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Rexy

PRC119: Embark on a Journey of Re-Orchestration! (Tales of Symphonia)

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The mixing is over. And may I say this now - we have put together the most active PRC we have had for 15 months! Congratulations everyone!

I'm currently verifying the entries myself in the event that a MIDI rip fell through the cracks. Once I'm done, we shall move on to the voting post.

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Okay, now it's time to get to the voting! Here's what we're going to do.

You're going to visit the ThaSauce link and check out all seven entries. Once done, you should fill the form at the bottom of the screen, pick three mixes and file them from first to third with a reasoning attached to them. Contestants are encouraged to do this as they will automatically get 3 points for voting. Since I won PRC118, my vote counts twice so I'm equally as important here. You have until Tuesday May 6th at 4:59am EDT to cast your vote. The winner gets to choose the source tune for PRC120!

Binweasel (f/ Nick) - Warning: Gibbous

just64helpin - Sly Land

munchi - Sylver Lining

NeoS - Happylands

Showroom Dummy - Pixelated Tales

V (as 904) - Ovaltine

xGx - Euphoria in Sylvarant

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Voting time is over! And what a round we have here - let me say this now. For the first time for a VERY LONG TIME (and I forgot how long it's actually been too), we have gone into double figures on vote input! And don't worry about multiple voters; I have an IP address record that has shown that no suspicious activity has undergone here. So yeah, very warm surprise :D

Now it's time we got into the final standings! Which of you reached the fabled Tower of Salvation? Which of you got held up by Zelos' crazy antics? And which of you are merely left stranded at the Temple of Martel?

Total number of mixes - 7

Total number of votes - 13

Highest possible score - 39

munchi received the last place wooden spoon with 6 points.

just64helpin obtained sixth place, inching ahead with 7 points.

904 404'd (!) his way into fifth place with 10 points.

xGx made a promising start into fourth place with 12 points.

NeoS claimed a happy third place finish with 13 points.

Binweasel only just lost out into second place with 20 points.

And the winner of PRC119 is Showroom Dummy with 22 points!

Man, what a round that we ended up having! I feel proud of just about everyone who managed to take part here, so that was a more than welcome surprise here.

But still, congratulations on your first win Showroom Dummy! There's been a lot of voters, including myself, who felt surprised at what you managed to pull off as a music track, and to me that shows real surprise on what someone new to the contest ended up pulling off, so that in itself is just amazing.

Now, let's inform you on the next step. You are to choose the next PRC source tune. It can be any track as long as it hasn't been covered on OC Remix before; this can open the scope widely, whether it be an underappreciated track in a popular game (e.g. DKC2 "Flight of the Zinger") or any track from an uncovered game (e.g. pretty much anything in Donkey Kong 64). Tracks covered in site projects but not on the main site are still fair game, so stuff like DKC1's bonus room theme is still acceptable.

Once you've chosen a track, you send a private message or email to me with your choice. I would like to see it as prompt as possible - I will give you until this coming Friday to send something through.

Still, that wraps up one of the most active PRCs we have had in a long time. Again, well done on making this a contest to remember, and I hope to see you all again this weekend for PRC120!

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Great round. Not only because of the number of entries, also WHO entered. We have many rounds with a group of around 10 persons entering, but this one is different.

Also, the number of votes is very good, this contest is still doing very well and it's back on it's top. Great job remixers, fans and of course Rexy.

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hehe grats showroom ^-^ bring on the next one. 4th, not a bad start i guess....

reading up on the comments im rather hurt to be honest with these comments - "Production wise, everything seemed really sloppy" also "weak production to it". I spent literally fucking ages getting every instruments sound levels perfect with each other O.o (or at least on my sound system) the piano esspically!!!! The start was a controlled gradual increase of volume and velosity aka a gradual fade in... I didnt just want to start playing it like i was taking a sledge hammer to the damn thing... also i used a classical piano sound which kinda sounds a little compressed but works really well I think for piano pieces like that, you cant diss the piano dammit :(

" I'm not so sure about using audience claps as a constant use of percussion; it probably adds a little bit too much cheese into it if you know what I mean." - the clap was over used on purpose but mostly followed the snare (cheese ftw) and the actual auduiance wav was only used twice for short times to fill some empty gaps...

