Hi there! Just saw your thread in the audio forum, so I thought I might as well give you a specific review for this particular song.
In terms of composition, I like the change in chords when the lead instrument comes in. That's actually quite a clever musical style figure, and something you should definitely explore further in future songs. That said, overall, the piece is a bit bland, and could definitely use some more harmonic and melodic movement, as well as improved structure. A good way to achieve this when you're just starting out, is to force yourself to stick to a certain musical form, such as verse - verse - chorus - verse - chorus (a.k.a. AABAB form).
In terms of mixing, there's quite a noticeable discrepancy between the MIDI backing tracks (drums, piano) and the live instruments. One way of fixing this, is by applying a general reverb effect to all the instruments. This will then 'glue' your mix together. Other than that, your live instruments sound like they've been recorded too "hot", i.e. the input gain is too high: I can hear clipping and a lot of unwanted distortion. When you look at the waveform itself, you can also clearly see the guitars increasing the overall volume by a large margin. Thus, try to record your instruments at a lower level (the recommended sweet spot being around -18DB). Lastly, your guitars could use some EQ treatment as well. You may want to look up the "Interactive frequency chart", which will give you a good idea of what frequencies to look for when your recording sounds too 'full', 'boomy', 'harsh', etc.
That's all the feedback I could think of for this particular piece, really. Hope it helps!
Thanks for the feedback, I'm sure it'll help!
Just saw your post in the audio advertisements thread about this piece being zero-bombed, so I thought I'd write a review to help you out a bit.
The piece certainly isn't as terrible as the votes so far might suggest, but unfortunately, it's just not very special either. There's not really a clear theme, nor is there any musical development. That said, I can actually imagine this being used as an ambient loop for a video game or something, so if that was your aim, you may well be on the right track.
The final mix is okay, but could be improved upon to really make it easy on the ears. The percussion is a bit too loud for my taste, and there's some distortion (clipping?) here and there. However, there is sufficient depth in the piece, which means the relative volumes of the individual tracks are alright. Side-chaining is a bit overdone in my taste, but that might be a personal preference thing.
My advice would be to focus on what kind of story you'd like to tell with your music. Right now, the piece doesn't really convey any mood at all, and in the end, music is all about expression and telling a story through sound (in my opinion, at least). Try thinking of a clear melody or interesting harmonic content, and try to develop that into something interesting. If you're able to fix the mixing issues as well, I'm sure you'll be able to come up with something nice!
I have to give you credit for the loop of this piece, though: It's really seamless!
Thank you, man. Thank you so much.
Sadly my goal was a full DnB trrack, so I guess I have very long ways to go on that.
I can definitely work the percussion through, but I am glad that it already has depth to it. I´ll take the sidechaining down a bit.
The story/mood of the track was kind of in the image I selected- that of dark, rusty cables in an enclosed space. Red, rusty brown and black- rich but foreboding colors. Sadly I couldn´t think of anyway to expand on that thought. However, I´ve listened over some of your cinematic pieces and I may catch some inspiration from those.
Thank you very much for giving me a chance and lending some good advice, I truly appreciate it.
Cool stuff! I can really hear the inspiration from the original song (especially in terms of instruments), but at the same time it's fresh enough to keep things interesting.
I really liked the build-up at the beginning and the themes you've used are catchy and varied. Overall, it's a really nice tune, and a worthy successor!
That said, there are a few quirks you could keep in mind for future releases. Although there's a good amount separation in the mix (which is great), the stereo mix is a bit too wide in my opinion. In combination with the high amount of compression and low bass-frequencies, this puts slightly too much pressure on the ears (or at least mine). Perhaps you could consider increasing the dynamic range in your mix a bit, so that the ears have a bit more room to 'breathe'. In addition, the ending is a bit too sudden for my taste, but I guess that just comes down to personal preference.
All in all, it's a very enjoyable piece; keep up the good work!
I guess it's just my style of mixing. Sorry about that. Thanks though.
Since this is a mix test, I'll purely review the mixing aspect of the song here (no rating is given for composition).
First of all, compression is a lot more subtle than it used to be in your songs, which is good. I'm personally not a fan of the 'pumping effect' you get when things are overcompressed, so definitely an improvement in that regard.
EQ could still use some tweaking here, though. Right now, the mix is too harsh, causing ear fatigue quickly. I had to cut the frequencies from 2khz and up by -6db to make it easier on the ears (and even then there was a lot of "crunch").
