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Synthony

mod-review Pokémon - Of Men and Monsters [dubstep medley]

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http://soundcloud.com/synthony/pokmon-of-men-and-monsters

I sent this in to the judges a while back and it was rejected on the grounds of poor mixing quality, drum sample selection, etc. though they encouraged me to resubmit, as it's a well-arranged medley ^^; So here it is, with better drums, bass, and mastering. I'd like to get some feedback before I resubmit, however, both from Pokémon music fans and dubstep enthusiasts.

Source tracks are:

Pokémon R/G/B/Y/FR/LG -- Team Rocket's hidout;

Pokémon G/S/C/HG/SS -- Team Rocket's hideout; Unown radio interference

Pokémon R/S/E --

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I was surprised to see this at the top of the board again, and more surprised to see it rejected. However, listening on Beats (not perfect, not terrible) with my equalizer set to Powerful (with a bit extra on the low end) I'm not hearing as much bass as I'm expecting from a song of this style. There's lots of great noise, but most of it's not bass. That ending is great.

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I'm not hearing as much bass as I'm expecting from a song of this style. There's lots of great noise, but most of it's not bass. That ending is great.

Agreed. Lower other instruments, increase the master. I gotta feel dat bass.

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Men I really wanna help. This is an awesome mix. You really need to pack more punch to the snare. Your drum need a little bit more volume. At 1:24 the clean bass feel alone. Ŧhe disto bass at 0:46 is overpowering everything. You should check mix volume. 2:31 too much compression. And a drop should be put here.

2:48 is a perfect idea. But the bass is still overpowering everything.

In fact, the mix level should get a lot of attention.

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Take this as a high compliment, alright. Cause it really is:

This did not suck nearly as much as I thought it would. I'm still not a fan of the style, but the original songs are still in there somewhere, and overall it's not....terrible.

That's about the only compliment I will ever give dubstep, though.

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This did not suck nearly as much as I thought it would. I'm still not a fan of the style, but the original songs are still in there somewhere, and overall it's not....terrible.

I can take that as a compliment, cuz I understand it's hard to respect something that's outside your usual interests. Thank you. I'm glad you don't completely hate it. :D

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Don't post here often, but I go through the forums every once and a while to download remixes I like for my iTunes. I found your old version a while back and rated it 4/5 stars, so I'm looking forward to the update.

Also, I'm no music expert, but I do listen to a lot of game remixes.

Thoughts on old version:

- I love the opening

- The main theme of the song isn't really my style which is why I probably gave it 4 instead of 5.

- The breakdown in the middle is fantastic.

- Love the use of 'wubs' or 'silences' or whatever you'd call them in the first half of the song, it adds some needed variety.

- The part where it picks up pace and and has that ambient sound in the back is also really good and builds up nicely to the pokemon sound (I believe you said that was what that was). The pokemon sound is just strange and pitched right to not grate the ears, and I personally like having it in the remix.

- Then it goes back to the main theme, which seemed to be lacking in some way, and then finally the song has the cool outro.

Now with that being said (and after just listening to the old one), here's my thoughts on the new one:

- The drums just sound flat or something, especially when starting up around 1:23 where it gets a little distracting. (on further listening, I like the 'bassy' drum hit, but the higher pitched one sounds out of place for the tone of the song)

- Don't like the drums at 2:02, again they sound flat and seem to cut off, I guess so did the old ones but they sounded more in place with the song (less intrusive).

- The cymbal at 2:10 seems way out of place to me

- Pokemon sound is now ear grating, I think the old one was perfect.

Overall, I think what is clashing is the use of realistic sounding instruments with the weird bassy techno style the song seems to be going for. In the previous version the percussion seemed to be muted and in the background. They did need a little work because they sounded fake, but now they're too real :lol:. I do like the leveling and base improvements though.

I do very much like the arrangement, which I guess means something since I have never heard the original soundtrack that this is based on.

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Overall, I think what is clashing is the use of realistic sounding instruments with the weird bassy techno style the song seems to be going for. In the previous version the percussion seemed to be muted and in the background. They did need a little work because they sounded fake, but now they're too real :lol:.

