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September 18, 2014, 03:39:38 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeAudioHarsh Criticism Thread
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #80 on: April 28, 2013, 05:30:13 PM »

Oh wow I can't believe I Didn't see this thread sooner! I really needed some good feedback. I tried starting a thread here to get some a while ago but there were only a few good pieces of advice. So I ask you to be as harsh and truthful as possible!

Here's a song I posted to my soundcloud a couple of months ago: https://soundcloud.com/justsometoast/in-which-events-transpire

Go ahead and tear into it!

You asked for it... mwahaha... ahem... <_<

First thoughts, it's a pretty muddy mix for most of the track, and there isn't much panning done on the individual parts so it kind of makes it even muddier.  So first thing... spread the parts out a bit, not too much, but enough to keep from having 3-5 parts stacked in the center.  You also need to pass over it with some EQ, brighten it a bit mainly, because it is almost at times like listening to it with a pillow between my head and the "speaker". The part at :27 and onward seems kind of unbalanced, because your drums are going nuts in a sense, and everything else is still at a pretty mellow pace up until around 1:06, when the synth is playing a steady rhythm along side.  At that point the song feels like it should be moving, contrary to the part before it where it felt like it wanted to be but it wasn't?  Well, now that I'm listening a 5th time I can hear something moving with the drums pace but it's hard to distinguish that part from the rest because it's being drowned out by the rest of the instrumentation. 

when you did the reverb, did you just layer one reverb over all the instruments?  That could possibly be another "muddy mix" issue, especially as heavy as the reverb sounds. If you apply varying amounts of reverb to groups or individual tracks you can control the tail of the reverb better so that parts thick with mid range or low end don't start bleeding through too much. 

Yeah... you definitely have a lot of reverb on this, can tell at the end of the track... :\

So, to recap... more panning, EQ, ease up on the reverb.  It's like the song is playing in an airplane hangar. 

I think you could also use an actual "bass" part in this track, whether it's a sub bass or an electric bass, etc... I think it would help balance out the drum part when it starts going ape shit, in addition to bringing out the parts that are moving steadily with the drums. 

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Justsometoast
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« Reply #81 on: April 28, 2013, 06:24:15 PM »

Ah, thank you for that. I have to say I agree with all of your points.

EQing is something that I really have to work on. It's always too much or too little with me. Definitely going to be more thorough with my next song.
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Daniel P. (Est. Evergreen)
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« Reply #82 on: April 28, 2013, 10:37:11 PM »

Thanks again, man.  I'll really try to nail down transitions better in the future.  Thanks for all your hard work on this topic, too.  Great idea and I'm sure everyone loves it.

I sure don't... makes me feel like an asshole. :\

Its a thread not only good for the person whose turn is but also for us all. I for example whenever someone posts a new track start thinking: "this is a really good track! But what would zack parrish say about it?" and then i try to find all the things that i find could be better and later compare with what you say. Its fun and it prepares me to be more critic with myself and i learn all together Smiley
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mscottweber
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« Reply #83 on: April 29, 2013, 10:28:55 AM »


You're welcome.  Grin

And... in the spirit of thrashing other people's music...

http://soundcloud.com/zack-parrish/pyrite-heart-classroom/s-iSEyS

This has to be the most generic piece of music I have EVER written. Smiley  But the setting it's for calls for generic music so... sue me.



OKAAAAYYYY, your turn     Wink

-The first thing I notice is how annoying that percussion loop is (you know, the one with the triangle and guiro/shaker/whatever).  I thought to myself “Surely this will change into something more interesting soon enough.”

But it didn’t. 

It just kept going. 

And going.

I'm sure the boring repetitive-ness is what the scene/setting required, but it would be a lot less annoying if the percussion part changed up somehow.  Maybe by altering the rhythm very slightly over time, or by subbing in and out other percussion instruments with similar timbres, it would retain the same Bolero-style momentum but not cause my eyes to start twitching.

-My second gripe is about the electric bass entrance; it seems a bit too jarring to me.  Maybe bring it down in volume a hair.  Or have another “electric” instrument enter with the bass, or a few bars later maybe.  I particularly like this second option because...

