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


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I selfishly want more boom in your kick. Personal preference. BOOM BOOM!

Ha, it's not selfish - I want more, too... I'm still looking for a bass with more 'oomph', but what I've found (so far) is that they're muddying the mix too much. I'm workin' on it, though :razz:.

I'm also goin' to try to dull the high end EQ of the whole song - I just found out that the mastering settings I have automatically raises the high end of the whole thing... I hope that'll help. It seems that it bothers everyone, here, and I've slowly been trying to address it...

I think I turned the volume up a bit too loud, too, so it'll lose about a decibal for the sake of your ears.

As for the lack of dynamic contrasts, I don't really want to lose momentum at all (although that change at 2:06 may be a bit static, I admit), so I can only hope it doesn't affect my chances too much.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Yeah, I actually thought about losing the momentum and energy feel as I was writing about a longer break in there. I have multiple versions of whatever it is that I'm working on at any given time, so I make changes that I think will work, then (usually) end up changing it back.

It's one of those things that I'd have to hear:tomatoface:

I know -nothing- about mastering :oops: so can't help ya there.

Good luck!

-H

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Ok, so now that I look at my older rendition (e.g. v1.5) I realize that I was being retarded by saying there was no clipping... It was pretty bad, in reality.

I've hopefully fixed all the EQ problems for good in this one (although it's still loud - if that's really a problem, let me know and I'll tone it down :|).

I'm hoping the lead is a bit less annoying than before, as I've toned the highs & lows down and the mids up quite a bit. It seems to fill the soundscape much better now, due to that.

At 2:06 I've made some subtle changes to make that part stick out a little better :P

As for the bass drums... I may leave them as they are. The clean beat sets the pace better than a wet drum. I may change it anyway though :P

http://www.box.net/shared/8f57q3ixy7

Comments are appreciated!

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Bass drum is weak, seems like it should be stronger in the intro where it's more dancey-y. Then again, once the track gets going, it's sounding like it's just lacking lows. Note that the snare is taking some of the boom from the kick when they're both struck. If you're not using a multiband compressor on this... do it. I'll keep mid stuff from taking the boom from the low stuff.

Drum writing is a bit uninteresting, but some ppl get their tracks YESed anyway. basically, drums are the biggest problem with this, tho some of the transitions feel a bit arbitrary. 2:35, 2:59, to name a couple of examples.

The lead is also a bit weak and whiny. Once again, some ppl get their tracks posted anyway, but it's best to see if you can do something about it. A bit more lows in the leads might work, octaves, distortion, overdrive, delays, stuff like that spice it up and make it fatter... which it probably needs to be. Also, that dhe detuned... thing (0:05) sound too far out of tune.

Ending is a little sudden, probably feels that way because of the lack of a transition/big boom finish at 4:26. Just a kick and a crash there might be enough.

Drums, leads, transitions. Beyond that, it's pretty cool.

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. (...) 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.

Oh, I seem to have impressed someone. :D Seriously, EYOD is a few inches from what I'd want to to be, so don't use that too much as reference, Gario. But yes, backup=good.

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Yes, Backup = good, for sure... I've got 3 backup versions right now, for the very reason given (going back and revamping the EQ a bunch). It's good advice, going back from scratch and EQ'ing it, the only thing is that I've already done that twice :). Third time lucky, I guess.

I agree completely with the bass drum (as previous posts in here will attest to), but the more 'boomy' basses create a distinct mud that I can't seem to get around. I'm still looking into it (but if you use Reason and are thinking of a particular drum sound, let me know and I'll see if it fits :<).

When you say the bass is 'weak', do you mean the sample itself or that there is a lack of bass? If it's the latter, then I don't hear what your hearing (but if it's the former, then if a saw wave is weak, then this is, for sure). If it's a sample problem, then I'll sub it, anyway, as I personally want to see how far I can go with samples straight from the box (If I could get posted with THAT, imagine what I'll do with new plugins :-P).

Meh, the detuning is an easy fix; I've just been lazy.

Thanks for the lead suggestions; I'll experiment with that.

Once again, I'm looking into it all, and thanks :-P.

Edit: I just read what you were talking about with the bass drum and the INTRO. I think I can add the bass there without a problem. The snare taking away from the bass... I thought I fixed the snare problem... but I guess when I exported it the quality was reduced. I'll fix that in my next post, for sure. I was rushed earlier and couldn't read you post properly earlier :P.

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As far as getting the bass sound you want, you can try layering another drum over the top of this one with a different velocity, or use a combination of drum sounds that you like to get one good sound. That's what I do most often when I can't get the exact sound I want. Another thing is to draw the bass drum out of the kit into it's own track, then you can apply effects to just the bass drum without messing with the whole set.

