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Jondy

Final Fantasy IX - You're Not Alone

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The arrangement is good. The production could use some work though.

The kick is way too loud. I know it's important in this genre, but when the kick is going at it it's really all you can hear. The guitars could be be eq'd to take up some of the higher frequencies to give them more clarity as well. The leads are very faint and quiet, making it hard to hear at times.

Try this: turn the volume down really low, just to the point where you're able to start hearing the song. At that point you should hear three things - the kick, snare and lead. If you don't hear those things, and hear them clearly, you need to fix that.

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Thank you very much for the feedback, I will make some adjustments. I didn't realize my kick seemed that loud, I can certainly bring it down a bit.

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Ok, I turned it way down until I could barely hear it. Using your method I brought the kick down a bit, it ended up being a 5.5 db cut. I also brought the gain up on the snare just a tiny bit, and then I also cut a notch in the bass at 200hz to give the snare a little more room. I brought the lead up a bit. I also boosted the highs a little bit on the guitars. Some other minor tweaks here and there also.

New version for critique:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/civ14t8u2u9touz/notalone_2.mp3

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That's a lot better, but the drums are still a notch too loud in my opinion. Maybe another 1.5-2db (maybe an extra .5db on the snare) or so and I think they'd sit just right.

The rhythm guitars sound a lot better, crunchy and punchy. The lead guitars though sound like they're hiding behind everyone. Do you have a lot of reverb on them? Something is causing them to be very mellow and buried compared to everything else.

There are a few possible timing issues too with the lead, around 1:45-1:47ish and 2:53-2:55ish from what I can hear, sounds like you're rushing a little bit there.

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There's something off-rhythm about the drums. They seem a little late in the rhythm on each hit. The rhythm guitar also has some timing issues. Sometimes you slow down too much and you fall behind the drums.

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Thank you both for the feedback. I definitely have some timing tightness issues. Someone on another forum even suggested I might have some rewire latency issues, since I programmed the drums in rewired Renoise, but I really think it was just my playing. I'm going to rerecord large chunks of the rhythm guitar, and probably all of the lead.

You're right about the lead, there is way too much reverb on it, and I might not even need any at all.

As for the drums, I'll bring them down a bit, and I'm also considering using a different set of samples that are more suited to metal. I really wanted to use these, but now that I have a rough draft I think I might prefer the samples I usually use for metal. I'm going to swap them out just to see, and get feedback on that as well. The ones I'm using now, the snare sounds a little weak to me and the kick's high end is just kind of weird and bright.

It may take me a few days to finish addressing these items, but I should have a new version up by Wednesday or Thursday.

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New version for feedback:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/brctvu4p8di9s32/notalone_3.mp3

Ok so:

1. I rerecorded a ton of parts. I found a bass part that had a note slightly off so I rerecorded it, I found another part I thought sounded too boomy so I rerecorded it just to make it sound tighter. Almost all the rhythm guitar got rerecorded. All the lead did get rerecorded.

2. Different drums. I think these drums fit metal better. Considering changing out the crashes though. Opinions on the 2 different drums?

3. I embellished some of the outro lead that I thought sounded a little too repetitive and too identical to the original melody.

4. Removed the reverb I had on the lead and just put a send to my reverb bus, which is very low and subtle. Tweaked the delay to have less wet more dry. Brought the lead gain up.

Again, your feedback so far has been extremely helpful. Thank you very much, and any more feedback is welcome.

edit: something seems off about some of the cymbals upon a followup listen...

Edited by Jondy

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Hello from another Renoise user. =)

The idea for the arrangement is great, hearing the theme as a metal riff brought a smile to my face.

The arrangement could flow better structurally, it's a bit blocky from section to section, and while the tension in each varies, it doesn't build up from section to section as well as it could. It seems that you could cut some of the sections or cut the length of some sections to make it progress more.. say, dramatically. Some of the sections also sound empty (0:22-0:37 for instance).

Timing of the playing is better in version 3, but still loose at least in the slow/no drumming sections.

I personally liked something about the drum sound better on the 2nd version, it had a better presence in some sense. The 3rd version drums do sound more metal in style, the 2nd version was a rock kit. Either kit sounds workable to me.

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Thank you for the feedback fellow Renoiser! I know what you mean, I really liked the other drum kit, and I want to use it for something, but after trying both I really think the metal kit just works better. I think the kick in the rock kit sounds a little too abrasive when used for metal double kicks.

