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Gario

*NO* Sonic the Hedgehog "The Final Zone Remix"

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Remixer name : jmabate
Real name : abate jean marc
Email : 
website : https://www.youtube.com/user/jmabate
userid : 35644

Name of game(s) arranged : Sonic The Hedgehog
Name of arrangement : The Final Zone remix
Name of individual song(s) arranged : Final Zone
Composer : Masato Nakamura
System : Sega genesis / megadrive
Original : https://youtu.be/1nVwm4aQS_E

Track infos :

This track was arranged and performed for a month contest on reddit VGM cover thread ! I wanted to try some indian tones with percussions and some folks instruments and my orchestral metal world.

Hope you will enjoy this arrangment.

 

Best regards

Jmabate

 

Edited by Rexy

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You got the source undoubtedly present, and with subtle subtractive arranging between each variation.  The piano run set the stage, the orchestral metal variant added some new wind/string flourishes and harmonies from 0:55, and eventually added brass stabs near the climax.  The Indian folk-based section at 1:42 went loose with lovely accented percussion, and an expressive sarangi (?) lead with some subtle pitch-shifting.  Add that with a sweet guitar solo at 2:38, and I can see the fun ideas all laid out.  It does stick very close to the source's notation throughout, but it's not afraid to explore different textures, and I can respect this decision.

Production-wise, the mix does feel unbalanced, though.  When the lead guitars appear among the orchestra backdrop, the rest of the instruments bury them entirely.  They're supposed to be dominant among the orchestral backing, and it's especially jarring with the strings and brass swallowing the lead guitar solo's energy.  Your guitar tones are fantastic as always, so I feel they can be brought further into the mix without altering another instrument's EQ settings.

Talking of EQ, there's a peculiar emphasis on low-mids.  The piano intro covered a limited set of notes, mainly spanning the low end and sounds muddy.  One straight-forward fix other than changing the piano tone is to bring the right hand an octave higher.  The orchestra itself also has an emphasis on lower tones, with the stringed backing providing it at first and the brass getting more aggressive later on.  EQ cuts among the lower-end can give them a more defined place within the mix and let other parts stand out alongside it. 

Looking over your symphonic orchestra particularly, the articulation here feels minimal at best.  You've got the brass stabs in nicely, but the other parts sound robotic in the mix.  They are center stage for a full minute, but the constant attacks and releases make them fall flat.  The slow attack on the strings also makes the melody too hard to hear.  They alone can easily benefit with both key-switch experimentation and a less sluggish attack value at least.  Nevertheless, key-switches and envelope manipulations are two handy tools that can give more human life to your classical backing.

It's an okay arrangement - safe, but I see it as borderline acceptable.  But I would like to see you go through another mixdown pass, with more emphasis on the guitars and more clarity/realism among the symphonic orchestration.  Never stop experimenting with different sounds though, Jean-Marc - that's a strong asset that I'd like to see carried over to future work!

NO (resubmit)

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It's certainly an interesting arrangement; despite very little variation on the theme, there's a lot of different instrumental takes.  It's still a little on the conservative side, but the additional backing and the guitar noodling push it over the top in this regard.

Production-wise, however, it's extremely quiet overall.  And Rexy's completely right about the highs being too quiet in general.  There are instruments that should be hitting that range--flutes in the orchestral sections, violins in the orchestral rock sections, and of course the lead guitar in the climax--but they seem filtered.  Balance seems mostly okay to me; 1:31-1:42 is losing some details, notably the choir, due to being so busy, and the lead guitar is too quiet at 2:35-2:39 and 2:53-3:00, but those are brief.

As for articulation, I generally cut orchestral rock some slack in that regard, since it's generally understood that the orchestras are nearly always synthetic in those, but the attack on the violins is slow for sure.

This one's close for me.  My biggest concern is that it's just too quiet.  The conservative arrangement, the lack of highs, and the other minor issues would normally make this a borderline pass in my book, brought down to a YES/CONDITIONAL based on the volume, but this is a very busy arrangement here.  You can't just boost the volume because you're already peaking at about 0dB, and a simple compressor will make it pump in the louder sections and probably drown out some of the parts.  I think this is 99% of the way there but it's going to take a little bit more than a 5-minute fix to get it the rest of the way.

NO (borderline, please resubmit)

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This is not bad, but it has some pretty evident issues, mainly in the mix and performances.  The production feels pretty lopsided here, some sections feel like they lead is getting buried and nothing is taking precedence, except for the drums which are very upfront.  There is some very heavy and obvious ducking on the guitar parts and the mix as a whole around 1:32, and in the second guitar section the balance seems off regarding the lead guitar vs everything else.  The mix feels very bottom-mid heavy, which causes the rhythm guitars to get lost most of the time.  Due to the subdued mix the climaxes don't hit very hard and fizzle out.

Regarding the performances, it doesn't feel like there's a lot of detailing done in the sequencing of the orchestral instruments,  they feel pretty robotic overall.  That's not necessarily a dealbreaker in an arrangement where the orchestral elements are used as a backdrop for the guitars and the rock arrangement, but in this one they're pretty upfront and exposed a lot of the time due to the inadequate mix, and as such the failings are made evident.  I feel like if this was mixed well I could consider giving the instrumentation a pass, but I think some work in that front would be appreciated either way.

NO (resubmit)

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