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*NO* Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"


Rexy
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  • 5 months later...

the opening of this track is so intensely quiet that it's beyond dynamic contrast level. the timbres of the instruments are more than enough to keep it feeling quiet, the track desperately needs compression just from that part. the first minute plus is nearly inaudible.

this is the typical rebecca approach of interesting orchestral percussion supporting sustained strings and a well-handled melodic line. at 1:00 there's a great handoff in the low strings which i really appreciated. the melodic content gets passed to the oboe, and there's some nice mirroring in the glock and other winds. there's some real bad samples in the trombone and orchestral crash cymbal at 1:43, but i like the transition idea and the percussion again at 1:48. the piece's big moment is around that point, and it kind of just trails off from there. i liked the brass rhythmic parts around 2:00, but the bad samples are back around 2:15 in the trombones, and they're really blatty. the string chorale at 2:22 is nice, though, and resolves in an unexpected fashion. the harpsichord at the end is a little weird since it kinda wanders around, but the piece feels like it should end there so that's good.

overall the track isn't super aggressive with the arrangement of the melodic content, but there's a lot of nice stuff going on around it to make it really interesting. i found the samples for the trombone and orchestral crash to be pretty bad - to the point i'd suggest finding something else for those transition points, it's quite noticeable. and the first part of the track is so quiet you almost can't hear it. it maxes at -11db for the first minute...just so quiet. the timbres of those opening strings will translate how quiet it is - it doesn't need to actually be that quiet. there's no one volume setting that's comfortable for the whole track, and it's not even that long.

as a whole i believe the arrangement carries this track, but the technical issues are noticeable and i wouldn't be surprised if other judges feel it's on the other side of the line. as it is i'm borderline.

 

 

YES

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  • prophetik music changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (1Y) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"
  • 1 month later...

I've said "typical Tripp fare" so many times that it's a cliche, but it's still true.  Excellent orchestration, adequate personalization, issues with dynamic range.  I do think it's much better in this last than many tracks we've passed, but I will add that, when I listen to this at a volume where I can hear the intro decently well, the glockenspiel is very loud and piercing, and the tambourine is close to it.  But I agree with prophetic; in particular, the opening upright is barely audible at a volume where it's overwhelmingly loud at 2:00.  It's a little silly that at 2:30, that same upright is pumping out a much, much louder sound.

The ending is lackluster as well, basically just trailing off, not even on the tonic.

However, the orchestration is superb, there's clearly enough interpretation, and the samples are well over the bar, even the ones proph called out.

YES

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  • MindWanderer changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (2Y) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"

The brass samples in particular were in uncanny valley territory. Really bad decay at the very end that very needlessly exposed the samples. Would love to hear this using samples or production techniques that gave these sounds more depth. The arrangement's short and sweet but certainly interpretive with varied instrumentation and expansive enough with additional part-writing. Volume was also quiet, but I could hear everything.

YES (borderline)

EDIT (10/27): Actually, DragonAvenger's on point with the samples ultimately dragging this down. The bowed strings are also very exposed (e.g. 1:47), and areas where the brass should be pulling more weight (e.g. 1:24, 1:42, 2:14) stand out like a sore thumb. Nah. This is definitely below the bar. Let's beef up these samples and run it back.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (3Y) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"

Really torn on this. The arrangement has some nice touches, especially the changes in tempo and the overall changes to approach throughout. But those samples are pretty painful. Brass especially, but I also felt like the snare was super thin. Maybe if the arrangement didn't rely on the brass so much it would be a cleaner choice. In the end I think it's just not there yet without some changes to those samples, and getting the volumes a little more normalized would definitely help as well.

NO (resubmit)

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  • Liontamer changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (2Y/2N) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"
  • DragonAvenger pinned this topic
  • 2 months later...

Hey Rebecca, welcome back!
This source suits your style well, and your ‘ReMix arrangement formula’ is in full effect here once again - nothing too fancy, just a solid homage to the source.

Unfortunately this ReMix lands on the ‘NO’ side for various reasons, and although it’s relatively short at under 3 minutes, I feel like it lacks the detail that would bring it over the bar for me.

To begin, there’s a very fake sounding voice sample that’s used at 0:08, and I really don’t know why you chose this - it’s very dry and sticks out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t appear in the track anywhere else, so I’d suggest swapping it for something a bit warmer and softer to compliment the strings it’s playing in conjunction with. Similarly, the harpsichord panned to the right is very dry too, and stands in stark contrast to the lovely plucked strings in the left ear. The flute also sounds nice, but the brass samples (0:38) are very quiet and don’t bring the gravitas one might expect to balance out the low-end in the right ear from the strings.

Speaking of panning, right from the first listen I caught a large imbalance in the stereo field which can be seen easily on a waveform view.

928018814_Screenshot2022-01-21at20_13_56.thumb.png.409aa4908a99e88b96a30b87002bb6af.png

Even if your ears are fatigued by a mix, you can always use other tools at your disposal to check things like this before a final mixdown. You can hear the main culprits for the majority of the track - the harpsichord for one, but mostly the bass in the low strings. Nothing skews the balance of a mix more than the low end. There’s a lot of acoustic energy in low frequencies, so keeping them as central as possible is key for a well-balanced stereo field.

Moving on, and there are 6 cymbal hits from 1:45. The first 3 sound like there’s a high-cut filter on them, and the last 3 are played with a higher velocity that again sticks out too much. Actually, listening to it, is the filter envelope tied to velocity? Check your sampler. If so, you probably want to change that - in things like EDM/trance you might want to tie velocity to a filter so you can ramp up the energy in a build, but for this style it doesn’t work because it just sounds like the cymbal is out of place compared to not only the rest of the orchestration, but to itself.

The track kind of fizzles out at the end, as other J’s have pointed out, so if you were to revisit this one, then perhaps a more satisfying resolution would be a nice addition.

To summarise, I did enjoy the piece, as I always do with your submissions, but this one was plagued by imbalances. There are volume, panning, spacial and sample quality mismatches throughout the piece, which when put together, add up to a fair bit of work to get this one through.

NO

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  • DarkSim changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (2Y/3N) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"
  • 3 months later...

I'm going to have to agree with the NOs on this one.  The strings and brass are exposed enough for their fakeness to stick out.  The arrangement is nice, but the samples aren't strong enough to carry it.  The panning is quite heavy, in particular you have low brass and low strings sitting alone on the right side and you have harp and some bells completely on the left side, which feels very unbalanced.  When the drum groove starts up at 1:48 it doesn't jive with the rest of the arrangement at all.  It sounds like a leftover from a different song that got left in accidentally, and the drums drop out abruptly at 2:14.  The ending feels like an afterthought.  And as with your other tracks, mastering has been completely overlooked.  This one's not quite ready for prime-time!

NO

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  • Chimpazilla changed the title to 2020/12/11 - (2Y/4N) Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"

I have to quickly cosign with my fellow judges who voted NO on this track - I don't have much particular to add, as many other judges have covered it in greater depth, but the stilted sequencing and drum grooves that don't really fit with the arrangement push this below the bar for me.

NO

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  • Emunator changed the title to *NO* Final Fantasy 3 "Searching for the Dark"
  • Emunator locked and unpinned this topic
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