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WIP Metal Megalovania "Genocide"


M_Blacki
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Please review my version of Megalovania and tell me how I can improve! I've started recording on my own using Studio One and I'm basically teaching myself the editing, EQing, and mixing process. I'd love to hear some feedback/criticism from the pros since the WIP did not turn out the way I wanted it to.

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Remix Updated v3:

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mmm, Megalovania metaaaaaal, and it's absolutely solid metal, to boot. I'm quite surprised it didn't get any love the first time around, as it's pretty damn good... Might be Undertale burnout, as that soundtrack gets a lot of attention on here, lately.

There are a few things that catch my ear on this, most prominent is that the volume levels on this are quite low, especially in comparison to other metal tracks that are produced on here. I'd normally import this into the Audacity (or similar) program and check on how you can raise levels without causing other issues in the production, but the WMA format limits what I can do with it to nearly nothing. Thus, all I can say on that front is that the levels need to be higher on it, and that you should probably either use WAV or Mp3 with VBR or 192 encoding rates in order to allow others to have an easier time opening the file.

Some of the instruments are mixed in such a way that they don't quite punch through as they should. 0:42 uses a lead that gets lost behind the rhythm guitars, for example. The leads at 0:59 are another great example of this - they sound like background elements, not something that's carrying the leads. Overall, I like how rich and heavy the rhythm is, but sometimes the leads need the spotlight at the front of the mix, too - it gives the listener something to grab hold to.

Overall though, I don't have much else to say on it, as the performances are pretty tight. It's a really fun cover of the source. Do pay attention to the format of the file you offer to the internets, and pay attention to your mixing and your upcoming music should be pretty solid. Hope it helps, and sorry the track didn't get much attention the first go around with it.

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That's really great to hear! I've listened to it over so many times that I can only really hear the small mistakes now. I agree that the market is quite flooded now with Undertale mixes but I just wanted to practice on a song I knew very well, given how many times I've had to listen to it. I've had issues keeping the volume at normal levels because some portions such as the lead you mentioned start to sound piercing after being raised. Just raising the gain or volume for the whole mix causes 'popping' or 'clipping'. I also don't understand what Audacity can do for the volume levels that StudioOne can't. Could you expand on that? I can upload a FLAC or WAV if that helps somehow. Much thanks!

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Oh, Audacity is just a free DAW that I personally use for mastering - if you used a WAV or Mp3 I could spot your peaks and valleys in the waveform using it and see if limiting or compression would help with the loudness (without introducing clipping), or if there are particular areas that could be panned differently in a more accurate manner. It's just not compatible with the format you have, though.

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Hey man! I think the arrangement is pretty solid, but as said before, i think this mix lacks a bit of presence. 

I've read a bit of the other comments in this thread, and i think your problem might have been while recording. If you don't have enough headroom to add gain without clipping, you need to look back at your recording levels - i try to aim for -12-15 dB recording levels on most DAWs, giving you plenty of room for gain staging, compression and EQ. If you feel your guitars are too sharp and might cut off your head, i'd normally make cuts around 4Khz and manage that box-like sound with cuts on 300 and 200 hz 

You could also benefit from focusing on mastering, too. Leave your master levels on your mix around -3 and -6 dB, and then export a WAV and compare it on a new project against mixes from the same genre you like. Then, you can adjust your general gain levels and EQ using these as direct reference! 

Keep up the good work. StudioOne is a solid tool, and you can only get better if you work hard :)! 

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Okay, so I've pushed the leads up a bit further so they cut through the rhythm guitars, and made a few eq cuts all around like you said. I've also uploaded it as a WAV file in case anyone wanted to take a stab at raising the level. I downloaded Audacity to try it myself later, but I haven't used the program in ages so it won't be beneficial until I read up on it a bit. I'm going to be posting another project shortly that I reworked with these tips, but I think I'm on the right track now, so thank you!

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Mmm, the balancing of the leads does help quite a bit. Glad to see you makin' progress.

Just for shits and giggles, I'mma going to punch this thing up, and I'm going to go through every step it takes to get there. It's pretty much 100% on a whim, so lucky you! Long ass post for a single production tip ('cause it has pictures), so GET READY TO RUMBLE!! :D

Alright, so first off here's a picture of your current mix - the waveform in all of it's glory. It's pretty cool, since it doesn't have any clipping, nor does it seem to have any compression or limiting artifacts (more on that in a bit).

New.png

Look at all of that sound space, just sitting there unused! When there's silence for a solid majority of the track, it often means you need to work on making the track louder.

Space.png

With a little amplification, we can get a little bit of sound out of it, but not too much. That's because there are a few tiny peaks that cause clipping if you raise the volume too high. Clipping is almost always a bad thing, so we do want to avoid that as much as we can, but there's still so much space that we want to fill...

Amp.png

Peak.png

Upon closer inspection, one can see that this particular point just touches the top - any louder and it'll cause the clipping. We don't want that!

Peak close.png

Peak close2.png

So, what to do? Why not tell the track that there's a limit to how high the maximum volume is, and force the peaks to hit that ceiling? Yeah, hard limit that sucker, using whatever limiter you have! (Audacity comes with a basic limiter in it's "Effects" drop down - that's all I utilized in this picture)

Limited.png

Sweet, no more peaks! We can now amplify this considerably more without actually causing clipping, thus gaining the space that we've wanted all along.

Limited Space.png

How does this look up close? Well, it depends on how you decided to limit it. There are generally two ways to limit a track - one can either give it a "soft" ceiling, which means the program does what it can to retain the original shape (which simply "softens" the sound at certain points), or one can give it a "hard" ceiling, which doesn't shape the track at all, instead "slicing" the sound file once it hits the ceiling. Both have their advantages, and both have their particular ways of introducing artifacts when you rely on them too much, but with practice it becomes easier to hear what an acceptable level of limiting is.

