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Chrono Trigger - Underground Sewer remix


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Hi OCRemix - I'm looking for some feedback on a remix I'm working on for the Underground Sewers theme from Chrono Trigger.

I knew from the start that I wanted to try to remix this track with an EDM/clubby feel. I wanted a build-up into the overall theme of the track. Now that I've gotten the main melody down, I've hit a roadblock on what to do next. Any thoughts you can share would mean a ton to me :)

Some things I'm struggling with now:

  1. Creatively approach - I've only got about a minute of the track so far, debating whether to find a new song to add to the remix or repeat some of the verses
  2. Mastering - How does the track feel overall? EQ balanced? Effective panning? Any instruments that stand out (in a good or bad way?)? Any other mastering tips I should consider?
  3. Percussion - any suggestions on how to spruce things up to keep it interesting?

 

I'm still an amateur remixer using FL studio built-in plugins, so any feedback (whether large, small, obvious or not) is greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much!

 

Source youtube for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w_FroPZvLo

 

test - Chrono Trigger Sewers for oc remix.mp3

Edited by timaeus222
Fixed a broken link for the source tune, and updated after mod review 10/30/2020.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Ah, those sewers. How they grated on me. Not like this piece, though. It's thrilling, chilling, and rather catchy. If you're using FL 20, I suggest checking out the FLEX synthesizer packs, has some fun stuff. Anyways. I'm not much of an authority on composing EDM stuff, but if it were me, I'd start with revisiting parts of the song and changing elements of them: change which instrument takes the melody, change the melody itself up, extend or shorten parts to see how you like 'em. EX: repeat the intro (0:00- 0:15) with some long notes added to complement the arps and drums. Then maybe repeat it again with some of the bell synths adding a counter melody to the new additions. Although, to be honest, I can kinda hear the court room theme mixing well with this. Keep playing around with the song, you'll find a groove you like.

As for mastering, I'd keep an ear on the higher frequencies: a good number of your synths have higher/shriller timbre's, so take a look at making sure there isn't too much playing on the higher octaves at once. The percussion sounds like's its doing its job pretty well so far, you could probably go pretty far in the piece without changing up too much from what you've made. 

You've got a neat thing starting here, keep at it!

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@rakafella1018 No problem! As best I can remember, FLEX offers a number of free synth packs when you have access to the synthesizer. Before FLEX came out, I used Sytrus, which can be really useful (and confusing) due to letting you change absolutely everything about the synthesizer. Keep experimenting with the stuff you got, you'll eventually make/find sounds you like.

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  • 1 month later...

@rakafella1018 Happy to help! It's sounding smoother by my reckoning, and I am terrified how well the two sources go together, good work mixing them together. The high frequencies are sounding more balanced as well. Nicely done with this one, keep at it!
And, BTW, if you're ever interested in some friendly community remixing, I'd recommend checking out the competitions every once in a while. It's all good natured and low key, and it can be fun to try out your mixing skills in a friendly environment. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

MOD REVIEW

Arrangement/Sound Design

I think the written ideas are there, and obviously it's not too original/liberal. "Underground Sewer" is readily recognizable, but I don't think it's too close to the source.

There is definitely a sense of dynamics and panning here, or at least the notion is there. The one thing that stands out to me is that 0:15 - 1:20 vs. 2:31 - 3:36 are very similar-sounding. The differences boil down to a simple instrument swap (such as the countermelody at 3:12 - 3:21, or the swap at 2:52 vs. 1:30 where you just changed which instrument was louder than the other), which to me feels like a placeholder move.

One option I think you have is a bit more commitment to richer sound design (or sound layering, if design isn't your forte), to further differentiate the later portions of the ReMix. Even though you may be limited to certain sounds, you can definitely use the Layer tool in FL Studio to, for example, combine multiple lead sounds, each with different qualities, to make one big lead, or take different bell sounds, filter out low frequencies on the brighter layers, then stack those on top of the original mid-heavy layer to make the result sound bigger.

Here's a video that demonstrates sound layering pretty well:

This elevation of sound design later on in the ReMix would help make the arrangement sound more progressive, as opposed to certain 'musicians' playing more loudly and certain other 'musicians' playing more quietly to 'change things up'.

Another option is to vary the melodic contour to add a sense of progression, but this is arguably harder to pull off if you don't happen to have a lot of musical background.

Production/Mixing

The mixing isn't too bad. I can technically hear most of the elements well enough, but the stereo image is sometimes awkward. Specifically, I hear you have a bass panned to the left (say at 0:50), when the ear naturally wants to hear basses, kick drums, snares, etc. in the center because they provide the foundation to the groove.

The drums aren't that beefy, which is sometimes okay, but because of how they sound single-layered, they seem rather vanilla. These can benefit from a bit of layering as well. For example, the snare lacks high end, so you could layer on something like a TR-909 snare to add that high end splash that it could use to cut through the mix.

Here's a nice tutorial for layering drums:

The bass mixing in general is a bit indistinct, but I think it has a lot to do with the basic nature of the bass sounds you chose (built primarily out of sine waves), and for now we'll see how it sounds with the bass in the center.

Overall

The main takeaways would be:

  • Work on layering your sounds. Even if the individual layers sound basic/vanilla, combining different layers with their own unique qualities will make for a more-interesting single instrument. Specific examples are the snare lacking high end and the leads at 1:30 vs. 2:52 simply swapping volumes rather than being new-sounding instruments. Because of the way this arrangement was written, bigger sound design will act as contrast, if not in addition to any variation in the melody that you could do.
  • In general, place your bass-heavy instruments in the center, which is where many bass-heavy instruments should go so that they don't distract too much from what's usually important (the lead and harmony).

This isn't ready to be posted. It has a lot of potential though, so I think you should keep working on it, and we'll see where it goes!

END OF MOD REVIEW

Edited by timaeus222
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