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Sound Engineering student/composer looking for constructive criticism.


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#1 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 10:05 AM

Hello!

 

I'm a student currently studying at Windmill Lane Recording Studios in Ireland. I don't actually know how to read music or much of the theory, but I have a good ear (I think) and have been producing a good few tunes the last year or so.

 

I know the basics of how a DAW works, but am looking to improve.

 

so anyway, here's my list of favourite tracks that I've done: https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

any constructive criticism? (you can be as harsh as you like!)

 

(ps. if you follow me I'll have a listen to your sounds, and might even follow back wink.png ).


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


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#2 xiaoan   Members   -  Reputation: 911

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:41 PM

off the top of my head, i'd say that Strongsauce might be too heavily compressed - there's a slightly odd swelling feeling.

the best thing you can do for yourself if you are an aspiring composer is to get your hands on some theoretical material and study it. you'll learn faster if you also apply those concepts to tunes that you compose.


Li Xiao'an

Composer | Music Director

www.xiaoanli.com (Personal)

www.eastcoastscoring.com

Twitter: @lxiaoan

 


#3 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 06:53 PM

i'd say that Strongsauce might be too heavily compressed - there's a slightly odd swelling feeling.

 

 

thanks for the reply.

 

what does it mean when a song is overly compressed? can you elaborate on this swelling feeling?

 

I'm sure someone has explained compression and the 'loudness war' to me yet I don't know much about it. must have zoned out for that talk smile.png.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#4 xiaoan   Members   -  Reputation: 911

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:17 PM

Compression, in my very unscientific terms, is a process by which you limit the loudness of audio, so it squashes anything that goes above a specified threshold. This allows the track to have a more "even" volume throughout.

 

The swelling feeling has to do with the attack/release settings of your compressor. The initial attack may be dampened by the compressor, but on sustained notes this can lead to a perception that the audio is "swelling". Sorry i'm terrible at explaining this. If you didn't use a compressor plugin then maybe the instrument you're using already has compression written into the program.


Li Xiao'an

Composer | Music Director

www.xiaoanli.com (Personal)

www.eastcoastscoring.com

Twitter: @lxiaoan

 


#5 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:48 PM

I think I get what you mean.

 

I read some things online, is it where some instruments are drowned out while others play? giving a strange zoning in and out?

 

I think that's particularly bad in this track: https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/num15b.

 

Is there steps I can take to reduce this? like, playing around with the attack and release on the console?

 

thanks for the input.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#6 Methropoly   Members   -  Reputation: 119

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 07:50 PM

Hi!

I agree with xiaoan about the compression. I felt this happened on all those parts in "My Favourites" that have drums.

I have a good thing to say: I like the fact you create short ideas and explore that. It's a good thing, even if someone says "it's repetitive sometimes" (and sometimes i felt it is), but I garantee you it's a good thing. Anyone who learns to explore short musical ideas, becomes great composer. But it takes time, praticing a lot, listening a lot, and learning a lot.

Besides the compression thing, the only comment (and I wouldn't even call it "negative") is that I couldn't figure out some of the variations in the songs. I think you focus on variation of notes (or phrases) when it's more efective to focus on "mood" variations (or climatic variations).

I might be saying a lot of crap.
Its difficult to me to express in english. But I think you have talent. Don't waste it ignoring all the stuff it's there for us to absorve. Go study, go listen, go learn. (-:


Edited by Methropoly, 24 March 2013 - 07:52 PM.


#7 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 08:01 PM

thanks for the reply man.

 

I get what you mean, my brother says that also, that I change mood and style too often in the middle of a song.

It's probably just a lack of experience as I tend to get bored with the feel of the track and want to try something new.

 

I'll definitely look into fixing this compression issue. that was something I noticed aswell but just took out some of the low end and hoped for the best laugh.png.

