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SuperiorX

*WIP* - Mega Man 4: Dive Man Jazz Remix

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It seems like you've tweaked a little something that ended up changing everything...

Can't point exactly why, but it feels different now. It has lost some of the warmth it has before.

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The horns sound terrible. I know it's hard to sample that but with jazz it just has to be the real thing. As a horn player and jazz fan, I find this painful to listen to.

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It seems like you've tweaked a little something that ended up changing everything...

Can't point exactly why, but it feels different now. It has lost some of the warmth it has before.

Yeah, I still have the old copy (obviously). I was just trying to mess around with stuff to try to make some of the changes Rozovian suggested. The more I listen to it, I think I still like version D6 the best. That's probably going to be the one I end up submitting unless I go back and change it some more.

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The horns sound terrible. I know it's hard to sample that but with jazz it just has to be the real thing. As a horn player and jazz fan, I find this painful to listen to.

Yeah, I'm a trumpet player as well and nothing is a substitute for the real thing, but I don't have the quality microphone to due justice for a horn recording... I thought the samples sounded pretty damn good though, by far the best brass samples I've ever come across.

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Ok, so after going back through and listening to my Fine Tuning 2 update, I kinda realized what I changed sucked. The low brass just made the intro part rather muddy, and the reverb on the piano didn't help much either.

So in this update, I basically went back to my first Fine Tuning update (version D6), and just tweaked that a very little bit. Pretty much all I did was redo the transitional section from 2:17-2:29 because it kept bothering me. It sounds a lot cleaner now and transitions nicer into the improv section.

Now I think I'm done.

Update 8:

http://www.box.net/shared/gemnu3j4kb

P.S. Oh I particularly liked the new OCRemix homepage for today too :wink:

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Well, you keep coming on to my remix to help me out, so I figured I'd help you out here, too :P

It's a good idea (Jazz up the Dive meister), but it currently is very thin. I know it's supposed to be a 'night club' sort of feel, but it's too thin even for that. It may be that the bass doesn't stick out enough, perhaps the drums in the background are not loud enough (in fact, I missed the hats the first time around). I guess the best way to put it is that this mix just needs more... volume, at the bottom (and top) end.

The samples stick out as just that, samples. Understandably, finding good instrument samples is a very difficult thing to do (which is why I generally stick to electronic music at the moment, btw). Play with the volumes to give the impression of the intended attack (adjusting the 'attack' value can achieve the same effect, but it's harder to control) - that often takes poor samples and gives them more mileage.

On the piano, play with the dynamics a LOT more. Every note really needs the velocity tweaked and adjusted in order to make it sound real, not just the solo notes (and the solo needs more activity in the second hand, too, btw). It's called a 'piano-forte' for a reason - play with the dynamics more.

The mix currently sounds like it has very little reverb. Now I tend to add too MUCH in my instrument sampled music, but the instruments here are not filling the 'room' very well, at the moment. Again, you may be going for the night club effect, but it isn't enough even for that.

I feel that the instruments are used for the same reasons far too often. For example, why not have the part that usually goes to the trumpet (like at 1:56) go to the woodwind section there instead (you DO have a small wind section, right?), or even go to the piano. It would drastically help in keeping some of the sections fresh, even if it returns to the other instruments next time later.

On the plus, I do like the use of the harmonies in this. The jazz harmonies are well placed, and the solos (notewise) are pretty good. When the drums come out, they are very well done. The ending is very nice, too. The style is pretty creative as a whole.

I'd say keep this in mind when looking over your music - try to keep all direct repetitions at a minimum. That will help this style of music dramatically.

...and I like the comment about keeping the sticks made for Rozo - good way to 'stick' it to him and keep him on his toes :twisted: (even though I agree with him on it...)

Hope this helps!

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Alright, I'm going to be brutally honest here...this still needs a lot of work. Sorry, but it's the truth.

You keep making minor adjustments, but it doesn't need minor things, it needs a major overhaul.

