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CT - Magus' Theme - Dreamstone Legend... done? You tell me.

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Magus - Dreamstone Legend

http://www.actlab.utexas.edu/~garrenjb/music/Magus2007_2.mp3

It has been a few years since I last posted this for comments, under my previous name. I thought I would throw it out there again for kicks, since I recently reworked it a bit.

It is a quasi-symphonic remix of the Magus theme from, obviously, Chrono Trigger. I have a few primary concerns that I'm looking at, but I'd welcome any intelligent feedback. One concern is that it might get dull being almost 5 minutes without any significant key change. Another is the equalization and certain instrument volumes, all of which still sounds a bit off to me. Another possible flaw is that the drums have not been seriously changed since the original version, and my drum part writing back then was frequently muddy. Also, I realize that the electric guitars remain somewhat phony sounding, but I really couldn't do away with them without completely changing the color and character of the piece.

Thanks,

JBG

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The intro is ok, although a bit boring. I like the arrangement, but it's a little long-ish. I suffer a similar problem with one of my remixes, so I know how it is.

Drums first come off as newby, but work better a little further in. The count-in sounds too wannabe. Maybe it'd help to remove that break where the count-in occurs and let them count in earlier?

Some guitars are better than others, the foreground ones sound better than the bg ones.

2:20, no problem listening so far, still exciting. There's enough change in it. Second time through, I'm noticing the flute or whatever it was, so it works well to listen to more than once.

The panning started getting annoying at 3:00. Maybe it's just me, but I think the extremes should be reserved for reverb only. The orchestra feels very unbalanced due to how it's panned. See if you can improve that.

Fute loops real ugly around 3:20, too annoying when it's essentially the solo instrument of that part of the remix. Reduce modulation, crossfade the loop, find a better sample, I dunno, do something about it.

4:30, still okay to listen to. And the ending is good.

Mostly, it's some minor issues to fix. I recognized a lot of CT in this. While I don't remember if it was all Magus' theme, it sounds like you've got the original vs source ratio right. Plus this is a really enjoyable listen as it is, with a few improvements, it'll be great.

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oh man.

that's one fantastic arrangement, but you've really shot yourself in the foot with it, because it's going to be hell to get the sound quality right. :<

the main thing that jumps out at me is how the compression is killing the epic, orchestral feel you want. especially towards the end, it really feels cramped. tone it down a little, and play with the balance- there's really no need for that kind of soundspace-squishing.

other than that, it's... yeah, definitely rigid in the mitre, which is a pretty big problem and is always highlighted by judges in works supposed to feature mostly real instruments. and i'm really not sure about the orchestra "hit" synth in the middle- it (at least to me) comes off as a bit tacky.

submit this now and you'll most likely get a unanimous NO (resubmit). i don't know how far you'll have to tweak the productionto get it through, but on the arrangement alone it's almost good enough to send it straight in imo...

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ooo nice tremello strings going on. Very sexy. This song's epic but is not without it's flaws as the other two guys have pointed out. Yeah EQ will definately need to be messed around with, but man your compositional skills are real good :D

This feels almost like a Protricity mix lol.

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Thanks for the compliments and critique. I think it's helped reinforce my opinion about things that need changing before the final work is complete. What you heard is vastly cleaned up from the original version, but many of the problems that you all pointed out are things left over that I haven't redone yet.

I agree that the intro still seems a bit dull, at least in comparison with the rest of it... I think I'll shorten the intro, perhaps rewrite it a bit. The opening to the drums does sound cliche'd now that it has been pointed out to me, and the phony sounding orchestra hits don't fit well either. I think the original idea there was a brief retro throwback, but it doesn't match with the direction I ended up taking the piece. The 3:20 flute and the overused panning in that guitar loop... yes, annoying, definitely going to be changed.

The biggest problem that remains is the "squashed" feeling of the sound quality in some of the orchestral areas. My inexperience and a slower computer that couldn't handle the number of instruments used led to a great deal of clipping when I originally wrote this, and cleaning up the sound has been a bitch. Apparently it needs some more work though.

I assume that's a typo and Ark is saying that the piece is "rigid in the meter." Could anyone offer any suggestions as to how I might make it a bit more fluid? (edited for misquoting people)

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I find myself agreeing that it's probably a typo, although not one of mine. :D And squished wasn't my word either. lol

Fute, however, is. I meant flute.

Humanization is the process of setting velocities, note lengths, and note position so that it's less perfect, less mechanical, less sequenced and more...human. Generally, fixing velocities does a lot, but the rest is good to keep in mind. Making some notes longer than others works wonders for a stiff piece. Try to imagine how it'd sound if a human played it, that should give you enough of an idea of how to fix it.

