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shadow24

Artist Appreciation Competition 2015

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Now that the voting is complete, here is my review of each of the Bravo entries:

Cyril - Very nicely arranged, I liked how you laid off in certain parts to build contrast. My favourite part was at 2:55 - soooo good. I wish you had ended it there though, it would have been the perfect ending for me.

Garpocalypse - What I liked most about this is how you managed to let the original character of FTL shine through despite the genre switch. I also felt that this was very solid arrangement. I am envious of your electric rhythm guitar tone ;D

Gercr - I liked the backing to your intro rather a lot, it is nice and moody. Something I like about your work is that you always sound like yourself, it's impressive.

Nutitious Production was amazing and I love the long 75 second intro that takes its time to build. I liked the intro so much that it got you into my scoring based upon it alone.

TheShaggyFreak I thought this was an interesting take and enjoyed a lot of the small details in this one (e.g. the short vocal samples). This is another entry with very strong production.

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

Here is the source breakdown for my entry in the Charlie bracket:

0:00 - 0:21 - Original melody over the chord progression / bassline taken from intro (not sure if this counts as source usage)

0.21 - 0.45 - Tune 1 with slight rhythmic alterations

0:45 - 0.53 - Original

0:53 - 1:14 - Tune 1 harmonised in thirds

1:14 - 1:25 - Tune 2

1:25 - 1:46 - Flute plays tune 1, piano is a cut down version of tune 2

1:46 - 2:08 - Tune 2

2:08 - 2:29 - Tune 3

2:29 - 2:50 - Tune 3 up a fourth

2:50 - 3:01 - Tune 4

3:01 - 3:28 - Flute solo

3:28 - 3:40 - Tune 4

Location of each of the tunes within the source (https://benprunty.bandcamp.com/track/lanius-battle):

Intro: 0:00 - 0:41 (repeated from 3:48 - 4:20)

Tune 1: 1:23 - 1:43, 2:45 - 3:27

Tune 2: 0:41 - 1:23, 2:45 - 3:05

Tune 3: 2:25 - 2:45

Tune 4: 2:04 - 2:25, 2:35 - 2:45

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Charlie bracket has been posted!

Bravo winners please contact me for prize distribution.

Jason, I hope you feel better soon and get over that nasty sickness.

Ghetto, I hope your leg heals up properly. Skiing accident maybe?

Edited by shadow24

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Thanks everyone for the words and the feedback, I really appreciated.

Hopefully next round I will be able to do something better.

This round was pretty intense, I really liked everyones work.

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Charlie bracket has been posted!

Bravo winners please contact me for prize distribution.

Jason, I hope you feel better soon and get over that nasty sickness.

Ghetto, I hope your leg heals up properly. Skiing accident maybe?

thanks. Unfortunately it was much less dramatic than that. I took a fall on some ice, twisted my ankle so hard I broke my fibula.

Too bad there's only three entries from this week, all piano too, lol.

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Greetings from MAG! That was a really exciting round from the tracks right down to the tied voting!

As far as guitar tone for that FTL mix I used Le Pou Legion on the right and le pou Hybrit on the left. Catharsis reverbs (simulated fred mic'ing) EQ'ing was HPF'ed at 180 hz with a sharp slope and a dip from 2k-5k. Also split the bass patch I had with a multiband and saturated the highs. I'll be able to post some of my thoughts about the tracks once I get home tomorrow sometime.

Thanks for a great competition! Looking forward to the next round!

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As far as guitar tone for that FTL mix I used Le Pou Legion on the right and le pou Hybrit on the left. Catharsis reverbs (simulated fred mic'ing) EQ'ing was HPF'ed at 180 hz with a sharp slope and a dip from 2k-5k. Also split the bass patch I had with a multiband and saturated the highs. I'll be able to post some of my thoughts about the tracks once I get home tomorrow sometime.

Thanks for sharing!

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thanks. Unfortunately it was much less dramatic than that. I took a fall on some ice, twisted my ankle so hard I broke my fibula.

Too bad there's only three entries from this week, all piano too, lol.

That sounds very painful indeed :/

Ok, For me to better keep track of the prize distribution I've added a section on the first page. If your name is in red then I haven't paid you yet. This is usually due to not having contact information. If your name is green then I've sent you a payment through paypal or mailed a money order (PMing you the tracking number).

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Thanks to all for the constructive criticism and positive remarks on my song for round one. I should have more time to dedicate during round to and I hope to be bringing my 'A' game. I'll be checking out the C groups tunes once I get back from MAG.

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quick question: How do I vote this round ?

(given that one of the entries is mine)

I guess just vote for your top 2 picks. You will still get the 3 bonus points for voting.

