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1057095 Posts in 42936 Topics- by 34884 Members - Latest Member: huntermusicandtv

October 24, 2014, 10:16:54 PM
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1  Developer / Audio / Re: Show us some of your music! on: August 23, 2014, 05:10:07 AM
Here's a track I did for 'Light', from Just a Pixel and published by Team 17:

https://soundcloud.com/gavinharrison/light

Vocals from Rachel Dey.

More music from the game can be found here:

https://gavinharrisonsounds.bandcamp.com/album/light-original-soundtrack
2  Developer / Audio / Re: About EQ on: August 21, 2014, 07:11:44 AM
It's quite a long topic, but trying to keep things short and simple…ultimately as you work more and learn more (as we all keep learning whilst we work!), you'll start to find that by doing 'x' at 'x' frequency you'll achieve a certain type of sound.  Want a crisp snare?  Boost around 3k, or you could try 8k for a real snap.  Want to bring out vocal clarity a bit more?  Try a little boost around 1.5k.

Each instrument is powerful in a certain area and you want all your parts to be able to gel well rather than all occupying the same space.  Do try and EQ when listening to your entire track, otherwise you can spend ages getting one part to sound lovely only to discover against everything else it sounds terrible…a song is the sum of all the different parts.

Of course, all this relies on the sound source you start with being recorded well / in a certain fashion.  It really comes down to experimenting, try an EQ on something and if what you're doing makes things sound better than go for it.  I will say do try and aim to cut rather than boost where you can.

I've had a quick look on the internet and this article, whilst being old, is a good read:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/mar95/eq.html

I can say no mix is perfect and you'll always go back to something when you hear it and wish you'd done things differently, trust me on that one!   
3  Developer / Audio / Re: About EQ on: August 21, 2014, 05:54:08 AM
There are sort of 'rules' that you can generally adhere to, but the best rule to follow is if it sounds good…it is good!  One thing I would say to always check is the bottom end, some things can get lively…especially synth patches.  Always HP anything where the bass doesn't need to be present.  This will also have the effect of allowing you to push your mixes louder without the need for heavy limiting.

The part that says, if it sounds good, then its good, I understand that part. But then you say that checking the bottom end is important. What do you exactly mean with checking? What am I looking for?

Well take something like an electric guitar, anything that happens in the lower frequencies will be pretty worthless (obviously different for a bass guitar!) so you'll generally want to hi-pass them.  Personally I'd say 40-50hz is quite high up to start cutting, though it would depend on the slope you have on the roll off.  That being said, there are no solid hard and fast rules!

Ultimately bass takes up the most energy in terms of frequencies, so taking out unwanted bass will not only make mixes sound better but will also allow you to go louder without smashing a limiter!
4  Developer / Audio / Re: About EQ on: August 21, 2014, 02:17:22 AM
There are sort of 'rules' that you can generally adhere to, but the best rule to follow is if it sounds good…it is good!  One thing I would say to always check is the bottom end, some things can get lively…especially synth patches.  Always HP anything where the bass doesn't need to be present.  This will also have the effect of allowing you to push your mixes louder without the need for heavy limiting.
5  Developer / Audio / Re: Music doubts on: September 25, 2013, 03:42:39 AM
Wow, well I guess it really depends on exactly what you want to do...but I can honestly say I have no artistic skills whatsoever and wouldn't expect to be able to pick up any graphics package and just be able to draw something.

So bottom line is you need to have some sort of instinct for what will work musically, this is the part that cannot be taught.  The theory behind composing is extremely important if you want to do it well, as is the theory behind any discipline.  However if you really want to just be able to pick up a music software package and experiment with ideas I'd suggest going with something that has a lot of prepackaged loops for you to play with.  So something like GarageBand (as has already been suggested) would be great, or something like Acid from Sony may also fit the bill:

http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/acidsoftware

Ultimately there is no quick and easy fix to do something well, and as I said I would expect this across anything anybody chooses to do!

