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55 audio Reviews with Responses

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Good stuff! The whistling adds a very eerie feel to the entire piece and is a nice touch overall. I feel like the piece would work great for a first person shooter, or any game that requires a certain "dark" ambience, especially the first and final parts.

I'm on the same page as DKPUser3678 when it comes to the variety within the piece. I think that the sections sound great by themselves, but the transitions between them are too sudden for my taste as well.

Overall, I like how you're trying different things, and although the transitions could be worked on, the general vibe of the song is great. Keep up the good work!

BlighterProductions responds:

Hey man. Thanks a lot for the review. I find it remarkable that people associate this with shooter games. I didn't directly had that in mind when I made this track. But yeah, I can understand the thought of it.

You're right. The transitions could have been smoother. I feel like I could have used one or two instruments from a section to flow into the next with, but I didn't come to doing so (I can't seem to remember why).

Anyways, thanks again for the review. I appreciate it wholeheartedly.

Good stuff! This track somehow reminds me of the music one would hear in a Timesplitters game or other fast-paced shooters from that era.

I can hear you've been going for a quality > quantity type of workflow as of late, which is a good thing. There are lots of small details in the overall mix that really add to the atmosphere.

If I were to be nitpicky, I'd say the attack on the kick drum is a bit too much "in your face". Increasing the attack a little bit (that is: making the slope less steep) might give it slightly more room to "breathe". Other than that, I don't think I can add much to DKPUser3678's review.

Looking forward to part 2!

BlighterProductions responds:

Love your review, together with DKP’s review. Thanks a lot for the compliments. I can’t wait to hear your projects when they come to Newgrounds.

Nice work dude! You've really managed to nail the Mass Effect / Jean-Michel Jarre vibe with this one.

The transitions between the sections work really well, and there's a nice steady pulse flowing throughout the piece. I could really see this being used in a movie scene or video game.

One thing I would suggest, though, is to try to increase the amount of headroom in the mix. As you can see in the waveform itself, the sound is quite heavily limited, and you can actually hear the compression quite well. This is great for when you're trying to achieve a sort of "pumping" effect, but can be become quite tiresome for your ears at some point, especially when it's applied to the entire mix.

I would try to embrace the dynamics a bit more in your future productions, rather than trying to reduce them. Your final waveform should ideally reflect this as well, but that's just my two cents.

Overall, great work, though! Keep up the good work!

BlighterProductions responds:

Thanks a lot for the review. I got a bit inspired by the song Opening (movement 8) from Jarre’s Equinoxe Infinity album, or Night Ride by Kensuke Ushio, which has a similar style.

And thanks for letting me know about the compression. That was a thing that bothered me for longer, but I couldn’t trace back to what it was. I’ll take it into account for my next productions.

Yours sincerely.

I really like the overall atmosphere of the song. You managed to capture a retro 70s/80s electronic vibe that you don't hear very often these days. I can clearly hear the inspiration from Jean-Michel Jarre as well as some other progressive influences. Good stuff!

In terms of mixing, I'd personally recommend cutting down the muddy frequencies a bit and evening out the volumes a bit. There is sufficient clarity, but the overall mix sounds slightly too "full" in my opinion. The difference in volume between the intro and the first section is also slightly too big in my ears.

I personally think there is sufficient variation for this type of music, though it seems that's down to personal taste. It's very hard to keep a piece interesting for roughly 8.5 minutes, and I think you have done a good job in that regard.

Overall, I have to say I'm impressed! Keep up the good work!

BlighterProductions responds:

Hey man. Tons of thanks for your review. Your in-depth review really helps me understanding how it is being received. Your kinds words also make me feel better.

Good to hear from you too.

Hey man, sorry to hear you're not that into creating music anymore these days. Having to force yourself to do something is likely to suck the fun out of any activity at some point, which is probably what you're experiencing right now. In that regard it makes perfect sense to take a break from making music for a while.

That said, you could always still produce music on the side, right? To me, it almost seems like an "all or nothing" decision now, but if it's something you enjoyed doing before, why not keep it as a simple "hobby" rather than a forced "passion"? I personally think it'd be a shame if you were to throw the baby out with the bathwater, especially since your skills have developed a lot over the last years.

I do admire your dedication to look for things that you're passionate about, though. In that sense, I agree that you really should be doing stuff because you like doing it, not because you feel pressured to do so. Perhaps letting go of the pressure might even create new passions for old hobbies.

Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us, and I wish you all the best!

ThatJohnnyGuy responds:

After 12 years, I guess I got tired of it, but the point of all this was, I think I got tired of it years ago. Sometimes it was fun, but I always was hard on myself and I wasn't doing it for myself, but to be noticed. I want to find something I can do for me. But yeah, basically what you said.

No. I don't want to make music at all anymore. It's not fun anymore as I said. I just can't find it in me to want to anymore, there's no substance in it for just me. After so many years, I guess I got burned out and bored. I want to be true to myself.

It is a shame though, I do want to say I'm good at it, or at least decent, but all of this was imitation, I can't do anything anymore if I know it's an imitation, a mimic just for the attention. With the memories attached to this and why I did it, realizing it all now, I can't do it anymore. It would be destructive.

Well, yeah what you said in the last line. Old hobbies, maybe. I do kinda miss riding a bike around town and BMX'ing, used to do a bit of that as a kid. I have a lot more room now, so I'm just wondering what to do, I plan on seeing a psychologist and taking a career test, because right now I'm drawing a blank. I know some of the stuff I still like and what to do, but a lot of it is a bit of a mystery. I want to find something that expresses me, that I can pursue a career in.

Thanks! I'll be thinking a while on how to retire with style, a tribute video and maybe song to my past work. 12 years is a while. I know I'll still be doing the contests so those won't be going anywhere, or Talking Real, or voice acting.

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!

SierraRising responds:

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!

ThatJohnnyGuy responds:

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 :)

ThatJohnnyGuy responds:

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

mzcxla responds:

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 ^^

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!

DavidGrossmanMusic responds:

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.

David

Hi, I write/compose/create music.

Arend van Stenis @EagleGuard

28, Male

Composer

The Netherlands

Joined on 3/27/09

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