The horns grate - it doesn't matter that they are good samples, they still have a nasty swelling vibrato that just kills the song. Also, your arrangement needs major beefing, even for a conservative basie/swing style interpretation. Follow Gario's advice; you really need to change stuff up more often. Give the lead to the sax and bone section sometimes, we need the love too. :D

This brings me to some quick fixes; you need beefier saxes and trombones. I don't know how you currently have them set up but they need to be louder - this will fix the "thin" problem that everyone keeps talking about.

Your bass needs some more volume, too.

Big band is extremely difficult to write for, believe me, I know - but you have too many unisons and octaves. You need to branch out and write some cool rhythmic and countermelodic parts for the sections that aren't playing the melody. Often I see in jazz charts that each "melodic note" is its own chord that is orchestrated out to the different sections - these change rapidly (eighth notes anyone?); this produces the big band thick texture that everyone knows and loves.

Example: listen to this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmpmjsq8Z70

Listen to the very first few licks played by the band - they are all playing the same rhythm, with the same style. But the notes are countermelodic; they weave in and out and up and down, producing "that" sound.

Also note that the sax section is VERY IMPORTANT to this sound. Trumpets can take solos and high notes, but for the meat and bones, you need obnoxious, loud saxophone players and blaring trombones.

Now go fix this up and come back; I'm liking it too much to just let it be. :D

(and for the record I like the stick count in... :-P)

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Thanks, both of you, that was some much needed feedback...

Alright, I'm going to be brutally honest here...this still needs a lot of work. Sorry, but it's the truth.

You keep making minor adjustments, but it doesn't need minor things, it needs a major overhaul.

Yeah... I know.... I think I just kept making minor adjustments because I was working on this thing every day and I was just getting frustrated because I couldn't get things to go the way I wanted them. I haven't touched it in about a week now, so I'm feeling much more eager to work on it again.

Major issues (as you both pointed out) is that the mix is too thin. I agree, there is nowhere enough low brass. And yes Gario there is a small woodwind section, but it is just that, small. I need to add more sax countermelody action in there.

Understandably, finding good instrument samples is a very difficult thing to do
Big band is extremely difficult to write for, believe me, I know

Haha...yeah. I've come to terms with this too. Although, I think the samples I have are the best sounding brass samples I've ever come across, they really do pale in comparison to the real thing. Especially since earlier today I was listening to some Benny Goodman, and the the song you posted PrototypeReactor...

...which got me to thinking that I might just overhaul the whole piece and try to do some live recording. I'm thinking a collab might be necessary, if you are still interested Proto! I can play a mean screaming trumpet, and I have access to a tenor saxophone player (although he's really busy, so the sax might have to stay sampled), you said you played bone (which I've been having issues trying to get the bone samples to sound the way I want anyhow), and piano, bass, and drums can stay as-is (after some dynamic treatment for the piano, as everyone has pointed out). I think I'm going to see what I can write this next coming week or so and see how it sounds with the current arrangement, but I'm really thinking a live collab is going to be the way to go. I'm going to need to buy a nice microphone though, cause I've got nothing for recording now (which is what was holding me back on going live the whole time anyway). Let me know if you are still interested.

The mix currently sounds like it has very little reverb. Now I tend to add too MUCH in my instrument sampled music, but the instruments here are not filling the 'room' very well, at the moment. Again, you may be going for the night club effect, but it isn't enough even for that..

Yeah, that really is the biggest thing I have a problem with, is the overall feel. The whole song is to thin. More reverb, a beefier arrangement, more counter-melodies.

It's a good idea (Jazz up the Dive meister)

I'm really suprised no one has 'jazzed up the Dive meister' before :lol: . Everytime I hear the theme, I think that it just screams jazz remix!

(and for the record I like the stick count in... :-P)

Ha! :mrgreen: Victory! The sticks stay!

Thanks again for all the feedback! You were both a great help. I think I have a much better feel for what needs to be done now. I'm going to see how things go with writing with the current samples over the next week or so...

Until then!

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I know it's been the better part of the month since I've updated this, but I've been caught up with other things that I haven't really been able to work on this in the past 3 weeks or so... but today I bring you another (somewhat minor) update...

