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'Lost Radiance' - Hollow Bastion Theme - Kingdom Hearts (PS2)


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Now THAT'S what I'M talkin' about!!!!! Those echoes just make that transition utterly perfect. I think it's ready. I'm not a mod though... maybe you could ping a mod, just for the final blessing and throwing of holy water on this?

I'm really wishing you luck with this but wow, I think it'll pass. :mrgreen:

edit: I see you did get a mod review. Do fix the velocities if you can, it can certainly be done, if I can do it, certainly you can!

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Is this the kind of thing you mean? I added quite a lot more.

Well this speaks volumes now - I like!

Gario has made some good points though, so before submitting this I'd do a check up with him and maybe some other posted remixers and I'm sure you'll be golden :)!!

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Thanks, dude! :D Do you have any final suggestions or criticisms? I'm literally going to go over it in the next few hours and look for anything final before I submit.

I'm nervous...

Im no music expert, so for me... it's just a blizz to the ear. IMO, its a really good way you twisted the theme into something that fitted a 5 piano mix

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MOD REVIEW

Mmm, a lot of flavor in this one. The arrangement works pretty well - I like what you did with the themes in the middle, there. The reverb is wet enough, and the dynamics are pretty neat.

One issue that brings this down, though, is the static strikes of the notes. On a piano, the dynamics are not the only thing that changes when a note gets louder or quieter. While you have great dynamics in this track, the accents of the notes sound the same, as if the pianist is hitting the notes all the same way. Ask around and see if with your particular sample there are ways to create accents other than detache (Legato, Staccatto, Phrasing under a slur, strikes with the Una Chorda... or that 'Soft Pedal', etc. etc.). These are all very important in creating a great, live feel. There are people that can (and have) done this with their music before; Ivory is an example of someone that I know who can help handle this issue quite well. I don't know why I can't think of anyone else, at the moment, but that's at least one person who might be able to give some advice to achieve these effects.

You've got the arrangement down, you've got the dynamics, with this final step it'll sound as human as it can get, and it'll be ready for OCR. Not yet, though, seeing that while you put a great amount of effort into making it human (and it's paid off, so far), there's still just a little more that needs to be done. I'd like to see this on the front page, so I hope to hear even more progress soon.

By the way, I just noticed that you changed your link while I was making this review, forcing me to delete some of the commentary that I was going to give (since you fixed it). While that's great that you fixed the issues, if you know you're going to make a change please keep the thread as a Work In Progress, if at all possible, as that makes it easier on the Mods. I know it probably wasn't intentional, so it's alright, I'm just putting it out there for people.

*Ahem* Nice work, very close, but I think you'd still be called out on this one on the panel because of the single issue I presented up there. Mix it up a bit (not arbitrarily, of course, but in a fitting, pleasant way) and you'll be in great shape with this one.

Thanks for the review! Sorry for the uploading a second version. The changes I made felt sort of needed to me so I'm sorry if that caused any problems when you were writing this. I'm glad you enjoyed it. When it comes to the velocities thing, do you - or anybody else - know any kind of tutorial for doing note velocities? I've tried and I really feel I can never get it right even when I record it with the playing style I want in mind. I really need to learn how to do that sort of thing to be honest.

Now THAT'S what I'M talkin' about!!!!! Those echoes just make that transition utterly perfect. I think it's ready. I'm not a mod though... maybe you could ping a mod, just for the final blessing and throwing of holy water on this?

I'm really wishing you luck with this but wow, I think it'll pass. :mrgreen:

edit: I see you did get a mod review. Do fix the velocities if you can, it can certainly be done, if I can do it, certainly you can!

Thanks! I'm probably going to give this a bit more time before I submit it, actually. With the whole velocities thing. Do you know of any tutorials on that kind of thing?

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I don't know of any... you just have to think like a piano player, experiment a lot, and also you need a vst that is responsive to note velocity tweaking (or you have to know how to use your midi cc messages, which I sadly don't). What piano vst are you using? And I think you said you played the parts yourself? And what daw are you using?

