Gario

OCR03968 - *YES* Plasma Sword "Eclipse of the Fourth Empire" *PRIORITY*

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The arrangement structure is by-the-numbers, but my gosh did the source get used well.  You've changed the key, no section sounds samey, and each variation has its way of being played differently.  It's a safe structure though with two run-throughs, subtle original writing, and some careful building down with the C section at the end.  I also thought the use of the Capcom logo jingle at the start was charming, as well as tastefully using lower-quality percussion/harpsichord soundfonts at 3:38 to add more of a game feel.  It's nice stuff.

Alas, the balance feels off to me.  First of all, the drums feel wet and distant, with an equally rough tradeoff of the kick's attack being inaudible.  It's fine to place that meaty reverb onto your snare for that big rock sound, but the kick didn't need as much with all the fast movements it had throughout.

Secondly, the rhythm guitar has muffled the bass.  I get the trope for mixing metal tracks - no one's going to hear the bass player - but it's still an essential part of the beat's foundation.  I feel it's best to add a slight high-pass onto the rhythm guitars just so the bass can pass through in the mix, but if that affects the tone too much, boosting its volume can be another alternative solution.

And this is more of minor note, but your lead-supporting synth pads (0:49, 1:37, 2:25) should be quieter.  The lead guitar is meant to take center stage with the support only adding to its presence, not swallowing it whole.

It's an enjoyable yet safe arrangement, and I appreciate the opportunity to get the judgment fast-tracked.  But all in all, I feel the mixdown needs a revision before bringing it onto the front page.  Take a look at the reverb surrounding your drum set (especially the kick pedal), find a way to give the bass more presence, and go through your instruments' volume levels.  This track is one I'd like to hear on the front page in some shape or form, even if it takes an extra attempt to do so.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by Rexy

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Rexy has it right, I think.  The mixing is all over the place here.  The drums are wet, the rhythm guitar covers too much of the spectrum, the bass guitar and lead synths are quiet, and everything in general sounds muddy and distant.

However, regarding those synth strings, I'd hold off on looking at those until everything else has been addressed.  Because of the balance of everything else, they're simultaneously too quiet and too loud: too quiet compared to the rhythm guitar and drums, too loud compared to the lead guitar.  I think in orchestral rock, they should sit just behind the lead guitar in terms of loudness, but right now there's just no room for them.  I suggest dealing with those last.

Also, the ending (3:13 on) is a little odd, since most of the arrangement was traditional rock with a bit of orchestral synth, and now you're adding new synth elements.  3:38 on especially introduces a new, unique instrument, as well as a different texture to the rhythm guitar.  This is when you want to tie things up, not introduce new ideas.  I think it would go nicely as a bookend, if you'd opened with the same stuff, but as it is it's a bit of a curveball.

It's a fun, if straightforward, arrangement of a great source I'd never heard of.  Please fix it up and send it back our way.

NO (resubmit)

Revision 9/4: Much better.  The percussion sounds great, if a bit loud, and the bass is clearly audible.  The rhythm guitar is still wet and mushy but it's less problematic.  I don't know what's going on in 2:07-2:25, but it lacks clarity severely.  When the synth pads are playing, the lead guitar is too quiet; it's muffled when it's playing by itself (e.g. 0:49-1:00) and swallowed by the harmony part when it joins (e.g. 1:00-1:12). The lead is also too quiet in 3:12-3:35.  I'm still not thrilled with the ending's structure, but that's more of a subjective thing.

It's almost there, but not quite, IMO.  Still too many sections where the lead is muffled--basically, everywhere there's a synth presence, plus that breakdown.

NO (resubmit)

Edited by MindWanderer

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I received a mixing update from Garpocalypse this morning.  The new version (linked in the OP) has addressed my mixing criticisms, and I'm a lot more confident with what he's got.  Here's the changelog:

Quote

-Changed the grit on the bass in the uppermids and highs and upped the volume in areas to make it more noticeable (keep in mind that a constant audible attack on the bass is stylistically against what I am trying to accomplish here)

-Changed the layered reverb on the drums to allow more of the kit to come through and increased the volume of the kick click.  So now the click of the stick on the kick is clickier.  

-Made the 2 sections less static by having them evolve more, then slammed it all through a chain of saturators and compressors making the results less than overtly noticeable :/

-ReEQ'ed  both lead guitars and adjusted the volume to further sell the idea of giving the lead guitarist his moment and promptly drowning him in a torrent of sound and the entire mix is bursting at the seams. 

-numerous small fixes

For the bass, I wanted to hear more of its tone anyway and not the harmonics, and that's exactly what he set out to revise.  The kick has more of a presence now, the guitars are cleaner, and I had no idea you can use saturation as a mixing tool in this kind of situation - it's paid off and added a much more defined sound.

The only issue I had with this particular version is a couple of weird off-the-beat woodblock sounds at 0:39.  I don't know if they were there before, but they stick out and don't belong in the soundscape.  I've contacted Ryan to get him to look at that, and since it is a 2-minute fix, I believe this track is almost ready for primetime now.  I've got my fingers crossed!

[EDIT: Less than 6 hours later, Ryan got in touch with a render that fixed the issue - which turned out to be a punched-in metronome.  The sound is gone, the track sounds great, and I am confident in giving it full approval for the front page now.  So glad he was able to chip in!]

YES

Edited by Rexy

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I didn't listen to the old version, but this sounds good to me.  Production is fairly clean if a bit muddy at places.  1:45 for example, the guitar lead get obscured by the background and all the other elements, and in general I think the low-mids could be cleaner and have more separation but overall, pretty good.   The arrangement is solid and the performances are some of the best I've heard from Ryan so far.  Lots of energy and it didn't get bored at any point, with well-placed breaks.

Minor issue I would've liked changed is that the song starts way too soon after the Capcom logo jingle, kinda messes up what I think the idea for the intro was, that this song is what plays as an intro to the actual game.  Anyways, minor complain there.  Solid stuff.

YES

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this is only looking at the new version.

this is a great original track that adapted really well to the style chosen here. i enjoy the background work and the implementation of the drums and synths. if i'm going to complain about anything, it's that it sounds a bit muffled, and the lead guitar doesn't speak as much in the forefront as i'd like. none of that is nearly important enough to affect the outcome of this vote. the arrangement is fine and the performance is excellent. this is an easy stamp for me.

 

 

YES

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I'm only listening to the updated version as well.

Yeah, relatively straightforward rock adaptation, especially to start, but still personalized nicely.

The mixing was a bit odd, as the rhythm guitar work was muddy during denser sections, and I thought the lead electric guitar should have been positioned as more upfront and clear relative to the rhythm guitars and drumming, but it was nothing jacking up the track from a Standards POV.

The lead at 3:36 for the finish felt rigid and sonically out of place to me, but it wasn't a huge deal, and I liked the idea in principle in terms of changing the sound up a little before the finish.

Definitely a lot to like about the arrangement approach and giving this a more aggressive feel. Nice work, Ryan!

YES

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