I was considering trimming some of the fat so to speak on the arrangement, but was going to see what people said first. Some of the sections might feel like I'm killing my children to trim down but an easy one is the part with the sustained chords.

I'll see about tightening it up a bit more.

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Do you play with a metronome? If not, it might help to record your parts while using one. You're still slowing down a little when the rhythm guitar is more exposed, and in the slower parts that evktalo was talking about. Additionally, I dunno if it's really a legitimate concern, but your strumming style feels repetitive or plodding; I'm talking about when you play straight quarter notes (and that's also when you slow down a little and cause the timing to be off a bit). These points are rather substantial since they're present all throughout, and this seems like practically a 100% "live" performance.

Also, I agree with evktalo that the arrangement feels a little "blocky". It just means that there are several sections, but they don't quite feel related or connected, and it's like one long stream of consciousness. As far as the notes played, it feels fine. I think something that contributes to it is that your playing doesn't seem to feel... emotional. If you try listening to

, you might hear more emotion in the playing here (especially at 1:16 and 2:42), or maybe in
. Right now it kinda sounds like you're... playing along to something, sort of, or maybe looking at your guitar to make sure you hit the right frets. Another way to say it is that it feels dynamically flat; the playing "enthusiasm" that's conveyed feels like it's at a constant low. Edited by timaeus222

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Sorry for the late reply, life suddenly got very busy because I finally got a job offer after 3 months of searching. Friday night, should have some time to finally work on it again.

I do play to a metronome, though I had originally tried playing just to the drums after I finished them. I think the 3rd version was a mix of playing to drums and playing to drums + metronome.

I've been thinking of how to tweak the arrangement itself. I know one thing I want to do is just shorten the part with the sustained chords, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the parts prior.

Part of the emotion loss may have (hopefully) just been from me getting burnt out after playing the song over and over and over, and I've had some time away from it now.

edit: ...My guitar is experiencing some technical difficulties...

Edited by Jondy

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All right! I haven't given up on this track, I just had a lot of life happen all at once. A solder point coming undone on my guitar, and then my bass strings were just dead and couldn't afford new ones for a bit, then I started a new job and am now working 2 part time jobs and today is literally my first day off in 3 weeks. Guitar fixed, new strings all around, time to get to work!

So to address some of the points you guys made, I'm making some pretty significant changes that basically means I'll be rerecording the whole track. I just finished rerecording the bass guitar.

1. RE: it sounding blocky, like a stream of conscienceless: I've altered the arrangement to feature some repeating parts (but not identical) to give it a kind of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-finale structure, so it's not just a series of nonrepeating riffs.

2. RE: a lack of emotion, it sounding like I'm "playing along with something" or looking down to make sure I'm playing the right frets, this made me realize something. What was actually going on is I was being really careful not to strum too hard, because if I strum too hard I clip right into the red on my interface (2i2). Input is turned down all the way, and yet it's still super easy to strum not even that hard and clip.

So while not ideal in terms of tone, what I'm going to do is turn down the volume on my guitar a bit to give me some room to be more expressive with strumming and not have to constantly worry about clipping. With this level of distortion you don't lose thaaat much tone anyways. Better to have a better performance.

3. Somewhat related to #2, I decided I thought the song sounded a little bit "draggy," as in, it's just a tad too slow. I've upped the bpm a little bit. It's not overly dramatically faster, but it just seems like it "fits" better now.

4. I had a lot of effects on my bass buss to try to make it sound less like shit, and I even had some kind of weird distorted second highpassed layer thing going on. Well the problem was my strings were just dead. It's really amazing how much difference changing the strings makes in the tone. I have now removed a ton of plugins from my bass chain, it's really pretty bare-bones now, and sounds way better.

What's in the works now:

1. Rerecord everything. The bass guitar is done. Everything else (except drums) is still just timestretched to fit, and has the old strumming and whatnot, so I'll be rerecording all guitar next.

2. I'm not satisfied with the outro drums, going to reprogram them.

3. When it's all said and done the mix will be a little different, I can't even remember what some of my levels were at before when I felt I had a mostly balanced mix in terms of levels, so I'll be needing your ears for that soon.

I hope to get at least most of #1 done today, and the rest of it and #2 done tomorrow, and then throughout the week tweak the mix and rerecord parts if necessary.

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