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Everything posted by Neifion

  1. A better audio interface might help if it is indeed a latency issue. Also be sure you have multi-threading on.
  2. A little more information would certainly help, I agree. Are the notes messed up during playback? If so, maybe you have some weird quantize setting activated by mistake. If the notes are coming out weird as you're playing them in real-time, it's probably a latency issue and you should check your buffer settings.
  3. +1 for this series. Great tips for realistic mockups.
  4. Hey there! I like this. Though there's this really high pitched noise that keeps coming back several times; one of the places it's really noticeable is at 0:59, for example. I felt kinda like my ears were being stabbed. Strings sustains that come in at 1:17 don't sound natural to my ears and also seem fairly mechanical in their performance. Dynamics are completely flat, and could use some natural swelling and breathing. Also, if your string library has vibrato control, they could benefit from sculpting the vibrato intensity/rate, since the vibrato that is there noticeably stays the same for each sustain, though that's not nearly as important as the dynamics IMO. Writing-wise, the strings are mostly moving in whole note chords, and I got kind of a little bored. even for an ambient piece. I think mixing it up by introducing some 1/4 note violin arpeggios could add some nice harmonic texture. The quasi-tribal beat beginning at 1:56 is pretty cool, but I feel like it goes on just a little too long without enough change. Maybe some of that ethnic flute doing overblown shakuhachi-like breaths could be cool (if you're able?) Or maybe a little chromatic percussion in the last 4 bars of that section, as it's pretty bass-to-mid heavy and I think it could use more treble. Just an opinion though. I also like the contemporary beat at 2:36. Nice work so far!
  5. Maybe check to see if quantize is on?
  6. Think if you were an author, and you managed to get ahold of someone else's story treatment, complete with the main story arc, central themes, major characters, etc. You fill in the side characters, flesh out the scenes in detail, and work out the dialog. Would you consider yourself the sole author? Would you be comfortable accepting accolades and telling people in interviews that it was your work alone? Using instrumental loops for the main melody is the same thing. You're building harmonies and rhythms around the core attraction which is not yours to begin with. Do you deserve credit? Sure. But like the author above would normally be relegated to co-author, a composer who uses loops in such a way should be credited as a remixer or co-composer at best. Is it cheating? Only if you're trying to get away with being credited as the sole composer, which is what Darren Korb apparently did. If he was credited as a co-composer, I would have no objections whatsoever. Cheating aside, in my opinion, any loop a composer uses that is not their own degrades the merit they deserve by some degree. You use someone else's drum loop, well, that might be just a little bit. A melodic loop as the main melody; that's more. Regular sampled instruments don't count, because you still have to write every note yourself; unless, of course, you copied someone else's writing.
  7. The function names with the empty parameter lists, the Empty Set, and especially the sword saying "Hello World" brought a smile to my face. Not done with the game yet, but enjoying it so far.
  8. I see using loops as taking a photograph. Does it take skill to take a good photograph? Yes. Could just any Joe-Schmoe take photos like Ansel Adams? No. I see composing from scratch like painting. It takes more skill to paint a beautiful painting of, say, a mountain landscape, IMHO, than to take a beautiful photograph of a mountain landscape. But both take skill. Maybe a better analogy is a collage artist. They take a bunch of preexisting stuff and make a new piece of art. Just like someone who uses loops. That takes creativity and skill, no doubt. But again, I think it's harder to paint something from scratch, or to create all of the assets for the collage yourself, then to simply use other people's. Though honestly, when it comes to soundtracks, what's the most important thing? That it serves the medium. Not originality, not "listen-ability". Look at The Dark Knight. Endless repetitive ostinatos. Extremely simple melodies. The Joker's theme is basically one sustained note (followed by a few generic electric guitar chugs), for crying out loud. Yet it fits the nature of the film so well, it's pretty brilliant. And now everybody in Hollywood is copying Hans Zimmer's style. All this being said, I am a bit disappointed to hear that Korb used loops, especially the harp melody from The Mancer's Dilemma, which is one of my favorites. I mean, the whole freaking song was built around that loop. He's still a great composer and engineer in my eyes... just not quite as great.
