Audiomancer

1. work-in-progress Dragon Warrior/Quest 2 Overworld Theme Remix

20 posts in this topic

 

 

This is my first time posting to these forums and submitting a remix to them. I just recently got what I believe is called a step sequencer on my computer, LMMS in this case. After wrestling with it for a while, I created this remix. It is the two different walk about themes from Dragon Warrior/Quest 2. I have some varying styles in this...I like them, but also I did it so some of those varied styles could be heard, and perhaps one of them might work for the entire track, as opposed to the contrasting genres heard here. I added the celebration theme for when you add your final party member between the two different themes, and also added a footstep sound that you hear in the game for when you enter/leave a town. Not sure if those are needed. I also don't know how well I EQ'd this. I "split the difference" between different speakers and devices for playback, as I was surprised how different the same track can sound from one set of speakers/device to another.  

Thank you for the constructive feedback ahead of time, and please take into consideration my extreme inexperience:)

Edit 3-18-18 Latest version at the bottom of this post. Layered some things differently, changed some parameters on a couple instruments, and added a couple little personal touches:)

Edit 3-21-18 Latest version at the bottom of this post once again, fixed a couple of sour notes that made themselves known at the end of the tune.

Edit 3-25-18 Changed some EQ. Also altered some of reverb on some instruments, as suggested. I also changed the drum pattern in one section, I had 16th note kicks in the section in question; I decided that was overpowering and changed that to quarter note kicks.

Edit 3-28-18 Changed some EQ again...I have two versions posted below. I have the one labeled Latest Edit, and I have one below that labeled Different EQ. If I could get some feedback on the EQ on those, and be told which one sounds better EQ-wise (not taking into consideration overall volume), that would be greatly appreciated:)

Edit 4-4-18 I only have one version in this post now, and it's my latest edit. Advice was taken, and changed a couple things based on that, as well as a wee bit more EQ change, and a couple small changes that came to me in the moment. Thanks for your listens and comments!:)

Edit 8-24-18 The latest post is a very beginning redo of the tune. I altered the intro part so it's all organ and choir, and am doing something completely different with the rest of the song. It's not a complete tune, just a taste of what I'm thinking. Very beginning of a work in progress, just looking for some feedback on what I've started before putting more work into it. I haven't done any production work on it or anything, just enough to show the feel of what I'm going for. Thanks for constructive feedback in advance!:)

Edit 9-2-18 A couple changes....shortened the intro and slightly altered some parts, as well as adding just a little bit at the end:) Still a WIP, not even yet full length.Latest version at the bottom of this post.

Edit 9-18-18 A kinda finished version at the bottom of this post, and also in a new post in this thread. Added a couple bits from other DW games. Might need some production cleanup....advice is very welcome on that:)

Edit 9-22-18 Did some compression and EQ work, as well as fixing an error with a muted section/instrument.

Originals

 

 
Different take, 9-18-18

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One thing that I recommend, if you're not doing already, is importing a well mixed song that's roughly similar to what you want yours to sound like and using it as a bit of a reference when mixing. It'll help you gauge certain things about your mix, especially as a beginner. It'll also help with the issue you mention about the mix sounding vastly different on different speakers. You can use the reference track to let you know roughly how your song should sound when going between different devices. 

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There's a lot to like in here! The organs and choir sound really good together. I also thought the step noises worked well to give linkage to the games. (I might try something similar for my next piece!)

One very minor comment would be to make sure that the instrument that comes in with the melody at 0:43 (not sure if it is a string instrument?) has time to 'breathe', i.e. giving it a slight break between phrases. 

Also, you might want to try making the transition to the 8-bit instrument at 0:58 a little smoother. I guess the easiest way to do this would be to let the organ/strings from the previous section slow down and then stop playing. The 8-bit part could then enter a second or two after the final notes have stopped. (I think the transition at 1:52 works much better because there's a little space between the two segments.)

(I'm also very inexperienced, so take what I say with a grain of salt!) 

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Thank you both for the feedback! I appreciate the advice from both of you:)

That string instrument that satoka refers to is a cello that's been "chorused". I noticed after I posted this that the sample has a sort of "ramp up" time to it, or a slow attack. I think I'm saying that properly:) I think I will change that.

