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1038434 Posts in 41964 Topics- by 33589 Members - Latest Member: MatthewHayden14

September 02, 2014, 11:01:29 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeAudioHarsh Criticism Thread
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Author Topic: Harsh Criticism Thread  (Read 11796 times)
ZackParrish
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« on: April 22, 2013, 05:16:12 PM »

So, I'm making this thread as a place to post your music for a one stop no BS criticism thread for your music.  I've been mentoring people on and off for the past 10 years and they seemed to have always loved it when I've remove all the sappy comments and just let them have what I thought straight up.  So that's what this is, a thread for you to post your music, and ANYBODY that wants to chime in may rip into your track so long as it's constructive criticism.  First .. to lay some ground rules...

If you post a track in here:

  • Do not 'flame' anyone for their remarks about your track.
  • You are posting here knowing full well this is not a daycare center for small children.
  • If you have an update, make sure it's evident in the track or point it out.

If you critique a track in here:
  • Don't just say something is bad without explaining why.
  • Don't pamper a track because you pity a person.
  • Speak english.  Not everybody on the planet is fluent in musical lingo.

Please respect that anything said about your track in this thread is PURELY opinion and not to be taken as an absolute.  

If you do post a track in here, please give a little bit of a description as to what you were trying to accomplish, including your choice in samples, so that when someone listens to it, they don't rip you apart for something that you were doing intentionally.  

I apologize in advance for any offense I might bring to you with my comments.

Tootles,
Zack
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Muuurgh
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 06:40:15 PM »

I'm into this thread. If you all don't mind, I'm just going to use this instead of the "show us your music" one... you know, unless you make me cry  too much Cry haha. Also, I promise not to flood it.

To give a little background first, I'm trying to work on production a bit more right now, so I'm "remastering" some of my old tunes. Though not always, I typically compose in Finale and am now getting to moving the tunes to Logic and using higher-quality samples.

Here's "Fanfare and Jubilee." This tune is structured in three parts: 1) brass fanfare [to introduce a noble figure]; 2) rhythm section groove and woodwind melody [to start the party/jubilee]; and 3) re-entry of the brass to join the party. When I originally composed this I wanted to work specifically on a brass fanfare and a Mitsuda-esque Irish folk-influenced upbeat jig--the third section is just meant to be a way to tie all of the instruments together to make the piece more cohesive.

As for what I was trying to go for in the production, I aimed for drier mix (as I'm apt to do) so that you could hear the individual instruments and their parts more clearly (the samples are modified EWQLSO Gold instruments, by the way). As in all of my tunes, my first mix is done using headphones and then I remix it using just my Apple display, thinking that the poorer quality is more representative of a general speaker system. The latter is what's here.

Have at it! And thanks ahead of time for not holding back  Hand Thumbs Up Left
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 08:02:50 PM »

If you have a staccato patch I would use that for the quicker repetitions of repeating notes to help separate them more.  Same goes for the rest of the instrumentation now as the track is progressing further.  Using the sustain patch for the staccato notes is really jarring.  It also sounds like there is little variance in the velocity of all the notes.  The tambourine, djembe?, and all of the instrumentation repeating notes could really benefit from some serious attention to the velocity.  Think of it like... accenting the beats that are important to really push the rhythm.  If you aren't familiar with velocity I highly recommend doing some research on it to help with the humanization of your track(s).

Usually on sustain pitches velocity isn't "too" important, but on shorter repetitive notation, it's pretty vital to use it to your advantage.  The opening brass would be the first thing I would work on, as far as really nailing down the articulations.

25s to 30s, the chord changes sound pretty sloppy and disjointed, could be due to the notes carrying over too much with the long release, possibly fixable by using a staccato patch to shorten the duration and give them more punch.  There definitely are a couple of chords in that span that make me cringe though.  The panning on the percussion bothers me, you have this bass heavy drum in the right(assuming it's a djembe), panned what sounds like 100% right panning, and then a tambourine panned 100% to the left.  Panning should be subtle, it doesn't take a lot to separate two parts in a mix.  

