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djpretzel

OCR01363 - *YES* Final Fantasy 7 'Beyond Midgar'

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Yo djpretzel,

I am a returning remixer named BogusRed.

This is my own piano arrangement of "Overworld-Main Theme" from Final Fantasy 7.

I've delt with the sound font issue that the judges were complaining about with my earlier remixes. I think this is one of my best recordings yet.

Here's the file:

Thx

-BogusRed

aka Susie

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There is an overwhelmingly human touch to this song; it's dynamic, expressive, and intimate. Highs are high, and lows are low; it's not what we typically get, but I love it. Midranges might resonate a bit too much for some; I think it's fine.

The arrangement is pretty straightforward, but I think the human touches and small intpretations make this piece work.

YES

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The opening makes this seem a little dull.. and overall I have to say that the sound could be better. More of a 'stereo' feel, more brightness, and less midrange resonance could really help. The sample itself isn't bad, I think it's just the processing that you need to work on. Keep tweaking that. Arrangement-wise, there's certainly a strong human feel to it. The main giveaway that it is sequenced is that too many chords have notes that all strike at the same time, and some of the swung passages just don't sound right. However, in terms of dynamics and interpretation of the original, it's quite good. For piano mixes, those areas are especially important, and clearly there's a lot of effort put into tempo and rhythmic changes.

A close call for me, but I'm going to go with a YES.

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http://www.tzone.org/~llin/psf/packs2/FF7_psf.rar - 201 "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII"

Nothing glaringly bad about the piece. I liked the presence of dynamics and so forth, and the performance was very spirited, but the arrangement and production were still lacking in my opinion.

Arrangement had many nuanced touches like Darke mentioned, but still came across as too conservative. Adding some new support work under the melody and altering the rhythms slightly wasn't enough. Especially keeping in mind that you remixed a 6+ minute piece in the FF7 Main Theme, this really didn't take enough creative liberties with Uematsu's piece, instead following the source tune pretty closely most of the way through. Noir's Jenova for Classical Piano was more successful in adding personal flair within a conservative rearrangement.

What was up with the ugly-sounding key change at 3:14-3:15? [shrug] I also didn't mind the muddy piano tone so much, but sections like 3:15-3:37 sound particularly poor and murky on the production side. You don't have to embrace the treble or anything, but give some of the higher frequencies some lovin'.

Frankly though, while I liked the performance, and could live with the production, I feel that the mix wasn't as creative on the interpretation front as it could have been. Looks like it has a good shot at passing though, so best of luck on the rest of the vote, and I look forward to hearing more of your work, Susie.

NO (refine/resubmit)

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This is an adept arrangement, and a competent performance. Some parts can almost fool the ear into thinking it's real. The lo-fi recording actually helps the realism factor, by making it sound like a live performance that just happens to have a bad recording.

However, the arrangement is not so great that it overcomes these easily fixable sound problems. It needs more high end clarity, and some of the key changes, etc are awkward. The way I see it, the arrangement is on the good side of passable, but the lo-fi recording is too negative to get this one above the threshold. Let's get some lovin' on the mastering and we'll give 'er another go. LEAVE NO FREQUENCY BEHIND!

NO

-D

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This arrangement is very conservative and only varies significantly after the three minute mark. I really have no problem with the recording; sounds fine, just not very stereo. It's obviously improved since BogusRed's last submission. The performance is held back throughout the piece and her skill is only hinted at when the movement picks up; I say she's much better at flowing, constant pieces like Into The Golden Sunset than this restraining conservatism. Moreover, the arrangement is not nearly as good.

NO

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This is one of my favorite themes from the soundtrack. The arrangement here isn't as conservative as it sounds at first glance. There's a lot nice additions interspersed between the familiar straightforward passages, and the work underneath the melody certainly makes it an evolution enough for me where the arrangement isn't really a question. I had no problem with the production issues, yes they are issues, but I would rather have the charming grit here than something cold, clinical and percise. Digital Coma makes good points with regards to her Golden Sunset mix.

Overall I felt this was a good arrangement, good performance - one that kept me interested all the way through. Charming, moving and passable despite some flaws. YES

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I don't think we should have reservations on a piece simply because the artist doesn't max out their piano skill to 100 in a song. Sometimes, restraint is beautiful. Hell, sometimes I play with 100 lb. weights on my hands, for fear my true power would destroy the piano.

I also don't see why conservative should be a bad word in this forum. If it's stigma'd, why not call this piece minimalist (at least the first half). Again, unless I'm just misinterpreting the other judge's criticisms, slow and steady can sometimes win the race.

I enjoyed this. For me, this was like watching somebody draw a perfect circle freehand. Nothing fancy, but the entertainment comes from seeing clean and unfettered discipline. A girl and a piano and that certain imperceptable *something* binding the two together.

Very nice. Pleasant, we'll call it.

YES

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I wouldn't call this a conservative arrangement. Actually, to me, this is somewhat close to the ideal balance of new and source material.

So, the question is: does the lo-fi quality of the recording merit a rejection? And in my opinion, it doesn't.

YES

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largely a trite piano arrangement of the ff7 theme.

it timidly follows the structure of the original until things get taken down a notch near the end.

my certified opinion on the recording is... Ehh.

yet it kept me entertained during the course of the piece. the player knows when to slow down and speed up, when to plunk and when to arpeggiate.

yes (borderline)

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On headphones, this hum is really problematic for me. Arrangement's great, but I think it'd set a bad precedent to allow something with this noticeable a line hum to be posted, regardless of the arrangement. Especially with the great dynamic range involved, I found myself listening through the line hum to hear the playing at times.

