ungrateful or lazy. I admire those who are able to produce great sounding remixes, and have since been trying to learn the ins and outs (pretty overwhelming, but I'm getting there). Just a warning, though - there is actually one more piece of mine that's in the judging process right now that Vinnie put his touches on, as I had originally given him three pieces at the same time, which all had similar sound issues. You've heard the first two, and regardless of whether or not the third gets passed, I'm glad I was able to get the help for it and again, definitely do not take it for granted, and do not expect any similar treatment in the future.

  3. Halc, you've quickly become one of my favorite artists here on OCR. I know you've been arranging for a while, but I only just really started paying attention to artist names, much thanks to you and your distinct style. Just about everything I've heard from your stash is top notch, which makes your prolificacy (pretty sure that's a word) that much more impressive. Keep it going, man.

  4. This is great, very cool to hear a male voice on this one. Even though it sticks pretty close to the original, the little bits that are changed up (a slight pause here, a jump to a higher pitch there) make it a real fun listen.

    And I agree with what you wrote in your write-up. When I first played Lunar and got to this scene, it blew my mind that I was seeing and hearing what I was. It further validated videogames as a story-telling medium, and became a benchmark for other RPGs to aspire to.

  5. Speaking from a strictly pianistic point of view...

    If I'm working on something that's completely original, the first thing I tend to do is have a loose guideline of what kind of form the whole piece is going to take. Some sort of classic form (sonata, rondo, fugue, etc.) or something more free form. Since getting out of college, I've done a lot less strict form writing (not necessarily a good thing...), and have opted to do stuff with less "rules."

    Then I'll usually try to write out a simple melody, followed by other phrases or counter melodies that may have roots in the original theme (inverted, same notes different rhythm, same rhythm different notes, etc.) or may be completely different but complement it somehow. Then I will build off of that, depending on form, and add harmonic progressions (not necessarily chords themselves) to the mix. I like to keep a small motif in mind that I can sprinkle in here and there to keep things coherent throughout the piece.

    It's funny, I was just thinking of this the other day. When I'm doing an arrangement off of a videogame, my compositional process is a lot less organized. It's basically write from beginning to end. Meaning, I write the first measure, second measure, third measure, etc. (with some exceptions, but not many). It's weird, too, because I didn't really notice that I change my compositional style like this until after two or three arrangements. I honestly don't know if it's a good thing or not, but I've convinced myself that it's just a natural occurrence since the themes are already there. :)

  6. Eilios -

    I've got a Yamaha Clavinova CLP320: http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp-320/?mode=model. I guess I haven't downloaded any drivers since I first got it a couple years ago, so maybe I can look around about that.

    Neblix -

    I was previously using Pro Tools (which you may know, since you were helping me on that other topic), which came with something they call the Fast Track USB interface. http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Tools-Recording-Studio-Music/dp/B002P3KINE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296518498&sr=8-1. Does this qualify as an audio interface you mentioned?

    I used to record in Pro Tools, straight from my piano to the computer, using a line out from my piano, with a 1/4 inch converter cable to hook into that Fast Track USB interface. The sound from my piano was preserved that way, which was great, but unfortunately, it was only recording in mono, so I was limited with what I could do production-wise (which the judges were critical of). Should I be able to still use this USB interface, but with FL Studio instead, you think? I tried messing around with it a day or two ago, but couldn't figure anything out with it.

    Also, the only mic jack my laptop has is one of those real small ones (is that 1/8?), which I use to plug my ear buds in. Are you saying I could hook my piano into that small jack (using the proper converters if needed) and record straight up that way? Would that be in MIDI format, or would I be stuck with limited options as before?

    Thanks again for the help guys, it is much appreciated!

  7. Hey guys, I'm just sort of starting out in FL Studio (working with the demo version, currently) and have just been able to get my digital piano hooked up as a MIDI controller and start recording stuff. This may or may not be a pretty basic question (hopefully it is).

    Is there a way for me to record my piano with its natural sound? Like, as if I'm just playing without it being hooked up to anything. The only way I can seemingly record any sounds from my piano is by doing it through those plugins FL Studio comes with. So basically, the furthest I've gotten so far is to insert something like the "Concert Piano" plugin into a new channel and recording with that sound.

    The reason I ask is that my piano's natural sound offers way more touch and responsiveness than what's offered when I play it through any of the plugins. I understand that there are probably some pretty awesome plugins that would be superior to my piano sound, but I don't have anything like that at my disposal right now.