  9. I apologize if I missed the one review rule; I didn't recall from the guidelines, but I definitely don't want to be a mod hog. In any case, I think I've gotten enough feedback; thanks again for all the detailed help!
  10. Thanks timaeus. Yeah, I actually tried the violas an octave higher but their energy was too high too soon coming off the mellow theremin and bass just prior, which is why I save the octave jump for the next section at 3:19 when the brass returns. Glad to hear the bass is coming through clearer for you; I spent an unhealthy amount of time cleaning up, so that's awesome! Thanks as well for the tip to squeeze an extra ounce of loudness via the limiter as well.
  11. Based on your guys' feedback, I've got a new version up! Same link as before. Changes: - Employed a new limiter to bring the entire mix up 2 db - Improved the overall clarity of the mix by taming trouble frequencies in the low-mid region, particularly around 400 Hz - Fixed the panning offset of the wind FX at the beginning - Smoothed the dynamics of the bass clarinet at 0:50 - Slightly boldened the low end of the orchestra prior to the beat drop - Tightened up the trumpet staccatos starting at 2:20 - Adjusted the mix of the strings at 3:05 so that the legato violas are more prominent, while the staccato cellos have been toned down, to give a clearer sense of which is the lead Just to make sure the improvements are on track, I'm going to switch back to Mod Review. Thanks for the tips everyone!
  12. Hey Joe, thanks for the feedback! Just a couple questions for clarity: The staccatos at 1:30, when you say 'touch out of volume', do you mean too loud? Too quiet? As for low end support, I think maybe layering some contrabass staccs could solve the problem. What do you think? The brass is meant to sound like in a real pops orchestra, so yeah, they're not supposed to be 100% tight in their timing. 3:05 has legato violas doing one counterpoint, with staccato cellos doing the other counterpoint (aka the 'orchestral hits', mimicking what the brass was doing at 2:20, as you said). You said that the legato violas (what I assume you mean by "string lead") get buried underneath the cello staccatos, which sounds to me like the cello staccatos are currently the lead. But you said that neither seems to be currently taking the lead. I think the best solution may be just to remove the cello staccatos. They're pretty redundant anyway; just reiterating what the brass does before and after, while the legato violas introduce a new portion of the source. Also, could you be more specific about the production issue at 2:20 with the brass? Thanks again for all your help!
  13. I thought this was pretty good overall. Strings sound nice and warm. Woodwinds could use a lot more dynamics. When you have solo woods that exposed doing legato sustains, they could benefit from detailed breath control, like arcing through the note to give a sense of ebb and flow. They are completely static right now. Also, the legato transitions need to be smoothed over. They sound mechanical, especially the oboe that comes in at 0:55. Speaking of which, that entire passage from 0:55 to 1:30, the oboist does not take a single breath!
  14. Depending on the type of music you want to write, or what sound you want to create, you can sort of look back and see what worked for other composers. Similar to what timaeus said, ethnic and classical styles are often performed with very specific instruments, rhythms, and articulations. Modern film composers also employ certain orchestrations to achieve their goals: Hans Zimmer with his now-ubiquitous larger-than-life percussion-saturated ostinati gives that epic, gritty feeling, Thomas Newman and his dreamy piano-and-string combo provides a contemplative, film noir sound, etc. Of course, you want to develop your own sound, but looking to the big guys to get your first bearings can be helpful. More and more, especially now that I've begun scoring some things, I find myself choosing instruments based on a mood, a feeling, a subtle motif that hearkens back to an earlier point in the narrative. It's not so much about choosing what instrument sounds good as what serves the moment, or the larger picture. I do this in my regular songs too, though not everything has to be dictated by feeling and mood. If something just simply sounds cool and it works, nothing wrong with that!
