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JDHarding

3. completed Sonic 3D Blast : Panic Puppet Zone [ReMix]

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This sounds pretty nice. But I've got one huge issue...

Where's my kick!? I barely hear a kick in there, and that's essential to this type of music. I think I'm hearing something, but I'm not quite sure. I'm also not getting a lot out of the snare...

Are you using compression and/or EQ on the track--the beat primarily?

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Also love electronic music with even just a hint of symphonic instrumentation in them. The only thing I noticed that I personally had issues with it is that the kick gets kinda lost sometimes not sure if that was intentional or not like starting at the 2:50 mark.

That's all I really had issues with, other than that I like it.

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Daaamn, love that beat! Love what you did with this, made it your own but its still has that video game feel which I love and I think is lost alot of the time with many remixes

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Having heard this new version and your first version from your Bandcamp site, I say; when you have the final version down, you should definitely make a YouTube of the two back-to-back, just so people can really hear the difference the 6-odd years of tweaking made.

Just an idea.

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I was initially kind of cold about the changed feeling (I really had dug it when it was more 4 on the floor trance-y), but after listening to it some more, I say the more big beat (is that the correct genre I'm thinking of) feel in the drums is way cool. It also would make sense you'd do that, considering the original song did the trance feel already.

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The cymbal at 0:14 isn't quite working. Try one with more high end and less on the mids. A softer type of cymbal would be way better. Same thing applies to the same cymbal sample in other places.

I think I'm hearing overlapping EQ on the kick and the analog poly square-saw. Notch its EQ where the kick would be. Do a deep notch, or a band stop altogether.

Up until 1:11, everything seems to sound extremely similar. The lead, if there is one, is way softer than everything else. Bring it up. Also, give the song some idea of progression towards the breakdown section. Everything between the bass drops sounds almost exactly the same.

You should change the overall chord at 1:15. The chordal "feeling" needs to change there. Same at 1:29. Also, cut out the low end from your pad. There's probably bass playing in that section anyways, although I don't hear it. The drums need a change-up in the sound as well. They don't make the breakdown section feel evident enough. There's still that trance energy from before with the sample choices.

1:38 needs a better lead in. You've used the bass drop twice now. Do something different. I'm also hearing some sort of overload distortion at 1:40 from the kick. You should check that out.

The snare, overall, seems to have too long of a tail for the genre. Try a new sample with a shorter tail and see how that goes.

I have no idea what you have going on at 1:38 - 2:06. It just seems to be there. Make it more obvious as a transition.

At 2:36, the kick is starting to create some bass compression. Definitely check the bass frequencies on that. Keep it high passed above 40Hz.

Everything after that doesn't seem to go anywhere. It's just filler, from what I'm hearing. Give it some purpose.

Good luck.

Edited by timaeus222

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You're making some great progress. Other things:

Notice how you have a fitting chord at 1:18; try finding the fitting chord for 1:15 and 1:29 (which should be the same).

You might or might not have some reverb on the bass. i.e. in the 1:38 section. Try to keep its reverb to a minimum, especially the low end and mids decay. That's probably the main cause of the muddiness I still hear at the 2:36 section. The low end and mids decay intensity should be decreased, but you should leave less low end than mids.

The last thing is: if the "ending" is an ending, then you can always do better than that. Make it feel like an ending, not an "I'm done here, let's just leave it to play the last note and go with it".

So far, getting better.

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Cool, nice improvement. Other things I'm noticing now:

At 1:40, the lead has two notes that play. If there was only one note, then I'd think "oh, it's finished playing." Well, since it played those two notes (specifically, the exact two notes that foreshadowed more to come), I expect the lead to continue playing, and that's probably not what you want. So find a plausible note to put there that makes sense to fade out so that the new section can introduce that new lead that comes in at 1:43-ish.

On to that new lead. It should be louder, since it feels like it's blending in too well, which is possible, but not recommended. It makes more sense as a lead, so you want it to be purposeful as a lead and act as a lead, not as an arpeggio backup. At 0:46 it's fine, since it isn't as important in the earlier sections. At 1:43, however, it comes in again. A new section is expected by then, so have that lead come out more, at the very least to change things up.

At 2:22, the kick is really evident, but not anywhere else in that section. I don't know if you meant to do that only once, but I just thought I'd tell you.

Just like at 1:43, bring the lead out more at 3:05. It's another similar case.