"in the event that it comes with a mixer then it's probably a case of turning down the input volume" yeah that is pretty true i tend to leave it a little high but on my system everything was decent, however listening to it on a poorer system like my mp3 player and it sounds too loud, had i done that sooner i would of corrected it.

"the transition to 3/4 timing around 3:35 seem a little randomly placed " true i was going to add a slow down in tempo before that but didnt have the time so just did a straight switch of tempo (also it was still 4/4 just played in triplets hehe ^-^ thought the change added something new and kept it intresting ). to be honest that is the piano part i started with entirely, it was the first thing i wrote for this :)

"I'm interested to know what program you work with though" cubase vst5

"You provided one of the more fickle entries around here" ...that reads like ciritisim :P I just tried to make the piece intresting. The tune we had to work with was pretty lame as it was.

oks im still not very happy about useage of 'weak production', i mean wtf? WEAK?! Thats a pretty harsh word surely conciding the sound and intrument quality and actual sound of mine i thought was pretty damn good in comparison to others (no offence intended) ...fucking 'weak'... damn man i need more details. Thats not very posi :(

xGx

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Thanks all, I didn't get to vote but I did listen to all the songs and remember liking binweasel's and NeoS' the most, although I also thought that all of the others had something good going for them. Honestly the competition was very tough and I didn't think I would get first place.

I saw that most people didn't like the weirdness going at the ending, with all the modulation and pitch shifting, but it was all intentional, to give the track a less happy, more "expressive" ending of sorts.

As I said in the write-up this was a challenge and I had way too much fun doing it, so it's kind of sad for me not being able to participate in the next competition which I'm choosing the song for. But anyways, I'll try to pick up something good for you all to remix.

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Well, even though you aren't allowed to formally take part next time, you can still attempt a remix of it yourself and classify it as a bonus entry. I've done that a few times, and so did Hylian Lemon; it's our way of putting together our own little challenges should we want to accept them :)

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xGx, I may have some words of advice that will serve you better than any production/arrangement advice I could ever give you. Take all the criticism you can get, accept it, embrace it, and learn from it.

I don't consider myself a great remixer or anything, IMO I think I can put out decent enough stuff, but what I've learned and improved over the years has been from taking criticism in account, and not turning a blind eye on it or just saying "hey, I worked 20 hours on this how can you say this is shit?", I might say instead "ok, obviously I was doing something wrong, maybe I can improve on that?"

I listened to all the tracks, and I agree with most of the reviews about yours, specially Rexy's. I tought the composition was clever in some spots and all around the place in others, the production was spotty as well, and the crowd added a large amount of cheese to it all. Some stuff I liked about it, other I hated, like Rexy said it was a mixed bag. You shouldn't be pissed off about getting a sloppy production, how long have you been doing this? I think there's still room for learning. But then again I could be more specific if I wasn't at work and had acces to the song because what I'm saying is from what I remember when I listened to it.

Also, this "competition", from the very beginning (some years ago) was made as a mean for artists around here to be able to mix something that they normally wouldn't, face the challenge, and improve their skills. I've never considered this competition as a means to show I have better arrangement or production than anyone (which I certainly don't) nor to show I can win agaisnt somebody else. I join this competition as a mean to win against myself; to go outside the box, improve on my arrangement, on my production, try some new ideas, face a challenge, or just beat boredom and have a good time.

I might suggest to approach the criticism that others are offering with a humbler attitude, it will do you better than doing it the other way, believe this: it's hard to get criticism of any kind around here, and you're getting it for sure and for free by joining this activity, take advantage of that, and above all, be nice and have fun.

