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Its not really a work-in-progress so much as it was just rejected for something I don't understand. Apparently there is too much clipping and distortion? Which, aside from what's supposed to be there I don't hear any problems, but maybe I'm missing something. Thought I would see if anyone could listen and let me know what might have got it rejected?

Thanks

www.embracingfate.com/vinosec/ortusdeus.mp3

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Hey, I'm new at this myself, but thought I'd try and help. Clipping happens when there is too much going on at high levels of volume, so if you lower the levels while keeping the balance you like until the master gauge peaks right under the red clipping bar, then you won't be getting that distortion. If you're using FL Studios, you can just throw the 'soft clipper' effect onto the master mixer channel, although I don't know if there are any drawbacks in doing so.

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Your production sucks.

The kick is waaaaaaaay to infront. Actually, I think it was badly recorded (if it was recorded. Otherwise it's just too loud.)

It sounds interesting, but the overall production/mastering is really poor. Perhaps your speakers have no bass in it?

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Its just heavily compressed though. I mean when I listen to it I can't hear any distortion and there are no peaks that go above digital zero (compressed to .3db below). As far as the programs I'm using; Adobe Audition for recording all live instruments (except the drums, they are midi sequenced in Anvil Studio and their colors changed with Synthfont), Wavepad for editing and T-Racks for mastering.

Listen to any of the Black Mages tracks from the Advent Children OST (Those Who Fight Further, Chase On The Highway, etc. etc.) and tell me what the difference is?

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Okay, Arrangement is pretty cool, but yes, it's lacking severely in production. Take a good hard listen to the cymbals and hats, whenever the multiple guitars, bass and drums are going, they just sound absolutely VILE and grainy, which is one of the indicators of having mastered a bit too hot.

I kinda had the same problem, so I made an example of how soft mastering can make a huge difference. Pay special attention how crisp the hi-hats sound in the remastered version compared to the original (the second part)

http://www.tindeck.com/audio/my/qpol/Remastered--Original

(Yes, I am hijacking your topic to post my own material =p)

Now I know you got the whole " IT'S METAL, SO IT'S GOT TO BE LOUUUDDD" -thing going on, so I'm not going to suggest you turn the gain down just yet. I believe some clever use of a good multiband compressor should be able to solve your production issues.

That, or if you want a simpler solution, check the levels on the different instruments by turning the master gain down at first, you should notice how (for example) the drums are still peaking, while the rest of the mix is noticably softer. Now because the drums would be already loud enough (again, just as an example), there's no need to increase the master gain again, because this would mean the drums would become totally squashed against the limiter, and that doesn't sound too pretty. Rather than that, it would be better to simply turn up the volume on everything BUT the drums, so the drums still have some breathing space. I believe the 'being squashed against the limiter' is the issue with the cymbals and hats.

Sorry for the long read by the way =P

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Thanks Tensei! Unfortunately that didn't help too much. Best advice in the thread though. So I did what I could with it...

I did another master of it. The problem is that when I reduce the compression as much as you guys are implying I need to the volume levels are just significantly too low. Its mastered with nothing going above -1 decibel. Light compression. The volume level doesn't even come close to what it was before though, which for professional reasons is exactly where I need the volume to be. Perhaps you could give another listen and tell me if there is any way to boost the volume beyond digital zero with massive compression without losing quality?

I listened to your song too btw. Very nice, but its volume was literally the same as mine. Any ideas?

www.embracingfate.com/vinosec/ortusdeus2.mp3

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Wow, it sounds SO MUCH better now, the hi-hats and cymbals sound crisp and everything, and you even got some nice dynamics going on because of the soft mastering.

Now, let me ask you, why exactly do you need the volume to be close to professional level? Take this for example: Everyone is going to adjust their speakers to a pleasant volume, so it really doesn't matter that much how loud your mix is in the end. If I'm going to put a soft version and a loud version next to each other, then yes, the loud version will sound better, but if I listen to the soft version by itself, I'm still going to adjust the speakers to roughly the same volume I'd be hearing the loud version on, except the soft version will not be sounding like an overcompressed turd, and neither will there be noticable clipping/artifacts.