6  Developer / Audio / Re: Orchestral or chiptune with retro visuals on: September 18, 2013, 05:22:31 AM
No problem and all the best with the game, hope you find the solution you want...really like the visual style!
7  Developer / Audio / Re: Orchestral or chiptune with retro visuals on: September 18, 2013, 04:32:47 AM
Hey,

There is nothing wrong at all with mixing orchestral music with a chiptune / retro style and feel, in fact I've just done this exact thing with Orangepixel's recent game Heroes of Loot.  So I'd say go with what ever sounds best!

Gavin.
8  Developer / Audio / Re: studio monitors on: September 11, 2013, 12:57:45 AM
I'd say before you even think about monitors make sure you have the room properly treated acoustically...well, as much as is feasibly possible!  A bad sounding room will destroy mixes no matter what monitors you have.
9  Developer / Offering Paid Work / Re: [Paid] Seeking Talented Arranger on: August 30, 2013, 10:47:15 AM
Hi,

I would definitely be interested in working on this, my portfolio can be found at:

http://www.gavinharrisonsounds.com

What would be the best email address to contact you on?

Many thanks,
Gavin.
10  Developer / Audio / Re: Sir. Chipps (Chiptune esque track) on: August 01, 2013, 08:10:06 AM
Enjoyable listen for a hot summers day...I liked the part where it went mono around a minute in before stretching back into stereo!
11  Developer / Audio / Re: Breaking through as a pro musician these days on: May 31, 2013, 02:55:35 AM
TWA was David's first major game he scored, and it has gone on to be a massive success.  A part of that is of course right place right time, and the other part is the fantastic music writing and also the great game / story.  Finding a good indie developer who has the same outlook and drive as you is key, a good working relationship will breed a good product.

When I say musicians don't have a presence on the internet, I'm not always talking about the top 1% like the Hans Zimmer's, the John William's, etc.  I've worked with many top composers / producers who earn a very good living through my TV work yet several barely have any presence on the net.

Definitely have fun making what you do, that is a good mind set!  Smiley  But also as musicians we do have to remember we are making a product (much as that sounds unartistic) and all products need the right marketing.
12  Developer / Audio / Re: Breaking through as a pro musician these days on: May 31, 2013, 02:42:40 AM
Just on the part regarding followers etc, some of the main musicians I know making a living today barely have a presence on the internet.  Personally I think it's becoming more and more important, but it's still a matter of getting out there and meeting people at conferences, meet ups, etc.

Are you looking to become the next Hans Zimmer or are you looking to make a living from music?  You have to start by looking at all the ways to make a living from music and if you become the next Hans Zimmer in the process in terms of followers etc then it is a bonus!
13  Developer / Offering Paid Work / Re: Pixels Needed for Roguelike Game on: May 23, 2013, 04:50:53 AM
Hi Peter,

Just posting here as requested re sound design...my email is [email protected]

Thanks!
14  Developer / Audio / Re: How to equalize/prepare a song for a smartphone game? on: May 03, 2013, 04:12:04 AM
Personally I don't come from the school of thought that you should mix just for a smartphone speaker, remember people can use headphones...a good mix should sound good regardless.  However, that being said it is a good thing to think about the target audience and pick instruments that are going to accurately convey what you need.

Another thing that is perhaps more important, how does your mix sound when summed to mono?  Also, what sort of mastering did you do and how hard did you limit the sound?

Lauchsuppe gives some good advice in my opinion, adding a touch of distortion or better still run the bass through a tape emulator plug in to introduce some harmonics and it will improve things.  If you want me to take a look at the mix (no obligation, just helping!) I'd be happy to do so, just send a PM.
15  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 25, 2013, 03:33:22 AM
Ahhh yes, common ground...compression done wrong does more damage to a track than most things done wrong I'd say!

