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Mega Man vs Disney (new version, finally)


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  • 4 weeks later...

The production kinda lacks energy, imo. The elements are all there, but there's something bland in the execution. I'm not sure what would be needed to improve it... more automation, EQ work, layering drum sounds, different synth choices, etc. I'm not sold on the lead synth sound and the bass.

Also I would say there doesn't seem to be quite enough top end in the mix, but I could put that down to these headphones, so, yeah.

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Apologies for using cheapy headphones whilst at work and I can only give feedback from the perspective of a not-that-experienced person.

I agree with Argle especially in the "there's something bland in the execution." It feels like everything could/needs to be bigger, especially the bass and drums (wish I could tell you how to better accomplish that). I second the suggestion to layer drum sounds. I hope you find the feedback you're looking for.

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The production kinda lacks energy, imo. The elements are all there, but there's something bland in the execution. I'm not sure what would be needed to improve it... more automation, EQ work, layering drum sounds, different synth choices, etc. I'm not sold on the lead synth sound and the bass.

Also I would say there doesn't seem to be quite enough top end in the mix, but I could put that down to these headphones, so, yeah.

^This,^ also the writing is rather stiff and quantized for the most part. I agree that the main lead synth is quite bland. If you modulated the sound, or switched it up sometimes, bring in something that cuts through the mix better, that would add interest. Maybe add some fun percussion loops, wide panned and eq'd for mainly high end. Argle is right, the elements are there, soundscape is full, nice countermelodies and fills... it's just kinda... idunno flat somehow. Some "candy" might remedy that. A few surprising elements, sfx, percussion loops, glitching, automation of cutoffs and/or resonances, just interesting stuff to keep the listener having a good time. You've got wubs going in there, but even they are too tame.

At 1:55 you are duplicating the lead writing with the bass, not sure that idea works. At 2:54 I finally hear some leads that cut through the mix enough.

This song has a lot of great ideas... just needs that extra oomph.

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Some "candy" might remedy that. A few surprising elements, sfx, percussion loops, glitching, automation of cutoffs and/or resonances, just interesting stuff to keep the listener having a good time.

Agreed. Ear candy, flourishes, drops, creative effects, etc. I got to the end of the song and felt the same way when I started.

Another thing I notice is the bass seems to really dominate the mix, maybe at the expensive of other instruments. Try lowering it 2-3 dB.

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This is lacking low end power below 65Hz, but the dubstep wobbles are okay at their octave IMO. The wobbles just need to be a tad louder (in mostly volume rather than EQ, from what I can hear) in the end if you end up making other parts louder, as the track overall, from what I see in my spectral analyzer, is not as loud volume-wise as it can be. The phasered bass by itself doesn't quite pull off the apparent aggressive nature of this track due to its lacking low end. Here's a bass sound that I believe could really nail the intro, for example. Listen on speakers and subwoofers to really hear and/or feel the sub-65Hz frequencies. Try to create something similar to that in aggressiveness if you think you need it, or ask me to collab or something.

The drums also lack power and some truly over-the-top tight compression from what I can hear.

Here's an example of a completely jacked-up version of the intro (in a good way). I only did stuff to the main bass and the kick/snare though. The off-sync glitching on the bass kind of confuses me a bit, so you might want to look into that and revise it a little to see if you can do some more rhythmically flowing gating and retrigger. I didn't know what you did with that rhythmically, so I just did something that was close. I think the wobbles fit fine as they are, but they wind up leaving me wanting them to be thicker than they are now. Preferably, they could have more waveshaping and distortion for a grittier tone, and slightly less resonance for less of a thin "wah" sound and more of a darker "wuh" sound. It doesn't have to be complicated necessarily; just a bit thicker would be nice.

Aside from that, like Argle pointed out, some of the leads are a bit buried sometimes under the bass instruments (which doesn't really have much bass frequency content like I said above). The leads need to be louder in volume, could be less thick (thinner than a supersaw, thicker than a sine wave) to help them fit into the soundscape more easily, and some mids would preferentially need to be scooped mildly to bring out the leads. Scooping the mids might leave a person less prone to boosting the leads too much (if frequencies were freed up for something to come through, you don't have to raise the volume so much of what you want to come through).

As for the lead tones, I'm gonna show you two synth leads that I think would fit somewhere in the mix. I'll timestamp where I think each one might fit best, and that might give you ideas, timbre-wise.

