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Manaburn - Final Fantasy XI


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Source:

(Sanctuary of Zi'tah)

Remix WIP:

I can't believe this tune hasn't been remixed. Here's my DnB take on it and I'm looking for feedback. Encouragement is nice, discouragement is cool too. If it's not good I don't want to waste any more time on it.

Note: The sound effects are sampled from FFXI's spells, for non FFXI vets.

Edited by Modus
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I NEED those flute samples! lol. so good.

Sounds great! I LOVE when it kicks in at 53 secs in, amazing, but I think theres room for a build up to it? The vocal peice in it kind of phases it out, so I cant really tell if there's one in there?

I think it might need just a LITTLE tweeking with the EQ with the lead? The bass is phat!

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I NEED those flute samples! lol. so good.

Sounds great! I LOVE when it kicks in at 53 secs in, amazing, but I think theres room for a build up to it? The vocal peice in it kind of phases it out, so I cant really tell if there's one in there?

I think it might need just a LITTLE tweeking with the EQ with the lead? The bass is phat!

Flute samples are from Nexus Dance Orchestra addon.. or Classical, one of those :]

The vocal thing is super tricky.. there's a lot of background noise from the sample and it was hard to EQ out. I may have overcompensated. I'll also play with the lead. Thanks a ton for taking the time to listen and comment, I feel really bad for not leaving you better feedback >.>

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I like this. It's got that chill sound, I guess what's referred to as liquid dnb. The snare seemed to duck at times, do you have compression? Seems like there's quite a bit if you do. I'd add some variation to the beat as well to keep it interesting and maybe some ambient percussion as well?

I like the sounds and the overall tone of this, definitely chill and somethin I could fall asleep too, try to keep that feeling goin as you continue to work on this, kudos!

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I like this. It's got that chill sound, I guess what's referred to as liquid dnb. The snare seemed to duck at times, do you have compression? Seems like there's quite a bit if you do. I'd add some variation to the beat as well to keep it interesting and maybe some ambient percussion as well?

I like the sounds and the overall tone of this, definitely chill and somethin I could fall asleep too, try to keep that feeling goin as you continue to work on this, kudos!

Thanks for the listen.

There's not much compression. The damn.. darn.. bass keeps swallowing everything and ducking things. I've been working on improving it.

I also like it when I get critique I expect. In this case, more varied percussion was #1 on my list for the next version.

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Well eq'ing and leveling of the bass could help. I usually always cut anything below the 200 rage on the snare and with that bass you could get away with cutting anything above 140 or so and dropping the volume and/or layering it with something with a bit more texture like a filtered saw just so you're not getting that buzz, just the texture to know that there's something down there, I'm not even sure that makes sense I haven't actually given constructive feedback in ages lol.

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No I know what you mean. The bass is pretty much disembodied and adding a texture layer could give me more leeway. Thing is, the bass is already made of three layers, but the texture layer is plucky. I dunno it's probably too intense and I'll have to tone it down a tad one way or another.

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Replaced with new version.

- EQ adjustments

- a little drum variation and additions

- humanization adjustments

- volume adjustments

I'm probably just going to submit this soon unless somebody really browbeats me. I'm going in expecting a NO, saving myself from disappointment.

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OCR can be pretty rough but at least you're expecting the no, that was the mistake I made when I submitted my first entry. For what it's worth though, I enjoyed it. I wish I could give more critiques but I feel like I can ever be too critical anymore since I can never be sure exactly what a person is goin for in all aspects of a piece of work, if that makes sense.

But yeah, an enjoyable, relaxing piece. Somethin I can read to which is always a good thing for me =D.

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I'm assuming the song in the first post is the latest version. :-)

I really liked the introduction up to 0:25. I could definitely tell that the instruments were synthetic, but they were treated well. Nice use of reverb there, and the volume leveling helped set things apart. I would have liked to hear it go on like this, and I've got to be completely honest, I was disappointed to hear it go electro. But what can I say, I'm a dirty folker.

The timing on the pad at 0:28 seems odd. The vocal clip is a nice element to increase the tension going on, but it seems like there's something missing here. What you should do is put in some kind of "air raid siren" sound that slowly fades up from a low note to a very high note during this section, and then top it off with a fade-in cymbal leading up to 0:52.

I found the section at 0:52 to be really cool. I'd like to hear it with the hihat having a bit more variation in the velocities to make it less of the constant same-note, but don't go overboard here. Make it subtle but noticeable of course, and not just here -- throughout the song. :-) Maybe consider changing the sample. I can tell it's sort of fading in during the break at 1:30 but it still just seems so awkward to me for some reason. Maybe it's a personal thing. It's DEFINITELY too loud and constant at 2:06 though -- that needs some tweaking.