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I'm actually a bit disappointed that the criticisms for my piece didn't really express much beyond what I was already aware of. I probably should have switched up that accordion with an organ or something toward the end, though. :wink:

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Leading into the soft rock sections left me fickle; I appreciate the guts it takes to get a live bassist into it, but I felt that his place seems to be a little random in comparison to the synth guitar patches (which I say are actually very decent here for what they are). I do admit that he ended up adapting a bit better in the second transition around 2:50, so yeah, that was a thoughtful surprise through and through. I would have thought some of the middle-lows could be brought out upon the synth guitar patch though to make it stand out a bit more, similarly with more thought taken to the percussion's EQ levels as well.

The second transition was actually where I allowed him more room for improvisation; I'd composed the bass up 'til around 3:20, I think. After that I told him, "Here's the chords, just fill in the bits as you like." I'll definitely look into that guitar thing, too. Until I can record my own proper, I'll probably be using it quite a lot. Nice to know it's not flinch-inducing... yet.

And one of these days I'll actually attempt to EQ something beyond combinator presets. :oops: Thanks for the review, ma'am! (Eep.)

And thanks for the songs, everyone - and congrats again, Mr. Dummy, on winning! (I really rather liked the ending. Made me think.)

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. Take all the criticism you can get, accept it, embrace it, and learn from it.
.

I agree with most of the reviews about yours, specially Rexy's.

I expect constructive cirtisim and i want it. I do agree with the constructive things i was able to pull out of what he said i just think the way his entire paragraph about my piece personally was written was in an incredably harsh tone, very blunt and rather hurtful to be honest after the effort i did put into it as i assume everyone else here did also. it was hardally constructive i just read it as hate, "the entire thing was sloppy, the entire thing was weak" definatly doesnt read like "I think what let you down was..." or "the piece was intresting all round but you really need to improove..." thats why i was offended.

.

the crowd added a large amount of cheese to it all.

It was supose to, I thought the empty gap was terrible with just the crappy offbeat bassline on its own, the crowd added the atmosphere it needed to make it an epic build up i thought, clearly your tastes say otherwise.

.

You shouldn't be pissed off about getting a sloppy production,

Still not really understanding what anyone means by that, and also is 'sloppy' really what my piece is? i mean, how was I sloppy? I spent ages on each individual intrument, each part of the song making each piece of music work so that everything locked in tight, and dont get me started on the drums i always spend ages on them. I would hardally say that I was sloppy in that aspect so i dont understand at all what you mean when you say i was 'sloppy' or it is a 'sloppy production' but i would certainly hope you do not mean it in that aspect in which i am reading it which is i was lazy and threw it together without any care. i didnt rush anything, but all i know now from what rexy said is my output was too loud which is true, that was a minor error on my part and maybe a 'sloppy' mistake, doesnt mean you have to call my entire piece sloppy :( I still think it sounds pretty great on my comp (which does kinda have a kick ass sound system and makes anything sounds good to be fair :S ) ...other than in Rexys personal taste he disliked that i compressed my piano a little, what was sloppy about it? I really dont understand :(

.

Also, this "competition", from the very beginning (some years ago) was made as a mean for artists around here to be able to mix something that they normally wouldn't, face the challenge, and improve their skills. face a challenge, or just beat bordem and have a good time.

I might suggest to approach the criticism that others are offering with a humbler attitude, it will do you better than doing it the other way, believe this: it's hard to get criticism of any kind around here, and you're getting it for sure and for free by joining this activity, take advantage of that, and above all, be nice and have fun.

This was my first entry, i intended to participate purely to have fun, I had absolutly no desire to win to be honest (as that means i cant participate in the next one and i want to!) I like the idea of lots of people making differnt mixes of the same thing and being able to compare at the end. its a brilliant idea and very enjoyable. I hope to get better at remixing and stuff from being a part of this 'competition'. I would like to think that by now im pretty good at making decent covers of old retro stuff but lacking in the originalality part which is why with this one i went crazy and tried to do something ive never done before which was solo throughout the entire piece using multiple intruments (which no one seemed to notice :( ). I tend not to experiment more with intruments but with writing original pieces like the piano at the start and solo's which for me being a drummer is quite difficult as i understand the theory behind music (scales, chords etc) but am not very good yet with any actual melodic instrument if you know what i mean.