As far as the sound I'm trying to describe (prepare for a long paragraph to cover the one word of 'weak') I like the attack of the drum, very punchy. But the decay is too short and it's not really in the bass range that gives it a lot of punch. The first thing I'd try to do to get that sound is to add a bass drum sample with that the low sustained sound I want and put it in it's own track. Have it play over the top of what you've got and apply effects and EQ to make it match. (couldn't hurt lowering the frequency of what you've got, but I'd have to play with it to know for sure) Don't worry about attack on this added drum, the one you've got does that fine. If you're worried about a boomy sound, this should give you very precise controll of how much boom will put you in the goldylox zone.

Hopefully, that'll do what you want. I know when I'm mastering stuff (don't laugh, I mean in theory :oops: not that I have stuff worth mastering at the moment) I look at the multiband compressor and can solo out parts to hear where my parts end up in terms of frequencies. Which is helpful if I want to go back and lower or raise parts by an octive.

Hope that helps

-H

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As far as getting the bass sound you want, you can try layering another drum over the top of this one with a different velocity, or use a combination of drum sounds that you like to get one good sound. That's what I do most often when I can't get the exact sound I want. Another thing is to draw the bass drum out of the kit into it's own track, then you can apply effects to just the bass drum without messing with the whole set.

Yup, I've done those things already and still having the whole bass drum issue. I think I just need to look harder for a good sound - I haven't looked everywhere yet :P

It's not an issue of how to use the sample after I get a good bassy drum, it's simply finding the damn sample... So far in my searches the drum either has a pitch (which ruins EVERYTHING) or isn't useful for what I need to make it better. I just don't like 'sample sifting' very much (but I guess I've got to do it :sleepzzz:).

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Yeah v1.9 does sound waaaay better in terms of the clipping issues compared to 1.5. I'm really liking this a lot now. The high pitched synths have really kind of grown on me, I'm not sure if you adjusted those since 1.5, but whatever it is it does seem to sound a lot better.

The only issue that is still kind of nagging me is that bass drum during the beginning of the track, when it is really exposed. After the 1:00 mark there is so much else going on, it doesn't seem to be an issue, but I would say go for a beefier bass drum sound in the beginning at least while it's exposed. Something with a little more boom to it, whether it be via a new sample, or just some nice reverb. I have a huge amount of different bass drum samples... I could send you some if you don't want to sift through samples online.

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Alright! I've finally addressed the bass drum problem! It's sounding much better due to that :razz:.

I've also beefed the lead a little bit with some detuning to give it some more depth. Rozovian, I did what I could with the out of tune sound in the beginning. It's better, but because of what it's doing it'll never be perfect. I like the imperfect sound though :P.

Personally I think there is some tiny TINY things that need to be done (merely some volume adjusting on one or two things), but I think it's FINALLY ORC ready. Ok, any comments?

http://www.box.net/shared/nv7dg2vls3

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YES! Bass drum! I think that sounds a lot better now. Except maybe from 0:32-0:55, to me it sounds a little overpowering because it isn't just a straight ahead beat. After 0:55 it blends in fine, but from 0:32-0:55 it sounds maybe just a LITTLE bit too exposed. Maybe it's just me though. The rest of it though, way better!

I like the added beef to the synth as well. Nicely done. I would agree that it seems OCR ready!

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Listening to 1.9. I must say it's been a long time I've reviewed anybody's music besides my friends'.

Beginning of the song, I don't care for the clap sample. I don't really like the kick either (maybe it's not strong or big enough), but it's not as bad as the clap.

I do like most of your synths throughout the song. They sound quite nice, although sometimes you seem to have too much going on with sounds that don't sound different enough (playing in the same register). When the big beat kicks in you don't really have anything leading to it. The song quickly picks up to having a lot of energy. Actually the transitions toward the middle of the song start getting better.

I like the pads/choirs towards the middle. The synth you have playing the main melody is kind of irritating. It doesn't seem to flow very well with the rest of the song.

Besides that screechy synth and accompanying arpeggios I really don't hear much of the main melody.

Parts of this song sound really good to me, but overall it just doesn't seem to flow very well. Maybe you want to do too much with it and it's not really structured that coherently. It sounds to me like you know quite a bit about mixing, but really need to work on your structure/transitions. I would love to hear the main melody much earlier in the song with a better sounding lead (some of the other sounds you got are just great).

I wish I could be more specific, but there's really just too much I could say about this. You've done a lot with it, but it needs a lot of refining. Hope that helps.

FYI, I'm listening on headphones (Sennheiser HD 202's).

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Listening to 1.9. I must say it's been a long time I've reviewed anybody's music besides my friends'.