This might be salvagable with Bias Sound Soap or comparable mastering tools, if the ReMixer herself doesn't have the source files any more, but since sound fonts were used I'm assuming someone could take the MIDI, take the sound font, and render it for her, without the hum.

It's too easy to fix, either way, and too problematic given the (at times) delicate nature of the playing. It honestly sounds prominent enough to make me think my headphone plug is loose or something, which it is not, and it's a shame because I think the arrangement will be enjoyed by many.

Someone wanna take the lead on contacting the mixer? If re-rerendering the piece using the original MIDI/soundfont is out, then I'll personally take a stab at cleaning up the recording, if she's okay with that...

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Hello again Larry,

I've rerecorded Beyond Midgar and it's not nearly as flat sounding as the first version. I don't hear any hiss in this new verson. I used a soundfont this time. With the first version I sent in, I actually outputed the MIDI from the computer to my electric piano, then recorded from the headphone port on the piano, creating a wav/mp3 type file so there was no soundfont used. The upside to that is a more realistic sounding piano but the downside is the hiss. I tried to minimize it with Adobe Audition but it wasn't enough. Anyway, here's the newest version. The link is still the same. Tell the other judges to check the date in the comments section of the ID3 tag to be sure they are listening to the newest version.

http://www.bogusred.net/mmdl/music/OCRBogusRed-Beyond_Midgar.mp3

If you would give me a couple more days, I can play around with the velocities some more to even it out a little bit. There are just a few areas that need tweeking. The ending is too quiet and there is some volume being cut off in a few areas. You mentioned an ugly key change at 3:15 in the first version (in the new version it's around 3:05), I don't think I was successful in fixing that. I hope to fix that within the next couple days. I'm not sure what to do to make that transition better.

The soundfont I used by the way is the RolandNicePiano. If anyone has suggestions for a better soundfont, let me know.

As GrayLightning and The wingless mentioned, it is still held back a bit which for me is a really rare thing. Usually I play way to fast like I did with my previous submission "through the lens of spira," which by the way was not sped up as some judges thought ::cough Vigilante cough::. I tried as best as I could to play with my heart instead of with my ego. The remix may be too much like the original sound track version but it's not always what you play; it's how you play it.

Anyway, I hope you and the other judges enjoy it and agree to post it. I'll have that cleaned version to you within a few days.

-Susie

BogusRed

Just keeping you updated. This revision will be worked on further. Please listen to it and provide some feedback to help improve the production. 3:37-onward will really need work. Suggestions on soundfonts/etc?

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Actually DJP is quite right. On normal listening volume range the bad buzz isn't really audible. I guess I didn't hear it. As soon as I boosted my volume significantly louder I heard what DJP was talking about. My vote would have been NO, resub had I heard this.

The new version resolves most of our gripes with the old version.

As far as soundfonts, to copy what I said in another thread.

There's several very good piano soundfonts out there for free.

http://www.guraydere.com/soundfonts/

I recommend the Clavinova v1 or 2. With proper playing, processing and mastering it can sound amazing. This is good if you want a softer more intimate sound.

If you want a sharper, jazzier/pop sound http://www.naturalstudio.co.uk/ns_piano.html this one's pretty good also.

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Just got a letter from Ms. Red this morning:

I've just been so busy. My short film for animation class is due in one month! Ack! I just don't think I'm going to find the time until summer to work with this. If the judges don't want to wait that long then maybe I should just resubmit later.
No worries miss. Sorry you don't have time to work on it. We'll decide between the two versions you have and hopefully come to some sort of conclusion. If YOU would prefer we wait for you, we can do that. Gimme till the end of the weekend to see what we'll do, and I'll be sure to get back to you. Best of luck on the movie.
Well, I really don't want it posted until it is just right. So just hold off on it. Ugh, finals.

"Ugh, finals" is right, that's for damn sure. Susie's requesting we hold off until she can resample the piece properly, so let's freeze it up. Anyone else feel free to comment on how we can handle this thread. I'm guessing we make it public and freeze it. Dave? Anyone else?

EDIT: Dave's down with locking it and leaving it here on the panel until it's revised. It's not getting in the way, and it'll be fixed/posted sometime after Bogus finishes finals.

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Heh. Thank God finals are over. Bad memories! Aight, Susie mailed me back now that she had some free time.

Greetings Larry,

Ok I FINALLY got around to working on this stupid thing:

I'm sorry that I couldn't resolve the muddled issue as much as I would have liked. I think I'm going to have to invest in a paid piano sound font. If you happen to know any good ones, let me know. Also let me know what you think of the remix. I kept the same sound font because I just really didn't like any of the other free piano ones. They don't have the right vowel sounds. The others sound like they are more for happy songs and don't have that grand piano sound I'm looking for. Anyway, I hope this remix is good enough. I'm tired of working on it. Thank you for being so patient with me.

-Susie

Hey, it's no problem. Thanks for being patient with us. This revision fixed a lot of issues I had, particularly with the way the piano sample was used in the second half of the piece, as well as fixing up most of glaring release issues with some of the notes. The most important thing when all is said and done is that you feel your piece is now at its best. Time to post it up, I'd say.

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