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Third Time's The Charm; It's Castlevania and it's metal


Tensei
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Yup, as I already suspected, my mix got rejected because of lackluster production, so I kind of souped it up, paying special attention to the lower-end and general phatness, so in a few days it should be ready to submit. It's a sort of symphonic metal arrangement of the songs Bloody Tears and Beginning from respectively Castlevania II and Castlevania III.

Things I've done:

-Reprocessed snare, kick and toms

-Layered in an extra bass-patch

-Some general mixing to make the whole thing less thin-sounding

-Changed the Lead Synth around a bit

Things I still need to do:

-re-record lead guitars using new setup, record guitar solo somewhere near the end.

-Fix the lower-end muddiness

-Humanize the string patches

-Fix the snare, it sounds like crap, especially during exposed sections

Submitted Version:

http://www.tindeck.com/audio/my/nrsy/Bloody-Tears-OCremix

Latest Update:

http://www.tindeck.com/audio/my/kmsz/Roar--O--Mighty-Vampire-Killer-

I'm mostly looking for production tips, the arrangement was generally very well accepted, so I'm not going to be doing any changes in that department.

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yyla

yaaaaaaaaaaaay update!

New features include:

- New Lead Guitars ®

- Beefed up Jordan Rudess-style lead synth

- Played around with the balancing of the different channels a bit

- Kick-ass though sloppy fast arpeggial tapping guitar solo (This is the second half, the first half still has to be recorded)

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Ahh the synth solo sounds much better now :) The repeted strings still sound too mecanical, I doubt any violon player an repeat a note that fast ;) Anyway, this ReMiX kick ass dude. I still struggle to improvise(and compose) synth solo myself that sound cool like most keyboardists out there.

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Great ideas, though the timing/rythm is a little off on the piano and also on the drums. If you're using midi i'd try to quantesize a little so that part tightens up. The arrangement is good, and by what i've read you remade the synthsolo (which now sounds great) maybe you should consider reworking some other parts too, for instance the piano. On the mastering side you should try to get the mix sound more cohesive (like some of the judges suggested) and pan the instruments more. I can't really give you too much help on the details since i'm learning to mix this kind of music/genre myself, but what i do is i listen to professionally mixed tracks (metal, prog-metal and such). If you do, you'll probably hear that their sound is way better than this, that sound is possible to achieve if you analyze and try to emulate what you hear.

But as said, i hope you'll work more on this mix cause it has great potential.

Good luck!

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Alright, here are my thoughts as I listen:

-Intro rhythm guitar is really dull. Give a mid-high boost to give it some edge. Also, give it a hi pass filter to cut out the low end (200hz? 150? Somewhere around there) so that your bass can stand out. Give your kick drum a bit more high end so it has that click sound as well, it's kind of hard to hear it right now between the bass and rhythm guitars.

-The drums sound wierd, like they're covered in wet toilet paper; Maybe some compression would help? I'm really not sure exactly what it is that's wrong with them. If you're processing all your drums in the same FX chain, use a multiband compressor so you can tweak each frequency range individually; what sounds good for the snare probably won't sound good on the hats. The snare in particular sounds wierd. The drum sequencing itself is awesome, by the way.

-Synth is awesome!

Yeah, overall, my advice would be instead of trying to fix the mixing with the project file you have (I have no idea what you're using), open up a new file, import in your audio files for each part at a time, and start the mixing from scratch. Start off by not using any EQ at all, and mostly use it to cut frequencies that are overlapping between two instruments. This is what I do when I can't manage to get a section right, and it seems to really help. I hope I didn't come across as sounding mean, just trying to help out. I'm far from the best musician here, so feel free to disregard anything I said. Hopefully some of this advice was helpful!

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eddp

Yay for feedback, and a double Yay for Addictive Drums!

Issues:

- Weird Tom sound =/

- Piano, Strings etc. lameness

- Blah Blah drums aren't compressed enough, balancing is off etc etc

Fixed:

- Rolled off Rhythm Guitars more, gave them mid-boost

- Bass to the front

- New Drum Kit!

