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MM3 Sparkman - 'cause MM3 doesn't get enough love here...


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MM3 fans, unite!

There has been a terrible sin committed upon the MM3 soundtrack on OC! There hasn't been a single submission of the 'Sparkman' song that has been accepted on this site in the near decade that the site has been in existence. We must not stand for this!

I'm trying to do my part and write something that doesn't sound like trash, but I need your help. For the most part, the song is complete. I need to tweak some volumes throughout the some, play with the panning and fill in some repetitions so they aren't so... repetitious. However, I need some fresh ears to critique this, as well, as I really want to fill the void in MM3 called 'Sparkman'. Any thoughts?

http://www.box.net/shared/7bgzxrm0p7 (Final Version)

I'm sure I don't need this, but here's the source tune, anyway.

http://www.box.net/shared/4xhjvz2tum

Edit: Here are the other versions, for your listening pleasure...

http://www.box.net/shared/n2j0zz6yks (WIP1)

http://www.box.net/shared/b10utik4xr (WIP2)

http://www.box.net/shared/mmke2clspm (WIP3)

http://www.box.net/shared/q46dzn8xnc (WIP4, aka v1.0)

http://www.box.net/shared/rqrgluikb4 (v1.4)

http://www.box.net/shared/ypm4og6258 (v1.5)

http://www.box.net/shared/8f57q3ixy7 (v1.9)

http://www.box.net/shared/nv7dg2vls3 (v2.0)

http://www.box.net/shared/y902dvye1u (v3.3)

http://www.box.net/shared/ezoxxemc2u (v3.4)

http://www.box.net/shared/pertqk19y9 (v3.9)

I've also noticed how much of an ass that I sound like up there... After 3 months, I finally notice. When I'm talking about 'complete trash' I'm referring to an old mix that I did of this source that sucked pretty bad, not to anyone who's posted WIPs of this before (as I've only heard one other, and it wasn't bad at all). I hope this didn't offend too much, there.

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MM3 fans, unite!

There has been a terrible sin committed upon the MM3 soundtrack on OC! There hasn't been a single submission of the 'Sparkman' song that has been accepted on this site in the near decade that the site has been in existence. We must not stand for this!

There was (at least) one. JD Harding had his song accepted (it was called Sparkman JD, later renamed to Electric), but that song is removed by request.

There's an error on line 16 (When I play click on the Play button), but downloading works fine.

I like this, the intro is interesting. This song has a lot of good things. I hope you'll be able to finish this song and submit it to OCR with succes.

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There was (at least) one. JD Harding had his song accepted (it was called Sparkman JD, later renamed to Electric), but that song is removed by request.

Ah, I didn't know that... Shame it was taken down ( ' ~ ' )

Well, it isn't up there anymore, sadly... Just doin' my part for the OC. Any suggestions?

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I've heard this source recently, someone else must have had a wip of it. Too many wips to keep track of them. :D Well, the source is there, and I think the interpretation is in the green.

Nice rhythmic pad intro. Everything in the high range feels terribly compressed or something. Went overboard with the sidechaining, perhaps? Watch the volume on your rhythm pads.

Takes a little long until the lead melody comes in, you might want to throw in some references to it a bit earlier.

The writing is fine, imo, the track isn't badly mixed, but it is a little painful to listen to, you need to even out the harshness of your rhythm pads. Watch the phased/filtered low rhythm pad too, it sometimes gets these irregular bass boosts.

High energy throughout, even when the drums drop out, but it's ARGHLOUD and could use some EQ work to clean it up, would get rid of some of the unnecessary loudness and clean up the track, which should make it less painful to listen to. You're right about it needing some pan work, there's a lot of loud tracks here, and it's not fun to have them all playing smack in the middle of my head.

Loud clicks on that last instrument, fix 'em.

This is pretty good. I'm no judge, and shouldn't make these kinds of guesses, but I'd say this is probably in RESUB territory. Needs some fixing up, tho.

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Why did JD have his removed anyway? I like that remix, I still listen to it sometimes. I actually thought that remix was a reject that I downloaded from a wip thread, but apparently not.

As for this... it's too big to be submitted (max limit is 6MB). Easy fix but I thought you should know before submitting.

The intro is nice but a little dull - the first lead has too much portamento and neither it nor the second one has any reverb or delay on them making them feel really dry. Doesn't matter once the melody starts playing but until then it bothers me.

As compressed as this is, the drums don't feel heavy enough, it's like they don't have any bass at all. The whole song could use some bass boost.