Reverb, while the last thing to worry about in this track, it's a really dry track. Using varying depths of reverb on different instrument groups can help give the track as a whole more depth.  Right now most of the parts sound really dry, like they are right in front of me.  

There's a lot of potential, but a lot to work on. Start with refining the articulations
and velocity.

Also, on the EWQL SO Gold, the instruments are panned according to their position in a real orchestra.  Unless you have a need to move them elsewhere, they can stay pretty much where they are at.  Kind of jumped the gun on the staccato bit, but now that I know what you are using, you can definitely work more with the articulations.
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GavinHarrisonSounds
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2013, 01:15:36 AM »

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.
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Sealunar
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2013, 06:29:31 AM »

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.


I love the miscellaneous glitches near the beginning. I think about halfway through it would benefit from some constant percussion. It reminds me of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution theme. Around 1/3 of the way through, I would implement some low end bass changes while that constant string is held. It gets a bit static without any harmonic variation imo.

Can you release the name/website for the game? I'd like to hear the track alongside the visuals.
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GavinHarrisonSounds
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2013, 06:45:38 AM »


Ahhh interesting to hear that about the glitches near the beginning...Also re the percussion, something I have thought about adding so will definitely have to pay that some attention.

The website for the game is here:

http://cyberstreamfugitive.com/
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Muuurgh
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2013, 07:06:05 AM »

Hey Zack, I appreciate your feedback (and for taking the time to write something lengthy).

While I did go through and change velocities around, the variance in the numbers aren't "extreme" due to the difference in timbre that a note can find just going from, say, 89 to 90 velocity on some instruments. That being said, I'm glad you pointed this out because I think that I must be imposing my own will on the notes to the extent that I hear that the subtle changes are enough, haha. I'll try to work on it--maybe that change is more extreme to my ear when I listen to an instrument individually as opposed to how its effect will work mixed in with the others. Also, my experience with velocity all comes from experimentation, so I'll definitely read up.

Same kind of goes with the staccato patches. With EWQLSO, a note played at the same velocity with sus and with staccato has a huge variance in timbre and volume. I found that really striking--it's as if the patches play more marcato than staccato, and sticking them in the middle of a group of sus notes instead of just shortening the length of a sus note sounded too bold when I tried it. I certainly trust your experience working with samples more than my own, though, haha, so I'll play around with it some more to see if I can find a better balance.

The panning's actually only set to 30% on either side, heh, but they may sound more extreme paired with the natural panning that the library gives them--I'll work on it. And as for the chords, if they make you cringe a bit, they should  Evil I'll see if I can't make them clearer, though.

Thanks again. I'll get to work on it soon and hopefully will be able to come back with something better-sounding!
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mscottweber
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2013, 07:13:56 AM »

I think this is an awesome idea for a thread, and I will certainly be posting some stuff soon!
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Audiosprite
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2013, 07:39:06 AM »

Yeah man, props
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Calum Bowen
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2013, 07:52:58 AM »

great idea! certainly the best way to improve in my experience! :~)
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2013, 08:12:16 AM »

I forgot to make one other point, I will exhaust all efforts to listen and critique every track posted in here, but try to be patient if you can with my response time. I have a full time job M-F 8-5 so in that time zone I'm not likely to listen to your tracks, and if I do I probably won't respond until later in the evening.
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2013, 08:31:31 AM »

Hey Zack, I appreciate your feedback (and for taking the time to write something lengthy).

While I did go through and change velocities around, the variance in the numbers aren't "extreme" due to the difference in timbre that a note can find just going from, say, 89 to 90 velocity on some instruments. That being said, I'm glad you pointed this out because I think that I must be imposing my own will on the notes to the extent that I hear that the subtle changes are enough, haha. I'll try to work on it--maybe that change is more extreme to my ear when I listen to an instrument individually as opposed to how its effect will work mixed in with the others. Also, my experience with velocity all comes from experimentation, so I'll definitely read up.

Same kind of goes with the staccato patches. With EWQLSO, a note played at the same velocity with sus and with staccato has a huge variance in timbre and volume. I found that really striking--it's as if the patches play more marcato than staccato, and sticking them in the middle of a group of sus notes instead of just shortening the length of a sus note sounded too bold when I tried it. I certainly trust your experience working with samples more than my own, though, haha, so I'll play around with it some more to see if I can find a better balance.