 

and thanks! I'll read a few things and maybe pay attention to my lecturers more. wink.png.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#8 Olliepm   Members   -  Reputation: 260

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:56 AM

Hey!  I agree about the compression.  To me, it sounds like you've applied compression with overly harsh settings.  You hear the punch of the snare drum for example, and some milliseconds later, the rest of the song is audibly squashed to a lower level in a really sudden way.  Try a longer attack, higher threshold, or a soft knee.

 

Your composition seems decent for someone who doesn't know any theory.  You might find you've worked some common scales out for yourself already.  I think you ought to focus on groove if you intend to read up on any theory, seeing as you have the notes covered.  That would mean looking into how to use triplets, or shuffles effectively.  

 

I already was following you =]


My sound design: (Under construction!)

My music: https://soundcloud.com/echo-gecko

Contactolliepm@googlemail.com


#9 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 08:28 PM

Thanks for the input Ollie.

 

I think I've figured out a solution to my compression problem: sidechaining. I didn't understand it at first but I've watched some tutorials and know what it's about now.

 

Working on a new track.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#10 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:05 PM

Okay, is this better? https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/juicy-audio

 

it's a new track I made, not sure how much you guys are into rave though.

 

I used sidechaining to remove the squashiness after a drum note is played. (dunno how I managed to do it though, just twisted some knobs and mashed some buttons until it sounded good).

 

That would mean looking into how to use triplets, or shuffles effectively.

 

Sounds interesting, what exactly is a triplet and a shuffle?


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#11 HardlineDigital   Members   -  Reputation: 251

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:18 PM

Bigger drum sounds and lower synth volume.



#12 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:56 PM

Bigger drum sounds and lower synth volume.

 

Done: https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/juicier-audio


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#13 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1053

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 04:42 AM

Hello,

Your second version is much better sound-wise!

In my ears, it still lacks the "Oomph" you're aiming for, though - for a number of reasons, including sound choice, arrangement and overall suspense and dynamics.

What usually helps me in those cases is doing an A-B comparison with a track that goes in a similar direction. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are my synth and drum sounds up to par?
- How did the other producer arrange the track to make it sound gripping and dynamic?
- Am I doing too much at some point in the track? Are sounds competing for attention?

Try not to apply compression and EQ willy-nilly, read up on some stuff and give it an almost engineering-like approach, at least for practice.
For example, a lot of "Thump" and "Oomph" can be achieved by applying some good old side-chain compression. (Synths getting ducked by the kick)
Try to use sound shaping tools in moderation, especially if you're not too sure what you're doing yet. If the EQs on all of your tracks look like roller coaster rides, you've probably made the wrong timbre and arrangement choices to begin with. By the way, how is your monitoring situation? Can you actually check the low frequencies reliably?

If terms come up that you don't understand - like triplets and shuffle - Google those, try to apply them to something you're working on, and come back with more specific questions.

In any case, thanks for sharing and being open to feedback!

Cheers,
Moritz

Edited by Moritz P.G. Katz, 28 March 2013 - 04:43 AM.

Check out my Music/Sound Design Reel on moritzpgkatz.de


#14 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:39 AM

I think I have to nail this song! I'll try one last time.

 

I think what I'll do is just get a punchier drum sound. also, maybe play around a bit with the EQ on the drums instead of a full on low pass filter.

 

I was also thinking of adding a more high end sound.

 

thanks for the reply.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.


#15 Weaksauce   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:25 AM

In my ears, it still lacks the "Oomph" you're aiming for, though

 

I agree with you. But I played around with it a bit and I think it sounds good now https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/extremely-juicy-audio

 

for a number of reasons, including sound choice, arrangement and overall suspense and dynamics.

 

how do I make it more gripping and dynamic? maybe change things up like tempo and more variation in the song? I'll have to look into look into the theory more, thanks for the advice.


https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3

https://soundcloud.com/weaksauce-3/sets/my-favourites

 

send me an email at: weaksauce.sounds@gmail.com if you like what you hear.





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