Something sounds off at 2:42. I don't know if it's your mega-strong sub bass, but something is sounding disharmonic to my ears there. Sub bass can be tricky and can sound different on different speakers. Look at your waveform at the end -- it has plateaus of blockiness from that bass. It's actually pretty cool to see that on a waveform (haha) but I think I can safely say that means that your sub bass isn't compressed to heck, which is what I personally do with bass. Compress it mega hard, lower it to the acceptable level.. change any difference in volume (like for breakdowns) using automation. It may involve a bit more work, but it keeps the bass consistently strong, and you aren't trying to preserve the dynamics as if it is some kind of clean mandolin performance. I give you permission to squash that track with compression. Also if you have any of the bass frequencies rolled off in the EQ of that sub bass, don't. That's the whole point of the sub bass. I'm noticing some of the low notes in it aren't too audible. I haven't decided whether it's because of my human ears not hearing it or because it's not there. Let me know what's up.

Gotta say, I am digging the track and I'm excited to hear where you go with it. Nice work.

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All easy changes, except maybe compressing the subbass, especially because I'm relying on headphones but it shall be done!

I agree with everything you picked out, but I can't detect the disharmony you're hearing at 2:42, not on headphones anyway. I'll keep an ear on it though, maybe ask for second opinions.

Also if you have any of the bass frequencies rolled off in the EQ of that sub bass, don't. That's the whole point of the sub bass. I'm noticing some of the low notes in it aren't too audible. I haven't decided whether it's because of my human ears not hearing it or because it's not there. Let me know what's up.

No, your human ears are quite nice. I do have the lowest frequencies rolled off, and that will be easily reversed.

Gotta say, I am digging the track and I'm excited to hear where you go with it. Nice work.

So, I've been hanging around here putting things up in the workshop since joining almost exactly two years ago. I never got a straight thumbs up of any sort from a veteran, so this means a lot to me. All that time I was holding my breath for something as small as this. Thanks!

Oh also, you said you wanted the beginning to continue all folky. I suggest you take a listen to the whole source tune because it's very earthy and beautiful. It has a level of expressiveness I simply can't match with synthetic samples, a truly gorgeous tune.

Edited by Modus
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New update covers Brandon's suggestions.

- aggressively compressed/volumized subbass

- more buildup toward the beginning

- backed off hi-hats

I tried several "air raid" sounds as a buildup but I didn't like how it was meshing. Instead I added an airy buildup because I wanted to preserve the impact of that big bass drop.

Other than that... I feel like I'm expected to do more with this based on the posts, but I dunno what that might be. If there's any final thoughts, now is the time to speak up. I'm about to see Nobuo Uematsu live in concert the 25th and was thinking about throwing him a copy of this during the meet and greet because why the hey not. I dunno if I have the balls to do that but just the possiblity of meeting him face to face is exploding my neurons.

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  • 9 months later...

Alright, so this was form rejected. I've come back to lick my wounds or really, just figure out how to move forward. I don't have the project file anymore so I can't resub but I'd still appreciate some honest insight on weak points I need to work on.

The feedback in the rejection said textures, arrangement, and sample quality were all major issues. The only one giving me a tough time is sample quality. I agree the textures/mixing and arrangement are not all they could be. However the samples are all from Massive and a few from Sitar Nation. The drums are from Vengeance but I suck at arranging and mixing drums so they probably sound bad. The flute was from Nexus, which I guess has hit or miss quality.

Do you agree the sample quality is subpar and if so, where should I be looking to fill out the 'organic DnB' sound I'm going for?

Here's a link for convenience:

Thanks for any insight :]

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From what you said, I would argue it's the textures and arrangement that are the problem, not the sample quality. What you're using has the capability of good quality sounds, but a problem could be your choice of sounds to combine and how you arrange them. Other than that... the song is private.

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- - I don't have the project file anymore so I can't resub but I'd still appreciate some honest insight on weak points I need to work on.

- - Do you agree the sample quality is subpar and if so, where should I be looking to fill out the 'organic DnB' sound I'm going for?

Firstly, you shouldn't lose your project files! Take backups on a separate disk every now and then. Old files may come in handy sometime in the future.

I think the samples are fine, and that your energy will be much better spent on mixing and choosing the right samples for the track, rather than finding even higher-quality samples. (And I don't know what they would be anyway.)