80's Acid House Bass as Lead (Loads of internal Waveshaping and Distortion on a resonant pulse wave, LFO on the cutoff) ~ Could work at 0:13

Detuned Sync Square Lead (Detune a square lead and put on some mild oscillator sync) ~ Could work at 0:34

Edited by timaeus222
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Hm, I can tell you worked on the drums. The kick can be even stronger, but for a hard knee limiter job, it's actually really good. It does reach a low enough frequency IMO (it reaches around 33Hz or so). I don't know if you've ever considered testing out a soft knee limiter and seeing how that goes. ;)

As for the snare, I'm hearing a clap layer, which actually has a long decay that makes it sound a bit weird on the four-hit rolls, especially at 0:13. Try finding a layer with a shorter decay but still a strong fundamental, which tends to be near 200~280Hz.

I'd imagine the snares after the intro could work with a TR-909 snare layer, as with that being the top end layer it gives part of a rather typical dubstep snare tone. Actually, at 1:43 you seem to have a snare tone that matches what I was just talking about right here in this paragraph (snappy and similarly pitched), but if you were using the same one since after the intro, it's not coming through completely. A trick I like to do is do notch EQs at the snare's fundamental on other instruments. The bass, lead, and backup in particular would be candidates for this trick.

The drop at 2:13 is actually pretty strong, but currently it's, I guess you could say, 90% of the way there. If you can boost the range 27~56Hz, let's say, 2.4~3.2dB, that would be "100% of the way there".

Another thing I noticed is that at 2:41, the bells are either a bit too quiet or don't have much high end (I'm thinking it's the volume). Maybe you could try boosting the volume by about 0.4~1.2dB?

Overall, great improvement!

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here's v3:

https://app.box.com/s/mbwp5p33u5qejsy72slc

Timaeus, I did most of what you said on your 2nd round of feedback, except for one thing: the kick already has a soft knee on its compressor :/ Here's a screenshot of the comp settings: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/34713846/mm%20logic%20compressor.jpg

The snare thing that you heard was an extremely subtle change; I simply emphasized that change a bit more this time :P

Also, on the drop at 2:13, it's just toms and a chopped cymbal; the toms were rolled off completely at 116 Hz, so to take your suggestion, I changed it the EQ on it from a low cut to a low shelf; now the bottom end isn't completely removed, thus increasing the key freq's (instead of a -inf. dB cut it's now a -20.5 dB cut). I can hear a difference, so I hope that's enough to take care of it.

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Timaeus, I did most of what you said on your 2nd round of feedback, except for one thing: the kick already has a soft knee on its compressor :/ Here's a screenshot of the comp settings: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/34713846/mm%20logic%20compressor.jpg

Whoops, I was actually referring to your master limiter. :P It looked like hard knee to me on my spectral analyzer; could be a mistake on my part.

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ah gotcha; well Logic's Adaptive Limiter doesn't have a setting for the knee; however it does have an option to choose between "OptFit" & "NoOver"; I usually use "NoOver" and based upon Logic's user guide it looks like that essentially creates a hard knee... https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/34713846/mm%20Logic%20adlim.jpg That screenshot shows the Adaptive Limiter itself how I had it set on ver. 3, as well as the user guide excerpt that talks about it (the two options are described at the very bottom).

I went ahead had re-rendered the track with "OptFit": https://app.box.com/s/zsxs366rkc5glxrxppyy and here's a screenshot of the new AdLim settings: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/34713846/mm%20Logic%20adlim%20optfit.jpg (I had to re-adjust it after switching the setting to prevent any overs.) It definitely sounds different - the sound coloring is even different, for example there's a hell of a lot less bass - I'm guessing this may have done the trick, but if you could run it through your analyzer to make sure that'd be great.

EDIT: I will say after several comparative listens that this newer version sounds less "smushed", and a bit clearer, but I guess if I decide to keep it this way I'll have to re-adjust my multiband compressor (which is right before the limiter in the effects chain) to compensate for how different it sounds.

Edited by KingTiger
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Alright, let's see...

Yeah, it definitely sounds different. For some reason or another, the very first impact sound is... wide. Also, now it's more evident that the 0:34 lead is too upfront with minimal reverb. The snare is a good volume at 0:12, but it ended up quieter at 0:14. In a sense, while the hard knee lets you know when something somewhere is too loud by compressing more, the soft knee actually lets you hear more detail in what you did, especially at 1:28. (There also happens to be a slight timing issue at 1:27, I think)

If you choose to continue this mix in soft knee, these are things to consider:

  • If something is too loud, it would lose some transients (usually ends up being subtle treble content from what I've experienced) rather than overcompress the entire mix.
  • Overcompression is no longer an issue; that is replaced by overcrowding, and if boosted beyond ridiculous, clipping.