The whole arrangment feels a little too sparse most of the time, it could be because of underuse of reverb. I normally don't like when people use reverb gratuitously and I should commend you for not doing so but this is a genre that actually relies on reverb a lot just to fill out the void. The treble instruments could really use more reverb, especially the pads, but the bass and kick are fine in that aspect.

Anyway, kudos for trying to get Sparkman covered. It's a great theme and it's pretty weird it's still left out in the cold after this long.

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Thanks for the crit's, all!

I've been a little distracted lately, but still managed to get out the 2nd WIP. Hopefully fixed some reverb and volume problems, definitely fixed the clicking on the synth at the end, and got it under 6mgs (Funny, I always think it's 8mgs, even though everyone tells me 6... stupid short-term memory loss). I played with the panning, but I think it needs a little more still. I still don't like my repetitions, but that's because I didn't touch them yet.

Takes a little long until the lead melody comes in, you might want to throw in some references to it a bit earlier.

Rozovian, it's interesting you mention the late entrance of the main tune. I actually had it incorporated earlier in older WIP's (not posted, BTW), but I purposely took them out. Waiting for so long, I feel, gives this a little more flavor and distinction. Even better, since most of you know the source, it keeps the listeners anticipating it, so when it comes it relieves tension that's been building up to that point. If that sounds like bull... well, listen to it with that in mind, and tell me if you agree or not :P.

Comments are still desired; help me out!

http://www.box.net/shared/b10utik4xr

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Better use of reverb now. I think the tempo is a little high, and the drums still aren't very tight. I like the overall sound though, it feels very old skool trance-ish (mid 90's). I liked the old intro better. The portamento melody lead clicks a little, see if you can't increase the attack on it by about 10 milliseconds... it's especially annoying when it's lying on a high note, fades away, and then starts playing a lower note - then it starts on the high note and slides down to the low one as it attacks and it doesn't sound very good.

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Dunno if it's just my personal preference, but the bass drum feels really off when it's offbeat and often (like at 0:33, 1:20 doesn't bother me). Making those additional notes softer might solve that crit.

While it doesn't bother me much, it's a little funny how you play the track with all instruments, then drop out the bassdrum, something you do a lot in this remix.

As for the late source, I have no problem with saving the source, but the Js might. Don't remember source, commented on source before, not gonna look it up again... but even some bass or harmonies would work well back then. Maybe you already have that, too lazy to check. :tomatoface:

You've got a few really whiny hi-range tracks. There's some off-key action on the hi-range rhythm thing that's there from the start. Some cleaning up there would work.

There's still clicks on those last notes, painfully loud. Fix 'em.

Still good. Could still be better.

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Here's another WIP... I think it's almost done.

http://www.box.net/shared/mmke2clspm

I hope no one thinks I'm attacking my criticism's, on the contrary; I am reading every one of them and explaining myself if I seem to ignore them in my mix.

There's still clicks on those last notes, painfully loud. Fix 'em.
Rozovian, I know your gonna go straight to the last note's to see if I fixed the clicks, only to find they're still there. I may be stubborn on this, but I like the clicks on the last two notes. I fixed all of the other clicks, adjusting the attack on them where I saw fit, but I left the end clicks due to their imperfect quality. I just hope the J's aren't too unhappy about them...

The source starts from 0:33 - 1:03 in a rather obvious fashion. Harmonically, the source is there from 1:03 - 1:20, and the triangle from the source is present from 1:20 - 1:33, which is when the source melody begins. I hope this will be enough for the J's when armageddon begins for my piece :P.

Hopefully I fixed some of the balancing in the drums and cleaned them up, although I didn't touch the bass volumes.

The 'off-key' action... I may have added a few 'off-key' things in this from the last WIP, actually... lol... but I'll look at them and check to see if they should be changed. I'm guessing that your are talking about moments such as 2:36 with the high rhythm pad. Sticking to harmonic structure feels 'meh' to my ears at times; counterpoint leads to these strange moments, oddly enough. Listen to some Eric Whitacre (he posts some of his music on Myspace); contrapuntally, his music works, even though harmonically it doesn't make sense. It has affected the way I write my music, as well... damn influences...

Dafydd, glad you like the 90's-trance sound to this. I've tried slowing this down, but then it loses some of it's edge. I'm looking for a bit more 'punch' behind it, so I'm sticking with the 160. If you want to hear another tempo, message the rate and I can post it for you to hear. :)

As for the drums, I don't think I hear what your hearing. Give me an example of where it's messy and I'll try to clean it up.

I think I fixed all of the clicking in the lead melody (with one exception, of course) and the portomento in the melody and one of the pads. Most of the ports and clicks are now there because I like the sound, not because I'm lazy ;).