    Thanks if anybody can help, hopefully this question makes sense!

  8. Mickomoo -

    I'm glad to hear you somewhat vouching for Pro Tools. I figured I just bought a dud (especially considering I bought the "Essentials" version"), but maybe I would be able to use it for editing after the initial record into something like FL Studio. I guess I never even thought of importing a file from one to the other - I still have lots to learn! I will definitely keep this in mind.

    Neblix -

    Thanks for the clarification, it helps to understand what the computer is thinking when it's using a VST, and how Pro Tools works a bit differently. You mentioned FL Studio as being "glorious." I think I know what you mean. I just downloaded the demo version yesterday, and am already getting way more out of it than I did in Pro Tools. Now, I'm not saying that it's necessarily a better program with only a couple days under my belt, but I can say that I've had an easier time at least getting something going, and the learning curve seems to be way lower than Pro Tools. Though I think the amount of YouTube videos on FL Studios is a major help, I do feel the program is set up more nicely for beginners.

  9. Just wanted to say to all you guys who helped out on this thread, a many thanks. Unfortunately, the path I've taken has led me to realize that the DAW I currently have (Pro Tools - M-Powered Essentials 8 ) is unable to record MIDI from my piano, despite the fact that I got the fancy cord to go along with it. If I want to record MIDI, I'll have to upgrade to the full version. It's a drag, since I essentially blew $100.00 plus on that Essentials software, thinking that it could do the MIDI thing (though, I did know that it was a stripped down version of the full one) but that was almost a year ago, so I guess it's not that big a deal.

    Anyway, I'm either going to shell out for the full version, or look into purchasing Fruity Loops or Reaper, as I've heard better overall things about the latter two than Pro Tools. Plus, I've just sorta had a beast of a time with tech support with Pro Tools at this point!

    Thanks again for the help, and don't think it was for nothing. I've got this thread bookmarked so I can look back on it once I get everything set to go. Eventually. :)

  10. Yoozer -

    I bought some Hosa brand cables. Gonna be honest, didn't do too much research into those, just what I saw on Amazon. Figured I'd buy them today at Best Buy since I could get them right way and would be able to return them - I mainly just wanted to test them out and see if I could get my piano going as a MIDI device. Turns out I'll be returning them tomorrow, as I'm having a good bit of trouble getting it to work. I even brought in my laptop and software to Best Buy so they could show me the ropes, but they couldn't figure out why no input seemed to be registering for any instrument they hooked the cables up to.

    "...some vague manufacturer that only supplied Windows 98/XP drivers from a photocopied faxed page with an ftp adress pumping bits at the blinding speed of 300 baud or something."

    Dude, you hit it right on the nose. The only driver support I could find was a step-by-step PDF file, and I couldn't get past step two, which was to go to an FTP address (which didn't work). I just ordered the ones shaggy suggested from zZounds, as I've read at least one anecdote from a person who had the same problem as me, bought the M-Audio ones, and everything worked fine. I'll cross my fingers that my problem is with the cables, and not my Pro Tools software...

  11. "For general use, most of them are okay but you can run into issues if you're doing more than just sending CC messages from your MIDI controller. That probably doesn't mean a hell of a lot to you, though."

    Yes, you are absolutely correct in that regard. :) But it's still helpful, I just wanted some sort of validation of the increased price tag, and I think I got it. Thanks!

  12. Quick question - is there a difference between the quality of MIDI to USB cables? I just went to Best Buy and grabbed a 10 foot cord for $60, even though I saw one on Amazon for $7. I made sure that I could return it within 30 days, just in case there is no difference (sort of like there's no difference between an $80 HDMI cable and a $3 one).

    Looking around a bit, it seems like some cheap ones may have a hard time getting all the notes, or information, you play on your piano to register onto your PC. Would I be a fool to stick with the $60 purchase?

  13. Hmm, alright, I think I get it, but will be more sure once I actually record something with the MIDI cable hooked up. Unfortunately, the music section of my Best Buy was closed when I got there today, so I'll stop by tomorrow and get a cord and hopefully get some hands on time with this thread opened up on my laptop. It all sorta makes sense right now, but it won't come until I actually see what you guys are talking about. It's all very informative, though!