The kick is indeed coming across stronger than before, and I'm hearing more treble on the entire track than before (but it's not overdone, at least to me, in the high end), such as the very thin peak on the kick at ~12300Hz. I can also hear more high end on the 2:41 bells than before.

You're definitely right about there being less bass (~2dB less), which is confusing until I read that you used a multi-band compressor. However, it does leave you more room to boost the bass, then, since overcompression won't show up in a soft knee situation. I do hear more low mids detail on the bass though (especially at 0:44), which is great!

The staccato strings at 2:55 came out more, and I actually didn't notice them before. Something I tell myself is, if someone else with the same skill, the same plugins, and the same audio equipment could recreate what I composed just from listening to the song multiple times, then I'm set. If you can say that, then the clarity of the mixing is just right. :)

Edited by timaeus222
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Timaeus, thanks for all your help :) And thanks to everyone else who contributed feedback. Does anybody else have anything to say about this track?

If you do, take a listen to version 4 first: https://app.box.com/s/cj51sr9dn9eq5tbgdhxm I fixed the mixing on the lead that starts at :34 and I raised the bass level in the multiband compressor. Yup, I left the soft knee on the limiter, I think it sounds more natural and gives the mix more breathing room :)

EDIT: at this point I feel like it might be approaching OCR sub-worthy readiness, anyone disagree? I'm thinking about the arrangement here too :P

Edited by KingTiger
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Even though I don't have my good headphones with me right now, I can hear the lead at 0:34 is still sticking out too much to some extent. Is there any reverb on it? If you put some, please make sure the low cut is only as low as the bottom of the frequency range of the synth's notes. i.e. if the lowest note it plays reaches 300Hz, put the low cut near but not over 300Hz. If the synth doesn't ever play at a frequency range near the low cut, that low end ambience isn't always necessary. I can't say it's concrete advice, but it's generally the case.

That might not be the sole reason for the lead sticking out, though. Maybe the E. Piano is too quiet. Again, can't really tell because I'm using different equipment atm (skullcandy earplugs).

You'll want to go back over your instrument balance since you switched to soft knee for this track. It'll throw things off a bit, as your mixing decisions made earlier were influenced by the hard knee limiting and your avoiding overcompression.

I also think 3:38 sounded like an ending followed by a reiteration of the intro that ultimately didn't introduce anything new except for the drum rhythm, some glitching, and some new lead notes (until 4:21~4:32).

Edited by timaeus222
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I think that square lead is just mixed too loud still x.x I just need to bring down its level. It has verb and it has a low cut on somewhere between 200-300 Hz already.

As far as the rest of the instrument balance, I feel pretty good about it; 1) it sounds good to me and 2) when I initially mixed the song it was without a limiter at all. I typically add all my master track stuff after I feel pretty confident in the mix (i.e. near the end of my production process).

In regards to the ending... I've been wondering about that too, and you're not the only person who feels that way (see the comments on page 1 of the thread). I'm not sure I just want to leave it with the filtered piano though, so I'll render a version with just the piano ending and a version with something else I have in mind and see how it works.

Even though I don't have my good headphones with me right now, I can hear the lead at 0:34 is still sticking out too much to some extent. Is there any reverb on it? If you put some, please make sure the low cut is only as low as the bottom of the frequency range of the synth's notes. i.e. if the lowest note it plays reaches 300Hz, put the low cut near but not over 300Hz. If the synth doesn't ever play at a frequency range near the low cut, that low end ambience isn't always necessary. I can't say it's concrete advice, but it's generally the case.

That might not be the sole reason for the lead sticking out, though. Maybe the E. Piano is too quiet. Again, can't really tell because I'm using different equipment atm (skullcandy earplugs).

You'll want to go back over your instrument balance since you switched to soft knee for this track. It'll throw things off a bit, as your mixing decisions made earlier were influenced by the hard knee limiting and your avoiding overcompression.

I also think 3:38 sounded like an ending followed by a reiteration of the intro that ultimately didn't introduce anything new except for the drum rhythm, some glitching, and some new lead notes (until 4:21~4:32).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I'm gonna try and give a *pseudo* mod review and pretend I never heard this before. Just something someone else suggested I try.