I'm gonna mess around with the EQ and the Panning some more before I call it 'done'. Other than the things I said above, I've added and cut some material in order to clean up the phrases and add variety to some of the repetitions. I also turned down the main level, fixing some of the clipping that crimped the heavier sections. Of course, the suggestions are great; keep them coming.

I'll get this done if it kills me :sleepdepriv:.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Very good mix overall, but I agree with Rayza. The arrangement is clever and brings to mind Disco Dan at times, with several unfortunate exceptions that bring this mix down.

Took 1:38 to bring in the melody. Background synths are good. Lead's way too high pitched to stand sustained listening, it just sounds unpleasant on the high notes.

The best section I took away from this piece was 3:28-3:38, followed by some high noise around 3:42 that made my ears go "please tone it down :(", later kicking into high gear around 4:10-4:26. Listen to that section and tell me you don't think it'd benefit from some continued adjustments on the levels.

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Thank you Pander for the feedback - I haven't submitted yet so I could make the changes if needed :)

Lead's way too high pitched to stand sustained listening, it just sounds unpleasant on the high notes.
Listening to this again, I'd have to agree with you on the lead synth. I'll tinker with a few ideas and see if I can fix it up.
The best section I took away from this piece was 3:28-3:38, followed by some high noise around 3:42 that made my ears go "please tone it down :(", later kicking into high gear around 4:10-4:26. Listen to that section and tell me you don't think it'd benefit from some continued adjustments on the levels.
The levels definitely need to be fixed at the end. After working on this for a while listening to the EQ work, the levels themselves bypassed me completely... needed some fresh ears there :)
Took 1:38 to bring in the melody.
'fraid I've gotta disagree there... the main melody from the intro is the central element from 0:32 - 0:55. Listen to the very beginning of the source again; the part is augmented and had a few fast notes taken out, but it's the source, through and through. Same thing can be said with 3:04 - 3:27. It's not the main tune you hear in the game, but from the intro of the song. I think (hope) the J's will let me get away with that, as I cannot fit the source in anywhere else (I've tried; it sounds much too 'forced').

I'm gonna make the changes soon, just haven't had the opportunity yet.

Stay tuned!

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I can't even get the last version to play after I download it, in WMP nor Winamp. And the playing feature on box just keeps saying "loading".

EDIT: Apparently, I can't use Reason and any media player at the same time? Wtf??

Anyway, I don't know what Rayza was getting at and I don't suggest you wait for him to return and tell or say "Will pass OCR judgment.".

I think some instruments are too loud, blocking out many others. Production is a little too muddy, I think, to have a chance to get past the judges. I also really don't like the snare, and the kick isn't lovely either. Instead of the snare you have now, that sounds like a synth imitation of a real one, try using one of those standard trance ones or a clap. You do use a clap in the weaker sections but it's not very good either. Don't be afraid to layer your own drums with drumloops.

I think you should try to get Zircon to listen to this. He's a friendly sort, and should have some good advice.

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Ya, when I get the next version out, I'll try to get a judge to hear it (Zircon or BGC)... Do I just PM them or something?

I just associated the entry of the lead synth with the 'beginning of the song for realz yo.'

Ha, that's how I feel about that part, too. Glad we're hearing the same thing there :)

I don't know what Rayza was getting at and I don't suggest you wait for him to return and tell or say "Will pass OCR judgment.".

I wasn't gonna wait for Rayza... I've gotten used to all sorts of criticisms over the years (not on OCR, but elsewhere), so I know when to ignore and when to listen. As respected as he is, one still can't take a comment like that too seriously, unless he wanted to end his musical career real early :).

I understand your comment on the drums, Dafydd, but I don't feel they take from the music too much. Again, perhaps I'll experiment, but... well, I kinda like em' as they are :P

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If you're confident enough with your mix just sub it. While it might sound like a horrible thing to get no'd you'll leave with way more constructive feedback than this topic is going to get you.

Sure, you'll have to wait, but if you want the judges opinion put it in front of the judges. :P

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I was about to say that, but it could be a good idea to run it by one of the judges in private to iron out any no-brainers if any exist. If this one doesn't pass I'll bet it's because of production issues and then it might be a good idea to ask someone who knows a lot about those things before actually submitting it. And Zircon seems like the obvious first choice. Try getting a hold of him on AIM, that's where I usually find him... and be prepared to nag :)

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Like I've said before, I agree with alot of this, and I am making the changes before sub'ing it, then running it by a judge. I'm confident, but I know there are some changes that need to be made.

While it might sound like a horrible thing to get no'd you'll leave with way more constructive feedback than this topic is going to get you.

