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Lavender Town Remix


Solkrieg
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fwz7bt1muXc

This is a dubstep remix of Lavender Town I made a while ago. I'm unsure how this community views Dubstep, but I hope that it's still welcomed. A friend of mine said that the remix was "OCR worthy" though I don't share the same feelings but I figured it wouldn't hurt anything to see what the community thinks of it.

I have a small history with OC Remix, but I used to have a bunch of OC Remix MGS tracks on my PSP that I used to listen to all the time. It was good stuff :D!

If I've broken any rules by posting this (anything I might've said), please let me know!

Edited by Solkrieg
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yeah, it's pgood. Mixing is good, arrangement is there, genre is ehhhhhhhhhh, but two out of three ain't bad.

Does pgood stand for something on these forums or was that just a type-o? How would I go about submitting it to be officially an OC remix? Coming from you I am very flattered!

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Well, I'd say the "snare" (really a clap and a dance snare layered) could be better (snappier and tighter). It's getting buried under the wobbles, and the kick is also buried. Sub bass is reasonably OK, but it's very raw and honestly just filling empty space in my opinion. The strings are unrealistic in the articulations, especially the staccato strings. While the dubstep wobbles are playing, you can't really hear the source well enough. I think this is probably going to get a resub for arrangement issues, with nitpicks on drum programming and strings articulations.

Edited by timaeus222
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Well, I'd say the "snare" (really a clap and a dance snare layered) could be better (snappier and tighter). It's getting buried under the wobbles, and the kick is also buried. Sub bass is reasonably OK, but it's very raw and honestly just filling empty space in my opinion. The strings are unrealistic in the articulations, especially the staccato strings. While the dubstep wobbles are playing, you can't really hear the source well enough. I think this is probably going to get a resub for arrangement issues, with nitpicks on drum programming and strings articulations.

The EQ could use some work (snare mostly), I am with you on that, but I made this before I really knew anything about it. I was much younger when I made the base project for this. I am afraid I don't know what you mean by "the source" during the "wobbles".

I'm also afraid I don't know what you mean by "the sub bass is reasonably OK" it's a basic sine and with the genre, that's the most preferred kind of bass. Though filling empty space, I don't know what else I would do with the lower end of my track looking back on it; that frequency wouldn't be used for much else.

As for the strings, this isn't an orchestration piece, I used the sounds based on how nice and how well they would flow with the track, it's dubstep after all. Though for being "unrealistic" they come from Session Strings so I'm afraid I might not know what you mean by that either.

Try to go into more detail with your constructive criticism please, because I am very confused :).

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I'm not bothered by the articulations on the strings at all. I would if it were orchestral or something but not this. That'd be like complaining about the snare not being realistic.

The bass sounds good too. The snare could be better but to be honest I'm not bothered by it at all.

The "source" is the original song. Basically the source is being covered b y the wubs, and OCReMix judges like for the source to be recognizable. Some dubstep songs get in trouble in this area for bass wobbles that don't give the source a chance to shine.

You should still try subbing this, though. I think arrangement is fine.

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The EQ could use some work (snare mostly), I am with you on that, but I made this before I really knew anything about it. I was much younger when I made the base project for this. I am afraid I don't know what you mean by "the source" during the "wobbles".

Source tune melodic content. Seems straightforward. The wobbles are too loud, or another way to say it is, they have too much mids and are clashing with the leads and fighting for attention.