As for the track itself, I felt the hihats were too static for drum'n'bass. Listen to any DnB and hear what they're doing with the hihats. Often they have many different samples, alternating or other variation in volume etc. It makes it more "groovy" that way. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really liked this, I think my only complaint would be sometimes there is almost 'too much' going on. Sometimes it can take away from a powerful hook or melody that really wants to shine through. I would filter or EQ all the FX / Noise samples and make them more subtle, maybe use them less as well. I Think this was great though, most unique zi'tah I have ever heard.

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I really liked this, I think my only complaint would be sometimes there is almost 'too much' going on.

I personally think too much going on is not actually that bad. It's a result of a tough thing done not so well. You sure can have a lot going on, but it has to be controlled such that the most important instrument attracts the most attention without trying too hard (i.e. being too loud), and the supporting roles are placed in the stereo field to sound like backup.

Any "extra" instruments for filler might not be very obvious at first listen, but should still be audible to the extent of every single note's harmonic contribution (not necessarily the note itself). An example of that is here: http://box.com/s/ic8oespzk5pn43upc6ef @ 2:40 (not the final version though), where there's two leads harmonizing, a background sine wave, Shreddage Bass, a nifty arp (called "Nifty Arp" ;D You can hear that better in the final submitted version), and glitched drums.

Of course, you don't have to pack it nearly that much in a remix. I just did that because I like music that "gives you new stuff" every few listens. The two leads are panned 20 left and 20 right respectively, the sine wave is panned center but far away with reverb, the arp is panned to the back of the listener's head while also having stereo ping pong delay for a wide pan, the bass is panned center, and the rest of the drums are just panned center too.

tl;dr: Don't pan everything center if it doesn't make sense in the center. Center is for bass, kick/snare, and lead, mostly.

Edited by timaeus222
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I personally think too much going on is not actually that bad. It's a result of a tough thing done not so well. You sure can have a lot going on, but it has to be controlled such that the most important instrument attracts the most attention, and the supporting roles are placed in the stereo field to sound like backup.

Any "extra" instruments for filler might not be very obvious at first listen, but should still be audible to the extent of every single note's harmonic contribution (not necessarily the note itself). An example of that is here: http://box.com/s/ic8oespzk5pn43upc6ef @ 2:40 (not the final version though), where there's two leads harmonizing, a background sine wave, Shreddage Bass, a nifty arp (called "Nifty Arp" ;D), and glitched drums.

Of course, you don't have to pack it nearly that much in a remix. I just did that because I like music that "gives you new stuff" every few listens. The two leads are panned 20 left and 20 right respectively, the sine wave is panned to the back of the listener's head in the center, the arp is panned to the back of the listener's head with stereo ping pong delay, the bass is panned center, and the rest of the drums are just panned center too.

The link you posted to is awesome, that is really pretty! In the OP's track I wasn't so much talking about other melodies or harmony, but about the actual FX (Like the FFXI spell samples) -

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The link you posted to is awesome, that is really pretty! In the OP's track I wasn't so much talking about other melodies or harmony, but about the actual FX (Like the FFXI spell samples) -

Thanks!

If it's a sound effect, then it could be a little further away with a bit of reverb, and quieter. Sometimes cross-panning helps.

------------------------

Fade-in intro is OK. Could be better. Sitar sounds a little bit mechanical, especially at 0:23. Try to think of a phrasing for it.

0:26 effect is a bit lofi to me. Sounds like a bad quality sample rip or something. It has lots of bad frequencies that you could EQ out. I'm not entirely sure, but I felt like the kick and snare are a little wide at first. They should be center. 0:49 sound effect is too bassy but the kick isn't EQ'd to make room for it. Try dipping down in the mids a little until you hear the kick changing tone, and stop when you start to dislike the tone too much.

Sub bass and kick tail are too loud and long respectively, so leads after 0:53 are buried, or the kick/bass get too much attention. 1:30 needs a better transition. I think 1:42 is too early to come back in. 1:30 is more interesting to me than the normal DnB sections, so you could have doubled the length of that breakdown to give yourself more time to buildup back to the DnB section.

2:07 already changed? That was fast. Again, no transition was here. I don't think the Massive square bass fits very well with the sitar. Maybe something more FM-like. since FM is closer to physical modeling than additive or subtractive synthesis. You could also change the kick here, as it doesn't fit well either. It's too boomy without much of a contributing thump. Hi Hat rhythm feels separate from the rest of the song IMO. Try to integrate it more with the other instruments.

2:33 has too much going on right now without much of an idea of what should get the most attention. I'd like the Sitar in front, as that seems like it should be leading. 2:44 has no leadin. 2:44 - 3:09 doesn't have much of a focus at the moment, like 2:33. The rest should be similar to figure out.

Edited by timaeus222
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