That... is hilarious. In the old version, all the drums were sampled from an actual kit. In this version, I used kick and snare samples from a couple of mainstream dubstep songs. And not they sound too real?! xD

I kinda see what you're getting at, but a lot of the criticism I received on previous versions was that it didn't sound 'dubstep' enough. Mainstream American dubstep has a heavy focus on loud, punchy drums and distroted, talkative synths. What the old version lacked was punchy enough drums ^^;

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I think this is pretty good! The bass was adjusted correctly and everything is in check!

At 2:49, when the drum starts doing alternate rhythms, it kinda threw me off. The jazzy rhythm the section starts with kind took me out of the song. Probably a personal preference though, I am more used to songs with constant similar drum rhythm.

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Remember to take everything I said with a grain of salt ;-)

Just giving my personal opinion and don't keep up to date with dubstep except through video game dubstep remixes

And of course I'm accustomed to the first version so I may also be a little bit biased.

Edit: Also, I think what they mean by not sounding dubstep enough was due to there not really being much bass. Cause we all know that's what dubstep is all about, right!? :P

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Ah, Gastly cry! <3

I'm not really qualified to give critiques on the genre. Listen to Rockos, he's kinda the authority on dub around here as far as I know. Also, listen to zircon and BGC's dubstep tracks, "Ashes to Ashes" and "The Clubbing of Isaac," respectively. Pretty much the only dubstep I listen to

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Ah, Gastly cry! <3

I'm not really qualified to give critiques on the genre. Listen to Rockos, he's kinda the authority on dub around here as far as I know. Also, listen to zircon and BGC's dubstep tracks, "Ashes to Ashes" and "The Clubbing of Isaac," respectively. Pretty much the only dubstep I listen to

Hahaha. It's only been 1 year and I already have a reputation about dub. ^_^ I'm flaterred.

Now the mix!

I see you got the volume level to be more spread. This bring a lot more of space to your sounds. The distorted dirty bass don't kill everything now. This is what you needed.

Now that I took a few listen, I can see that: from 0:48 to 1:17 and 1:25 to 1:46 and 3:02 to 3:17 the drum parttern is the same. You should try to write a drum pattern that lead the song instead of the song leading the drum.

Otherwise this is well produced. I don't clearly remember the old one. But this one could be on the line.

OA said: 'Some of the synths are pretty cool, but things feel pretty empty in a lot of spots'

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mod rev:

No source links, no source/arrangment evaluation.

The whole thing is distorted, and not in a good way. Pushing for extra bass gives this track a bad case of overcompression. The highs seems a bit exaggerated as well, most of the stuff in the high range seems extra shrill, but the 2:24 and 2:47 melodies especially so. The whole 2:17 part seems to be on the proper level in regards to the loud parts of the track, something to look into concerning the intro levels.

Interestingly, the drums still sound weak. It could be that they're pushed under the bass, it could be that layered samples give you a way too loud transient that then compresses the rest of the sound, it could be excessive lows, it could be anything. Mute everything else and get your drums loud, then add stuff until you notice the drums getting weak. Then fix that.

Needs some basic track mixing work too. The intro screwing sound is louder than the subsequent melody. The 2:18 level is way louder than the intro.

The sound design is pretty cool, the bit-crushed, voxy-y filtering makes it appropriately dirty.

The arrangement is blocky but fairly varied. Unless it's just a source medley, the track has some nice potential.

-

ARRANGEMENT / INTERPRETATION

Can't say.

PRODUCTION

- Too loud - and yet...

- Too quiet - ...this

- Drums have no energy

- Overcompressed (pumping/no dynamics)

STRUCTURE

- Pace too plodding - it gets like this towards the end... it's not that it's dubstep; I may not like dubstep much, but I've heard more engaging dubstep

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This is a really weird choice of source material, but that alone I can respect.

To be honest my favourite part of the track was from about 1:48 to 2:30. You could make an entire dubstep piece from those elements alone.

What I think this new mix needs though is a slight drop off of the high fequencies. If you played this in a club environment, you'd have people screaming in pain. Also, your snare drums need just a little bit of reverb tail to them. Having such dry samples sounds a bit out of place with the rest of the reverb-heavy mix.