In instruments settings, I often set a random factor to each note, letting it randomly be _roughly_ the right pitch. While this is suicidal for electronica, it works wonders for orchestral works. If there's a similar feature in whatever app you're using, use it. Just don't overdo it.

Maybe you should add some reverb to the orchestral tracks. I recommend using a bus and then just setting bus send levels, it's faster. If it doesn't sound good, there's always the possibility of using multiple buses.

In instrument settings, you set your preferences. In Soviet Russia, instrument set preferences on YOU! :D

Anyway, you need a more organic guitar sample for the higher pitch notes in the end of the remix. I'm hearing and am bothered by them. Reducing Attack just slightly, by 30-100 ms could be enough, and add 20-50 ms of glide time. If you can't, see if you can tweak the amp sim. If you can't, add a new track, and play the last, higheest sections, on that one instead. Mimic the settings but give it more life somehow. Another possibility would be to set the guitar to be legato. If it works, it works, if not, then don't. But see if you can give the guitar more life.

Whoa, lots and lots of advice, hopefully good advice, but I make no promises. :D Just see what you can do, and report or submit when you feel it's ready. Some tweaks and I'd YES it, but I'm no judge. I recommend coming back here with an updated version, to see if we can spot any other flaws or fixes to be made. :D I said it before, I'l say it again: it'll be great!

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download link - (I've been having some problems playing the piece in a browser, so you may want to Right-Click and use "Save As".)

http://home.actlab.utexas.edu/~garrenjb/music/Magus_Dreamstone_Legend_08.mp3

This is a Chrono Trigger remix, (yes, another one), of Magus' Theme. It attempts to recreate and re-envision both the dark melody typically associated with Magus and also the heroic refrain that appears later in the original "Battle with Magus". This piece has been tinkered around with for more than two years, but I have recently set to the task of rewriting it. I posted it on these forums about a month ago and received some good feedback. Now, having made many of the changes suggested back then, I would like to hear some new opinions.

As I called it back then, this is a "quasi-symphonic" work with some electronic elements, although those have been dwindling rapidly as I have rewritten it. Much has changed about the piece. At the very least, all of the orchestration sounds considerably fuller than it did a month ago. After a great many hours put into this, my own criticism has run out and I'd like to call it done. Still, I know there may be valid problems remaining with it. So... please gimme feedback! Gimme! :<

Seriously though, I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks,

JBG

(formerly Leonheart of the Flame)

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Sounds good to me. I personally have almost no qualms with it production wise. Everything seems well-mastered and sits comfortably in their part of the mix. You go back and forth between original material and Magus' theme frequently. Of course, I'm no judge (and definitely don't have anything like this up my sleeve), but this looks good to me.

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I seem to have heard an earlier version of this. This is all neat. It's not repetitive, and I hear nothing I could improve, other than the sampled guitar. The mix of orchestral and rock is really cool, and would really benefit from a real guitar. It might be a little too long, but it's listenable.

I found the old thread. Yeah, there's improvements all over, this is YESable stuff, methinks.

The guitar still bothers me. Dunno if you can, but try recording the slow solos yourself. BPut the guitar amp effects on a separate master (set the channels to only go to the buses), and route both audio guitar and sampled ones to that one. I'm just guessing, but it might work. Still, this is YESable, says I.

Good luck whether you submit or keep working on it! Good job!

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Thanks for the compliments.

About the guitar part... yeah, it still bugs me a bit also, although I've more or less made my peace with it, since it works.

I'm not really set up to record guitar, although I do play a bit. I'm more of a pianist.

I have an acoustic guitar with a pick-up, but no amp. I've tried plugging straight into my sound card before and using some programs to simulate an amp, but generally the latency is terrible and the quality of sound I recorded hasn't been worth the trouble. Still, there may be ways to make this work.

Do you have any suggestions for a better program to add guitar effects and whatnot, or is mixing through my sound card (SB X-Fi Fatal1ty) unlikely to work at all? Barring that, do you have any suggestions for making the current guitars, which are soundfonts, sound better or more realistic? They already have several filters and distortion effects applied to punch up the sound. (Or perhaps a suggested soundfont or sample library containing better electric guitars?)

Either way, I'll look for a solution myself before calling this done.

-Thanks

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I know this is about 3 years out of date but I have the finalized version of the Dreamstone mix and it's one of my favorite compositions of all time. My senior year, I would listen to this song before my wrestling matches to get me fired up. I felt like I reached a higher form of existence when listening to this song. I just thought it was right to commend you on your excellent work and I hope you keep up the good work Mr. Garren.

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