The stereo image could use some work as well. If you use stereo imaging software (e.g. a goniometer), you'll see that this mix isn't really mono-compatible. Guitar parts fade away too much right now when you're summing to mono. After analysing each frequency type (low, mid, mid-high, high), I came to the conclusion that there's simply too much stereo information in your mix. Try to use as little side information as possible (especially in the bass parts of your mix), and the clarity of your mix should increase drastically. Doubling guitars naturally creates some side information, but make sure it's balanced.
Some general tips:
- Compare your own mix with an existing mix you think sounds good.
- Make sure your mix is at least somewhat mono-compatible.
- Keep it simple. Try not to 'overmix' your song.
Hope this helped! If anything is not clear, feel free to drop a response :)
damn....this is hard. Thanks for the help.
I like the concept behind your song: it has a nice dark and epic kind of feel to it. It also really reminds me of the works of Waterflame; perhaps your source of inspiration?
Right now, I think that there are too many transients at work here. The track is quite harsh / piercing, making it hard to listen to. Keep in mind that this is not just a mixing problem per se: your arrangement plays a big part here as well. Specifically, if you're mainly using percussive / staccato sounds to build up your track, it will cause ear fatigue in no time.
Regarding structure, an easy way to "fix" this is to simply write down your song structure, similar to how you would with a poem (A - A - B - B, for example). There's plenty examples of common musical form on the internet that you could use as a reference guide :)
All in all, I like the concept, but there is still work to be done here. 3/5
Oh yeah, I definitely agree. I plan to add in melodic parts, and smooth/vary things out a little :p just wanted to throw some ideas together. It does cause fatigue extremely quickly in its current state.
Thanks for the feedback ^^
You made a very nice little piece here! I really like the overall composition and the "vibe" you're trying to portray with it.
My personal suggestion would be to expand the song a little bit, so it follows traditional musical form a bit more. Right now, the song structure is as follows: (Intro -) A - B - B. You could expand on the theme by using an A - A - B - A or A - A - B - B form instead. Of course, this is down to personal taste, but I personally think it would allow you to express the first theme a bit more :)
Mix-wise, I think some small tweaking here and there could further improve the overall mix. Saw-waves tend to sound a bit harsh, and this song is no exception, especially since you've formed your bass-line with them. They also sound a bit boomy. Some additional EQ can help to reduce ear-fatigue in this case. In addition, although reverb is nice, too much of it can create a muddy mix. Using a delay would've given you a much cleaner result!
All in all, though, I really like it! Keep up the good work! 4/5
Hey thanks for the feedback! I know it's a really late response, but I appreciate the advice you've given here. Only 2 years later is this really making sense to me now and I agree with the things you've pointed out. Will probably be reworking the track soon. Thanks again :)
The mood you set with your piece greatly fits the title. It sounds really cheerful and feels like the start of a new beginning, just like you'd expect from New Year's Eve. Although the theme you set and the orchestration in general are both fine, there are a few things I'd like to point out that you could work on.
First of all, the start of the piece is a bit too unexpected and bombastic to my taste. Although this can work in some pieces, it didn't really seem fitting for this one, especially since the tone lowered quite dramatically right after it. Perhaps starting the first few bars with a crescendo and ending it with a decrescendo would be more fitting?
Furthermore, the melodies are really hard to follow. This is probably mainly due to the amount of layers playing different things at the same time. Right now there's more harmony than melody, which is a shame, as it makes the song less memorable.
The chord progressions in general are quite nice, though. However, the one chord progression that does bug me a bit, is the one from 01:37-01:47, which sounds too much like Pachelbel's Canon. Also, the part from 00:51-01:17 sounds a bit too monotonous. Furthermore, there seems to be a bit of dissonance @ ~ 01:46-01:47.
Be aware of clipping, as there's quite a lot of it throughout the piece. The moment the volume passes the 0.0 DB threshold, your signal starts to clip, which is especially noticable starting @ ~ 02:52.
Lastly, that sustained note near the end might be a bit too much for some players, so it might be worth shortening that section a bit.
I know writing music for orchestras can be quite difficult, so you definitely earn credit for that. It was a nice piece to listen to, but there are a few things you may want to keep in mind for future works. All in all, a 3.5/5!
Thank you for your review. If there are any issues with the harmony drowning out the melody or clipping, it is likely from either the site or the conversion from wav to mp3 - I listened to my own mix on several different playback devices (two laptops, one with headphones and one without; a home stereo system, and the iPhone playback), and don't hear any imbalance or clipping, and my mixing software doesn't show any clipping.