The ending is still a bit weird. Your current ending makes the remix sound like its arrangement is not done. Maybe a reverse cymbal doesn't make for a very obvious ending. Try a regular cymbal and do something with the lead and bass. Maybe something like this:

XX_X_xX

"X" is that last note you had in your current ending. "x" is the note one whole step below. "_" is a rest. This is for the lead. The bass could be whatever works. The drums would make sense to follow a rhythm like this:

C_ _C_ _C_

K_ KK_ KK_

_ _ _S_ S _

Of course, C = cymbal, S = snare, K = kick.

Keep it up!

Edited by timaeus222

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Sounding better!

At 1:28, I see what you had going there. I'd suggest you fade it in more slowly, since it seems to be overpowering the flute and coming in too early. Also, take a shot at this: clone the instrument instance and try a different EQ; one with a bit less mids and a bit more treble and see how that sounds, and if you like it, keep it.

You still might want to experiment with more cymbal samples. It's not quite gelling with me, and I'm sure there are better ones somewhere.

3:34 to the end still feels like it's just there. Definitely change up that section so that it feels like the notes are foreshadowing the ending. Make the listener believe that the song is coming close to an end without any sort of abruptness.

One piece of advice I've learned is to listen to your song at every 15 seconds. Can you tell exactly where you are in the song? If not, try changing up the notes there to make it more obvious. Also, try looking at the waveform of the song in something other than soundcloud. Soundcloud skews the sizes a bit; i.e. silence doesn't look like silence, it looks like a small amount of white noise is playing. If you can look at the waveform and imagine what's playing in the song, then dynamics are working well. If not, check anything that could have to do with the EQ, velocities, or levels there.

Looking good though, keep going!

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Version 6.3. Did some of the fixes below. I usually ignore anything that suggests how the song should be written, ie. the ending is how the ending is written and I don't plan on changing it unless the judges themselves suggest otherwise.

Panic Puppet (v6.3)

http://soundcloud.com/joshua-harding-2/2012-sonic-3d-blast-panic

That's not a very good way to go about things. If you don't take advice from anyone but the "best", you won't get that far. I'm sure the mods will say something about the arrangement.

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He didn't say he wasn't taking advice - just that he didn't want to change the arrangement unless a judge says it needs to be changed (or a mod, I'm assuming; that's our job, after all), which is understandable. That being said, the ending does sound misplaced, and I'm fairly certain that it'll affect you on the panel. If you'd like to end it that way I can see it working, but let it play out for an extra measure, as it sounds unbalanced, as it stands.

I really like this arrangement once it gets to the 1:12 mark, though it feels like a bit of a chore getting there. I know there is some variation in the texture in the background at 0:42, but for all intents and purposes it sounds like you repeat the same line four times from 0:14 to 1:10. You'll need to make the variations more salient, and possibly add at least a little variation at 0:28 and 0:56, to make those repetitions justified.

That oboe portion is a very sweet addition, but please vary it up as the song proceeds at 2:08. You don't have to do much - even some small embellishments will do. It's very sweet and fitting, but if it repeats too much even that becomes a bit of an ear sore.

Production isn't bad. The trance synths are a bit on the vanilla side, but I think they can work. You just need to add more variation throughout the track, really; not much more that I can say other than that. I like the feel of it, though, and there are some nice moments that make me want more.

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At 1:11, the kick feels a bit too strong for that section, even for a trance song. Maybe instead of a kick, try a soft open hi hat.

At 2:07, what striked me as odd were the pads. I had expected more low end on the pads, so try modifying the pads or finding new samples that are more rich in the low end as well as what you have going on now. I'm sure if you notch the EQ, the kicks will fit in just fine, but the levels might make the kicks be fine anyway.

In the outtro at 3:05, if you have them, it seems like it would be effective to layer in spiccato strings there, doubling up on what the poly saw synth is playing. Kind of like this:

H = higher note

L = lower note

C = crescendo

B = Blank

H-B-B-L-B-H-B-H-L-B-H-B-L-B-C---------->

Just suggestions. So far, sounding great.

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Very nice! Believe it or not, the compressor work you did made a big difference.

Something I'm noticing now is that at 2:22, in my opinion, you're coming in with the "full power" drum kit too early; maybe you could do something to make them "lo-fi", and then progress to the "full power" drum kit at about 3:04. Just a thought.

Much better than any of your previous versions.