I'm also afraid I don't know what you mean by "the sub bass is reasonably OK" it's a basic sine and with the genre, that's the most preferred kind of bass. Though filling empty space, I don't know what else I would do with the lower end of my track looking back on it; that frequency wouldn't be used for much else.
Sub bass isn't "most preferred" in dubstep; it's merely a source of low-end power, and there are other ways of achieving that more "effectively", if that makes sense to you. It's like what I was expecting that you used based on what I heard: a basic low sine wave. It's sustained and doesn't necessarily reflect the movement of the wobble tone, which is expected to be more low end heavy on the lower-cutoff moments since the premise of a dubstep wobble is a resonant LP filter LFO, which means there will be a boost at all swept frequencies, including the lower boundary of the LFO range. There are better ways to get good sub bass presence without using a sustained sine wave, such as FM synthesis, boosted lower harmonics, and comb filters. Also, there are many other ways to fill in empty space: countermelodies, thicker sounds, reverb, wider delay, panning, etc. Excess sub bass is more of... something to shave off slightly via a high pass near 20~28Hz to save headroom, IMO (unless you're just very happy in your sub bass mixing experience). If you have good sound design in the low end, the bass is going to seep through the high pass enough anyways. Example 1: https://soundcloud.com/zircon-1/across-the-ocean --- Doesn't explicitly use separate sustained sub bass, but is still very heavy, loud (in a good way), and polished. Example 2: https://soundcloud.com/zircon-1/augment --- Same situation, but there's a dubstep section for you to examine and stronger drum programming than in the other example. Just to be clear, my point isn't to have you try to recreate some of these wobbles (though it's a good exercise and a great way to collect a stash of wobbles); it's to help you locate where some aspects of your production and sound design have *some* room for improvement to the extent of your abilities and motivation.
As for the strings, this isn't an orchestration piece, I used the sounds based on how nice and how well they would flow with the track, it's dubstep after all. Though for being "unrealistic" they come from Session Strings so I'm afraid I might not know what you mean by that either.
Although this isn't orchestral, they should still sound "not obviously fake", so they can "carry their own weight" with the articulations used. Free libraries can sound good if processed well and sequenced within their limits. Likewise, realistic sample libraries don't give you the ticket to realistic orchestral sequencing; that's your role to fill with practice, keyswitches, and MIDI CC. It's not as important in this situation, but that detail is not unimportant. I was hearing it being a little rhythmically off, and the phrasing was not humanized (velocity response grounded by intuition) enough in my opinion. Though remember that I said it might be a judge's nitpick, and it probably won't be a major factor in their decision since there are bigger nitpicks to make.

Also, @Aaron, saying the articulations on the strings aren't realistic is more like saying the piano in a DnB song is too stiffly sequenced, where pianos don't necessarily have to be extremely humanized rhythmically, as I recall Flexstyle said once before. It's easy to say that the snare in a dubstep song doesn't have to be acoustic or realistic, since realistic drums in a dubstep song don't apply. Dubstep is electronic, as we all know, so the concept of realism is outside the window (i.e. false analogy). More focus is on strength, tightness, and prevalence of drums, and if we're talking about wobbles, the sound design.

Edited by timaeus222
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Damn yo, this was pretty fantastic. Everyone is gonna have different tastes in mixing style so you can't make everyone happy. I really like how forward the bass is in the mix. It's the highlight and it's really well done; good arrangement and focus, while still keep the main melody prevalent.

There were a just couple random things that stood out to me as awkward:

1. At 0:36 or so when the drums come in and 2:40 when they chill, that 1,2,3,4 crash cymbal just seems like a bit too much. Feels kinda harsh before the main chords/melody comes in. It's not something that would make me not wanna listen to the song, but I'd probably cringe a little bit during those parts.

2. The reverb/room sound for the music box (including the wind-up fx) felt a little out a place compared to everything else in the mix. It's probably just my ears being naggy, not really a big deal. Maybe that's what you were going for, but I think it wouldn't hurt to mess around with the wetness level.

Really minor things, but it never hurts to aim for the best! Again, really solid, keep up the great work!

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...

Everyone is gonna have different tastes in mixing style so you can't make everyone happy.

...