-When the drum beat enters and the bass gets all groovy, the piece still feels a tad too orchestral to me.  Maybe change the instrumentation up a bit here (I dunno, electric piano instead of real piano possibly.  Or not.).  If another electric “pop” instrument had entered with the bass earlier and continued through this part, it might kill two birds with one stone.
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #84 on: April 29, 2013, 01:39:52 PM »

Totally agree with you.  It's actually some scrap track from 10 years ago I "re-sampled" and ... that's basically it.  Easy money in a sense, though I suppose I could've put a little more effort into expanding on the core idea of the track. :p
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Justsometoast
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« Reply #85 on: April 29, 2013, 03:03:12 PM »

What WAS the context for that song anyway Zack?
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #86 on: April 29, 2013, 04:38:21 PM »

What WAS the context for that song anyway Zack?

Oh, uh... *looks for track list descriptions*

Quote
2- Classroom theme; Calming, bright music. It's going to be used for the more light hearted scenes and softer scenes


The guy is pretty vague with all of his descriptions and said he trusts my instinct and to just do whatever I feel will work.  Sent him the track, he approved/paid for it... so it's a still a win! despite being utter crap compared to what I normally do


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Audiosprite
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« Reply #87 on: April 29, 2013, 07:58:09 PM »

Well, why not.

https://soundcloud.com/audiosprite/sister

It's for an album an artist friend of mine are putting out next month. I did a crappy 'master' for enough level to post on facebook n such but we'll be having it mastered professionally.

I'd say... try and get the drums recorded with a multi-mic setup instead of using one mic... not sure though, could've sworn I heard a tom hitting only in the right side.  The recording is fine as is but it's dead center pan on the majority of the drum parts.  The bass is so wide in comparison it almost feels like two takes.  If you can spread out the different parts of your set more, say... get the cymbals spread out from the center, move the snares and toms so they transition from one side to the other in an even spread, etc.  The bass is really loud.  Leaves the desire for the drums to be louder so my ears aren't being raped by the bass so much.  There is also a lot of line noise from the bass.  Only other thing I'd say you might consider is if you have the ability to do so, multitrack the drum mics(if you have more than one which... to me sounds like you do...) to separate channels and run compression on them so they don't sound so dead in the mix.  The bass is pretty much right in front of me playing a full stack of to 4x12 cabs with a 1000w head, and the drum is on the other side of the room behind a shield.  

I'd say add more instrumentation too but it's clearly an intentionally minimalistic track. :p

Good call on the panning. There are actually five mics on the kit on this take, but the LDCs are in recorderman setup, so there's very little stereo information. Line noise has since been fixed.

As for the size of the bass, I'll admit I enjoy this mix that way. I mean, someone described a bass I recorded as sounding like "a full stack of to 4x12 cabs with a 1000w head!"

So thanks a bunch for your time and for your ears.  Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right
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mscottweber
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« Reply #88 on: April 30, 2013, 06:12:29 AM »

Ok, here's a short little diddy I finished recently that I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on:
https://soundcloud.com/broken-sounds/find-my-heart
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Calum Bowen
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« Reply #89 on: May 01, 2013, 09:23:54 AM »

Ok, here's a short little diddy I finished recently that I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on:
https://soundcloud.com/broken-sounds/find-my-heart

sounds very nice. I think the glock has too much mid/low on it - like the hit of the stick against the glock is quite loud in comparison to the note. The note also doesn't ring out for as long as I'd like. Perhaps you've turned the release down on whatever glock you're using. If not, perhaps look for a glock with a long tail which would suit this piece in which it's only really playing sparsely.

The guitar is lovely, very nice double tracking and panning and throwing little variations in each ear and stuff - it works very well.

I mean, this is corny as hell but I don't know what you're going for really. I could imagine this on a dating website advert or a guy talking about a girl he used to date in highschool in some romantic film.

The cello could perhaps do with a little more low end as it sounds a tiny bit thin and background to me. At the same time you don't want to risk people thinking that the cello is playing bass-notes cos it's not. It's difficult. That's me getting really nit-picky but the cello just sounds a tiny bit thin to me. I presume it ends so suddenly cos it's a loop but I'd probably want to have a nice ending if this was being shown for clients or something like that.