The chord progression from 1:37 to 1:47 may be similar to the progression Pachelbel's Canon, but is a common pattern throughout classical and pop/jazz music (especially from the 60s to the present) and hasn't bugged anyone else that's heard this. I agree that it sounds a little monotonous and static from 0:51 to 1:03 (not past that, though), but as I mentioned in my reply to Lethal-Input, that comes from issues in the VST library. Also, there is no dissonance at 1:46 in either the sheet music or that I can hear in my original mix (just an A9 chord - the doublings are slightly unusual but necessary for where the different parts go in the next chord).
While I respect your opinion in the last paragraph, I have been writing orchestral music for more than three years. If you check the other orchestral music on my profile or my website, you will see that I have quite a bit of experience writing for orchestra (even before being taught composition and orchestration at Westminster Choir College), although I do not claim to be an expert yet. I have had some of my works (including this one) used as composition and orchestration examples at Westminster Conservatory in theory and composition classes for their Honors Music Program and evaluated by composition faculty at Westminster Choir College and the Hartt School of Music. Some of the things you had mentioned are either things that I can't control without a live orchestra or are slightly less common but done for a very specific reason.
I know that every piece I write can't please everyone that might possible listen to it, but I hope your less than satisfactory experience with this piece won't cause you to not listen to more of my music.
Quite an interesting piece you have there, with a very mature theme as well. Although the song as whole is a bit on the simple side, the chords you used work well enough and complement the lyrics quite nicely.
The solo @ ~01:00 was a nice change of pace, though the part @ 01:10-01:15 sounds a bit off: it sounds a bit too cheerful to my taste.
I think it might really be worth recording this with a more elaborate setup. The song has lots of potential, but the mediocre production quality is a limiting factor. At the moment it sounds more like I'm listening to a proof of concept, rather than an actual song.
What I'd personally suggest is to have at least three seperate channels: two recordings of the guitar hard-panned left and right to create a stereo effect, and have a seperate recording of the vocals panned to the centre. You could always opt to add things like percussion to add to the sense of rhythm. Even these simple changes could improve the production quality drastically.
All in all, I quite liked the song though, so 4/5 for you!
Thank you Eagle! Much appreciated, and good food for thought. I'm heading in to the studio soon, so I'll definitely take what you said into consideration. The lead does sound too cheerful. Agreed. lol Some girl getting raped shouldn't be paired with a happy solo. Although, that could be interpreted as the people around her having fun, and going about their happy lives while she is suffering. Or it could be happiness she strives for, only to be dragged back down again into the chorus. I don't know. That's just some bullshit I made up. The solo is way to happy. :)
Another great piece to listen to! I must say, I really like the chord progressions you're using these days. As MeinFurry pointed out, the song is indeed very dynamic overall in terms of melodies / chords, though it could be a bit more dynamic in terms of the instruments being used. Although I love synth basses as much as the next guy, it is a bit much when it's the same sound playing the same (1/16th?) pattern throughout the song.
The guitar sounds nice as it is, though it would perhaps have been better to have it sound a bit less 'crunchy' and a bit more 'full' instead. That's just personal taste though. Drums sound great, and there isn't too much compression :) Compliments for the mixing in general: the basses are nicely represented, and I can clearly hear all the different layers in the mix.
All in all, a 4.5/5!
Yeah, this was only my second attempt with cinematic and first time adding guitars into the mix of this genre, but i agree. It's mainly just what the client requested so was his specifications. I know what you mean though. Thanks bro!
Wow! I must say I'm pleasantly surprised with this particular song of yours! I'm probably a bit too biased to write an "objective" review, because this genre just so happens to be one of my favourites.
I really like the different chord progressions you used. Combined with the excellent 'roomy' sound of the piece, it creates a really nice 'warm' atmosphere. Especially the lows are perfectly present! Gotta love that bass-line :) The arpeggios you used for the strings sections are very nice as well.
It's a shame some of the samples are of relatively lesser quality... I can hear you used Edirol Orchestral again, which is not a bad library per se, but it is very recognizable. The choirs sounded a bit too artificial and bright, but again, there isn't a lot you can do about that. The drums were of nice quality, however, though you may want to mix (in terms of variety) them up a bit more in the future.
The only "error" I could perhaps postulate for this piece, is that there isn't a general melody to follow with your mind: it's mainly chords and arpeggios, though I don't think that's much of a problem considering it's video game music.
All in all, a 4.5/5! Keep up the good work :)
Thanks, this was mainly based on what the past client told me to do. I'm happy with the result but sadly Edirol is all i can use at the moment. But I shall keep these things in mind :) thanks
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