Audiomancer

4. submitted Epic FootSteps - DW2 first walking theme remix

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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. 

I've made many changes since my first posting:)

Edit 2-4-19, fixed what I considered to be a perceived panning issue. I am changing prefix to ready for review:)

 

Originals

 

Latest version.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nHURd09pcMxso4k32o9CuwqUvuTeNww-

 

 

 

 

Edited by Audiomancer
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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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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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My latest version is right here:)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nHURd09pcMxso4k32o9CuwqUvuTeNww-

I had to do it through google drive this time because when I tried to convert to mp3, it added unwanted audio artifacts, for lack of a better term. Also, when I tried to upload a WAV to Soundcloud, it did the same thing.

Per the advice given by Gario, this is a different arrangement; instead of more than one theme, I just used one, and had some fun with it. Also, I mostly went with synths, except for the choir and organ sounds, which were mentioned as not being too bad.

I look forward to constructive feedback on this:)

Edited by Audiomancer

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Hi Audiomancer,

I'm not sure what your technical expertise; so please forgive me if I am speaking down or up to you. My feedback is usually a kind of steram-of-consciousness with a mix of praise, personal preferences, and creative ideas for you. Take it with a grain of salt of course.

I tried LMMS a couple times; so I know that you have some more interesting instruments/samples at your disposal right out of the box, and I believe you can add plug-ins, but honestly I'd suggest not worrying about that right now. Don't worry, we can make it sound good, and if push comes to shove, we can export the MIDI can load it up somewhere else. Right now it is time for arrangement and composition.

0:00 Brings back memories for sure of the over-world. If it were me, I would play the entire melody through at this point. Set the stage. 10 seconds is too short to me.

0:30, too simplistic here for the synth pad-lead instrument, this 1-to-5 interval on quarter notes, be more creative, try some syncopation, make it groovy, rhythm, pull out the keyboard and just start jamming live on the percussion, or tap out something with your hands, or beat-box, or whatever, to flesh out some creative ideas, listen to the percussion in a another professional track that you enjoy and mimic it.

0:42 I'm glad to here the bass move down here. We are on the right track.

1:11 loving the sine wave here.

1:18 I like the fills, now adjust the velocity so that they crescendo

1:31, yes the syncopation is good here

1:39, synth lead sounds good, nice work on the percussion, now let's again program some velocity in the drums to make them sound more live, this is a really good change of pace from the previous minute, to tell you the truth, I might just cut out thirty seconds or so of the previous measures so that it does not lose its energy before reaching this point.

2:00, yes, I like the choir addition

2:08, the chord change here is welcome

2:20, hmm, I like the idea of filling in the mix with more sounds here, but I think what is really required here is a musical change, meaning, new chords, make it go somewhere else, take a trip to an unexpected place, go on an adventure, that's what this game is about right?, ya know, random encounters with wolfs and slimes :), there is so much you can do, you have the tools to make anything happen; don't confine yourself to looping, I've heard songs that are hardly two minutes long, but that are so interesting that they stack up against 7 minute mixes (I'm thinking of AmIEvil's classic track here, https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00322) or maybe better (https://ocremix.org/remix/OCR00082).

2:30, I do not like this part, to be frank, it's time to move on to something else (unless we are returning from something more dissonant and need time to recuperate)

 

My general advice is to worry about the mixing later. Now is time for arrangement, chords, melody, rhythm, etc. In my opinion, a fantastic arrangement is the first step in a good track. So I don't care, honestly, what the instruments sound like right now. Let's focus on really expressing what message you want to deliver and worry about the penmanship later. What do you want your audience to feel? How do you feel? What landscape are you painting? What is happening in the foreground? Try new chords, bring in an acoustic or electric piano.

Consider this to be the band practicing together. Keep practicing together, each instrument tries something new, take another take, you know. Try new things musically. You're not locked in.

Anyways, keep it up, I am excited to hear your next update!

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I'm loving it. Definitely lots of progress here since the Jan 16th update. The more extended intro sounds great. I like how you're being more creative with the arrangement circa 1:10. I like the subtle flange at 2:00. Sounds good. Synth solo sounds great, and I like the percussion track here. I like your creative use of chords (for example 2:40). Overall, this is a clear improvement upon the last version. The mixing sounds better, too. (Maybe that is just because it is louder). So ya, great work! Where would you like to take this project next?

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I did do some different stuff with the mixing of this this last time. I had some different ideas with eq, compression, and limiting that I hadn't done before, and I think it helped with the overall tonality of the tune. It really is all trial and error for me, I have no training at all when it comes to music production:) As for the goal of this project, I sure would like it to be accepted some day by the panel:-D

By the way, I notice that you provide a lot of detailed feedback to many folks, that is really cool, and appreciated.

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I just noticed something when listening to my track today...does it seem panned slightly to the left for anyone else, or is that a peculiarity with my headphones? It's nothing too distracting, but I noticed it today. I can also see a discrepancy when I look at the left and right waveforms, leading me to believe it's not the headphones, but it's still something I thought about. I have an updated version I might post that sounds more even between the left and right channels to me, I'll post it if someone else notices the panning issue. Thanks!

I decided to upload and post:)

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nHURd09pcMxso4k32o9CuwqUvuTeNww-

Edited by Audiomancer

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[This is an automatically generated message]

I've reviewed your remix and have set it to Completed status, indicating that I think your remix is ready to be submitted to the Judges Panel. Congratulations!

If you feel like you still need to work on your track and want more feedback, you can change the prefix back to Work-in-Progress and we'll go through the review process again.

If you decide to submit your track, please change the prefix to Submitted after sending your email. Thank you!

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Lot of good stuff going on here. I haven't heard previous versions, but I think you might be ready to toss this up to the panel. The only thing that bugged me a bit was the presence of the drums and some of the bassy tones throughout the whole piece seemed to be burying some of the more important parts - I know that's miserably unspecific, but it was more of an overall feel of the piece than anything else. I marked it complete because the headphones I'm currently using are definitely more on the bassy side, so I think you're pretty solid on this one. Good luck. 

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I made a small adjustment to the lower frequency EQ, one that's only slightly noticeable, taking into consideration what XPRTNovice said about their headphones. I also added a small spoken intro to the second "improv" part that should have been there before. I have submitted this mix, and thank you for your time, ear, and -ahem- XPRTise:)

Edited by Audiomancer

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