This humanization issue is a sticky wicket on many many songs here... the issue is magnified for you since your entire tune is piano... the humanization (or lack of same) is really exposed... but you'll get there, I just know it.

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"Humanizing" is probably the term you are looking for, for editing velocity.

Done in Logic (shows a good before and after at least, in case Logic isn't your DAW)

One for FL:

AND, here is a whole list of youtube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Humanizw+midi+piano&oq=Humanizw+midi+piano&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=youtube.3...8241.14239.0.14351.25.21.3.1.2.0.85.1140.21.21.0...0.0.JIit38I12ag

Good luck!

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Thanks for the links! Out of all things, I actually use Mixcraft 5. I know I'm probably not the only one, but it's not the most popular of all the software I've seen used. I'm actually getting Mixcraft 6 tomorrow hopefully (I checked today and I apply for an upgrade coupon) and that has humanisation as one of the MIDI editor features. I should also be getting some lovely new soundfonts and perhaps a little more crisp sound quality. I watched the Logic video, and I can definitely say that that has helped a lot in the understanding of the concept of humanisation, so I'll try my best and report back with a version 2.2 in a couple of days.

@chimpzilla: I do play in the parts using a pretty nice MIDI keyboard, but - mainly due to OCD issues - quantising is sort of necessary and I edit a lot of the final takes to equalise some of the notes which probably isn't the best idea considering what I've just learnt. XD Still, with the huge amount of recordings involved in the makings of this remix, I think you can sort of tell why the velocities haven't been too great throughout the whole piece. Thankfully the solo part was something I could actually play and put some actual feeling into.

TL;DR: Getting new version of Mixcraft soon; should be onto the humanisation and velocities issue soon; expect version 2.2 in a few days at most.

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Now THIS is a proper update. Version 3.0.

Stuff added:

+Humanisation and velocity changes for the melody and other pianos throughout the piece

+Newly programmed reverb (there's a first time for everything, right? XD)

+A couple of fixes for note patterns that didn't work so well

+Volume change for base-chord piano

If there's any distortion or crackling, if anybody could point out an area that would be great.

EDIT: Distortion fixed, but the volume's slightly lowered so you might want to turn up the volume a little.

Thoughts?

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The improvements in the arrangement and the composition are nice. Humanizing is MUCH BETTER!

To be honest the sample quality will not cut it. It prob would not cut it even 6-7 years ago. For example listen to this track and read the judges critiques: (the standards for production have risen since this mix was posted)

http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01487/

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The improvements in the arrangement and the composition are nice. Humanizing is MUCH BETTER!

To be honest the sample quality will not cut it. It prob would not cut it even 6-7 years ago. For example listen to this track and read the judges critiques: (the standards for production have risen since this mix was posted)

http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR01487/

Do you know where I can find any decent free piano samples? I've looked around the internet and most of the ones I'm finding sound pretty bad, to be honest.

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Yes that is better humanized! Still more could be done I think. Some of the left hand parts still sound pretty static. (although with this style, maybe that's what works) It seems to be better humanized in the beginning and not as much later on, from what I can tell. (just listened three times) The break may be a bit *too* soft now... but it is moving in the right direction. It's a tricky bitch, I know.

Also make sure your chords are not perfectly snapped to the beat. Let each note in the chord be off just slightly, leaving one on the beat (I usually let the lowest one stay pretty close to the beat). Move the notes slightly later, never earlier than the beat (from my experiments, that just makes a mess).

What piano vst are you using, I don't know if you ever said what? Is it just a soundfont? I recently got TruePianos and it is quite versatile, I love it. It costs about $200 though.

I sure do love this arrangement!

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Do you know where I can find any decent free piano samples? I've looked around the internet and most of the ones I'm finding sound pretty bad, to be honest.

