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This is a little rock remix of the opening theme from the Pokémon anime series.
It's my first remix of an anime soundtrack after making a few remixes for several videogames.

I'm not the typical die-hard fan of Pokémon - but I loved the anime when I was a child.
Pretty fluffy and hearty stuff with a nice touch of adventure.
Some time ago I've listened to the opening theme of the anime once again which has a really decent melody I still like - and I thought that this could be a nice track for improving my virtual guitar skills.

So, I put some effort into the articulation of every single guitar note. Sometimes I tought for hours about where the different articulations or playing techniques (like long played notes, hammer-ons, tappings, slides or some FX guitar sounds) might fit best within a short guitar sequence.
But I got into it after some time and I think this helped me improving my music production skills a little bit - especially for creating much more realistic guitar sounds.
Thanks to my really awesome virtual guitar amplifier Vandal I could give the guitar sound its totally unique style and make a decent final touch with a little bit hall reverb and a little bit more pinging stereo delay - really good combination for reverberant but also strong, assertive guitar sounds.

I've also enjoyed working a bit more with velocity dynamics to bring some more life and vibrance into the track - but it's still pretty tough for me to find the right balance between the velocities of the different tracks within a song.
Already a velocity value change of just 10 out of 127 can make a perceivable difference between hearing single notes in the whole mix and not noticing or at least  not feeling them anymore.
But I will work on this in the future.

Just as usual I've mastered this remix at EBU R 128 loudness standards and used absolutely no compressors or limiters for keeping the full, natural sounding dynamic range and best possible hi-fi sound quality.

So, check this stuff...

Original Intro Theme:


Newest version of my remix: 1.0

>>> https://clyp.it/ymrif5kn


Edited by Master Mi
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A few issues I have: The guitar feels too stiff and sequenced to me. Not sure if it's just the sample or just the way it's used. Probably a combination of both. The notes cut off too early in my opinion, which may be leading to the overly stiff sound. I feel like they should flow a bit better. The articulations feel a bit off, but I couldn't tell you why as I'm just an amateur acoustic player(primarily rhythm, not lead), not an electric guitar player.

Regarding the rest of the song: First and foremost it seems less of a remix and more of a cover to me, as it follows the original (shortened) version to a T, almost note for note. Dynamically, the lead guitar seems too loud, but I've noted my monitors to be notoriously misleading in the upper ranges. I can't hear too much of the background. The bass kick could be a little punchier IMO and the drum part is a bit flat dynamically as well. The rhythm guitar could be a bit louder, with a stronger bass line to give it a fuller feeling. It could simply be the loudness of the lead guitar compared to the mix though, and I always prefer a "cut then boost" method to avoid an internal loudness war where you're constantly raising the volume of other instruments to compensate for raising the volume of other instruments. I'd try reducing the volume of the lead first - listen to it on a wide variety of speakers and earbuds. If possible, try turning it up relatively loud and listening to it from a room or two away. I'm sure one of the more experienced mixers could give you a better idea of exactly what to cut and boost in the EQ department

Perhaps my biggest concern is the whole EBU R 128 loudness standards - That's fine an all, but when a track has very little in the dynamics to begin with that doesn't help it much. In particular, listen to the vocalist(in any language version of the song) and how he sings in the verses compared to the chorus. It's quite a bit different, whereas your lead guitar only has one sound - "loud". During the dramatic chorus portions it isn't having much of an impact. Try skipping around your song a bit and you'll see what I mean. Without the vocals to set the mood for the song it all falls to the lead guitar, and you don't want to simply play the vocal melody with little emotion or vibrancy. Take away the vocals, and the only thing that gives a song its unique character is what the musicians do with it.

I will say you've improved quite a bit from previous mixes, though. In particular, for all the issues I have with the guitar sequencing it was really done pretty well. There are some nice details there, it just needs some adjusting to sound more natural and more in tune with the mood of the song. As for the other parts, try experimenting with other instruments as well. In a recent arrangement/cover I did - of a vocal song as well - I opted to record an acoustic guitar for much of the background instead of the electric guitar used in the original, and it changed the tone of the song without changing much about the song. Little details like that can go a long ways in making the song your own while staying true to the original.

Overall not bad work.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice feedback.

Concerning the loudness of the electric guitar: I've listened to the track via speakers, headphones and mp3-player (in-ear buds) and it was really okay for me.
But you're right - I could tourn the loudness of the lead stuff at least bring down for about 1 dB.

What do you mean with: "The notes cut off too early in my opinion, which may be leading to the overly stiff sound. I feel like they should flow a bit better."?
Should be a few more overlappings or just make the notes longer until "note-on-note"? 

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I agree, the lead guitar notes do cut off too quickly. As soon as the note stops, there's a click and a sudden drop in volume, with no finger release fret noises. By itself, it doesn't really create the "stiff" sound, but it does lack the realism in that aspect, since any real electric guitar with this much distortion in the amping would make the fret noises audible.

I do hear the lead guitar is a bit too loud, since the background is quite quiet. Besides that, the entire song could come up by at least 6 dB. It's that quiet.

The stiffness is mostly attributed from the lack of fluidity in the hypothetical playing (0:03 - 0:17, and slightly at 0:33 - 0:35). What it sounds like is the "player" is playing something, instantaneously lifting his/her fingers (and inconveniently reaching over to the amp and turning down the volume to 0% for half a second, then up again), and then playing other notes afterwards---all without creating a single fret or pick noise, or even recording what happens in between phrases (or amp noise, but that's another story), when a normal microphone would pick all of that up.

A real, skilled guitarist would, more often than not, leave his/her fingers on the frets after playing a phrase, and slide to new frets for the next phrase right before playing again.

An example is this power metal song here. If you listened to the lead guitar, you would hear the pick noise emphasis and (some) fret noise, and most certainly a lot of sliding in between notes. zircon even goes through the song itself, showing how he wrote the lead.

And here, I recreate the melody, taking out what makes it realistic:

Lastly, whenever the lead guitar is playing polyphonically, it loses the tonal clarity it would have if it played monophonically. The strings interact on the chords via sympathetic resonance (which I've already told you about), and blur the tonality of the result. It sounds particularly bad at 0:55, when the lower notes dominate in the chord and you lose the upper melodic notes that were in the original.

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