    Yoozer -

    "You hook up your digital piano. You play a note. It travels through your MIDI/USB cable to the computer, which receives it and sends it to your DAW. The DAW receives the note and sends it to the currently selected plugin/channel/whatever; then, it no longer cares about the MIDI part.

    Your plugin receives the note. It does not know or care where it comes from; all it knows is "OK, I need to react to the middle C". It makes a sound, which is sent back to the DAW's internal mixer. The DAW sends it to your soundcard, which converts it from a digital bag of bits to an analog voltage, which comes out of the soundcard's output, which goes to the amplifier, which then goes to the speaker and makes it move."

    This is the exact kind of language I'm looking for. In human terms, what the heck is going on? :) Thanks dude!

  14. Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

    skewered logic -

    It sounds like I've got what I need, for the most part. If Pro Tools can be used as a DAW (and is in fact, a DAW), I can fool around with that a bit more and figure some things out from there. My confusion must come from the fact that the original stuff I recorded sounded dry to the judges' ears, and when Palpable took a personal look into it, he informed me that a big barrier was that I was recording in mono through a direct line out cable. If I recorded in MIDI, which it sounds like I'm capable of doing, I would be able to play a lot more with the track and use effects in a better way. So I think I will just get a MIDI to USB converter thinger, and will hopefully be able to make something that sounds a lot better than what I had before Vinnie helped me out with the mastering.

    As for VSTs, I'm looking forward to possibly looking into these more, and I will look around more on the forums to find out more about the specifics. However, just a quick question here - is a VST an actual physical object, or just something you download, or software on a CD, that you install into your DAW software? You said this:

    "Different VST's have different strengths. Synth1 is a lightweight (and still pretty powerful) VST that a friend of mine uses in our band (he can't carry around his main computer to all of our shows), and there are lots of other synthesizers, effects, etc. that come in the form of VST's." It makes me think that it's an actual physical object. True?

    And last...you said that once I have all the sounds, I should look into getting a sequencer. Is this not something that would be built into a DAW?

    theshaggyfreak -

    It's great to hear that my Pro Tools has a good plugin, in the Mini Grand. This would be considered a built in VST, then? When recording, I remember fooling around with the plugins a bit, but the only things I saw were options like "Brick Wall" and "Acoustic Guitar," which I figured were just pre-set bass and treble levels and whatnot. These didn't actually change the sound of the instrument (to trumpet, guitar, etc.), just the acoustics. Am I missing something?

    ProtoDome -

    Thanks for the quick list! I think I will test out Pro Tools a little bit and see if simply getting that MIDI cable to USB converter thing would be enough to get me started. After I figure out if that would work for me, I will definitely look into some other DAWs, as I am not opposed to spending to get something more streamlined, better quality, better supported, etc. However, it sounds like sort of personal preference regarding whether or not Pro Tools is a good DAW.

    Thanks again guys. I will try to search around a bit more, too, it's just that most things that I did find in the forums, including the guides and tutorials, didn't necessarily have the step-by-step, "Dude, just get a MIDI cable, stick it in your piano, put the USB end into your PC, the DAW is the recorder and the VST is a component of it, etc. etc." laid out for a complete beginner. At least, not how they all work together and hook up. I will keep looking, though, I could just suck at finding these things. :shock:

  15. Hey guys, I spent a good amount of time in the forums here, trying to make sure I wouldn't post anything that's been answered many times before, so I apologize in advance if you can point me to a thread covering what I'm asking here. That said, I am a complete beginner when it comes to recording music, and most of what I've seen here seems suitable for people who at least know the very basics of what everything actually is (DAWs, VSTs, MIDI controllers). I did take a look at some stickies, which helped to give somewhat of an understanding, but before I make any large purchases, I really want to make sure I get it. First, let me tell you what (I think) I know. Don't laugh. :razz:

    So I've got my digital piano, which would be considered just one type of MIDI controller. I hook up a MIDI cable to the piano, then pass it through a USB converter, which goes directly into my laptop USB port. Then, I use a DAW, software like Fruity Loops Studio or Multitrack Studio, to record what I play on my piano. Once it's recorded, I can edit whatever I want to, note by note, in my DAW software. Then, if I want to try some other interesting things, I can opt to get a VST, something like Vanguard or Nexus, which is not physical hardware but rather software that is virtually plugged into my DAW software (hence, they're known as "plugins"). VSTs would give me the ability to emulate different instrument sounds on my computer, through my DAW. There are different VSTs for different specialties (piano VSTs, orchestral VSTs, drum kit VSTs, etc.), ranging in quality of emulation.

