10 posts in this topic

Hello there!

Before I prepare to send in my "resubmit", I would like to seek some guidance from the folks here on the forums. I'll include a link to the judge's comments below this paragraph. The focus of the critique was the production side of things, as I had numerous issues with balance (EQ, volume, panning) that needed addressing. I'm happy to hear any ideas you all have about the composition itself and the instrument choices, but my main motivation for coming here is help with the production work - mixing, mastering, etc.
 

Since reading their feedback, I've been hard at work reproducing my track to fix the issues they mentioned and a few of my own. I want to know what you guys think and if you have any other suggestions for improvement.

Thanks for listening!


1. Here's a link to the current version of the track:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xb4td7ecvn93r6c/Rainbow Resort ReMix 2_22_2018.wav?dl=0

2. Here's the version of the track that the judges critiqued:



EDIT: Link to the original source: 

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I think I posted this as work in progress rather than ready for review when I posted it yesterday. I'm not sure if editing it brought it back to the top and I'm thinking perhaps people looked past it because of the tag, so consider this comment the one and only *bump*

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Do you have a link to the original source for comparison?

EDIT: nvm, found the link and added it to your first post. I'll take a look when I get a chance, hopefully later tonight

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Ok, sorry it took me so long to get to this. Anyway

EVAL:

Source is easily recognizable, with more than enough original variation. The slowdown at 1:12 is awkward, but I don't think this is a big enough issue to prevent it from passing the panel.

As for production, though, this is a mixed bag. The piano sample sounds gorgeous! But the bass feels a bit too loud and a bit too present; I see the judges thought the bass was too quiet in your original submission, but I think you've overcompensated in this version. The synth coming in at 0:25 feels like it could use more high-end sizzle, but the percussion is the biggest weakness in this section (and throughout the rest of the mix). Comparing this to the version you subbed to the panel, I like the older version better with regards to EQ on the drums. The percussion needs more punch, and needs more high-end; bump up the treble on the snares and hats, and bring down the low/low mids on the snare. Percussion also needs more variation in velocity to keep it from feeling monotonous. I would take a look at zircon's percussion tutorial; just spicing up the percussion would immensely improve this mix.

The judges mentioned the violin was panned to the left in your submission, and it's still panned a bit left here, it's a minor issue, but I'd probably move it slightly towards the center -- it doesn't have to be dead center, but it feels too far left right now. It does sound clearer in the current version; that's a definite improvement.

tl;dr: I think the percussion would prevent this from getting past the judges right now. There are a few other minor issues (the bass being too loud is the biggest one for me), but I think spicing up the percussion should be your main focus.

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[This is an automatically generated message]

I've reviewed your remix and have returned it to Work-in-Progress status, indicating that I think there are some things you still need to work on. After you work on your track and feel that you'd like some more feedback, please change the prefix back to Ready for Review and I'll review it again! Good luck!

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Geoffrey Taucer-

Thank you so much for your feedback! I've been hard at work implementing your suggestions and I'd like to give this review another go.

Here is a download link to my latest version (3_6_2018):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/o1kyr4j1hdi8c9m/Rainbow Resort ReMix 3_6_2018.wav?dl=0

I appreciate all you've done so far. Let me know if you think more changes are needed!

Regards,

Stunning Cactus

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Hey man, some quick thoughts from me on this - latest version definitely the best so far in my opinion!

I am not an expert (at all) on production/mastering/balance so feel free to totally ignore my thoughts on this in favour of the more experienced heads & ears on this board - but here are my thoughts!

Absolutely love the piano work on this. Star of the show for sure. Initially was a strange blend with the early punchy synth chords, but eventually was loving it. Sounds retro in a pleasing way! To the point where I actually hoped those synth chords would take a more prominent place for the rest of the piece. It's like you've introduced us to the pairing of acoustic, natural piano with 80s synth chords, but then that relationship disappears in favour of natural piano with synth violin & bass. But that's definitely just opinion rather than a recommendation!

Overall I wonder if you could use some more reverb in the mix; feels to me like it might add some cohesion, if you can do it without losing the bright, chirpy clarity of each instrument you bring in. I especially felt this during the mid-section when the bass notes cut off after a stab at the beginning of the bar. I felt those stabs needed some kind of resonance, otherwise it chops off the sound of the section rather abruptly. Might also lend more weight to the epic feeling you've created with the piano arpeggios.

I also wonder whether a tighter snare sound might work better in the percussion. Something a bit punchier; the softish snare you've got lacks a bit of punch and blends a bit too easily with the splashy cymbals. Something tighter might work really well - and possibly then boost the lower frequencies on that snare so it feels both tight and weighty... you can tell I'm not much of a producer, I'm sure!