I do agree regarding dynamics, the hardest part usually is when going for mastering (I rarely attempt to master my own work!) generally the dynamic range has to be kept to 10db.  Anyway, again sorry if I offended...though we're now at risk of derailing the thread with a general music discussion anyway!  Smiley  Funnily enough, with vocal tracks I actually try not to compress and chose to ride the fader as much as possible instead...so clearly we are polar opposite when it comes to using compression, but hey...as long as it's working for both of us then it shows more diverse production techniques!

Thanks also for responding and not just dialling out of the thread, 7am is indeed a dangerous time...
16  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 25, 2013, 03:13:10 AM
Apologies if I misunderstood, as I said I was more interested in a general discussion in compression etc and was quite happy to take it off post since I didn't want to derail the thread, and was entering into a conversation about compression techniques in general.  Your idea and time to listen and critic peoples work was great and indeed I was happy to have my own work put through this and didn't question your comments.

In fact I was curious regarding your anti compression ideals more from the point of view that I may learn something from your ideas and studio technique.
17  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 25, 2013, 01:37:31 AM
Just as a side to this, compression is an extremely useful tool when used in the right way...For instance, you want punchy drums?  Compression.  Also, using compression will not result in a more bass heavy mix, though I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why it might as it could be useful information...that should probably be saved for another thread though!  Compression and limiting are two extremely different things and should be used as such.

Was referring to it causing the bass heaviness in the track mainly in times where you use it on the entire mix, especially in cases where you are using a classic compressor and not a multi-frequency compressor(which I still shun).

The biggest problem I see people using compression(wrongly) is just trying to make the music loud, and typically speaking the high mids will end up being cutoff, then the low mids, while the high bass/low bass and treb continues to rise.  What happens though, is since it doesn't take much to boost the levels of the bass, you end up with a track loaded with it.  Take into account the attack/release of the compression, it can cause frequencies to phase in and out as the bass starts to peak here and there. I'm a firm believer in only using compression as a last resort in cases where you just don't have another option, like vocals that don't need to be really dynamic, and should maintain a consistent volume throughout.  On a track by track basis it makes a lot more sense to use one, and it can boost bass pretty high, same with drum parts(which often thickens the bass because the treble is usually killing the competition because of the cymbals/snare), etc.  If the initial take/recording of a single track is fixable with compression, by all means.  If an entire mix is bad, you are better off remixing everything from the ground up to better balance things, because compression will not save a shitty mix. :\

I hate limiters too but most DAWs have one built in it seems.  That's probably a good thing though because most of my projects are always hitting around +4 to +9dB ... o_o



This simply isn't true, a compressor won't cause any phase issues unless you are using it in parallel configuration, and even then if you're mixing in the box it'll only do it if your delay compensation isn't correct.  If you are getting phase, then the problem with there before the compressor.  Also a compressor (that isn't multi band) will not boost the bass or cut off frequencies, indeed a compressor can actually be an extremely useful tool in removing bass, especially from an over boomy kik drum.  A compressor isn't always about 'fixing' a sound, it is also an extremely useful sound shaping tool in its own right...I wonder if you are against the general 'loudness wars' so to speak and this has shaped your opinion...in those cases that's just compression (and of course limiters) being used abusively.

Don't get me wrong I'm not for or against compressors, indeed if you can create a good track regardless of EQ, compression, reverb etc then it's still a good track.  Also I've yet to use a DAW with a limiter built in, if you clip a track you will start to get digital distortion...Do you mean the way the DAW carries out it's summing?  Out of curiosity, can I ask what you're monitoring through?  I don't want to derail the thread or your fantastic offer to listen to all the tracks people are putting forward so would be happy to continue compressor (and general music!) discussion via PM.
18  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 24, 2013, 12:13:37 AM
First of all, is this GavinHarrisonSounds the Porcupine Tree drummer?? ;P

Second, I have a track which I want Harsh Criticisim: https://soundcloud.com/pixtermination/her-erotic-mind-is-full-of
This one is the latest I completely worked (composed, recorded and all that stuff), it is a departure from my older work where I would put emphasis on composition and leaving it as midi, and here I tried to work more on layering and timbre. The quality is rather low because I don't have professional recording/monitoring equipment, and I think I overused the limiters and compressors.