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Again, big improvement.

Just small issues this time, for me at least. The kicks appear to have too much bass frequencies. Try putting a really steep high pass on the kick to about... 45-50Hz. I usually test my songs out in the car because I can adjust the "bass" frequencies. If I lower the "bass" and I can't hear only the bass instrument itself and the kick is still sufficiently audible, then I've done a good job. Maybe you can try that too. You'd probably need an aux cord to conserve CDs.

You should also try that "lo-fi" suggestion on a separate project file before you say you don't want to do it. Try it first, compare the two versions, and THEN decide what you want. Don't just not accept arrangement advice.

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This track is super nostalgic for me! I would often times take my CD and play it while I did homework as a kid. I've always wanted to remix something from it, and I'm glad to see other people want to as well.

I love the style that you've chosen, but if I remember right it may be a style that is quite similar to the original version, though I notice some very cool differences. I really like the softer sections of the song, particularly the one with the flute solo.

My only major problem right now is that the bass drum sounds a little on the weak side. Perhaps you should add a little compression to give it more snap.

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Listening again. It's actually sounding better now than earlier. Good idea with the piano and mallet intro.

I don't think you should stick to just Trance, though. Try to incorporate more genres in this song to keep it fresh the whole time. Generic traditional Trance is usually repetitive, and ocremix abhors excess repetition. It's not extremely repetitive now, but it might be a good idea to maybe include DnB in there, or some other closely related genre.

At 2:28, I'm hearing some sort of low end ambient hit. Try not to muddy it up. High pass it a bit, and give it a bit of high frequency hiss. Right now it's muddying up the low mids, which are the cause of most muddiness.

At 2:55, there's a vast shift in dynamics. Try putting something there to give a bridge between that jump in amplitude. It's really jarring to me.

Also at 2:55, the kick seems to be having too much low end. It's good that it's that prominent, but try to lower the low end frequencies a bit, and raising the high end a bit to balance it out, so that it's the same volume, but not overcompressing the entire track on each hit. I was hearing overcompression there.

I don't know what it is at 3:56 - 4:09, but you should rewrite that with a new lead arpeggio timbre. It just isn't gelling with my ears there. Perhaps the lead is just too loud.

Well, that's all at the moment.

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Noice. In your intro (up to 1 minute mark) it sounds like your fourth chord in the chord progression might have some major/minor notes fighting against each other on different instruments. That may or may not be the case, but possibly look into it? Piano seems major but a backing instrument is giving me mad minor vibes.

At 1:02, nice intro to the electronica. Seems very bass heavy, but the bass frequencies also seem really undefined, like you have a bunch of different synths playing the bass and panning around. Could use some clearing up, with a more solid and refined bassline and maybe some EQing to remove bass from the other parts.

Your leads (1:34) during this part sound buried because of the reverb/echo you have on it. I'd be cautious removing too much, because that type of lead synth could get grating fast. Props for having it sound pretty pleasant as is and not grating, currently. :-) Also watch out that your ascending/descending glitchy sound doesn't clash too much with the leads!

I like the slow down up to 3:37 but the following transition is completely rough. You need to have some kind of build or percussion element to make a transition like that smooth. As it is now, the part before it seems to just stop and random flute comes in. Because you've got echo on those low bass notes (which could be contributing to the mud, by the way) it repeats unnaturally into the next section, which may not have been such a big deal if you had a percussive crescendo, maybe a reverse crash leading up to that. Needs work!

4:23 -- I enjoy orchestral stabs as much as the next guy, but they don't -really- have as much power as people often think they do. The consistency between notes in an orchestral stab just makes it sound silly, the nature of the type of sample doesn't lend to realism at all. A little mechanical. 4:44 sounds like the song should end before a new part begins -- a stark contrast from the previous sound, as well. No real transition there at all.

In conclusion, I'd say pull back on the echo a LOT -- especially on instruments that should not have it, like basses. And pull back on the mastering compressor or level out the bass appropriately so that you can keep it compressed but without MAD bass saturation. The arrangement could use a lot of work, mostly on transitions, and making parts seem less repetitive (change things up once in a while during verses, etc). I noticed you do have a reverse crash at the very end, slightly misplaced. :-) Raise the volume a bit, put it leading up to transitions, and begin the next part with a crash -- maybe even an echo crash! That would be great.

Nice work :nicework: and good luck with the next version!

Edited by Brandon Strader

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