However i thought the comments that were written were just harsh and way too hard hitting for me to really take in without feeling like the guy basically just said it was rubbish and thats that, i sure he ment well and maybe I over reacted a little at first reading and i do want to know whats wrong about my work but its just the way it was written. Very exaguarted too i think... well, i HOPE. :(

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oh **** you all!! (cept for those wonderful people that voted me first! [and yes there were ... one] :P) Not quite the bang I expected from 904s debut but hey you all have no taste anyway. Said with love :)

[/bitter]

Still havnt listened to anyone elses tune yet, i'l jump on that now. Congrats (pending) for Showroom Dummy!

EDIT: Hmm not quite how my vote would go... Given originality of my track however dont necessarily disagree with my placing.

Showroom Dummy - Loved the premise, and the opening is awesome on headphones

BinWeasle - hahaha liked the weasel image... loved that bass

NeoS - Awesome happy hardcore, beautiful bass and compression!

xGx - This followed the happy hardcore nicely, crank the tempo!

904 - ... me!.... yay!..

Just64helpin - Downtempo, cool i'l give you a quick 'in depth' on yours (as per your 3post above req)

First, the guitar velocity shouldv been altered more to allow it more of a groove. Also you chose 3 instruments that cluster in the higher ranges (guitar, keys, vibes) leaving the middles unexplored. Fine in itself, but then the accordian enters its too loud on the low-middle freqencies, and the theme suddenly gets this droaning behind it. This can be fixed by turning down the volume slightly and/or adding more reverb and/or EQ and/or getting a new instrument (my choice personally). When the piano enters, its very filtered, and suddenly the song looses its high end. A brighter piano wouldv been nice; an EQ boost or alt samples. The sounds are very repetitive too, you might try changing em up ocassionally, variety in the high hats too. Overall, the progression/composing was good and constant, but the sounds need to be alot more processed; lower ends filtered slightly, brighter but nice highs (dont overpolish), and more balance between the volumes. Pretty much what Rexy said,

Munchi - "I think what let you down was..." your song is like fuzz. Personally i find it cool, cos I visualize the soundwave like a fungus with the occasional flick up. I like the pickup with the bass actually, i was a little wtf with that opening. The song had some energy, but totally didnt feel upbeat, very conflicting. Overall, song just dragged, I cant really pick anything out to fix up because it was all just ... together. Like a fungus on a rock. Carnivorous fungus... it pounces on snails to feed....

REXY: ahhh Rexy.... gotta say, its quite admirable your dedication to this compotition. Well written critiques too. Thank you for all the work you put into PRC :D!!! Cant imagine what would happen to this comp if you left.... (and yeh, the genre stuff gets annoying, to each their own)

Oh and as for my track, yeeeeh I didnt really listen to the source more than once, just ripped the opening off the midi XD I might change the violin sequencing, thicken up the sounds, add extra layers, and rerelease as an original later. Might try again next week, cyas

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Psychog, calm down. Perhaps I didn't explain things clear enough; bear in mind that pretty much my entire vote was written in the last hour, and I had problems trying to figure out my top three throughout the entire voting period.

First things first and most importantly: I'm a SHE. Apparently my Crash Bandicoot avatar doesn't do much justice to that, but I don't care because I love the series anyway. Oh well.

Secondly, your attitude to this reminds me of the period of time in which I struggled to get a sophomore mix onto OC Remix's main site. Take it from experience; it can be fun to work on something that you really enjoy doing, and if you like it yourself, then there you go. Sometimes people may raise eyebrows, and sometimes they may look away; as far as an audience is concerned, they want something to make themselves click.