Now, I don't mean for this to be demeaning or anything, but there are objective "levels" of how good a production is compared to another production. Something can be better than something else entirely objectively, while "taste" is just an observation along the way. It's very hard to ignore your own tastes and just talk about something from an objective standpoint, but that's what could help you in the future. Setting aside opinion and focusing on sound design, mixing, and so on, and then going back to opinion separately later will help people to appreciate a song for its production and separately decide whether or not they like it based on subjectivity or taste.

Someone can love a song based on taste alone (good arrangement and/or sounds you do prefer subjectively but that could be high OR low quality objectively), but the production could be horrible (unclear, muddy, washy, etc.). Someone else could not-love a song based on taste (bad arrangement and/or sounds you don't prefer subjectively but that could be high OR low quality objectively), but the production could be amazing (clear, distinct, airy, etc.).

So really, you can make a good amount of people "happy" production-wise for sure, but preference-wise, it's a bit harder. Essentially, there are some sounds that will be well-received by many people, and some that are a bit further away from universally positive reception. "Mixing style" essentially refers to both production choices and production quality, which are not the same thing. What *I* was actually talking about with the drums, for example, was production quality. All I said was try to make it snappier/tighter, but I left Solkrieg the decision of how he could choose to go about it if he so desires. That's production choice, the result of following production quality advice.

Edited by timaeus222
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Yeah, the music box seems fine to me too except for very very minor resonance, but it's not a big deal to me at least.

The only things I would be concerned about would be the sub bass being merely a sustained sine wave (i.e. static), the source possibly getting lost behind the wubs (I can feel it harmonically but not hear it extremely well), and the drums not being super tight adding to a list of nitpicks (possibly including the tightness of the staccato strings) that might or might not lead to a NO(resub).

So yeah, sub it and we'll see what happens.

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I really don't like that clap at all. Too much sustain, not enough attack, and it's a bit muddy. You're going to run into people on the panel who think the same way, I'm fairly certain. It's leaking into the territory of the bass and kick without actually sounding like it belongs, sonically. Also, the entire song sounds a bit too overcompressed, and a bit too crowded in the low-mid in general.

Arrangement-wise, I don't really see this passing the panel, as there's very little variation once the first half of the song passes by. The second drop is basically the same as the first one, which tends to be a no-no. Add some extra variation, or at least change up your bass and beat to give it some extra flair. Adding in some nods to other sources would really help, too, since Lavender Town is such a sparse source.

The production is passable, although not super-tight. Definitely better than a few unfortunate dubstep OC ReMixes that have come before it, though, so history is on your side.

Basically, the song feels a bit muddy to me, and the arrangement leaves me wanting more about halfway through. Give us some extra pizzazz, make it really pop!

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Now, I don't mean for this to be demeaning or anything, but there are objective "levels" of how good a production is compared to another production. Something can be better than something else entirely objectively, while "taste" is just an observation along the way. It's very hard to ignore your own tastes and just talk about something from an objective standpoint, but that's what could help you in the future. Setting aside opinion and focusing on sound design, mixing, and so on, and then going back to opinion separately later will help people to appreciate a song for its production and separately decide whether or not they like it based on subjectivity or taste.

Someone can love a song based on taste alone (good arrangement and/or sounds you do prefer subjectively but that could be high OR low quality objectively), but the production could be horrible (unclear, muddy, washy, etc.). Someone else could not-love a song based on taste (bad arrangement and/or sounds you don't prefer subjectively but that could be high OR low quality objectively), but the production could be amazing (clear, distinct, airy, etc.).

So really, you can make a good amount of people "happy" production-wise for sure, but preference-wise, it's a bit harder. Essentially, there are some sounds that will be well-received by many people, and some that are a bit further away from universally positive reception. "Mixing style" essentially refers to both production choices and production quality, which are not the same thing. What *I* was actually talking about with the drums, for example, was production quality. All I said was try to make it snappier/tighter, but I left Solkrieg the decision of how he could choose to go about it if he so desires. That's production choice, the result of following production quality advice.

production quality is opinion tho, you can only trust your ears

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production quality is opinion tho, you can only trust your ears

Production quality is opinion, yes, but I also think it's specifically opinion that is non-biased as possible. I feel like production nitpicks are the biased opinions that are held back.