Vidilian, That's a great idea, I doubt I would have thought of that on my own. The vastly different character of sound from even slightly different speaker setups is/was vexing to me.

Thanks again for the feedback!

 

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Reverb is also tends to be a thing you need to clean up with EQ, just like the instruments themselves. I'm not to familiar with how LMMS works or how you implemented the reverb on the tracks, but if there's a way for you to tweak the frequencies of the reverb (removing some low end, etc) the you should look into that too. Overall, you've definitely improved the EQ for the instruments from what I remember last time though. Keep it up

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Vidilian,

I added the reverb on a instrument by instrument basis, so lessening the reverb on the lower pitched instruments shouldn't be too much of an issue to solve. Thanks for the continued feedback!:)

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I looked up how LMMS works and it's similar to what I'm used to. You should use the FX mixer for your reverb instead of putting one on all your tracks seperately. Send the signal of the tracks that need reverb to an FX channel that has the reverb on it. That should let you then eq the reverb FX channel so that the reverb is cleaner for all the tracks you're sending to it. Probably not explaining that well but hopefully you understand.

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Vidilian,

What you said about cleaning up the reverb made sense to me...at least I think it did;) I changed some of the reverb parameters as suggested, and also played with the EQ a bit more. Also changed a section of drums I decided needed change, Again, thanks for the continued feedback. I've actually been enjoying playing with all of this stuff, the more I learn, the better I might do:)

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Edit 3-28-18 Changed some EQ again...I have two versions posted in my original post now. I have the one labeled Latest Edit, and I have one below that labeled Different EQ. If I could get some feedback on the EQ on those, and be told which one sounds better EQ-wise (not taking into consideration overall volume), that would be greatly appreciated:) I want to know which headphone set is steering me more in the correct direction, as far as sound is concerned. 

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Are you using reference tracks when you're mixing? If you don't know what that is, a "reference track" is just a song you like the sound of, in a similar genre, that was professionally produced. The idea is that you should switch back and forth between listening to your mix and the reference track constantly when you're mixing to help you get your sound and EQ balance closer to that of the reference track. If you don't do that (and you only listen to your own mix while mixing), eventually your ears will start to deceive you into thinking your mix sounds good, just because your brain has gotten used to it, even though it would sound terrible to you if you were listening to it fresh.

FWIW, and I didn't listen too carefully, I liked the one called "Latest Edit" better.

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Thanks for the feedback! Good, that's the one I was hoping would come across as better sounding. I've been fiddling with different compression settings, as well as figuring out what to adjust and when to adjust it in the mixing process. Someone else above mentioned something about a reference track, but didn't mention the regularity of switching back and forth between the reference track and the track you are working on. I think I have it (my desired EQ) pretty close...I have a couple different styles in the mix I am working on, and I've done my best to make sure they all sound good. I've also taken a break working on it/listening to it, and then listen to it "fresh" after a couple days. Thanks again for taking the time to listen and comment:)

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Sorry for not replying earlier! I think I can still nit-pick a little more on this:

Around 2:40, there's some chromatic runs in the melody; assuming they're not in the original track(s), I think they could be reworked a little. For example, you could include some chromatic foreshadowing elsewhere in the melody (so that form part of a cohesive whole), or you could shorten the runs when they do appear. (Also, I personally would try to avoid fast chromatic runs that end in sudden jumps.)

At 2:51, the highest note on the synth carries over whilst the next note in the melody is being played; you could try shortening it (so that it doesn't overlap [so much]) to avoid losing the melody.

Also, I really like the way that the piece ends in terms of composition - I always find this part the hardest, since these tracks were generally meant to loop endlessly! It might still be nice here to allow the rolling percussion to be brought out a little more, to make it feel really satisfying.

These are all matters of taste though, and I'm by no means an expert. ^_^ I really like the improvements that you've made the EQ, and the track overall is really cool~

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Alright, so sorry for taking so long to get to this after your request, Audiomancer; work has given me little space to work with.

EVAL

Dragonquest - a classic series that doesn't get enough love, that's for sure. I'll say this first: for the most part, the production is fairly good. The mixing is generally where it needs to be, and I don't hear too much crowding, so nice work on that. The arrangement would probably cause some issues for an OCR submission, since this sounds like two very different songs put together rather than a single, cohesive experience, and I don't think the songs are expansive enough to count as individual arrangements in their own right (really just playing through one loop of the source each, if I'm not mistaken).