I've beefed up the sound quite a bit, I've added in a lot more lower brass and saxophones to give the piece more depth and volume. I added a significant amount of reverb and played with the dynamics on the (new) trombone hits and trumpet sections to accentuate certain parts of the song and to reduce the grinding vibrato that was natural on the end of the trumpet notes. Although I really didn't change all that much yet, I think the added instrumentation really helps the "thinness" that the song was criticized for before.

I still haven't touched the piano or bass yet, but I'll get to that eventually. I'm also playing around with the idea of adding in a nice little drum solo section in the middle of the song, but we'll see.

Tell me what you think of instrumentation changes thus far! Thanks.

Update 10: Lay Down and Dive v.10

http://www.box.net/shared/uv60fnzk7b

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What happened to:

Originally Posted by SuperiorX viewpost.gif

I think I'm about ready to submit to OCR (wish me luck!)

?
PrototypeRaptor and I laid down the heat down there and scared him a little (all for the better, though; look what he's got now :-P). Besides, do you have any idea how often I said those ill fated words about my own remix? I'd say about 5 or 6 times...

I was playing MM4 yesterday and gave Diveman a no powerup run for shits and giggles (my younger brother said he couldn't beat him so I had to try it out :P); when the song started playing I thought to myself 'Man, I wonder if SuperiorX is still working no that song?'. I guess this answers my question :<.

I can hear the stuff that you've improved on; in fact, it's so drastic that the parts that you didn't adjust sound completely terrible in contrast. That bass... it is so weak right now I can't physically hear it. I hear something that may be trying to be a bass, but at the moment it just distracts from the music. Turn it up a lot, please! Let me tell you that the function of the bass is to give the rest of the music a strong foundation to build the rest of their harmonic material from (especially in jazz), so that weakness ruins an otherwise great song, here. The piano has many of the issues as before (particularly the dynamics are too stark to sound natural - try making them more subtle), but of course you said you didn't touch them yet so I forgive you (for now).

The space is filling up much better, this time around. The solo instruments still sound dry for the part, though - because they are the solo, the dry effects are much more salient than the other instruments. It's better, but it could use a touch more reverb, here.

The instruments still quite unnatural - the sample quality is still glaring (not as bad as before, but still noticeable; the J's won't care if it 'improved', they'll only care about what they hear at the time of listening). The sound is a bit too straight for too much time, and the vibrato doesn't have any variation to it. I guess I'm strange about vibrato, but I do it manually using pitch bends. Modulation has a similar effect, but it really sounds like modulation over real vibrato. Try using pitch bends and vary how wide the vibrato is periodically, it'll really help with the realism (along with the proper reverb adjustments, it may get very close to a 'great' sound).

So, how did you do your panning work? When it comes to obtaining a real sound panning shouldn't be about balancing the sound - it should be about emulating a real performance. Study the arrangement of a real big band set-up (what players would go where) and imagine placing a microphone in front of them all in the center. Pan according to where everyone should be (of course, don't make the panning extreme, +/-20 should be the limit, and that may even be pushing it for this type of song) - it helps emulate realism. I know an orchestra arrangement off the top of my head, but not big band - you'll just need to look it up (youtubing big band performances and observing their layout should work fine).

It's sounding better - you really got much more variety going on in the instrumentation. Some more could be done to make it a little better, but I don't think it'll hurt your chances nearly as bad as it would've before so change (or don't change) to your discretion, there.

Keep it up - it's getting closer, there!

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Hey now this is what I'm talking about - way to come back with a good update!

That being said, Gario has pointed out problems that are still hanging around - the most important is the quietness of the bass.

In jazz, especially swing, the bass makes the tune. Without the bass, (most) jazz DOESN'T work. Do whatever you have to to get it loud enough to be heard! (and felt)

real fast critiques:

-Your piano samples are still too dry and upfront during its solo sections.

-some of your wind writing is, well, just WEIRD. By that I mean it's very disjointed. To understand what I mean, try converting the wind parts you have now into sheet music and think about playing them as an instrumentalist - I bet it isn't something that you would normally see.

-you need either longer solos or a C section (har har pun) to make the piece more varied

keep it up - this is sounding better and better!

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What happened to:
I think I'm about ready to submit to OCR (wish me luck!),

?