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I wouldn't submit quite yet, but it's definitely improving. The new drums sound a lot better. It seems like the whole song in general could use a boost in the mid-highs, it sounds kind of "hollow" for lack of a better term. As for the mixing thing, try rendering every track down with all of their effects except for EQ, and then mix those together. That way you save system resources. I really want to hear more on this, I absolutely love the arrangement and some parts are just plain awesome. Keep it up!

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I wouldn't submit quite yet, but it's definitely improving. The new drums sound a lot better. It seems like the whole song in general could use a boost in the mid-highs, it sounds kind of "hollow" for lack of a better term. As for the mixing thing, try rendering every track down with all of their effects except for EQ, and then mix those together. That way you save system resources. I really want to hear more on this, I absolutely love the arrangement and some parts are just plain awesome. Keep it up!

Ya I think what I'll do is give the guitars another boost around 4000 Hz, but I think most of the issues can be solved during the mastering session, mostly by mult-band compression. Apart from that I still have to record moar guitarz, redo the strings and I'll be more or less done. =)

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uxsh

Let there be strings!

Ummm almost-definitive version I think?

Apparently the stupid rattling tom sound is supposed to be there; the toms are apparently 'bleeding' into the snare's mic so it's completely realistic blah.

Can't listen to it on speakers now, but on my headphones bass, kick drum and rhythm guitars are RELATIVELY DECENTLY balanced, with only the bass-drum being a bit on the thin side. Might be possible that the lower-end is still a bit muddy. =/

Things left to do:

- Re-record lead guitars without Delay effects, (re)record guitar solo and make it not-sloppy etc.

- Mastering and stuff like that.

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This is REALLY good stuff. I like how this is composed, and the sixto-ish feel it has to it. :-D

However, I have to say that i feel that this gets spoiled by the production: The sample choosing, other times is bad timing on the drums (specially on the beginning.. the drum solos at the end are awesome)... sometimes the drums are ultra realistic.. others are ultra-fake (you'll probably realize when).

If i were you, I'd spend a day ripping off drum sounds from bands you like, and using them in this song to make your own rythms (a.k.a Sampling LOL).

In 0:41 the piano is playing some weird notes which are out of scale.

If I were you, I'd spend some good time mastering it. Some good things you could do:

1 - Put a compressor on the drums (everyone likes loud drums.. of course.. not too loud) and then some reverb to everything, but specially to the drums and the piano/harpsichord.

2 - Use SEVERAL crash and ride sounds. THat way, people won't realize they aren't real drums.

3 - Be careful about the realism of the piano. Maybe you could get Garritan Personal Orchestra, it has a very good piano preset. In case you can't find anything,.. put it less bright and with more reeverb.

4 - I would put a lot more of ornaments and littley stuff from time to time.. to make this better.

5 - Put something over those strings.. or at least don't put them so loud, because the sample is not da best ever LOL.

okay.. now after this badass criticism, I really have to say (despite it doesn't seems that) that this is VERY good and I liked it very much. The arrangement is 10/10, interpretation is 10/10 but production is 5/10. Work on that and you'll make this a classic.

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This is REALLY good stuff. I like how this is composed, and the sixto-ish feel it has to it. :-D

However, I have to say that i feel that this gets spoiled by the production: The sample choosing, other times is bad timing on the drums (specially on the beginning.. the drum solos at the end are awesome)... sometimes the drums are ultra realistic.. others are ultra-fake (you'll probably realize when).

If i were you, I'd spend a day ripping off drum sounds from bands you like, and using them in this song to make your own rythms (a.k.a Sampling LOL).

In 0:41 the piano is playing some weird notes which are out of scale.

If I were you, I'd spend some good time mastering it. Some good things you could do:

1 - Put a compressor on the drums (everyone likes loud drums.. of course.. not too loud) and then some reverb to everything, but specially to the drums and the piano/harpsichord.

2 - Use SEVERAL crash and ride sounds. THat way, people won't realize they aren't real drums.