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Just found out that my soundcloud is the reason for the lowered volume of my song in Round one. Does anyone know how to fix this? because I'm exporting the exact same way I have for awhile now and the lowered volume is the end result. Even google doesn't really help.

I tested more songs by uploading to soundcloud and they all have the same lowered volume effect. But what confuses me is that my previous songs from 2 weeks ago are in the right volume when I uploaded.

I know I can just go to another website to submit but I'd rather have my soundcloud fixed for future submissions.

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You could use a program like Audacity to raise the volume post-export, then make slight production tweaks from said program to make sure clipping doesn't result from this. I do this sometimes to increase volume on my tracks. :nicework:

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In logic, when I bounce songs, sometimes the "normalize" option is checked. It used to reduce my volume terribly. You could also try using a limiter / multipressor combo on the master track. Take a good look at the frequencies and make sure there isn't any unheard clipping. For higher freq instruments cut the low freqs out with EQ and vice versa with the low freq ones. I'm sure something is causing it.

If this is bad advice just smack me on the hand and say "bad host". I mean well but there are individuals more suited to dish out musical advice than me.

Edited by shadow24

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Just found out that my soundcloud is the reason for the lowered volume of my song in Round one. Does anyone know how to fix this? because I'm exporting the exact same way I have for awhile now and the lowered volume is the end result. Even google doesn't really help.

I tested more songs by uploading to soundcloud and they all have the same lowered volume effect. But what confuses me is that my previous songs from 2 weeks ago are in the right volume when I uploaded.

I know I can just go to another website to submit but I'd rather have my soundcloud fixed for future submissions.

Does soundcloud do volume matching? I know that some services such as iTunes do this and it can reduce the perceived volume of a track. This will happen if your mix is highly compressed (there is a mastering engineer called ian Shepherd on YouTube who talks about this a lot)

I am on my phone right now so can't look at the waveform / take a listen so this might be completely irrelevant to you.

If this isn't the issue then Gario's suggestion is very good. Select your track in audacity and then use the amplify effect. Leaving it at its default settings will raise it to its maximum amplitude without clipping.

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Does soundcloud do volume matching? I know that some services such as iTunes do this and it can reduce the perceived volume of a track. This will happen if your mix is highly compressed (there is a mastering engineer called ian Shepherd on YouTube who talks about this a lot)

I'm not sure if soundcloud has volume matching, but I do know that I don't highly compress my songs

In logic, when I bounce songs, sometimes the "normalize" option is checked. It used to reduce my volume terribly. You could also try using a limiter / multipressor combo on the master track. Take a good look at the frequencies and make sure there isn't any unheard clipping. For higher freq instruments cut the low freqs out with EQ and vice versa with the low freq ones. I'm sure something is causing it.

If this is bad advice just smack me on the hand and say "bad host". I mean well but there are individuals more suited to dish out musical advice than me.

That wasn't bad advice at all. Its just that the problems not coming from my DAW, its soundcloud. so in my end, I have to keep editing the audio (that is not broken) to hear how it changes the audio when its uploaded. Its confusing.

You could use a program like Audacity to raise the volume post-export, then make slight production tweaks from said program to make sure clipping doesn't result from this. I do this sometimes to increase volume on my tracks. :nicework:

done this and tweaked the audio with the amplify effect to keep it from clipping, but soundcloud reduces the volume so much that I have to add +20 DB just to keep it at the right volume and all the EQ tweaking I do doesn't save it ( At least with my experience with EQ-ing I can't)

I also came to a realization that every website I use to upload songs has been giving me this issue and I never noticed it until now. The ONLY website that is not doing this to me is Thasauce. so now I'm just getting confused.lol.

So Shadow, if u want want the download the song from a website, the volume is going to be reduced ( but not as dramatically as in my round one submission)

-or-

Do u want me to just email u the audio file that's not going to have anything wrong with it ( unless freakin emails still somehow does this crap).

Either way I appreciate ur guys feedback on the subject. :wink:

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Oh, the issue might be with the SoundCloud site... I use Box.net, so if you upload the original track to there you might not have any problems in the first place.

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Oh, the issue might be with the SoundCloud site... I use Box.net, so if you upload the original track to there you might not have any problems in the first place.

sadly, box and dropbox lowers the volume as much as soundcloud when I upload them to there... Also I know I said thasauce isn't giving me problems, but it turns out it is having the same issue and I once again didn't notice it until now.

Really don't understand why this is happening, but its all good. this issue is on my shit list and is getting fixed one way or another.lol

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sadly, box and dropbox lowers the volume as much as soundcloud when I upload them to there... Also I know I said thasauce isn't giving me problems, but it turns out it is having the same issue and I once again didn't notice it until now.

