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jordanrooben

wip Pokemon R/Y/B Team Rocket's Hideout - DnB Version 3

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This is my first attempt at a true DnB style song, but it's waaay better than my first attempt at something like it. Anyway, listen and review, but enjoy it whatever you do!

Version 1: http://soundcloud.com/jordanrooben/team-rockets-hideout

Version 2: http://soundcloud.com/jordanrooben/team-rockets-hideout-v-2

Version 3: http://soundcloud.com/jordanrooben/team-rockets-hideout-3

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At 1:11, where I suppose there's supposed to be a drop feels like the song just gave up; Add something to give it some power.

The lead is loud and blocks out any of the backing stuff, so I suggest toning that down.

I like what you've done with the melody. It definitely beats any of the other versions of this that just put a raspy instrument in the background of the midi. It feels fresh.

The end was lackluster. No energy was built up and when it dropped, it just felt empty, kinda like earlier. When you perfect the drops, you got a good song.

All in all, a pretty good tune, I would suggest widening your soundscape and working on the drops. Can't wait for the next update.

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This won't be a full crit... there is still work to be done on this track... and I don't know the source at all... just a quick comment that I really like the track and I think this is your best work yet. That low kick is the bomb... make sure to roll off everything below 30Hz though, and maybe notch out arount 200Hz too... or things could get muddy. Nice gating work. I love your lead synths. The breaks might be a little too sparse, add something back for more continuity. The speedup at the end is a little unnerving, though. Nice work, keep going on it.

Oh, it's not really DnB, more electro house? I'm terrible with genres...

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I think the lead in the first half is now too quiet... it sounds like background instrumentation now... which could work if you do some other lead-ish soloing on top of it. The whole section up to 1:11 sounds leadless. If it were my song, I would use what you have there as an opportunity to add some unique lead on top of it, from :48 up through the first break.

The first break is better, in fact mighty cool. And I love that thing that happens at 1:21!

The lead that follows, at 1:22 is very nice, although a tad vanilla. The writing gets a bit repetitive here. Another opportunity to do interesting and unique stuff here, with that lead, after you've introduced the melody, vary it up a bit. And how about some more interesting drum sounds added here as well? I hear some clicky-clacky stuff way in the background here, bring it up, it works.

I like how you introduce that groove at 2:03, then after the break, you bring that back as a background groove. Great idea. The lead in the last part is underwhelming though, both in sound and writing, it is repetetive and discordant. Again, another opportunity to do something fabulous, leadwise, here. The final pitch rise is cool, much better without the speedup.

There's a theme here: take your weak spots, and turn them into fabulous. :-D

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Leveling and mixing issues struck me as soon as that rising synth leading up to the main verse came in. That particular synth is too loud and hogs too much space. For how much space that bass takes, that gated lead at :28 has got too much mid-range, and it clashes frequencies with the bass. At other parts where the bass isn't playing, it works.

The transition synth at 1:20 is too loud. Really unconventional, almost to the point of not working well, chords in that gated synth at 2:03. I can't help feeling that that part just doesn't fit with the ominous atmosphere of the rest of the song.

The mix as a whole feels static, needs more variation in sounds, and for the percussion set you have, more variation and fills. A bit punchier bass kick would do as well.

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Well, here's an update! I did my best to add variety to the mix by changing the drums, and the leads. I added a few solo-type sections over top of the more lackluster parts. The drums are much different, and I added another main rhythm for them during the later parts. Fortunately for the mixing, I got some new headphones today. Yay! Hopefully, that will really help when it comes to mixing. I think I fixed the big issues and balanced it better, though it's admittedly heavy on the bass end. I'm pretty sure that covers all the main things. I don't know if I forgot anything. If so, that'll be a great topic to talk about in a review. Just make sure to enjoy it if you can!

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Okay, here's what I got:

0:00 - 0:21 - you should gradually raise the volume on the drums with some automation, starting off at about 20% volume. Maybe add a mild high pass, and you can automate to fade out the high pass when you approach 0:21.

0:09 - 0:21 - you should decrease the resonance on the phasered panning synth just a tad.

0:22 - 0:34 - you should EQ the bass so that its higher frequencies are not so dominant. That may help with your later leads. Do so in general as well, and that may help compression. You can use other synths for harmonies.

0:54 - 1:10 - the flangered formant bass (?) playing the melody could be a bit softer to make room for another layer of backup synth, maybe an arp or something.

1:10 - there could be a leadin sound that sweeps the spectrum, maybe no drums there for about 1 second. What I had in mind would have a phaser effect on it and kind of a cutoff increase automation effect at an "e^x" curve.

1:23 - 1:31 is kind of lacking in mid frequencies. Try adding some saw wave harmonies or something.