  15. Mixture of both. I typically start out knowing the main sounds I want: legato strings, staccato brass, cello solo, etc. Then, as I write, I find stuff I want to add (or remove).
  16. Lol, well, they are full-size keys. But maybe it's just some bad forced perspective... or I'm a hobbit.
  17. Finally decided to post my time-out corner. Just ignore that dumbass there. Gear: Presonus Eris E5 Studio Monitors Steinberg UR22 audio interface ASUS 22-inch monitor Shure SRH840 Monitor Headphones Casio Privia PX-110 Cubase Artist 7.5 Not pictured: Intel Xeon Quad @ 3.4 GHz, 32 GB RAM @ 1600 MHz, various SSDs and 7200s, GeForce GTX 670 OC Audio Technica AT2020 Condenser mic CAD Acoustic Shield iPod touch w/ TouchOSC as a MIDI controller
  18. Awesome, that's what I was going for! Also nice to hear that other people are familiar with Tales From the Crypt. Makes me feel not quite so old!
  19. The strings are not meant to be as upfront as the brass (despite their normal orchestral positioning at the front). But this song is more akin to a pops orchestra (electronic stuff aside), and the brassy parts are supposed to be in-your-face, with the legato strings filling the room in the middle. At 3:05, before the brass comes back, the strings are the focus. The legato strings and staccato strings are playing counterpoint here. At 3:16, the brass returns to play excited stabs and are more in-your-face than the strings. The strings, which carry on from 3:05, are playing counterpoint to the brass, and are strong but not so upfront. Hope I made sense here! Thanks again for all the tips! Changing to mod review now!
  20. The volume is butting up against my limiter, so I think probably the only way I can get it louder is through compression. And testing it on lower-quality speakers, there are parts that are threatening to dip everything if I make it any louder. Any suggestions on how to up the perceived volume? 2:48-2:52 (as well as the vibraphone bit immediately prior) are part of a transitional "break" from the heavy parts before and after. They're the exact same notes as 1:57 (the main chorus) as well as the source, for that matter. 2:20 and 3:05 are not the same. 2:20 is analogous to 0:23 from the source, while 3:05 is analogous to 0:32 from the source. 2:20 has the big brass, while 3:05 has no brass at all and focuses on legato mid strings and staccato low strings. It's a transition from the "break" immediately prior into the big brassy finale just after. 2:20 and 3:16, however, are analogous (notice the brass in both), though because 3:16 is the build into the finale, we get a continuation of the mid legato strings from the previous section, with some brand new energetic trumpet punctuation. So they're definitely different; the end is supposed to be bigger than the middle.
  21. New version up, same link above! For the bass, in addition to centering it, I cleaned up the low end a bit, and I think that helped clear the mix up further..
  22. Cool, I'll try upping and widening the wind as suggested. As for the volume, the loudest parts (brass) are already pushing close to my limiter at -0.2 db. So lowering the brass a bit and cleaning up the low end could provide a bit more headroom. I'll try that!
  23. Hey Brandon, thanks for the critique! Yeah, the beginning was definitely new for me - more sound design-y than my usual stuff. I drew inspiration from various stuff like Tales from the Crypt, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Hitchcock... pretty much everything that scared the crap out of me as a kid, lol. The bit of calm after the crescendo at 1:37 was me going for a "you're on a precipice, ready to jump to your death" sort of feeling (brought back the wind sound to try and help convey that) before "diving" into the upbeat surfy part (glad you picked up on the surf rock, btw!) Guess it maybe doesn't work as intended? I want to keep that feeling of "holding your breath" there though... any suggestions? Thanks for the other tips as well, especially cutting the lower frequency sends to the reverb for clarity. I'll have a new version up soon!
  24. That guy plays a mean sax. Amazing how much it sounds like it was made for smooth jazz!
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