I appreciate the feedback, really, but next time listen to the latest version of a WIP before giving feedback (2.0). I believe that's on the front page as well as in the threads. It addresses the main lead issue by beefing it up with detuners, it uses a different bass drum and cleans up the mixing further. Thanks for the feedback, though; I'll be posting 2.1 soon enough.

Now, about the transitions - What bothers you about it, specifically? It seems to flow quite well to me. As for the structure it's quite organized (Simply a set of variations - Intro - A B C A' B' C' A'' B'' C'' - Outro), but if something is amiss feel free to let me know.

As for the mixing quality... well thanks! I always thought that was the area I lacked :-P.

Oh, and I'm mixing on headphones :P

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  • 3 weeks later...

*Bump*

Yup, JJT, I know you agree with me there. For the great soundtrack that it has, I mean, c'mon - it needs more attention than THAT (it only has over 20 mixes - not NEARLY good enough for us)... lol.

I'll be posting 2.1 soon enough.
Okay, that was a complete lie for two reasons. One, it isn't version 2.1 that I'm posting, it's 3.3 (2.1 - 3.2 were not good enough to post, here). Two, it wasn't nearly soon enough. If you were faithfully waiting for my next post then sorry to keep you waiting (of course, I'm pretty sure none of you were, right? :-x).

http://www.box.net/shared/y902dvye1u

What's been changed...

-The tempo (again)

-The structure (a little)

-The transitions

-The mix & mastering

-In short, a shitload...

Seriously, I really screwed up the song after 2.0, and it's taken me quite some time to recover from my mistakes. I have, though, and I learned a lot from it. I'm going to post this version in a day or two - I've spent more than enough time refining it. I need to move on from here, but as long as this thing is hovering over my shoulder I can't seem to will myself to do much more than this. I've got to stop splashing in a puddle when I could be swimming in a lake.

I'll let you all know some things that have been riding on this little project. I'll admit that I am still somewhat a noob when it comes to production, but take a look at the oldest WIP here - that WAS the extent of my abilities before I took this on. Hopefully you can see how much you've all helped me out, and I'm deeply appreciative of this. I also purposely avoided getting and plugins outside of what came with Reason 3.0, as I've wanted to learn the nuances of mixing and mastering before I go out and get new samples. All of this is made with the box sounds of Reason 3.0 - if the synths/mixing/mastering/etc. sound good to you (and the judges) then I've done what I've set out to do - dramatically improved my production ability.

I've tried to show this to judges, but they haven't respond (and I don't expect them to at this point, either). Thank you for reviewing this for me and critiquing my music; I've learned a lot from here and I'd like to thank you all. If you have anything to say, please feel free; I'm still listening :-P.

Thank you all for the support; I hope for the best with this!

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Opening sounds a lot like ParagonX9's Super Double Dragon "No. 5 (Snapdragon)", only his sounds were a lot beefier. The opening synths sounded thin and generic and the percussion work (generally the clap pattern) is simplistic and flimsy, so the textures are empty. It doesn't support a 5+ minute song. The lead at :31 was OK, though it should have been more upfront, IMO. Flesh out the supporting instrumentation with a little more complexity, make the leads stand out more, and make you don't clutter up the soundscape while attempting to do those things.

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I really appreciate all the hard work you've done on this and the progress you've made.

This latest version sounds the most balanced so far. I agree with LT that the intro sounds rather, the difference is quite big to when it kicks in for real. I also agree on the percussion, more can be done there. I do like the hihats, and those snare rolls in there. Towards the end you do some stuff with the bass drum - it's not working, it sounds like stumbling, however, the idea of spicing the beat up rhythmically is good - maybe you could keep that bass drum doing four to the floor and add a less powerful bass drum sound to do the syncopation? (just an idea, might not work but if you'd like to try it out there it is :))

In any case, I think it's an improvement and I'm continuing to dig the arrangement. It has a lot of energy!

--Eino

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I was hoping to be able to 'snipe' this entry before anyone noticed the change, but it's too late now... Oh well, the intro is beefier in this version :nicework:.

http://www.box.net/shared/ezoxxemc2u

Thank you, Liontamer, for the feedback! I noticed the weak intro right after I posted this, so I went and made a few changes last night to try and compensate for it (I may do more to it, but now it doesn't stick out nearly so much). Lol, like I said, I WAS going to post anyway, but since a judge came in to give me his two cents I'll make some more changes before submitting. Actually, I've been cutting down on the clutter slowly but surely, so that's to be expected in the next post (although I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say add more complexity to the texture :?). Oh, and are these things refering to the entire song or just the intro? I'm not sure, myself (I really only thought the intro was weak and lacking, personally)

As for the ending rhythmic changes, I was experimenting and was hoping for some feedback, so thank you Evktalo for letting me know. I'll try to make it seem less ackward, there.