    Assuming that's all correct, I've got a few questions...

    - I have this Pro Tools thing. http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Tools-Recording-Studio-Music/dp/B002P3KINE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296518498&sr=8-1 It's what I used to record myself playing my digital piano for the mix I submitted to this site. Would this be considered a DAW, something comparable to Fruity Loops Studio? I mean, if it is, maybe I've already got the DAW part covered. Even if so, I might still consider getting Fruity Loops Studio because there seems to be a lot of support for it here at OCRemix.

    - I think I understand that VSTs are used to produce different instrument sounds in your DAW, but if I'm strictly interested in piano, would it benefit me to get a piano VST, since I already have a digital piano? This is the piano I have, fyi. http://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical-instruments/keyboards/digitalpianos/clp_series/clp-320/?mode=model Would it make my piano sound better? Just to be clear, I am definitely still interested in looking into VSTs for all other types of instruments, as I'd like to eventually expand past solo piano recordings. So, is there an all-encompassing VST, or are they all specialized? My immediate guess is that yes, you can get a single VST that runs the gamut as far as instruments are concerned. So, for a pianist like myself, a specialized piano VST might be good, because it is something that I can really take advantage of, whereas something like drum beats and/or guitar VSTs would be better served through a general VST. Does that sound accurate?

    - Lastly, are all VSTs compatible with all DAWs?

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I figured if anybody could help, it'd be you guys. Thanks in advance!

  16. This song has me asking, "Should I like more pop songs like this, or do I only really like it because the source is from a videogame?" I don't normally enjoy listening to stuff like this (speaking to the voice effects more than the upbeatness), but I find myself putting this on repeat, like, way more than I thought I would.

    I definitely like how the melody from FFVIII is actually used as a background, with original stuff laid on top. It's something I want try to work into my stuff more, making original bits more prominent in an arrangement.

    I also really like the female vocal at 3:12. It just sounds so...clean, and pure, sung out after the denseness of the material immediately prior to it.

    Just a really well-written and well-performed (produced) song. Great stuff!

  17. Master_Yoshi, thanks for expressing Purple Cow's point in a much more civilized way. For the record...

    I think in order to do this source to a dance-y techno theme you would need to grab some of the skillset of your zircons, your bLiNds, hell I'm sure Anso would be able to rock it out. It would involve gutting the source and pulling out the aspects that lend themselves the most to the genre, building on them, and then seeing if you can add a few more references. Playing the source almost verbatim in a synth while a boom-tiss plays in the foreground just doesn't turn people as much as a much smarter arrangement could.

    ...this passage supports the point that with the right game plan, any source can be done in any genre - it just may be a more challenging endeavor considering the source, the genre, and the arranger (which was Master_Yoshi's point, I think).

    All that said, as per my previous post, I do respect it being here and think it should be on OCR. And for a new artist a certain amount of slack is cut. Nobody started out as a genius. Well, maybe Anso. Or Schnab. Or Maze. But they more than likely had strong musical backgrounds before they came here.
    Agreed. And as long as we can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of particular ReMixes and be respectful at the same time, I'm all for critical review. :)
  18. Nope, not feeling it. This feels like you're trying to force-feed techno down poor Mr. Glenn's throat. Trouble is, Frog's Theme isn't meant to be heard as a techno piece. Point-in-fact, neither are most of the other tracks on the Chrono Trigger OST. Celtic, sure. Rock, maybe. But not this.

    Good example of an eager and blooming skillset being applied to the wrong thing on one of its pioneering leaps out the window. I recommend getting up, dusting yourself off, and trying again with a song that techno was meant for.

    With all due respect, I've always been of the mindset that any source could be arranged for any genre. To say that DJ Velly is applying the wrong skillset to the original piece is a bit, absolute, I feel. Sure, it's quite possible that Yasunori Mitsuda never meant to turn the theme into a techno arrangement, but I don't think that means it never could be. In other words, some pieces lend themselves to certain genres more easily than others, but I think the awesome thing about music is that there are no rights and wrongs in its creation.

    I mean, I think a huge aspect of OCR's appeal is the sheer amount of ReMixes that have been written in unexpected styles, and that have worked out surprisingly well.

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