Edited by timaeus222
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If you're going to say that critiques of production quality are unbiased and need to be taken as gospel, you better be dayum sure your opinions are the production messiah. ;-) And making the drums more "tight" is about as vague as you can get, especially when they're already to the grid. I think the snappiness of the snare and making the drums 'tighter' falls squarely into personal nitpick territory.

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If you're going to say that critiques of production quality are unbiased and need to be taken as gospel, you better be dayum sure your opinions are the production messiah. ;-) And making the drums more "tight" is about as vague as you can get, especially when they're already to the grid. I think the snappiness of the snare and making the drums 'tighter' falls squarely into personal nitpick territory.

Nah, I'm just saying that the primary "orders of magnitude" that separate the production quality of one song to another are what production quality crits are referring to. i.e. 2013 production quality is better than 2006 production quality when looking at the exact same person. I say 2006 because one time, Liontamer said 2007 was his baseline standard for production quality.

Tightness/snappiness isn't really what I always "like" per se, it's what I feel might bring this particular remix to "the next level" (though I don't really want to call it a "level"). For example, zircon's Across the Ocean (which I've linked ad nauseum I suppose) doesn't have super snappy snares, but I'm not saying "Ugh, this snare needs to be less clappy and more noise gated" because it fits as it is, IMO.

For this remix in particular, in this particular context (i.e. dubstep), the snare timbre that I'd personally say is optimal out of experience is tight/snappy, but I'm emphasizing that objective part of my non-biased opinion the most. In other words, I'm not biased towards making it "better" so that I'll like it necessarily (though I would), but actually better in the sense of being closer to comparable standards that I have heard in regards to well-made dubstep. Currently, my non-biased opinion is that the snare quality is slightly lower than the comparable standard and that snappiness would bring it closer, but if it were already close to that comparable standard, then yes, it would be biased opinion.

Edited by timaeus222
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Why a shorter snare/clap would be better in this context: the prolonged appearance of the high/mid frequencies emanating from said clap sample clash with the other high frequencies produced by the bassline, hats, and melodic elements. Remember, a clap is basically white noise with a bit of transient shaping and maybe some filtering. Therefore, it takes up a LOT of the spectrum.

tl;dr long claps r moar muddy 4 mix.

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Right, right, I already know the snares are kinda bad (too much mid range), but this work is about a year old. My friend wanted me to submit it as-is because he believes it's good enough. If I would've known all this was going to happen I would've added one of my more new snares.

._.

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Sorry, I'm not trying to pile on. I'm mostly trying to contribute to the discussion about frequencies and subjectivity versus objectivity in mixing that your track has sparked. There's no harm in subbing it, but don't be offended if it (a) takes forever to be judged, and/or (B) is rejected. It's enjoyable to someone who knows the source, but I'm not sure it's *quite* up to the official OCR standard. :-)

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Right, right, I already know the snares are kinda bad (too much mid range), but this work is about a year old. My friend wanted me to submit it as-is because he believes it's good enough. If I would've known all this was going to happen I would've added one of my more new snares.

._.

OH, you submitted it before we came? lol. :P

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OH, you submitted it before we came? lol. :P

Lol after the comment that showed me how I should submit, I submitted it.

Sorry, I'm not trying to pile on. I'm mostly trying to contribute to the discussion about frequencies and subjectivity versus objectivity in mixing that your track has sparked. There's no harm in subbing it, but don't be offended if it (a) takes forever to be judged, and/or (B) is rejected. It's enjoyable to someone who knows the source, but I'm not sure it's *quite* up to the official OCR standard. :-)

Oh that's fine, I enjoy any and all constructive criticism as long as it's detailed and unbias, though this is the first time posting in this community so it's hard to get a "feeling" for what the norm is around here.

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