I felt similarly frustrated trying to get MY first PRC win and all, not to mention facing numerous situations in which I felt I placed more effort into my entries than various higher-placed finishers, but stuff like this shouldn't get you down: for such a high turnout like this contest, a high amount of quality is expected all around, which makes it more difficult for the less experienced remixers to make a mark. To be fair I wasn't expecting such a high turnout after such a quiet spell at this time last year, but this is what we've ended up with at the end of the day.

Now, let's see your concerns about all this.

I have understood that you spent a long time getting your instruments leveled up as they are. That's actually a very good start concerning it, it's just the overall master volume that just needed to be adjusted. I've taken your software to account as well with this one, so here's some advice: if you could lower the sliders on the master mixer by a few decibels, process your finished result into a wave file as you did and normalise the resulting wave to around 90-odd percent, then you can still get your loud produce and yet everything would sound a lot clearer. I understand that it may sound perfect through your own speakers before the processing, though bear in mind that even though this can be the case, playback volume levels and recording volume levels are two entirely different beasts altogether.

I also saw that you felt equally concerned about the reception for your piano. Your piano patch is actually really good, so I can't really fault that; furthermore I didn't even say THAT was compressed, as when I did hear it in the track it was one of few channels that didn't sound compressed. It's just that if a piano needs to sound really realistic, it doesn't always come down to velocities and volumes; the reason why I said it was mechanical is that we don't expect actual pianists to play every single note with 100% perfect timing and with the exact note length before moving onto another. Furthermore, they don't always play at the exact tempo of the track unless they are performing ragtime, which is usually more defined for the left hand's dependancy on providing a distinguishable rhythm.

If you use a keyboard for input, then it should be no problem for you playing around with it yourself and seeing what you as a performer could potentially come up with. You don't have to be Frederic Chopin or anything; regardless of skill level, it's a lot easier to express a two-handed piano pattern playing it yourself rather than using quantisation or mouse inputs.

If you don't use a keyboard and you are indeed using a mouse to work on everything, then I suppose that more work is needed for your note length and timings. Even so, remember that for most of the time, sequenced piano is usually frowned upon around here no matter what the situation, so bear that in mind.

You stated that your audience clapping effect was needed to fill some empty space. I rarely dive into electronica, but I can still offer an idea: one such method that I think could be beneficial is applying some subtle synth arpegio work in the background and in a middle note register (possibly from an octave below middle C to an octave above the same note). That can give in a good melodic possibility as well as filling in some blank space. Sir Nuts could probably find some better solutions to this since he's a better trance mixer than most of us in this entire thread, so he could also throw in some other ideas too.

Furthermore, I didn't stay that I didn't like your piece at all; in fact, when I first heard yours, I honestly felt that I could be thrown into making a very difficult voting decision, and it was further enhanced more as I got to listening to everyone else's work. As Sir Nuts mentioned, I found it to be a mixed bag; for the reasons I stated I found it to be a little rough around the edges, but I do honestly believe that I saw potential in you.

Just be happy with what you've managed to deliver: fourth place is very good for a compo like this. Heck, there are still some people worse off than you, struggling to get a strong and definable entry in the Dwelling of Duels contests, or at least into the top half finishers for each month. Just keep putting effort into your work; you're grasping the concept, and I have a good feeling that you can be able to go places if you keep at it.

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First and foremost I appogise firstly Rexy for my rudeness, also and it had not crossed my mind that you be a woman, I didnt know though so surely you cant be upset about that :P but now I do ^-^ but anyways so sorry abouts that. ^-^

erm 2ndly I actually wanna say how much I personally appreciate that you are running such a competition as this, ive really enjoyed this first event that ive participated in and shall definatly be entering more.

oks onto the issue, thanks for taking such a long time to write. I know it seems that there is some bad blood atm but i gotta be honest even when i write sometimes i write a bit bluntly and stuff when i really dont mean anything by it. And i am definatly very calm ^-^ I hadnt thought of normalising the piece after extracting to wav, although i dont have a program to do this other than importing it back into cubase and then normalising that wav only to extract it again... hardally seems logical. Is this some program i should be made aware of?

squenced piano is frowned on? Why because the people who can play feel threatened by it? :P shouldnt they then frown on any sequenced intrument, Sounds a bit daft to me and eliteist. I dont play piano but i understand how to sorta and i thought my note lengths were pretty accurate to as if a performer was playing the piece i think, that is something I taken some time on.