And obviously the judges might make a remark about 'having mastered a bit too softly', but no way are they going to refuse a mix where the only 'issue' is having to increase their speaker volume a bit, as opposed to a mix with noticable clipping throughout.

Edit:

VVVVV

Definitely do what Nutritious says, most of the issues you have left (muddiness etc.) can not be solved in the mastering stage, but you're going to have to dive into the individual tracks again. I suggest chopping off nearly all lower-end frequencies from the guitars so you can make your bass stand out a lot more. Also, a VERY minor high frequency boost should make your cymbals etc. a bit more sizzly to add some high-end frequencies and spread out the whole spectrum.

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Yeah, there's a huge difference between your two examples. The second sounds a heck of a lot better (no more audible clipping or heavy distortion), but now we need to get the volume up. Here's a few tips that I hope can help:

-Pan your sounds: it sounds like everything is in the center, you can alieviate some of the muddiness between the instruments by giving them a little room on each side, just don't go overboard. (might have added some in the second version it sounds like)

-EQ: it's hard to tell, but it seems like many of your instruments are occuping the same frequency range (mid range seems really heavy). Try gradually toning down the frequencies that aren't vital to each specific instrument. For example, tone down the higher frequencies on the kick & bass (or low guitar, it's hard to tell). This will also open up some more space for your samples to breathe.

-Compression (it's not always about the master track). Sure, you can squash your sounds against a compressor on the master, but that can lead to a muddy sound, especially in a genre like metal where you're really pushing the volume. Get some good compression on your drums individually and maybe lighter compression on other instruments as needed. Then, use a compressor on the master just to catch any stray clipping issues that may hit you.

I'm definitely not the most experienced person here at production, but those basic tips should help you out.

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Okay, so I spent some time on the individual tracks. Here's what I did...

1. Raised the highs on the snare + toms + cymbals very slightly (they're on the same track, it'd take forever to just raise the highs on the cymbals).

2. Lowered the volume and the highs on the bass drum.

3. Lowered the lows on the rhythm and lead guitars.

4. Raised the lows slightly on the bass guitar.

5. Added a brightening lead line over top of the 'sephiroth' section in the middle to even out the volume levels before and after the guitar solo section.

I'm hoping that will clear some things up. I also (for time's sake) omitted the piano intro and outro. I'll add them back in once I have the final version. Now I have two new versions.

The first is this new mix, but mastered the same way the second version was.

www.embracingfate.com/vinosec/ortusdeus3.mp3

The second is this new mix, but mastered with the compressor in T-Racks.

www.embracingfate.com/vinosec/ortusdeus4.mp3

Please compare 2 and 3 to see what changes I've made in the mix (and if I need to make anymore). And check 4 to see if I achieved my target volume level without any problems?

The reason I'm looking for help on this is because I'm about to start a professional project and when it comes time for the mastering I want to make sure that I give the guy the best quality available to me. Y'know? Plus, I'd really like to be up on this site somewhere...

Thanks for your help everyone. I really appreciate it.

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Ok, this sounds a heck of a lot better than the original and while your volume level isn't quite as loud as the original, I definitely think it's reasonable at this level.

Heard some distortion on the rhythm guitar from :58 - :59, right when that ride cymbal comes in. Not sure what's causing it because it's nearly identical to 1:14-1:15, but there's no distortion the second time. Might want to check if a sample got doubled up or something or the guitar.

I think it's still a little hard to pick out sounds from each other in the mix - which is why some panning would probably help you out here (not extreme right/left, but minor to at least separate the meat of the sounds). Up to you though, you're making good progress.

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Yes, version 3 sounds very good, the bass is clearly audible and version 4 probably has the best loud/clean ratio you'll get without using professional mastering. I still think version 3 sounds better than 4 though =) I'm just not that much of a fan of overcompression. Anyway, you're definitely getting there, maybe just polish it up a bit and PM a judge to ask if he can have a listen and tell you if it's up to OCR production standards yet. I'm not going to comment on the arrangement just yet, because I'm about to hit the sack, except saying that it's a bit repetitive. Expect some decent feedback tomorrow =p

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Much much much improved on the production. You've shown that you are serious about this, so props to you, a lot of people come in here and if they don't get instant adulation, they head out, never to be seen again.