At about 1:40, a leadin sound comes in and increases in pitch. Maybe layer on some white noise increasing in cutoff frequency?

It seems like you were building up to 2:04, but there was no dynamic variation. Try adding some slow crescendo from 1:40 to 2:04.

2:18 - 2:24 - try adding a dynamic arp in there to keep things energetic even without drums.

2:23 - 2:24 - try subdividing your leadin snares even more to add some more energy there.

In general, the rides and hi hats should have a mild low pass at about 18-20 kHz. Those have too much tail and they're clogging up the soundscape. Also, put the limiter to about -0.8 dB; that should be a good standard to keep it at.

Good luck!

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Okay, here's what I got:

0:00 - 0:21 - you should gradually raise the volume on the drums with some automation, starting off at about 20% volume. Maybe add a mild high pass, and you can automate to fade out the high pass when you approach 0:21.

0:09 - 0:21 - you should decrease the resonance on the phasered panning synth just a tad.

0:22 - 0:34 - you should EQ the bass so that its higher frequencies are not so dominant. That may help with your later leads. Do so in general as well, and that may help compression. You can use other synths for harmonies.

0:54 - 1:10 - the flangered formant bass (?) playing the melody could be a bit softer to make room for another layer of backup synth, maybe an arp or something.

1:10 - there could be a leadin sound that sweeps the spectrum, maybe no drums there for about 1 second. What I had in mind would have a phaser effect on it and kind of a cutoff increase automation effect at an "e^x" curve.

1:23 - 1:31 is kind of lacking in mid frequencies. Try adding some saw wave harmonies or something.

At about 1:40, a leadin sound comes in and increases in pitch. Maybe layer on some white noise increasing in cutoff frequency?

It seems like you were building up to 2:04, but there was no dynamic variation. Try adding some slow crescendo from 1:40 to 2:04.

2:18 - 2:24 - try adding a dynamic arp in there to keep things energetic even without drums.

2:23 - 2:24 - try subdividing your leadin snares even more to add some more energy there.

In general, the rides and hi hats should have a mild low pass at about 18-20 kHz. Those have too much tail and they're clogging up the soundscape. Also, put the limiter to about -0.8 dB; that should be a good standard to keep it at.

Good luck!

I usually don't like to reply to posts before an update, but I have to make an exception. First, this is a great review. You pointed out a lot of things I missed, and I want to thank you. That, however important, isn't why I decided to say something before I updated. I was just wondering why you say to put the limiter to ~-0.8 dB. I've used limiters before, and although it's probably due to my lack of knowledge and experience with them, they've only muddied up my mixes, and so in my more recent work, I've stayed away from them completely. I've also had a similar effect with compressors. I know there's materiel out there about such things, and because I haven't looked for any of it yet, I won't ask for a link to any. But, can you, or someone else reading this, tell me why you might want to use a limiter on a track like this?

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You should always have a limiter as the last plugin on your master chain. The approx -1db setting is to keep you from clipping, ever. If your track is clipping, either something is too loud or you intended it for creative reasons. If using a limiter on your master is muddying up your mix, then the track is getting squashed by the limiter because something is definitely too loud somewhere in your mix. Use a metering plugin like Voxengo SPAN on each of your mixer tracks until you find the offending instrument and turn it down or compress it.

That is a tremendous review. Keep in mind that those are Timaeus222's opinions... and some good suggestions... but not rules.

edit: Timaeus, I didn't mean to single you out, so sorry! Jordan, many of us have given you suggestions. Some are no-brainer mixing tips that everyone should know. (I'm still learning all this stuff too) Others are matters of personal taste. Don't think you have to make every change suggested!

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I usually don't like to reply to posts before an update, but I have to make an exception. First, this is a great review. You pointed out a lot of things I missed, and I want to thank you. That, however important, isn't why I decided to say something before I updated. I was just wondering why you say to put the limiter to ~-0.8 dB. I've used limiters before, and although it's probably due to my lack of knowledge and experience with them, they've only muddied up my mixes, and so in my more recent work, I've stayed away from them completely. I've also had a similar effect with compressors. I know there's materiel out there about such things, and because I haven't looked for any of it yet, I won't ask for a link to any. But, can you, or someone else reading this, tell me why you might want to use a limiter on a track like this?

Well, at ~0.8 dB there usually isn't any sound overload. Limiters are meant to prevent that, and it's good to check back at what each mixer track is doing against the limiter's response. That way you can determine what's causing the clipping.

Other advice I might add would be to EQ out any frequencies that are overlapping so that you can make room for other possibly better instruments.

Of course, like chimpazilla said, these are just suggestions.

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