Thanks in advance, when I got more time I will try to give some thoughts on your songs too.

And the next contestant is...YOU.  Evil

If you are using a compressor.  STOP.  Compression has it's place in music, but has to be used right.  This track is really loud, and certain frequencies are causing others to "drop" in the mix.  Pay attention to the kick, notice how it kind of makes other pitches "drop" a tad, like someone is punching you in the ear. Man... my ears hurt. Gotta take a break for a minute...

*lowers volume*

The compression basically results in a bass heavy track, and makes the average listener writhe in pain because their ear drums are being punched.  I know you said you might've overdone the limiters and compressors, but I couldn't help but comment on it. 

Try and avoid using them... EVER.  If you do, use it on one part.  If you do each part right, really work the mix the right way from the ground up, then ultimately you can avoid using a compressor/limiter.  If the vocals in a track are highly dynamic and need to be more constant... compression.  A guitar has a quiet part, needs to be more constant, compression.  If there are no real issues regarding the active dynamics of a track, compression is a good way to kill your mix.  It's basically saying "Hey computer, take all these frequencies, and raise them up at the same time, but put a CAP on this db level and don't let them go further."  When you do that, it starts cutting your high mids, treb, and then you get stuck with dense low mids and bass resulting in a muddy mix.  Having a hard time concentrating on the rest of it because I'm not sure how it would actually sound at a normal dB level. 

Can you tell I hate compression with a passion? Smiley

Just as a side to this, compression is an extremely useful tool when used in the right way...For instance, you want punchy drums?  Compression.  Also, using compression will not result in a more bass heavy mix, though I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why it might as it could be useful information...that should probably be saved for another thread though!  Compression and limiting are two extremely different things and should be used as such.
19  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 23, 2013, 11:58:37 PM
Hey, I'd be interested to get your thoughts on this track:

https://soundcloud.com/gavinharrison/cyberstream-fugitive

It's the main theme for a game still in production, nearing the finishing stages of producing the music so would appreciate any feedback!

Thanks,
Gavin.

Your turn. Smiley

First thoughts, do more with the sustained parts.  Currently the only thing changing are the staccato strings, and it would be nice to hear the sustain parts change a smidge at least before you hit a minute into the song and things start to open up more. The low mids/high bass that is sustaining for the first 1:30 or so is a bit present on my headphones.  Around 2 minutes onwards it sounds like you want multiple things going on, but nothing is taking a back seat and it's hard to distinguish all the parts really well.  Could be a simple fix with some EQ work but I think more so if you kicked the overall volume of the instrumentation back a bit and brought out the moving portions of each part as they are moving and then have them die back into the mix during the longer sustains it would help spread the mix out more.  Right now it's everything playing the same volume and not much expression pushing through.  I think if you can push back that low mid/high bass tone that's dominating the spotlight at the moment, you can bring on the high mids and treb more and make the more melodic parts stand out a bit more.

Cool thanks for the feedback, that's great!  Personally I'm pretty happy with how the end part shapes up but definitely taking on board the comments for the intro section...will have to think about that.  If I can be cheeky, I'd like any thoughts on this song:

https://soundcloud.com/gavinharrison/dream-the-dream

Thanks in advance!
20  Developer / Audio / Re: Harsh Criticism Thread on: April 23, 2013, 11:56:24 PM
M-Audio makes some pretty nice Audio Devices, and they all have ASIO drivers so the latency on them is minimal.  They also are reasonably priced considering their quality.  USB/Firewire interfaces are okay, but they don't really help much for buffering since it's still heavily reliant on your PC's performance.  Internal devices will help remove a lot of the strain on your CPU.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--AKGK240STU

Those are the phones I use, but you can probably find a better deal elsewhere.  I think I paid $80 for mine about 7 years ago.

Wow, I can't believe they are advertising the open back as a plus point for recording vocals?!?!
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