Really don't understand why this is happening, but its all good. this issue is on my shit list and is getting fixed one way or another.lol

Box and Dropbox are just file storage... they shouldn't be transforming your files in any way.

When you're playing them back on your computer, are you playing them in the same software before as after downloading? Your DAW may be playing them louder than Media Player etc.

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Box and Dropbox are just file storage... they shouldn't be transforming your files in any way.

When you're playing them back on your computer, are you playing them in the same software before as after downloading? Your DAW may be playing them louder than Media Player etc.

I'm now currently testing to see if my internet connection has some kind of influence to it and testing multiple scenarios to narrow down a possible solution.

quick breakdown of my tests thus far:

-Playing song before export------------------Normal

-Playing song after export and--------------Normal

Using multiple media players

-Bringing exported audio file------------------Normal

back to DAW as a separate file

-uploaded song to any website------------Reduced volume

-Downloaded song from website and------Reduced volume

Using multiple media players

-bringing downloaded file to-------------------Reduced volume

DAW as a separate file

Currently testing to see if emails give me same issue since I'm technically uploading to the internet. I told shadow that if the volume is still reduced, to just let it be. I don't want (or didn't want) to have this compo be an,"all about me issue." So I'll just deal with what I have and move on from here.

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sadly, box and dropbox lowers the volume as much as soundcloud when I upload them to there... Also I know I said thasauce isn't giving me problems, but it turns out it is having the same issue and I once again didn't notice it until now.

Honestly, it doesn't sound like it could physically be an issue with the sites themselves for at least two reasons. First, I can verify box.net at the least, and I know it doesn't arbitrarily turn volumes down on my things. Second (and more importantly), it is physically for a file transfer site to consistently change specific values on data so that the volume turns down like that without causing other kinds of corruptions on different files. The odds of that happening are astronomically low.

If you think it's your internet itself (as low a chance as that is), transfer your music files via flashdrive and go to another computer and connection entirely (a friends place, parents place, school, library, etc.). That will narrow that option out entirely. I suspect it to be a setting in the DAW sound output settings, personally, but that's up to you to check out. Don't worry about the thread being about your issues - things like this are to help you get better, and if we're able to help on this I feel that would make participating in this compo entirely worth it (even disregarding the monetary prize). 8-)

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I tested downloading my song from Soundcloud, and it's exactly the same file with the same volume after listening. FYI I use lots of compression and saturation.

There's a rare chance you might not be uploading 16 bit 44.1 khz audio and the site is converting to that when it's uploading, but I'm not sure if Soundcloud does that.

I noticed in Audacity my track peaks at around +2 dB, so FL Studio must export at a higher volume. Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with the software you're using.

edit: I was just listening to your song from round 1, supercoolmike, it's not really that quiet for the genre, but it's definitely not super loud either.

Edited by Ghetto Lee Lewis

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Some reviews for the first two rounds.

Round 1 Alpha:

Lost in a Dream Ocean

Loved the mood, and liked the combination of sounds quite a lot.

Been listening to Shovel Knight OST a ton and I really couldn't recognize it before looking at breakdown & comparing with the source. I went to detail because the source usage bothered me a lot and I like to think I'm familiar with the original.

I really like the mood set in the first minute. The second part (0:50-1:30ish) feels fairly noodlery/meandering in the synth string writing and hard to grasp and also sparse. The addition of the harp in the background in the next part gives it a lot better form, and I like how the structure goes back to beginning in the end.

By listening to the main melody played by the bell instrument in the beginning, shifted down to start at D# from F#. You're using just the first four notes. The notes in the original are F# F# B E, you're using D# D# A# D2#(octave higher) D# D# G# D2# alternately. Additionally the rhythm of the melody is syncopated in the original but even in your rhythm. There are too many changes for me to consider the melody from being from The Lost City. Shifting the melody around is not a problem, just using four notes is fine, changing the rhythm is ok, using A# and G# alternately is all right as well - these do add up though and I think the clinch is the final note being an octave of the starting note instead like it is in the source. (Didn't compare the bell at 0:53-0:58.)

0:22-0:28 from source at 1:02-1:14 is clearly heard. There's a note change in the melody towards the end which is a good adaptation to the different backing and feel. The sequencing is rough since the "swell" of the strings cuts out when the new note is played and it doesn't sound like it's completely in time. Similarly problematic sequencing 1-:17-1:36. I like how you've appropriated the source to the strings genre and feel wise, though in writing it's again altered so much that I'm not sure I'd count it as source usage. Also it doesn't quite mesh with the backing harmony I feel.