MY TURN: Here's my boss theme for super ubi land which I've just finished. I'd love some really harsh crit to get this 100% perfect! (and despite telling off the previous track for cutting off right at the end.... mine also does this at the loop point cos i'm lazy!)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11811680/Ubi%20Boss%20Loop%20Final.wav

Hit me with all you've got!
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 12:51:04 PM by Calum Bowen » Logged

Daniel P. (Est. Evergreen)
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« Reply #90 on: May 01, 2013, 12:23:55 PM »

Ok, I will prepare myself. I will like this to be critisized. Dont let out anything you thinks its important.

I made this song for a game of a pixeled jumpy guy who has to get simple triangles. The guy looks like the ghost of pacman a little bit. its very simple game. and I think I risked much more in this one than in other songs. More risk= better result but also you fall from higher when you fall.

Let's fall! :D

https://soundcloud.com/estudioevergreen/shrink-game-ost
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ilyoung
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« Reply #91 on: May 01, 2013, 02:22:57 PM »

MY TURN: Here's my boss theme for super ubi land which I've just finished. I'd love some really harsh crit to get this 100% perfect! (and despite telling off the previous track for cutting off right at the end.... mine also does this at the loop point cos i'm lazy!)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11811680/Ubi%20Boss%20Loop%20Final.wav

Hit me with all you've got!


Wow, as always, you are one impressive composer/producer. I love listening to your stuff!

As for the criticisms, one thing that really sticks out for me is the high pitched squealing synth that you chose (pops up first time at 0:16). I personally don't like it at all. It kind of hurts my ears and sounds more annoying than pleasurable. Maybe it's a personal preference/taste thing, but that's my 2 cents. Besides that, i'm impressed with your eclectic nature and your production skills. *bows down*

Guess i'll post something, since I should be willing to take it if i'm willing to dish it *gulp*. Just a track idea I doodled out the other day while messing around with some new synth sounds.

https://soundcloud.com/illyb/h3lpm3plz-work-in-progress
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #92 on: May 01, 2013, 02:23:19 PM »

Ok, here's a short little diddy I finished recently that I'd be curious to hear people's thoughts on:
https://soundcloud.com/broken-sounds/find-my-heart

I think the cello could've come in a bit sooner... that or some other form of bass part because the guitar parts started to get redundant.  The guitars are also really present in the mix and make it difficult to hear clearly what the cello is doing melodically.  I think you could either kick the volume back on the guitars when the cello comes in, or just have them a consistently lower volume throughout the track.  I think also on a couple of spots during the cello's part where it's playing leading tones or whatever else, that it wouldn't sound so jarring if the cello was punching through more in respect to the levels of the guitars.  Typically if the note the melody is playing doesn't necessarily SOUND like it belongs, if you put more emphasis in the expression of that particularly "bad" note then it gives it more purpose because you are emphasizing it's contrast as oppose to keeping it dead in the mix(which is what a few of those awkward notes are doing right now....)

I know it's a personal preference really, but I think you could easily toss in some calm drum part later in the song, probably before the cello comes in as the song starts getting redundant and my ears are begging for something else.

The glock or whatever it is dinging seems kind of... out of place?  It's not really doing anything for me, it's panned slightly to the right, it's louder than the cello for the most part, and it's not really doing anything interesting to add to the track other than going DING DING DING.  Have nicely written guitar parts, potentially nice cello part, and then this random bell sound in my right ear.  If you could incorporate some other high pitched bright instrumentation to counterbalance the glock, like a call and answer type deal, glock plays something, then other random chime thing in the left ear answers it... I think it would fit better(assuming the volume was taking back a notch on both sides.  

Yeah, that's about it.  
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #93 on: May 01, 2013, 02:34:42 PM »

MY TURN: Here's my boss theme for super ubi land which I've just finished. I'd love some really harsh crit to get this 100% perfect! (and despite telling off the previous track for cutting off right at the end.... mine also does this at the loop point cos i'm lazy!)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11811680/Ubi%20Boss%20Loop%20Final.wav

Hit me with all you've got!


Come on with the wav files!  Jesus. :p

Now for the crit... once it's done downloading...

The melody and chords have a scary resemblance to Cid's theme.  Just saying.

You are punishing my right ear.  There is so much more in the right side than the left for most of the track...  Bring some balance into the stereo spectrum.  I'm actually kind of surprised how weak the bass is in this track compared to how much you LIKE bass. :p The reverse cymbal kind of makes my ears want to bleed out.  It's pretty piercing especially at the end. 