Look up 'Pianissimum.sf2', 'mmalmsjo.sf2' & 'ClavinovaPiano1V2.0.sf2' - those ones can be pretty versatile as piano soundfonts.

On a side note, the Papelmedia_Churchorgan.sf2 is probably the best church organ sample out there :ocrgreen:

And finally 'tgsf21x.sf2' is probably the best multi-patch soundfont pack you can have, which I believe Darkesword had compiled.

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Version 3.1! For some reason there's a lot of bad compression in the file and the soundfont possibly doesn't sound as good as it did in Mixcraft itself. I fixed up a load of stuff, added a new soundfont (Piano One - I think it's pretty good, although it probably sounds terrible to everybody else) and did yet more volume controlling and humanisation.

EDIT: Wrong file uploaded! XD Sorry. I fixed that.

Also, does anyone have any idea why the high notes at the beginning sound horrible without headphones?

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Version 3.2. I'm starting to get bored of the soundfont as the initial awesomeness wears off. Does this actually sound any good?

I fixed some of the crappy distortion in the melody, some of the distortion and crackling, and more humanisation on a few of the tracks.

Seriously, is this soundfont any good?

I consider this finished. I really can't tell if it sounds any good any more because of how many times I've heard it over and over.

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lol, I can feel you on that - I've gotten to that point on more than one remix.

This is sounding much better, though. Soundfont-wise it's not that bad, really. I do still hear the issue I was hearing before to a smaller degree, and to be perfectly honest it's not really a sample issue that you're having. You could use the best samples ever and if you don't emulate phrasing and such then it'll still sound like a sample.

Taken in a vacuum, this does still sound pretty good, so don't lose sight of that. I still enjoy it, overall, but coming from a (former) pianist I just can't get around the lack of emulated touch. If you don't want to work on this one anymore, I'd say give this one a shot and try for a submission - I tend to be quite picky on posted piano music. I mean no offense to Willrock, but I would've made close to the same statement to his piano-only remix back in 2010 (samples feel like they all have the same type of attack, and sound mechanical on that front), and it passed, so... *shrug*.

If you do want to give this a little bit more love on something that seems less ethereal, those arpeggios could use some more variation in dynamic difference - while you have swells and dynamics, and those are great, it often feels like with those arpeggios that the changing dynamics often move through a cycle. It's most noticeable in the beginning and end portion of the song. It's up to you, though; as it is, this does have a chance at passing. Just understand that the judges might call you out on the issue I presented.

If you're feeling burnt out on it and want to move on, I suggest submitting it. If you still feel like tweaking it a touch, then the dynamics in the arpeggios could use some more variance from one another. Rather than being in limbo on it, though, I'd say either make one or two more touches and submit it, or simply submit it as is - this will allow you to move on to more fun music, and the track might pass, after all.

That's my thought on it - best of luck, however you decide to move on this.

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Version 3.2. I'm starting to get bored of the soundfont as the initial awesomeness wears off. Does this actually sound any good?

I fixed some of the crappy distortion in the melody, some of the distortion and crackling, and more humanisation on a few of the tracks.

Seriously, is this soundfont any good?

I consider this finished. I really can't tell if it sounds any good any more because of how many times I've heard it over and over.

You *could* use other instruments to mask the faky performance - I know it wouldn't really be a piano solo, but meh, might be worth a shot :mrgreen:

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What are you using for processing? Compressors/EQ's/Reverbs etc...

What is the RMS of your track? What is the peak volume?

What do you use in Mixcraft to load and play sound fonts?

At the moment I'm using no compressors and no equalisers. I am using Acoustica Reverb on the 'Room (Medium)' setting, although that doesn't seem to make a difference whether I turn that on or off.

I'm actually using the VST 'Piano One'. It's in the default Mixcraft VSTi loader (not sure if that's how I would say that, but essentially I'm accessing it through Mixcraft's VSTi Instruments folder after I placed the .vst file into the 3rd party VST folder in the Mixcraft application file).