Pseudo-Mod Review:

Nice phaser bass. Good subs here. Some elements sound like they're a bit buried behind the bass, though, perhaps due to the overboost near its fundamental (such as a sine wave's 64Hz fundamental on a C4 pitch). This particular kind of loudness has a very distinct way to tame. You see, every instrument occupies very specific frequency ranges for each particular note you play on it. Basses act similarly, shifting the range by ~10Hz per octave (from what I observed), and because of that, merely scooping the offending frequency on an EQ plugin from your effects rack won't fix any strange overboosts, as external EQ is statically locked into wherever the edits are, but the internal EQ ranges will move with each bass note (i.e. EQ with keytracking/keyfollow). Depending on the synth you're using, you might be able to put in an internal EQ module or a voltage-controlled filter (VCF) and put a little scoop near the fundamental. It's just too loud in comparison to the subs, though in my opinion the subs are at a great volume.

I dig the processing on the wobbles; it's not too resonant, and it pulls off the dubsteppish nature of this track fairly well, though they could stand to be less high-passed. As they are now, they sound pretty thin. This sounds like an issue with a decision on where to allocate the low bass frequencies. "Should I focus the low bass on some sustained layer or should I low pass the sustained layer and bring in some low bass presence to the wobbles?" Something to that effect. The glitching was welcome. The electric piano usage is quite unique. It really works from what I hear, and is a great juxtaposition between lightness/airiness and dark wobbles.

For some reason, 0:34 - 0:47 sounds a little bare in the midrange to me. Maybe you could include the bells you put in at 0:47, an arp, or something else accomplishing a similar purpose, to fill that in. Something that suddenly stands out a little bit at 1:14 is the strange piercing resonance at about 12900~13300Hz. If you put a narrow band stop or deep thin notch there (-12~-14dB), that should help fix it. Other than that, perhaps polish the kick, snare, and bass synth timbre some more. It's still coming off as not quite there, but the subs on the bass are great! Try looking back at the example I showed you (this one, which actually isn't using any extra sub bass layers), and if you do an AB comparison, there should be a noticeable difference in the bass, kick, and snare, even if you don't have sub woofers (I don't). The snare generally sounds good, then when the new bass layer comes in, it suddenly feels a bit quieter/more buried than before. The kick is pretty good. With some parallel compression, you could add some more glue to it and it can sound even stronger without overpowering the bass subs.

I have no major issues with the arrangement itself. This is almost there, keep it up!

Edited by timaeus222
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  • 3 weeks later...

Bass is stupidly loud. There's a transition in the middle that could really use some work, but the rest flows quite well. Your snare is really weak and small for this soundscape. it might fit some of the softer parts, but not the loud ones. I like the tag team going on between the filtered piano and the synth opposite it, I like the sound overall, there's a lot to like. Just has some glaring problems when all the pieces come together.

Grab a few well mixed tracks in similar styles and use those for mixing references. That should help you identify and solve a lot of the problems.

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  • 7 months later...

Hm... I'm still hearing that piercing resonance at ~13000Hz (medium), ~13600Hz (strong) and ~16800Hz (weak) at 1:01 - 1:14 and in other places where it shows up. Those can be addressed by using as-thin-as-possible peaking EQs to boost them more to confirm that they're there, and then notching there. Even if you don't hear it at first, you may feel a ringing in your ear, perhaps.

https://app.box.com/s/nfd7j9ztkcb6ctxl20tg --- How it was

https://app.box.com/s/8t91uvvpnzgdizq210bq --- How it could be with tamed resonances

This sounds better overall though.

Edited by timaeus222
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Ah, I loved the original, very glad you're continuing to work on this.

I still feel like the bass is too loud. It's dominating the soundscape throughout. It's also a bit high-pitched for a "bass," so it conflicts with the melody more than usual. And on top of that, it's a very "interesting" bass, with its sort of "swirly" LFO, which makes it even more distracting from paying attention to the melody.

The arrangement is still great, but that bass is really grating.

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At 0:47, I think the lead you have there is good in timbre, but the piano is a bit hard to hear. I would suggest bumping up the volume on the piano a bit, and partially summing the lead to mono (if possible in Logic; a Stereo "Enhancement" plugin might be able to do it, and if so, it would be just the reverse of that). That way, there would be more literal room, and anyone can hear the piano if they focused on it.

Hm... that snare processing is a little bit weird right now (1:16). It sounds like there might have been some transient shaping on it to lengthen its sustain, or maybe a longer snare sample layered on, but the sustain feels detached from the dominant/prominent timbre. Maybe it's just an odd sample, and it could just be me. Also, at 1:29, the mixing gets pretty stuffy, partially due to the snare's sustaining tail being rather long.

It sounds better overall though, so keep it up!

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