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Need help on this track, I've listened myself blind (UPDATED)

Haakond

Member
Hi fellow musicians!

I am currently working on a track thats supposed to be played during the credits of an upcoming video game. The problem is however, I've listened myself blind. Therefore, I need your help to check if something sounds wrong, out of time, dynamics etc. Been working on and off with this track since October, and I don't think I can work on it anymore without going completely insane.

I will be very glad if you could point out things that I need to improve. Hope you like it! :)


EDIT: added the new track. See more details below
 
Last edited:
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Haakond

Haakond

Member
The director of the video game wanted me to change the clarinet in the beginning, to something louder. I may go for french horns here.

Did anyone else have a listen?
 

jhughes

Member
Something in the beginning sounds out of the pocket rhythmically to me between the staccato and winds, could be a mix thing.
The figure starting at 0.50, I think you could play with the dynamics more, I hear more drastic dynamic changes.
1:38-once again I think it could be softer.
2:05-I might extend the stop slightly longer before the piano comes in.
Those are my two cents
 

aaronventure

Senior Member
Hi!

Nice piece. Is this what's going into the final game or will there be a live recording? I don't think there's anything wrong with a clarinet taking that first run of the melody, it sets it up nicely for the horns doing the second run of the melody.

If it's a tone problem, you'll have to change instruments. Maybe a solo viola? With the clarinet then slowly coming in after 4 bars of the melody?

If it's just a volume problem, just drive the fader up :D On a technical side, I feel like that clarinet line is missing some bite that a solo should have. You can try with artificial dynamics by using a transient shaper on that clarinet for that line, with plenty of attack.

Just an (obvious) example:


I like the recent recording for the Williams and Spielberg collection even more, but I can only find the stream on Spotify.


Of course, samples will never be like a live performance. However if the version going into the final product is virtual, we gotta do our best. It might be just that little bit of magic that's missing. For an actual VI, the closest to something like this just might be the SWAM Clarinet.

I do think you could get away with a little bit of compression, transient shaper-induced attack and a db or two of volume for that line.

If they really don't want a clarinet, oh well. The simplest solution I'm sure you know of - a strong instrument in the same range. Viola, a strained Cello, maybe a muted trombone. I can't hear a trumpet with this orchestration, but I might be wrong. Hell, maybe even a soprano sax could work.
 
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Haakond

Haakond

Member
Something in the beginning sounds out of the pocket rhythmically to me between the staccato and winds, could be a mix thing.
The figure starting at 0.50, I think you could play with the dynamics more, I hear more drastic dynamic changes.
1:38-once again I think it could be softer.
2:05-I might extend the stop slightly longer before the piano comes in.
Those are my two cents
Thanks! I will try all of those things you listed. I might do a ritardando at 1:38, so the change is a little more natural.
 
OP
Haakond

Haakond

Member
Hi!

Nice piece. Is this what's going into the final game or will there be a live recording? I don't think there's anything wrong with a clarinet taking that first run of the melody, it sets it up nicely for the horns doing the second run of the melody.

If it's a tone problem, you'll have to change instruments. Maybe a solo viola? With the clarinet then slowly coming in after 4 bars of the melody?

If it's just a volume problem, just drive the fader up :D On a technical side, I feel like that clarinet line is missing some bite that a solo should have. You can try with artificial dynamics by using a transient shaper on that clarinet for that line, with plenty of attack.

Just an (obvious) example:


I like the recent recording for the Williams and Spielberg collection even more, but I can only find the stream on Spotify.


Of course, samples will never be like a live performance. However if the version going into the final product is virtual, we gotta do our best. It might be just that little bit of magic that's missing. For an actual VI, the closest to something like this just might be the SWAM Clarinet.

I do think you could get away with a little bit of compression, transient shaper-induced attack and a db or two of volume for that line.

If they really don't want a clarinet, oh well. The simplest solution I'm sure you know of - a strong instrument in the same range. Viola, a strained Cello, maybe a muted trombone. I can't hear a trumpet with this orchestration, but I might be wrong. Hell, maybe even a soprano sax could work.
Thanks for this long reply! This helps so much. There is no budget for live orchestra, so this will be in the final version.

I might go for a solo viola, as I just purchased CSSS. I almost went for a sax, as you also suggested. But will it be weird if the sax plays the melody at the start, then nothing more for the rest of the track?
 

aaronventure

Senior Member
Thanks for this long reply! This helps so much. There is no budget for live orchestra, so this will be in the final version.
You're welcome. Ah, alright.