This is down to a matter of taste, but I personally don't think the analogue style drums are necessary. A full digital kit would probably help gel everything together.

Finally, the kick drum sound needs more oomph. If you're not sidechaining your kick and bass, you really should. If you already are, try layering another kick drum sound directly over the top of the one you already have. It'll help the beat cut through, which is very important in dissonant and sparse sounding dubstep tracks like these.

Sorry, I got pretty long-winded there. Ultimately though, do what feels right. This is already a pretty solid track.

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Derp. Fixed. Also updated the mix per some of Rozovian's and A.COE's suggestions.

http://soundcloud.com/synthony/pokmon-of-men-and-monsters

i think you missed the point

its not that the bass is 'distorted' its the actual notes themselves, it doesn't really sound like music because all of the notes are very flat or very sharp. and all of the different instruments clump together

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Derrit, what are you talking about.

MOD REVIEW

Obvious Skrillex influence here, but its executed very well, I'm digging this. The drums don't sound terrible, but the snare/bass could use some more bass presence to give them a little kick. Generally, this lacks the needed punch that stuff like skrillex pulls off. The bass might need some sub layers. Basically, I'd work on improving the punch in your mix some. I actually quite like this, its a cool selection of sources to use, and I'm digging the arrangement for the most part. You just need to improve on bringing that bass punch to the table and you've got yourself a winner here.

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<MODREVIEW>

As always, I’m not trying to come across as harsh or unkind in any way. However, I am going to give as specific of a review as I can.

First off, I really love that intro. Great little windup effects and the music box sound is really forboding.

…then the beat kicks in. Loudly and abruptly. Now, I understand that’s the effect you were going for, but you might do well to preclude it with a reversed cymbal (or white noise sweep) or something. Give people the idea that something actually is sneaking up on them, rather than hitting them over the head with a large skillet with no warning whatsoever.

Drums themselves: The snare’s alright, but the kick could definitely do with a bit more punch. I’d look at around 70hz, perhaps, although that’s just off the top of my head without having looked at the song through a spectrum analyzer. It’s not the very deepest bass range, but close. Needz punches. Also…seriously, you’re using the default FPC kit? I’m sorry, but there are FAR better things out there than that piece of garbage. In fact, generally speaking, any default drum samples in FL aren’t worth using. I’d suggest finding some free breakbeats and then chopping the snot out of them. Amen breaks are my favorite tool for this sort of thing, and you’ll find plenty of that sort of thing easily. Sprinkle in some Roland 909 drums as well (the standard “techno open hat” sound you’ll hear everywhere) for good measure and you might be surprised at how much better it sounds.

Let’s move on to the bass: I can tell you your problem immediately, and that is that it’s far too harsh in the high-midrange. Let me guess—you’ve run a wobble synth or two through some distortion and various bits like that, right? See, here’s the problem—simple distortion does not a proper dubstep bass make. You’ll need to go through with a very strict EQ job and filter out anything pre-distortion that will cause harshness, then do the same thing after distortion. Then, in order to add that extra top end “bite,” I always like to run everything through a mild bitcrusher. Compress and EQ some more to taste.

The same kinda goes for some of your lead sounds—they’re buried in midrange muck. EQ the low end out entirely if possible using sharp EQ cuts, and maybe inject some pre-distortion EQ carefulness to smooth out the harshness as well.

I’m not going to comment much on the arrangement, aside from the fact that you’ve chosen some awkwardly dissonant source tunes. I realize that is indeed how the source goes, but you might try to soften the catastrophic dissonance with another source or something and just use the very “nastiest” parts sparingly. I’m speaking as someone who had a judge vote “NO” on one of my recent tracks (even though it did eventually pass the panel) because I used the dissonant portion of the source tune during a breakdown.

To summarize: You’ll need to de-harshify that bass while still keeping the brostep bassline sound intact—a tall order, I realize, but it CAN be done. Also, do yourself a huge favor and experiment with some new drum sounds. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing!

</MODREVIEW>

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