There are a few more issues that Need a little bit of attention, mainly the drums. A lot of the cymbal hits are exactly the same. You'll need to vary up the hits, especially when its a crash or china being hit several times in succession. The bass drum also lacks power, and has a bit of a soggy ass. I suggest rolling down the super low end in the EQ ( 50hz and less). Actually, you should roll that down on just about everything except maybe the bass guitar; it'll give you more clarity overall. It'll also give you some room eqwise to boost other frequencies to get more of the sound you want.

I'm no Yngwie, but the solo is sloppy too. It doesn't help that it is rhythm secion chaos behind it, but from what I can hear, it seems like a random "look what I can do" wank rather than a focused composition. Regardless, write what you want, I'm just sayin, if you want to impress the judges. I'd tone down at least the cymbals 6db in that section at the very least so we can hear the high end.

You have some cool arrangement ideas, and you can take this one places, but it's going to take some work. I'm glad to see that instead of getting angry, you get motivated. Keep it up dude. \m/

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God's Birth (after doing so much work to it I figure it warranted a name change) made it into the "To Be Judged" category. Thank you all for helping me out with it so much. Here's hoping it get's accepted eh?

QA: The drums were all sequenced with Anvil Studio and are MIDI. There isn't any way (that I know of) to change how they sound when hit repititiously. As far as the solo goes it is supposed to represent chaos. In other words it is supposed to sound like absolute pandemonium. Let me explain...

The person I did this arrangement for has a way of coming up with his own visualizations when he listens to music. I kept that in mind while I was doing my arrangement. At first I wanted him to envision the battle that this music was originally written for and how it starts out with Sephiroth and the feeling of 'oh sh*t' when you first see him in his bizarro form. Then the music kicks in and the fight starts and its pretty evenly matched. Just jamming out to the music, jamming out in battle.

Then it switches to the main Sephiroth part towards the center which would represent Sephiroth beating the crap out of Cloud and crew. After a bit of impending doom, I wanted him to imagine our heroes just charging in and basically going for a desperation attack (to borrow a term from FFVI) which leaves both ends fighting for their lives. The rhythm section here is playing an instrumental allusion to One Winged Angel so the solo represents the heroes just going bloody nuts on him. Then of course Sephiroth comes out stronger and the battle resumes as it was in the beginning but overall its just Sephiroth finishing them off as the outro cues up and Cloud loses the last of his HP. - Gameover.

Its kind of an odd visualization, but my friend rather enjoyed it when he heard it and he totally got it. So, that was worth the remix in and of itself. Honestly after listening to it I just thought I'd try to post it up here because he and I both really enjoy listening to a lot of the songs on this site so I thought it might be neat if his suggestion and my ideas made it up.

I've learned a lot from the people in this forum, but whether it is declined or accepted I won't be doing anymore work to it. I consider it to be finished now, but I guarantee you that my future projects will all be a bit higher quality thanks to everyone here and who knows... Maybe I'll end up doing some more remixes in the future? This one certainly proved educational enough to warrant another try... Thanks everyone.

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QA: The drums were all sequenced with Anvil Studio and are MIDI. There isn't any way (that I know of) to change how they sound when hit repititiously.

You can; I am not familiar with anvil studio, but it would be something like velocity or expression or something. There are changable values from 0 to 127. The higher the number the stronger the attack to your cymbals, and thus each 127 hit will sound exactly the same.

Good luck with the judges dude. :-)

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I am not familiar with anvil studio, but it would be something like velocity or expression

Yes, either this, or you could just find similar samples and alternate between them randomly to simulate different parts of the cymbal being hit, that's why I think it's really important to have an extensive sample library for your drums.

Anyway, good luck on getting your remix passed =D

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