Thanks you all, I'll be getting this finished soon, mark my words. Hey, if it has a chance with the J's then I'm going to go for it!

(Is calling my track 'high energy' an intended pun? I just got it! lol)

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Nice.

I like the changes a lot, I haven't listened since v2.0 and I think the intro sounds a lot better (the added reverb/echo was a nice touch) and the transitions are a lot smoother (2:32, 3:11 especially). I wasn't expecting the note change at 2:23 on the synths since I've been listening to 2.0 so much, but I like it, it adds some needed differences with the melody. The added reverb throughout the synth also adds a nice layer of depth to the track.

The only thing I can really complain about is what evktalo pointed out. Towards the end (around 4:41 I believe) the bass drum just doesn't seem to fit, it kind of throws off the rhythm. I also agree that mixing up the beat is a good idea, but maybe keep something dropping a steady downbeat and then use another drum/percussion to mix things up.

Other than that, it's a great improvement over 2.0! Good job!

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I think the intro is a notch better now. Nice new variations on the melody. Backing is maybe a bit too sparse now - it doesn't feel like the piece (esp. the lead parts) really kicks into gear until the last third.. otoh there's now an interesting feel to the piece, sort of a calm even when it's busy, that might be worth holding on to! edit: starting to sound real good, got this looping in the background a couple of times and didn't want to turn it off :)

(Is calling my track 'high energy' an intended pun? I just got it! lol)

Heh, actually not intended. :)

--Eino

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This is getting good to the point where I'm really almost out my league to criticize it much. This had already made it into my creepy collector folder...:tomatoface:

At 4:31 is okay, with the snare. I picture that as a base drum thing, it could use some work and be smoothed out. If you want to use a roll type sound, it works better at the beginning of a fill like here, rather than at the end. 3 ti ta & a 4 e & a with a bass or accent on 4.

Shortly after that, the bass drum goes crazy. This seems like a neat rock/poly thing from the beginning at 0:31, 1 e& a 2e & a3e&a 4. How very trip-poly of you:-P If you want to mix up the bass part there, try something like a 2 measure pattern. Adding notes in addition to the 4 on the floor beat you have now, you can leave off a note from the beat maybe once or twice and get away with it, but that sort of trip-poly thing just isn't working right there. I picture something like...

1 e&a 2e& a3 e & a 4 e&a|1e& a2 e& a3 e&a 4 e&a maybe? I'd have to hear it in context, but I think it meyheps could use some work right there.

I think that's it for now.

-H

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1 e& a 2e & a3e&a 4...vs 1 e&a 2e& a3 e & a 4 e&a|1e& a2 e& a3 e&a 4 e&a
Holy shit, I haven't heard that terminology in years; I totally forgot about it... Neat, now I've got a way to talk about rhythm properly, here :-P.

Woa! I didn't even notice the relation to the beginning in there. I guess that's a good place to start making my changes around. Thanks! I think I'll try adding the pattern to more areas of the music, thus giving a little more complexity to my drum patterns and allowing for a proper preparation for this beat at the end.

By the way, it IS a two measure pattern...

1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a | 1e&a 2 e&a 3 e&a 4 e&a

(That terminology is so cool...)

I'm looking into it, but at the moment my computer is acting up again... Don't worry, I've got a new one in the mail right now so I'll be able to work on music more consistently from now on (yay).

Now you've got me picturing it all up and going...'I wonder...:whatevaa:'

I understand, don't worry. I'm going to experiment with it, and if it doesn't work then I'll just make it more straight foward. The thing is it seems that LT wants a little more spice in the drums as a whole, so I figured for the parts that I am not moving in a straight bass beat pattern I'll add a little of the two measure beat and try to make it more prepared for the end. It could work, so I'm going to do that and try to kill two birds with one stone (if LT wants something done I'm going to pay attention for sure unless it really conflicts with my own ideas - he's got the 'yes' and 'no' power, you know...).

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Nice, new toy coming!

I tried talking in counting before, I have this tendency to not be very clear; so I've been telling people how to do it in a step sequencer too. I think in counting though, so :-P It's easier for me and I'm lazy.

I am glad to see I was close to your beat when I broke it down. I saw it was a 2 measure pattern, I just said that because (at first glance) it's the only spot in the song where a 2 measure pattern repeats. (techno type repetitive drums)

Just a tidbit more also, It seems I forgot the main thing I was going to talk about :banghead:

The song is mostly downbeats, cept for a few places; but they're done in such a way to keep the emphasis on the beat. I think that's why it sounds off to me. The better part of that entire bass drum part was up beats and off beats, with that powerful sample (me like much more than the old one) Now you've got me picturing it all up and going...'I wonder...:whatevaa:'

-H

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