Definitely need a more involved bass part since on a 4th listen I still don't "hear" a bass part... at all.  Just keep hearing the tutti hits and the drums, with random synth parts dancing around the place. 

The timbre of the dub wobble thing in the middle... no.  Definitely not.  Change the tone or change the part.  :p  I kind of cocked my head sideways on that one.  Everything sounds pretty intentional in the track, but that part... even though I'm sure it was intentional... was a big WTF moment for me.  It did absolutely nothing to "enhance" the track.  It merely breaks apart the general vibe/pace of the track with this awkwardly toned wobble sound, that doesn't really match the timbre of anything else in the track.  I wanted sugar and you gave me salt.  That's how I'd describe it.  That one part.

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ZackParrish
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« Reply #94 on: May 01, 2013, 02:47:14 PM »

Ok, I will prepare myself. I will like this to be critisized. Dont let out anything you thinks its important.

I made this song for a game of a pixeled jumpy guy who has to get simple triangles. The guy looks like the ghost of pacman a little bit. its very simple game. and I think I risked much more in this one than in other songs. More risk= better result but also you fall from higher when you fall.

Let's fall! :D

https://soundcloud.com/estudioevergreen/shrink-game-ost

Hmm...  HMM...

The melody is definitely an improvement over the last track I heard from you, but it's panned all the way to the right.  With how sparse the instrumentation is in this track you really should keep it much closer to the center(if not dead center).  It also kind of works against you toward the end when the piano comes in, because now you have two moving parts that are just dancing right on top of each other with no stereo separation between them.  If the square was dead center, the piano part would've stood out and had a much stronger impact.  I hear a piano I think in the left side, and some weird synth... not far from the same pitch range.  Pan those puppies to opposite sides(but don't go 100%).  It sounds like you have two shakers playing slightly different rhythms or accents,  but laying practically on top of one another.  If you can, push those apart further so each part is more distinguishable.  Some of the  chords in the track seem pretty "undefined" in a sense.  Like, you weren't really sure what the chord should be, or was in respect to the melody, and just stacked up notes.  When listening with more focus on the bass it makes certain chords just... bleh.  Like, the bass and/or the chord don't like each other in some spots, and if they don't like each other, one of them needs to change. 

Yup, that's all I've got for now.
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Supermassive_Quazar
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« Reply #95 on: May 01, 2013, 08:06:49 PM »

Nice thread.
I'll start with a simple one, a very recent song I just recorded.
It's meant to be, obviously, some sort of simple, happy village song where there's a bunch of festivities happening (don't know if context count for this topic?).
I kinda did that as an homage to a bunch of video game music composers who inspired me through the years.

It's meant to be a very simple build up for a scene (think something among the lines of FF9 Alexandria or something).

Anyway... let me know what you think.
Thanks for the feedback, guys!

https://soundcloud.com/supermassive-quazar/village-downtown
SUPERMASSIVE QUAzAR - Village Downtown
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Daniel P. (Est. Evergreen)
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« Reply #96 on: May 02, 2013, 11:46:55 AM »



Hmm...  HMM...

The melody is definitely an improvement over the last track I heard from you, but it's panned all the way to the right.  With how sparse the instrumentation is in this track you really should keep it much closer to the center(if not dead center).  It also kind of works against you toward the end when the piano comes in, because now you have two moving parts that are just dancing right on top of each other with no stereo separation between them.  If the square was dead center, the piano part would've stood out and had a much stronger impact.


Done! It's much better now yep
I hear a piano I think in the left side, and some weird synth... not far from the same pitch range.  Pan those puppies to opposite sides(but don't go 100%).
I think you were talking about this thing that does uh uh uh. Im not sure. If it was that, now is in the right and piano in the left

It sounds like you have two shakers playing slightly different rhythms or accents,  but laying practically on top of one another.  If you can, push those apart further so each part is more distinguishable.

Aha! It was the same instrument but I didnt think i could separate it into two. Now its done, one in the left and the other in the right.

Some of the  chords in the track seem pretty "undefined" in a sense.  Like, you weren't really sure what the chord should be, or was in respect to the melody, and just stacked up notes.  When listening with more focus on the bass it makes certain chords just... bleh.  Like, the bass and/or the chord don't like each other in some spots, and if they don't like each other, one of them needs to change. 