3 - Be careful about the realism of the piano. Maybe you could get Garritan Personal Orchestra, it has a very good piano preset. In case you can't find anything,.. put it less bright and with more reeverb.

4 - I would put a lot more of ornaments and littley stuff from time to time.. to make this better.

5 - Put something over those strings.. or at least don't put them so loud, because the sample is not da best ever LOL.

okay.. now after this badass criticism, I really have to say (despite it doesn't seems that) that this is VERY good and I liked it very much. The arrangement is 10/10, interpretation is 10/10 but production is 5/10. Work on that and you'll make this a classic.

Hey thanks a lot for the feedback! You're definitely right about the piano, the ostinato does tend to get a little lame (and off-key) after some time. I noticed the strings during the section around 0:40 tend to mask out the rest of the instruments, which makes it sound like the whole track goes softer and back up again, so I'll have to fix that too, I agree that the strings are a bit too up-front.

Your feedback on the drums was kind of vague, did you mean the way the samples are used sounds fake or did you mean that the rhythms and fills used aren't realistic? I am in fact using 2 different crashes, 1 China and 1 Ride (Which is pretty much like a real drum-kit) that all have some pretty intricate velocity layering, so I'm guessing if it's because of the samples I have to alter the velocities a bit more. If it's something else, I'm stumped =/

Ya, production and me don't make a very good couple it seems.

Edit: Some idea's that didn't make it (it's pretty funny to hear, even though it's midi, even has a totally unrelated FFVII cameo)

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ydqd

Minor update, mostly in terms of mixing. Some multiband compression on the drums worked well enough, made the cymbals less prominent in the mid-range and more sizzly (which should pull away the attention from the fakiness a bit). Re-recorded Lead Guitars but not the guitar solo. Also, I know a lot of the instruments sound fake, but putting on more reverb is NOT an option. As I have it now, adding more reverb to pretty much anything would make the whole mix all that much more muddier. General suggestions on the mixing and mastering are still very welcome!

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First off, love the strings. Now, production. The major thing I can hear is that this still has a gaping hole in the midranges. Do you have some monitors or mixing headphones? If not, that may be where your problem lies. Just messing around in Winamp, giving a boost around 1k-6khz to the whole song made it sound a ton better already. Make sure you didn't kill that frequency range in any of your instruments with your current EQs, and I'd boost up the guitars in that range even if you didn't. When applying that change to the whole mix it made the cymbals sound TOO sizzly, so watch out with that. That's really the most immediate problem, that should be addressed before anything else, then it'll be easier to hunt down all the little things. This is easily my favorite WIP on here, and the new arrangement changes are awesome (The guitar at 0:30ish sounds awesome). I really look forward to hearing more. Keep it up!

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Hey you're right about the winamp thingy. I'm mixing on AKG K240's and using my cheapo speakers (with subwoofer though) as alternative reference. The hole in the higher mid-range might be explained by the fact that I reduced this range with multi-band compression on the drums to make the cymbals less intrusive. Funny thing is I've been boosting this range like a motherfucker in Reason, especially on the guitars, but meh, I'll take another look. I think pretty much the only major thing left to do is record the guitar-solo at 2:54, thanks for the feedback! :D

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You know, I'd offer to play bass for this, but I don't think I can play that fast. =P If you think it'd still be worth it for me to record it and speed it up or something, or rework it to be a bit more playable, I'd love to do the bass. Hit me up with a PM if you want to.

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eqog

Whoa, what the fuck did I do? Drums went way too loud during the bumping up of the volume, so I'll fix that in the next render, but the Guitar Solo is there, even if it's umm..not that very audible. Anyway, all things except production are done, Resubbing tomorrow after a fierce Mixing & Mastering session :D

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Well, the arrangement is pretty hot, though you know I'm not much of an arranger anyway. The guitars need to be EQ'd more aggressively, though. Boost them a little around the 3-4k range and maybe a low-pass filter would help with the fizzies. Other than that, a very cool mix.

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