I might go for a solo viola, as I just purchased CSSS. I almost went for a sax, as you also suggested. But will it be weird if the sax plays the melody at the start, then nothing more for the rest of the track?
No harm in trying out any of the two. As for the sax, one other place I can maybe hear it is at 1:09 playing offbeat staccato root notes. Then after the section ends, you don't have to force it for the rest of the piece, as the mood changes at 1:16.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
sounds great. around 1 min 21s onwards, i'm hearing trumpets which sound a bit too soft i think. By the way, what's the room / reverb plugin you use? sounds pretty clean. doesn't sound muddy at all.
 

Rctec

Senior Member
The director of the video game wanted me to change the clarinet in the beginning, to something louder. I may go for french horns here.

Did anyone else have a listen?
...I actually think that the clarinet is very successful and the tune is perfect for it. It’s just cheeky enough... (But I agree with jhuges about things not being in the pocket). I think your orchestration in the next section is a bit too “fairground organ” and the one ‘blue’ note sticks out in an uncomfortable way. I think you should re-orchestrate that section. For my taste, it starts to be a bit all over the place after that and it looses forward momentum, lacks specificity and feels less solidly anchored in a proper idea. Too many ideas to really build a proper through-line. Your strongest material is in the first three bits. I’d ditch everything after the ‘fairground’ bit and start developing stronger variations of your main motives. ...Just my two cents, but what do I know. (And I - on purpose - only listened to it once. First impressions and all that...)

-Hz-
 
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Haakond

Haakond

Member
sounds great. around 1 min 21s onwards, i'm hearing trumpets which sound a bit too soft i think. By the way, what's the room / reverb plugin you use? sounds pretty clean. doesn't sound muddy at all.
Thank you! Yeah, that is actually supposed to be a solo trumpet, but I might have to do something about it and pull it more back in the mix.

I use ValhallaRoom as my main reverb. I send each section to either a front, mid or back reverb, and also send everything to a glue reverb.
 
OP
Haakond

Haakond

Member
...I actually think that the clarinet is very successful and the tune is perfect for it. It’s just cheeky enough... (But I agree with jhuges about things not being in the pocket). I think your orchestration in the next section is a bit too “fairground organ” and the one ‘blue’ note sticks out in an uncomfortable way. I think you should re-orchestrate that section. For my taste, it starts to be a bit all over the place after that and it looses forward momentum, lacks specificity and feels less solidly anchored in a proper idea. Too many ideas to really build a proper through-line. Your strongest material is in the first three bits. I’d ditch everything after the ‘fairground’ bit and start developing stronger variations of your main motives. ...Just my two cents, but what do I know. (And I - on purpose - only listened to it once. First impressions and all that...)

-Hz-
Wow, I had no idea such a huge composer would ever listen to anything I've made. I am very grateful for your feedback!

I´ll do something with the clarinet to make it sharper.
Working on the second section now, trying different instruments. Do you have any suggestions? I found that the marimba did the line pretty nice.
And yeah, probably had to many ideas I wanted to use. Working on that as well!
 

constaneum

Senior Member
Thank you! Yeah, that is actually supposed to be a solo trumpet, but I might have to do something about it and pull it more back in the mix.

I use ValhallaRoom as my main reverb. I send each section to either a front, mid or back reverb, and also send everything to a glue reverb.
curious. What's your room reverb setting? possible to share with me?
 

Rctec

Senior Member
Wow, I had no idea such a huge composer would ever listen to anything I've made. I am very grateful for your feedback!

I´ll do something with the clarinet to make it sharper.
Working on the second section now, trying different instruments. Do you have any suggestions? I found that the marimba did the line pretty nice.
And yeah, probably had to many ideas I wanted to use. Working on that as well!
Listen to some Prokofiev and Shostakovich for that “Fairgound” section. They know how to do quirky yet classy... by the way, I didn’t think that the clarinet sounded weak. It might be more a case of how you “frame” it with your orchestration.
-Hz-
 
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Haakond

Haakond

Member
Hi again!

I tried to take all of your feedback to the track. Ended up with something I didn't like, so I made a new one. Didn't like that either, so I made a third one! And here is the result:


A lot of the song is different from the first version, but I am happy with the result. My goal was to try to make it more coherent. Any feedback on the new version will be much appreciated. I listened myself blind on this one as well, so there may be things here and there that I need to change!
 
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