As for the RMS and peak volume, to be honest I have no idea how to check those in Mixcraft. The track is currently set at 1.7db under the default, 34% right.

EDIT: I've actually chosen a different soundfont for this now - the trial version of Pianissimo. If this sounds pretty good, I could be preparing for a final version with this now.

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Final version before submitting - ever! Unless a judge or mod points out anything too obvious.

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Version 4.0!

Updates are basically HUGE amounts of humanisation, I fixed every single audio, distortion, bad mixing, and cracking issue I could hear, the amazing soundfont Pianissimo (in the trial version) is being used, and I redid several sections' parts as well. I also moved it down a single semitone to avoid issues with Pianissimo (let's just say it has problems with high 'B' notes...).

If this isn't enough, at this point I really don't care. XD This - in my opinion - is the best quality I'm ever going to get. Thoughts before I submit? :D

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Personally I prefer the old key but that's probably just because I'm used to it.

The humanization and stuff sounds really nice in this version though :).

The only distortion related thing I'm hearing is a pop in my left ear at 2:38. You might want to fix that before you submit it.

Good luck on the panel!

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MOD REVIEW:

Lowering the song a semi-tone actually makes it sound a bit richer, in my opinion. I like that change, and it's not like people will notice if this gets posted, eh?

The piano does sound considerably more human in this version (I'm hearing more variation in the one particular part that I mentioned earlier, so nice work). For the sake of OCR, I think it's humanized enough. I could still imagine it better, but that's just the pianist in me speaking - you've done well bringing it up.

A small point about the last section of the track, though; it's a touch too repetitive, for my tastes. You do change it up from the first section a little bit, but there are a few melodic parts that repeat the first section note-for-note that stand out in a monotonous way, for me. It'd really just be a matter of adding trills and maybe some grace notes (and perhaps an improvised line rather than the source melody, too) to fix that issue in the last section, though. I'd recommend adding a few of these flourishes to it before submitting. Fortunately, that's all cosmetics and generally quite easy to do, so that shouldn't be too much trouble (in comparison to more humanization, at least).

Other than that, I'd give it a pass for OCR. Add some fun little piano decorations to the last section and send this one off. Nice work, and I hope to see this one on the front page.

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Personally I prefer the old key but that's probably just because I'm used to it.

The humanization and stuff sounds really nice in this version though :).

The only distortion related thing I'm hearing is a pop in my left ear at 2:38. You might want to fix that before you submit it.

Good luck on the panel!

Thanks for telling me about that pop. I didn't hear that in the few times I listened to it, so it's great to know that. :D

Lowering the song a semi-tone actually makes it sound a bit richer, in my opinion. I like that change, and it's not like people will notice if this gets posted, eh?

The piano does sound considerably more human in this version (I'm hearing more variation in the one particular part that I mentioned earlier, so nice work). For the sake of OCR, I think it's humanized enough. I could still imagine it better, but that's just the pianist in me speaking - you've done well bringing it up.

A small point about the last section of the track, though; it's a touch too repetitive, for my tastes. You do change it up from the first section a little bit, but there are a few melodic parts that repeat the first section note-for-note that stand out in a monotonous way, for me. It'd really just be a matter of adding trills and maybe some grace notes (and perhaps an improvised line rather than the source melody, too) to fix that issue in the last section, though. I'd recommend adding a few of these flourishes to it before submitting. Fortunately, that's all cosmetics and generally quite easy to do, so that shouldn't be too much trouble (in comparison to more humanization, at least).

Other than that, I'd give it a pass for OCR. Add some fun little piano decorations to the last section and send this one off. Nice work, and I hope to see this one on the front page.

Thanks for all the advice! :D I really appreciate it. I'll see what I can do about the last section. On the subject of trills and grace notes, would that be in the main melody line? The introduction of an improvised line could be a nice touch, actually, although improvisation isn't exactly my strong point.

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