Limited Peak.png

This is a nice example of soft limiting - it retains the shape, softens the sound at those points so nothing goes above the ceiling

Limited Peak (Hard).png

Limited Peak (mark).png

This is a solid example of hard limiting - the peaks become flat once they hit the ceiling. The music doesn't soften, but the artifacts sound like clipping if they become too prominent.

Once the peaks are out of the way, amplifying the sound to its limits gives you a greater deal of sound, filling the spaces almost entirely.

Limited Amp.png

The moments that peaked once before now don't have nearly the difference between parts as it once did. While this can create a homogeneous sound which lacks some of the clarity of an untouched track, often those few peaks contribute little to the track, and instead make the rest of the track quiet, by comparison. In this case, one can easily hear how much can be gained by utilizing limiting and amplification.

That being said, even with soft limiting it's easy to go too far with it, ruining a once solid track. Take a good, hard look at what happens when you have too much of a good thing.

Sausage.png

There are no peaks, and everything ends up sounding like a homogenized mess. While following one's ears is always best, there's a good rule of thumb to follow as far as figuring out when you've gone too far.

"When your waveform looks like a sausage, it's cook'd".

When you limit, don't start a sausage party. Limit responsibly, take a few peaks down a notch and magic can really happen. Hope this helps!

(All pictures are from Audacity, printscreen'd and saved using Bitmap)

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Gario,

     That is amazing work! This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to find on OCRemix. Audacity really did bring out the volume on my mix that I couldn't find on StudioOne. So with that, I attempted the same process on another piece with similar instruments and mixing. I don't want to get too off-topic or merge posts but I had some questions about what you did. So for one, if you see a large spike in audio only for a brief millisecond, is there an easier way of tracking the source down other than importing the mix with a suspect instrument muted to see if the spike is still there, and repeating this process until you find the culprit? Also, would it ever be beneficial to use both soft and hard limiting in between amplifications, or is it always cleaner to just choose one? I wasn't aware Audacity had these extra tools available, so this is a whole new world opened up for me. For that I'm deeply appreciative.

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Well, for your first question, if you find only a single spike in your track and you're trying to isolate it, you might find more often than not you're out of luck - sound physically stacks onto itself. If you try to "isolate" a peak, it's very likely that it's actually an accumulation of all of your instruments stacking at once, so no individual instrument may show a peak. While it's actually not an issue with this track, sometimes lots of peaks can happen because there's a frequency that has too many instruments sharing it at once (which is why it's a good idea to spread your instrument ranges and timbres out a bit, for clarity). There are some exceptions, but those tend to be very easy to spot by ear (e.g. violin suddenly stands out like a sore thumb, and is just louder than all the other instruments).

On your point with hard and soft limiting, it's honestly a case-by-case scenario. The benefit of hard limiting is that you don't lose your volume at the points where the instruments peak, but if you over-rely on this the track just sounds like it's clipping all over the place. Soft clipping works a lot like compression (actually, it seems to work exactly like compression) - it squishes the peaks so that they retain the same shape, but you lose volume at those points as a result. Use it too much and the music can sound like it has inconsistent levels for everything in there, getting quieter and louder at seemingly random, creating a sort of 'pulsating' dynamic when the music gets too dense, which never sounds right.

Can you use both? Sure! Perhaps for the first pass you'd want to bring one or two tiny, extreme peaks down to a normal level, so you soft limit it and amplify. Afterward you might just want to push through a tiny bit of volume through the more numerous (but also tiny) peaks spec'd throughout the track, so you do a little hard limiting (maybe 0.5 - 1 dB) and push the volume up accordingly. That's just an example, though - it takes experimenting with the sounds to see what gives you the best results.

Glad I was able to open this up for you - it was fun just going all out, for once. I don't do it often. :P

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If you wanted to manually fix those loud peaks at 0:57 - 0:58, try looking at your kick and snare, and maybe the toms; I think it's their sum that's getting that loud.

-----

Anyways, I agree that the instruments overall sound subdued. I'm not sure how that's happening, but you might want to check these things:

  • Did you lower the Dry Mix on any digitally-applied reverb for any instrument? If so, try resetting the Dry Mix. For example, if it's at 0%, your instruments would sound distant, since only the results of the reverb can then be heard, but not what's going into it.
  • Are you scooping the midrange (specifically, 500~2000 Hz, though the midrange extends higher than that) on the lead and rhythm guitar? It seems like that frequency content is particularly missing. It's what I would call "hollow". If so, try bringing those EQ bands up to 'neutral' and seeing if that makes your leads more upfront than they are now.
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Love the hybrid of oldschool sounds with modern.  I'm still in the same boat as you on perfecting EQ and stuff M_Blacki, so I can definately relate to that problem hah.  Anyhoo, I wanted to say that I really dig your Undertale 'Genocide' Remix.  This def. has huge potential!  BTW, nice work with the synths as well!

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On 8/6/2016 at 0:42 AM, HoboKa said:

Love the hybrid of oldschool sounds with modern.  I'm still in the same boat as you on perfecting EQ and stuff M_Blacki, so I can definately relate to that problem hah.  Anyhoo, I wanted to say that I really dig your Undertale 'Genocide' Remix.  This def. has huge potential!  BTW, nice work with the synths as well!

Thanks, I'm still working on older projects like this when I learn something new to apply. Taking it step by step. I just re-uploaded my revised version.

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