I have been 'no'd' before WITHOUT feedback before ('cause the remix sucked that badly - I've learned since), and even then it's not a bad thing at all - just tells you where you are musically. I'm not afraid of being rejected, but of getting feedback that I already knew about from the J's. Before submitting, I've gotta make every fix that I'm aware of so the feedback from a rejection will help me more (or the sub is accepted instead of rejected entirely). I'm working on some other things for a week or two before finishing this up - my computer has some viruses and the power cable caught fire (both things happened on the same day). My song is safe, fortunately, but can't get much done without these things fixed. I've got other workspaces, but nothing that will help me with production issues much. In other words, give me a week or two to fix these things up and run this by a J or two, it'll get done (eventually).

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  • 1 month later...

-BUMP!-

Ok, everyone, I've finally gotten around to updating this. Tell me what you think.

http://www.box.net/shared/rqrgluikb4

I've done a whole bunch of stuff to the mixing/mastering, so it sounds a lot more clear. Ive also FINALLY addressed you issue with the drums, Dafydd, and went through the entire song and used more of an electronic sound (and yes, there is still a snare, to give some variety to the sections). I tinkered with the lead, trying to dull it down a bit in parts so it wasn't so piercing at parts... The end is still slightly loud, as well. I still have some work on those, so stay tuned.

I'm gonna PM Zircon about the quality, then (if there isn't any glaring problem posted here) I'll submit it

Thoughts?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I hate bumping my own thread, but it's gotta be done, as I've got another update for you all!

http://www.box.net/shared/ypm4og6258

I've fixed all clipping problems, beefed out the bass and drums one more time and got all the levels pretty high without the sound dropping out (about as high as Blind gets his stuff... well, maybe not THAT high). I've got this really sounding like I've wanted it now.

I believe this is good enough for ORC. I will give you all a week to tell me I'm wrong, or tell me something is wrong with it. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a hold of Zircon, so I'll harass another J for an opinion. I'm gonna submit this otherwise :)

Feedback is still wanted, though, so help me out! Thanks for the help you all have given, too!

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Boy this is a high energy track! The writing Works for me.

I'm no production expert, and hence a bit hesistant to post, but I think this could still use some tweaking. I listened to some of recent trance/electronic mixes posted on the site (ABG's Purity, Jewbei's Pretension, bLiNd's Jade Catacombs and Roz's Eat Your Own Dust), and their production notch more pleasing to the ears than most of your track. It's close, though, so should be fixable! Something about it is somewhat tiring to the ears in comparison.. it's very dense. There's a sense of space in all of those other tracks. I've always liked that Rozovian suggestion where you're to take a backup of your project, and mix it again from start. Maybe you could try doing that, aiming for that sense of space - assuming my feedback made sense to you of course.

All in all, pretty good work, not quite there yet but very very close. Remember, the final 5% may be the hardest part of any work..

--Eino

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I enjoy this track! I love the source, and yeah it is hard to believe that there aren't more Sparkman remixes already on OCR.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have much to add that hasn't already been said. Some of the high-pitch synth pads on the main melody do sound a bit painful at times, maybe you could mix it up with a couple different samples with varying pitches. It could give the track a little more variety.

Also, the bass drum in the beginning sounds a little off, maybe a little lighter then it should be. Other than that, I really like it, I think it definitely has the potential to pass the judges. Maybe not the first time around, but maybe after a little more tweaking.

Good job!

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I like it, but I'm going to pick nits. Because I pick nits. Then this is going in my folder of WIPs and failed entries that keeps making it into my playlist. :nicework:

1) I selfishly want more boom in your kick. Personal preference. BOOM BOOM! :tomatoface:

2) This feels unbalanced to higher sounds in certain places. I don't think it ever sounds bad, but it feels like it's missing middle frequency sounds. I think you have the sounds, but everything I hear them on is very short staccato-type sounding, or panning around. I guess the choir sounds are in the range, but they're very subtle. 1:18 I hear that choir really filling the gap, then at 1:38 when the melody comes in, it seems empty again. Of course, it may not be an issue, it's just something I notice... I may just be crazy too.

3) I don't know that the breaks and switch ups are dynamic enough or long enough. I see instruments come in and out, and I see neat change ups; but none of them particularly stand out. (2:06 comes the closest to what I'm thinking) In my mind for something this intense, it needs one good long break somewhere nearish the middle. At 4:26 you have something that sounds like what I picture in the middle, especally with the very last 3 or 4 seconds the very high teasing notes. Almost crawling to a stop, then back with the intensity.

Hope this helps

-H

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