The panning's actually only set to 30% on either side, heh, but they may sound more extreme paired with the natural panning that the library gives them--I'll work on it. And as for the chords, if they make you cringe a bit, they should  Evil I'll see if I can't make them clearer, though.

Thanks again. I'll get to work on it soon and hopefully will be able to come back with something better-sounding!

I had a friend who once told me, the only limitations of the samples are the ones you present yourself.  While I do agree that there are certainly disadvantages to some things, figuring out alternatives for how to achieve something is still an option. 

http://soundcloud.com/zack-parrish/a-tribute-collab-with-calum

About a minute into that song, I'm using EWQL SO Gold for all the symphonic stuff. The trumpets are actually using the staccato patch and the Legato DXF patches on the same channel, so when I want more punch in the attack of the sustained pitches, I can raise the velocity, if I want a softer attack I keep the velocity lower, and I can keep the mod wheel in a position to where it thickens the tone of the staccato but doesn't hamper the punchiness of it.  Make sense?
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mscottweber
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2013, 09:53:16 AM »

Ok, here is a piece I wrote about a year ago.  I scored it to a trailor, which is why it has the specific hits, structure, etc.

https://soundcloud.com/broken-sounds/goblins-goblins-goblins

If memory serves me, I think the orchestral stuff is all either Sonatina Symphony Orchestra (http://sso.mattiaswestlund.net/) or Garritan Personal Orchestra.

Apart from general criticisms (compositional stuff, production, that melody sucks, etc.) I'm curious as to whether or not it would be worth it to re-do any of the parts (I have EWQLSO GOld now, and will probably be getting Spitfire Albion in the semi-near future) and actually use this piece on a demo reel, etc.

Also, I plan on listening to and critiquing other pieces as well, but that will have to wait till after hours
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thersus
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2013, 10:35:00 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.
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Muuurgh
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 10:58:56 AM »

Hey Zack, I appreciate your feedback (and for taking the time to write something lengthy).

While I did go through and change velocities around, the variance in the numbers aren't "extreme" due to the difference in timbre that a note can find just going from, say, 89 to 90 velocity on some instruments. That being said, I'm glad you pointed this out because I think that I must be imposing my own will on the notes to the extent that I hear that the subtle changes are enough, haha. I'll try to work on it--maybe that change is more extreme to my ear when I listen to an instrument individually as opposed to how its effect will work mixed in with the others. Also, my experience with velocity all comes from experimentation, so I'll definitely read up.

Same kind of goes with the staccato patches. With EWQLSO, a note played at the same velocity with sus and with staccato has a huge variance in timbre and volume. I found that really striking--it's as if the patches play more marcato than staccato, and sticking them in the middle of a group of sus notes instead of just shortening the length of a sus note sounded too bold when I tried it. I certainly trust your experience working with samples more than my own, though, haha, so I'll play around with it some more to see if I can find a better balance.

The panning's actually only set to 30% on either side, heh, but they may sound more extreme paired with the natural panning that the library gives them--I'll work on it. And as for the chords, if they make you cringe a bit, they should  Evil I'll see if I can't make them clearer, though.

Thanks again. I'll get to work on it soon and hopefully will be able to come back with something better-sounding!

I had a friend who once told me, the only limitations of the samples are the ones you present yourself.  While I do agree that there are certainly disadvantages to some things, figuring out alternatives for how to achieve something is still an option. 

http://soundcloud.com/zack-parrish/a-tribute-collab-with-calum

About a minute into that song, I'm using EWQL SO Gold for all the symphonic stuff. The trumpets are actually using the staccato patch and the Legato DXF patches on the same channel, so when I want more punch in the attack of the sustained pitches, I can raise the velocity, if I want a softer attack I keep the velocity lower, and I can keep the mod wheel in a position to where it thickens the tone of the staccato but doesn't hamper the punchiness of it.  Make sense?

Yeah, definitely; thanks for the tip. I never really thought about combining the patches that way, but it seems like it's something that can open a lot of doors.
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