Yup, that's all I've got for now.


This last one is too difficult to fix... I could try but Im not sure how to fix it.

Anyways I think now its better and already uploaded. I put it again so you tell me if I adjusted properly to what you said.

https://soundcloud.com/estudioevergreen/shrink-game-ost

Thanks for the critics!
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GhostBomb
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« Reply #97 on: May 02, 2013, 10:28:11 PM »

I'm pretty new to music making.  I'm making a song in Sunvox, which is pretty easy to use but has limitations.

I'm trying to make a sort of somber dungeon tune for my Zelda-like game and am trying to go for a SNES type of feel but I'm not really sure how.

https://soundcloud.com/ghostbomb/dungeon-wip-1
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #98 on: May 04, 2013, 07:46:30 PM »

Guess i'll post something, since I should be willing to take it if i'm willing to dish it *gulp*. Just a track idea I doodled out the other day while messing around with some new synth sounds.
https://soundcloud.com/illyb/h3lpm3plz-work-in-progress

Sorry to all this took so long, I honestly needed a break from the crit thread... honestly does not feel good giving hard crit that much... once here and there fine, but I was bombarded in a week... stressin' me out. Smiley

Okay... ILLYB.

Well, since it's a doodle the fact it doesn't seem to have any real direction isn't really something I can gripe about.  But I will anyway!  The drums, particularly the kick... is like.... hmm... bleeding is the way I like to put it.  It sounds like you ran compression over the whole mix, so your low end is "bleeding" through and overpowering the treb and mid ranges everytime that kick hits.  It's not BAD, especially in comparison to a lot of tracks I've heard with too much compression, but it's enough to bother me.  When you mix things all the frequencies should be balanced so that none of them really overpowers the rest.  When you run too much compression, or even if it's just a limiter, stuff starts to become overpowered.

That's really all I've got ... direction = where are you going with this? what is this for?  etc... and the compression = why?  Did you really need it?   Could you not manually balance the dynamics on each part and just do a good mixing job instead of trying to maximize the volume with compression? 
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ZackParrish
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« Reply #99 on: May 04, 2013, 08:00:35 PM »

Nice thread.
I'll start with a simple one, a very recent song I just recorded.
It's meant to be, obviously, some sort of simple, happy village song where there's a bunch of festivities happening (don't know if context count for this topic?).
I kinda did that as an homage to a bunch of video game music composers who inspired me through the years.

It's meant to be a very simple build up for a scene (think something among the lines of FF9 Alexandria or something).
https://soundcloud.com/supermassive-quazar/village-downtown
SUPERMASSIVE QUAzAR - Village Downtown
So, by a minute into this song, when the "melody" first comes in... I was already done with this track.  The mood of the song fits a village, but you don't really expand out from the guitar part much aside from layering more instrumentation on top of that one part that just keeps repeating and repeating... ultimately making this a very redundant track.  Imagine playing a game in a town with a lot of walking here and there, just spending... 10-15 minutes in that town.  You'll hear that guitar part going on over and over and over and over again.  It's not bad by any means, the guitar part, very clean, serene, sounds nice, whatever.  It's the fact you take that simple hook and continue using it without really evolving into more.  The melody that comes in is REALLY basic and honestly I have a hard time even labeling it as a "melody" because it didn't jump out from the rest of the track and really pull me in. 

I'd say... bring in a melody MUCH earlier(if you intend on having one that's memorable), and then develop the ideas you have into more.  Get away from the same chord progression repeating again and again.  Around 12 seconds in... I could hear a melody in my head playing right there. But there is nothing, just keeps going and layering on other parts that don't really do anything to make the music any better or worse.  If you can get a melody going, something that really draws you in, hooks the listener, and then try to branch out away from that redundant guitar part by incorporating new chords and exploring variations on the motifs in the melody, I think the track would be quite a bit more effective in regards to what you are after. 

Last thing, I think you should play around with the bass part more.  Right now it's glued to the electric guitar and doesn't really have much of a voice of it's own. It does move a bit at the end of each phrase, but playing whole notes for 3 bars and then changing is kind of a drag, especially since ... like the rest of the track, it's repeating that over and over again... it kind of lacks the life you'd expect from your description. 
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