PrototypeRaptor and I laid down the heat down there and scared him a little (all for the better, though; look what he's got now :-P). Besides, do you have any idea how often I said those ill fated words about my own remix? I'd say about 5 or 6 times...

Haha, yeah pretty much. I kept telling myself that I thought the song was finished, but then I kept finding more things to fix and you guys pointed out some really good issues. I think I was just burning myself out with working on it constantly too... coming back to it now after it sat for about 3 weeks has really helped.

That bass... it is so weak right now I can't physically hear it. I hear something that may be trying to be a bass, but at the moment it just distracts from the music.

Yeah the bass is really ticking me off. I can't get it to sound the way I want. I don't know if I just need to try more samples (I've already sifted through at least 20 different ones) or just mess with the EQ until I can get a more pronounced sound.

And yeah the panning and pitch are the other main areas I want to work on. Right now there isn't much panning at all with the instruments, so that I need to fix once I get around to it. I'm pretty familiar with a big band layout, so it's just a matter of actually doing it. And yeah I'm working on some pitch bends/modulation to make the samples sound more real. We'll see.

I should have another update next week addressing these issues.

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Whoa, I just saw that you already replied too Proto...

Yeah the piano still hasn't been touched since the last update, so I know that still needs fixing

-some of your wind writing is, well, just WEIRD. By that I mean it's very disjointed. To understand what I mean, try converting the wind parts you have now into sheet music and think about playing them as an instrumentalist - I bet it isn't something that you would normally see.

Which wind parts are you referring to exactly? I can't seem to pinpoint what sounds disjointed.

Thanks again for the feedback guys!

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Alright, so this is a rather significant update...

I think I finally found an adequate bass sample, so I replaced the weak muted bass I had in there before with a nice plucked electric bass that it a lot more powerful and brings quite a bit more to the track than the old sample.

I also overhauled the dynamics completely. The major areas I worked on were the piano, which no longer sounds quite as stiff as it did before. I'll admit it's still not perfect, but it sounds a lot better. All the wind instruments' dynamics and reverb were also modified to fill out the piece and to give it more variation.

More volume levels than I can remember were changed throughout the song to just make everything more cohesive. I've also panned the instruments appropriately... trumpet section is oriented slight left, low brass mostly centered behind trumpets, saxes and piano are slight right.

I've decided I really don't want to add any more sections into the song, I'm quite content with the structure of the song as it is.... so now I finally think this is nearing completion!

Update 11: Lay Down and Dive v.14

http://www.box.net/shared/3vsblz8lrq

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Awesome work man. I know I could never have the skills to make anything into a nice jazz piece so major kudos for that.

I know you just said on this latest update you said you found a nice bass patch that you like, but maaaan, I gotta say it's just a little too weak for me. Now, I'm no connoisseur of jazz, but I can't help but think of a nice full sounding stand up bass with a nice round low end that totally supports the rest of the instruments and I'm just not hearing it here.

I guess, considering it's jazz and the way it sounds, is that my ear is listening for that most common sounding walking bass line. don't know. Either way, good work thus far.

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Allright, I've been following this remix from square one, so brace yourself as I won't hold back this time! :mrgreen:

I'm not a jazz specialist, nor do I excel at remixing for that matter.

But the lead horns (trumpet) volume and/or freq. range is still too proheminent, which bothers me a little.

Also, despite your nice brand new bass, the mix still seems to be lacking a bit in the low freq. department.

It kind of impedes the realism, considering the premises of the selected genre for the song.

But those two minor issues can be fixed with some EQ tweaks during the mastering.

Next, the mix needs more room reverberation to make a believable and almost perfect kind of acoustic-lounge setting.

Also, one thing in particular that I haven't noticed before, but which started to bother me as I was looping for the 9th time.

It's that this jazz currently suffers from an unexplained lack of brushes.

Some brushes will definitely add some dimension to the soundscape, and some meat for the ears too.

For the rest, it is a clean and smooth dive to the depths of the ocean!

I can really feel the subtle yet integral changes you've made to the dynamics.

And those piano parts feel as jazzy & flowing as they should be.