1:30-2:00, the source from 0:14-0:18 is B A B C# F# C# and your version is A# G# A# B E D#(octave higher) + a repeat without the D# in the end. Again there are too many changes for it to feel like source usage to me.

I didn't look at the bass particularly.

Overall, though there's a lot to improve in source usage, sequencing and harmony writing, I really like the structure and mood. I also appreciate the way you've taken parts of the source and used them as components, stretched them out and so. There's a lot of material in the source so it works very well for a simplifying/minimalistic approach.

Shantae's (not so) Curs'd Journey

Quite enjoyed the hard-hitting chippy grit here. The lush strings towards the beginning really complement the sound well. The strings at 1:46-1:56 didn't sound quite as tightly woven into the mix, probably because the timing was a little off (a bit behind perhaps).

'Vators Gonna Bait

Groovy chippy goodness, not unexpectedly. The lead at the beginning immediately reminded me of Shining Force 2 so bonus points for that. The epiano on the left is a little loud in the mix I think.

Brevon's World

The mix was very quiet yeah, and when I finally turned it up I started to get this piece.

I generally like the sombre feel, though somehow the "playing" of the instruments - and perhaps tempo - is not quite "lamenting", but kind of rigid. This strikes a strange middle ground, which isn't bad at all. This actually reminds me of these arrangements of Erik Satie's music (downloads to the left) - they have a cool hybrid synth/mellotron instrumentation, and the same hybrid style is going here.

I'm thinking a little bit of humanization (without loosing the strange/rigid feel), maybe some higher quality sample replacements and a more careful mixing would do a lot to this piece. I really like it, if I was voting today I might put it on first place.

Round 1 Bravo:

Stricken Earth

This is a fun & refreshing arrangement, I like the approach. It sounds like the harmony has been somewhat simplified in the arrangement. I think it mostly works quite well.

Synths and orchestral instruments sound a bit soft, quiet and behind the beat.. kind of being a little too "polite" for the tempo and energy of the piece. They're also somewhat drowned behind the guitar.

There's some funny chords at 1:11 & 1:23. Some of the timing is loose, say around 0:23-0:26.

Love the bass! Effective & enjoyable original solo as well, and the proggy bits towards the end I appreciate quite a bit.

The Fate of My Crew

Big fan of FTL and its music here. Somehow, just the reinstrumentation is exciting to hear. I especially liked the lamenting intro, the transition to synth/guitar trance metal was actually a bit unexpected, but I definitely like how the acoustic feel is reiterated in the break late in the track.

Some of the sounds are quite plain (harps and stuff) and the sound overall doesn't have a lot of "wow" or quite the punch it feels like it should. I felt like some creative use of panning could have given a nice sense of space. That said, everything in the mix is clear and balanced very well.

Some weird harmony & off time notes 1:57 and 2:08 on the bell and again 2:29.

Aventura Inesperada

I'm not familiar with the OST and don't have the time to check it out unfortunately, so I can't comment on source usage.

The intro is very nice, I think the mood set for the first half is quite chilling. The tune has grown on me during repeated listenings.

Some conflicting lead/backing in the first half (0:48, 0:56-0:59). There seemed to be an iffy bit around 3:00 too. The fadeout felt like the track was running out prematurely.

The sound/mixing and playing are a bit rough, but I like the style and ideas and energy quite a lot. Having heard a lot of your PRC entries, I think you're progressing a lot.

Dig Deep

Overall a very nice take on the menu version of the main theme, which is a theme I really like in-game/on the OST. Reminds me of the main theme of Final Fantasy 4 actually.

The mix seems slightly shrill in the highs, had to turn it down a couple of notches eventually. 2:40 has an interesting tense harmony to it, though I think at 2:46 it feels off. 3:03 is again like 2:40 and 3:10 works this time.

The style was really good for the theme and brought something new to it. I also like how the intro took its time to develop itself.

Eastern Mavericks

Again, I'm not familiar with the source material and don't have the time to compare, unfortunately.

The instrumentation sounds pretty great. It feels a bit like BGM in the sense that it doesn't quite capture my attention, feeling a bit repetitive and loopy. The mix sounds a little dry somehow, like the instruments were isolated - some sort of background atmospherics would contribute a lot I feel..

The loudest percussion seems a bit loud in the mix, and some of the leads seem quite far in the background, although I think that mostly works - nothing seems to quite rise to the very front of the music - percussion is closest, but is not quite written that way. Overall this feels like it's very well done, but leaving me a little cold.

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The orchestra sucks.

I need to buy better samples. Edirol is so eughwinegon

If you feel like sending me your midi files I could send you some stems from my EWQLSO Gold. They are pretty heavily reverbed though so it may not help much in getting the parts to the foreground. (conductor's position mic's)

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