Forth is good, im not bothered, i could of came last and felt little or no heartbreak :P but im definatly not here to win and the position doesnt matter at all, Im here to improove myself so that i can create pieces based on video games that other people apprecieate, thats all that matters to me. I thought people here would want to hear them thats why I joined. :)

anyways thanks for writing and erm, sorry :P

xGx

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I wouldn't say sequenced piano is frowned upon, but bad sequenced piano certainly is. I am by no means an expert on the matter, as I fail miserably to get a piano section to sound convincing, but I will say that it all depends on context. For a melodic or dream trance song, a sequenced and not very humanized piano works, because the genre provides a canvas in which everything else isn't very human or quantizised. However, when you go at a piano solo, like how you did in some sections of your mix, like the intro, it has to sound convincing, natural and human, something that the best piano patch can't achieve if you can't make it sound like a person actually played those notes, and that leads me to my next point:

Most of my OCRemixes took months to get done. I would come to them, work for 2 or 3 hours, then walk away for another 4 or 5 days, maybe weeks. Some of them only took a few weeks, while others like my Metropolis mix took a couple of nights at most. My point with this is, I would have worked back then for 4 months on my metropolis mix, and it wouldn't have sounded any better. Same for all the others, and this is because it all depends on your skill level and experience. Right now I could crank a song in a couple of days that would sound leap and bounds better than anything I could do 3 or 4 years ago. I still have most of my old samples, and specially since I had a few hard drive crashes, I don't have many sound libraries other than the default soundbanks of my music programs, but it still would sound better because I've grasped some concepts over the time which were alien to me back then. So, don't think that because you worked hours to end on certain sections of your song it will be perfect or fault free. We're still all learning and we all have a limit to our current abilities, so all you can do is work on it until you feel it's good, and hope for the best.

As a final note let me remind you that we're not here to bash, be elitists, or be rude against you or anyone's music just for the hell of it, we have no reason to. We give our honest advice and I hope you can appreciate that. Rexy is not the most knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to piano humanization, or how a piano should sound, but she sure has way much, much more experience than all of us together when it comes to that, and has years of piano playing experience under her belt, maybe 3 times the amount of time I've been mixing. So when she speaks about my crappy pianos, I listen.

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I hadnt thought of normalising the piece after extracting to wav, although i dont have a program to do this other than importing it back into cubase and then normalising that wav only to extract it again... hardally seems logical. Is this some program i should be made aware of?

Well, there's a good number of wave editors out on the market. When I was at University, I found Sony Sound Forge to be a good example of such software, and it can also do wonders for post-processing of any actual live instruments you want to include in your work. A similar thing can be said about Steinberg's Wavelab software, though I found that their options weren't quite as diverse as the former.

Those that have low budgets could still get things done with NCH's Wavepad software. Of course, some of its features could only be used if you purchase a location license, but the free stuff it supplies are still amongst the essentials including - as we just discussed - wave normalisation.

I'm glad to see you've calmed down, and I hope you could be able to take our little talks through to your own personal growth. I do however hope your setback isn't discouraging you from taking part in the future, because as far as I know, you sound as if you can provide something fulfiling on a good week.

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ill check that one out sir nuts ^-^ I think my cubase cd thing came with wavelab but i didnt have a clue what it was :P so i didnt bother looking at it, might be worth a look. ia so got fruity loops and reason 1 but i cant use those confusing programs for the life of me, tbh tho what ive heard come out of fruity loops i dont wanna use it but reason sounds fantastic, just wish i could get my head around it :( i do have some sorta reason plug in for cubase so i can use its intruements in cubase but as i cant use reason at all it kinda doesnt help :P

p.s. bring on the next one showroom ^-^

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