I've got to say that you're pretty close from the sound maturity you really wanted.

Just a little more and it should be ready for submission, you're almost there.

Don't hesitate to give #ocrwip channel a shot before you go through the actual process.

As that way, you can have a pretty solid feeling for what the final verdict is gonna be.

Go for broke X! ;-)

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I like what you're trying to do here, and I can definitely tell you're having a lot of fun making this mix (I definitely would!), but there's just some crucial elements missing here. Apart from the fact that your brass samples, unfortunately, aren't good enough to carry the mix to the degree you want them to, musically this just isn't all that 'jazzy'.

The piano comping and the progression in general sounds too simplistic to be considered true jazz IMO. You'd need to use a lot more extended chords and stuff to make it work, this all just sounds like pretty standard major/minor fare, with maybe a few 7ths thrown in for good measure.

I outright LOVE the drum sequencing you have going on in some parts. The fills in general sound very natural to me, major props for that! I can't really say the same for the bass. The faux-electric bass doesn't cut it IMO, so do me (and yourself) a favor and get a nice free upright bass soundfont and whip out some walking basslines, as those would sound a lot more authentic in this context.

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Wow, thanks for all the great feedback everyone! It's nice to get some new opinions on here too, I really appreciate it!

The faux-electric bass doesn't cut it IMO, so do me (and yourself) a favor and get a nice free upright bass soundfont and whip out some walking basslines, as those would sound a lot more authentic in this context.

Yeah... the new bass is A LOT better than the old one, but I know what you mean. Most of you have said that a nice upright bass would fit best, which is what I've been trying to find, but I haven't had any luck finding a decent soundfont. If anyone knows of (or has) a good upright bass soundfont suitable for jazz, I'd love to know where to find one. That really is still the biggest thing bugging me about the song.

I'm going to do some more digging tonight and hopefully I'll have another update tonight or tomorrow. Thanks again everyone.

For the rest, it is a clean and smooth dive to the depths of the ocean!

:lol: hahaha, nice! I'm not sure I deserve that much praise, but I'll take it!

Oh, and one last thing... @ Joren de Bruin, your newest Chrono Trigger mix, 'Corrupter of Time' is amazing, I love it!

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It's that this jazz currently suffers from an unexplained lack of brushes.

Some brushes will definitely add some dimension to the soundscape, and some meat for the ears too.

Definitely! Great suggestion, wish I woulda thought about it =P

Seems like everyone is on the upright bass with walking line for sure, but hey, that's jazz man!

I can't remember if they have a demo mode or not but Trilogy by Spectrasonics is a VST plug-in with some amazing bass sounds and some REALLY good upright bass sounds. They even got "true staccato" which uses different keys to play the same note, but it's the same as plucking up or down respectively.

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Alright, so now I think this is finally the bass sound I've been looking for. I now have a sweet upright bass which I think fits much, much, better than the electric one. Thanks for the suggestions guys, I ended up finding a demo of Trilogy which I used for the bass. It really rounds out the low end of the song now.

I also adjusted a few volume levels on the main trumpet again, and added a bit more reverb to the wind instruments.

I think this is finally coming together now, tell me what you think!

Update: Lay Down and Dive v15

http://www.box.net/shared/aji8dcghp2

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Nice, now that's closer to the sound I imagine for jazz.

Personally, i still think it needs to be a little more present in the mix, can't really hear any good fat low end off of it, but better indeed.

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Ok, so this is just a minor update, but I wanted your guys opinion...

I have two versions of update 15 posted here now, one is identical to my previous update, and for the other I boosted the new bass significantly. I just wanted everyone's opinion on which they think sounds better. I think I'm favoring the boosted bass, it sounds much more defined and present in the song. Thanks again...

Update: Lay Down and Dive v15 (boosted bass)

http://www.box.net/shared/0sx0q7zexy

Update: Lay Down and Dive v15 (original)

http://www.box.net/shared/aji8dcghp2

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Louder bass is better. However, could you turn the portamento down on it? It sounds just a little goofy as it is. It sounds like it sweeps up to every note (which doesn't happen on the bass, normally).

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