But the major takeaway I had was: wow, that's seriously energetic, creative and fun, and nails the source material. So nice work, and good luck with the judges!

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18 hours ago, LjB0 said:

Hey man, some quick thoughts from me on this - latest version definitely the best so far in my opinion!

I am not an expert (at all) on production/mastering/balance so feel free to totally ignore my thoughts on this in favour of the more experienced heads & ears on this board - but here are my thoughts!

Absolutely love the piano work on this. Star of the show for sure. Initially was a strange blend with the early punchy synth chords, but eventually was loving it. Sounds retro in a pleasing way! To the point where I actually hoped those synth chords would take a more prominent place for the rest of the piece. It's like you've introduced us to the pairing of acoustic, natural piano with 80s synth chords, but then that relationship disappears in favour of natural piano with synth violin & bass. But that's definitely just opinion rather than a recommendation!

Overall I wonder if you could use some more reverb in the mix; feels to me like it might add some cohesion, if you can do it without losing the bright, chirpy clarity of each instrument you bring in. I especially felt this during the mid-section when the bass notes cut off after a stab at the beginning of the bar. I felt those stabs needed some kind of resonance, otherwise it chops off the sound of the section rather abruptly. Might also lend more weight to the epic feeling you've created with the piano arpeggios.

I also wonder whether a tighter snare sound might work better in the percussion. Something a bit punchier; the softish snare you've got lacks a bit of punch and blends a bit too easily with the splashy cymbals. Something tighter might work really well - and possibly then boost the lower frequencies on that snare so it feels both tight and weighty... you can tell I'm not much of a producer, I'm sure!

But the major takeaway I had was: wow, that's seriously energetic, creative and fun, and nails the source material. So nice work, and good luck with the judges!

I really appreciate your feedback :) Believe it or not, everything in this mix - piano included -  is MIDI. I didn't even use a MIDI controller, I click all my notes and velocities in by hand. But I'm glad to hear you thought it was believable!

I actually had a friend also tell me the mix felt dry and could use some reverb. So I'd say you're definitely onto something, and I'd wager Geoffrey might say something similar (and something about the strings being ever so slightly too loud... haha).

As for your recommendations regarding the snare, I agree! I may have originally had too much of the 250Hz range in there and scooped out a tad too much to the point where it's sort of dull. I'll see if I can fix that up.

I will definitely be taking everything you said seriously, and I think you should give yourself more credit than you did, because you definitely have a good ear, my friend! I'll be addressing it all along with that which Geoffrey brings to the table for this next evaluation, then hopefully resubmitting!

Cheers.

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EVAL:

The bass seems much better balanced than in previous versions. Piano and violin both sound pretty nice; you could go the extra mile by adding a bit more variation in velocity to the piano, but on the whole I think the piano is one of the strong points of this mix. Synth coming in at 0:24 still feels a bit bland, but not enough to be a dealbreaker.

The biggest issue in your earlier version was percussion, and I can definitely hear that you've put some time into that. It sounds much better than in the earlier version, both with regards to EQ and arrangement. It still sounds mechanical, though.

My biggest gripe is that the instruments sound a bit too mechanical; they sound like some high-quality midi samples, but won't fool anybody into thinking they're real instruments played by a real player. In some arrangements, this is fine, but this arrangement relies very heavily on "real" instruments; piano, violin, bass, and percussion all sound like they want to sound like live performances, but fall short. Bass and violin, while they won't fool anybody, are acceptable; they have room for improvement, but they aren't deal breakers, imo. Piano has gorgeous tone, but could use some more variation in velocity and timing. Percussion... still sounds pretty mechanical. It's enormously improved over earlier versions, but is still, I think, the weakest link. Where this really stands out the most is in the sections where the tempo changes. In general terms, gradual tempo changes are really hard for a live band to pull off, and when the percussion is keeping the same rhythm while gradually changing tempo and still hitting every beat exactly right, it makes the whole thing feel more mechanical. I'm not sure how best to address this, but my first impulse would be to make the tempo changes happen a little quicker, and try not to have multiple instruments playing anything complex during those changes; hopefully that all makes sense. If you haven't already, take a look at Zircon's tips for "live" instruments.

For now I'm inclined to say this still needs a bit more work before resubmission; it's close, but it's not there yet.

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[This is an automatically generated message]

I've reviewed your remix and have returned it to Work-in-Progress status, indicating that I think there are some things you still need to work on. After you work on your track and feel that you'd like some more feedback, please change the prefix back to Ready for Review and I'll review it again! Good luck!

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