I hate to come down on instrument quality since understandably not everyone has the money to fork for better instruments, but I can't deny that many of the instruments in this are too low quality to pass the panel. The organ is pretty solid, the choir can work and the square waves are... well, square waves (they're fine), but the other instruments definitely felt low quality. One can still make them work with a LOT of envelope manipulation (e.g. automating the attack, delay, reverb, levels, etc., to make them sound more "real"), but it would be crushingly difficult to do so.

What you have here is really cool, but it's difficult to write orchestral music with cheap or free instruments. It's not impossible (Darkesword does a pretty good job with free soundfonts, iirc), but it's very tough, so be prepare to learn how to automate the envelopes of your samplers in order to get the most out of your instruments, if you want to keep going down this route. Alternatively, you can take a more hybrid approach (which is how I like to do things, personally), and utilize more synths and such - make something sound intentionally fake rather than emulating reality. More than one way to approach this, but yeah, if the arrangement didn't hold this back the instrument quality would get this rejected on the panel.

Again, though, the production quality (clipping, mixing, etc.) is pretty good here, so I think you show off some solid skills with this. This wouldn't pass on the panel, but it does help illuminate what does and doesn't work, as well as why. I do hope to hear more from you sometime, even if it isn't this track, per se.

Hope this helps!

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Thanks so much for the reply!:)

I really appreciate the constructive feedback and yes, everything I used is free stuff;) I do have some other free instruments that sound more realistic; I chose to avoid those because of what I have read about the "uncanny valley" from other posts on these forums. I've heard that term when the subject is robotics, but it makes perfect sense here, too. 

I'm not sure if I'm going to do any more with this track..it was basically a learning experience, and it was fun to take into consideration the feedback that I have gotten, as well as the advice that I have read on these forums. I am a severe amateur, so it was great to have you say that the production on this track isn't terrible:-D 

I think my next crack at something will be with me playing the flute; I've been experimenting with that lately, I've posted a couple rough things in the original music section of the forums. I HAVE to get a decent mic for that, I used the USB one that comes with the Rock Band video game, and it's really not very well suited at all:)

 

Again, thanks for the feedback!

 

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Quick(ish) note about the uncanny valley: if you work toward a realistic sound and you can only get kind of close to it, it's worse than having something that sounds intentionally fake. The concept as applied to visual appeal is that psychologically the more human something robotic appears the more appealing it is (since the human features pop out, give more familiarity). However, if the robot is close to looking human without being exactly human, the brain instead focuses on the robotic features that make the otherwise human features look... unsettling. Get too close to your goal and the brain focuses on what's wrong rather than what's right with the image.

This concept does apply to samples in some fashion (though for different reasons) - if you're pushing for realism and can't quite achieve it near perfectly, the listener will more easily notice what isn't right. If the instruments sound like they're supposed to be "fake", the listener will acknowledge this and instead focus on how they sound in the arrangement in their own right. Similar concept to above.

It's... more of a speculation on my part, to be honest, but I've found that getting close to what you want without actually getting there can be worse than going for something different (even if fake), but doing it solidly. It's easier on a budget to make synths, chips, etc. sound great than it is to do this with sampled instruments, so often for free instrument and sample users I advise utilizing these kinds of instruments. It helps give a solid foundation as far as learning how to mix, avoid production errors, basic arrangement practice, etc., prior to learning how to make simulated instruments sound as realistic as possible.

Just my two cents on that topic, because it coincidentally perks my interests. ;)

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Trying something completely different with this tune. A very preliminary work in progress, I'm looking for feedback on the different direction I'm trying to take with this. I've done no production work on this...I would like some feedback on the direction I'm trying to take with it. Thanks ahead of time!:)

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A slightly updated version of the last edit. A couple changes....shortened the intro and slightly altered some parts, as well as adding just a little bit at the end:)

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A rough final version. I added a couple bits from other DW games. Advice and constructive critiques greatly appreciated:)

Edit 9-22-18 Did some compression and EQ work, as well as fixing an error with a muted section/instrument.

 

 

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