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Member Since 08 Mar 2012
Offline Last Active Sep 10 2013 04:04 PM

#5074036 Mixing and Mastering

Posted by on 29 June 2013 - 07:00 PM

I'll give you some pointers from my own experience and maybe you will find it helpful!


Unfortunately one of the things with youtube is that there is so much bad advice. Now someone might go and say there's not really bad advice that there are just different approaches, some more appropriate than others. But I always try and look for reliable sources from people who have been doing this professionally.


I do some orchestral compositions and I mix and master my own stuff though I come from a rock background as a bass and guitar player. I still struggle to get my orchestral stuff to sound like the pros. I think something is good and then I hear someone else's work and I think "oh my god this is AMAZING" *sigh* But that's always the artist's curse.


I try and spend time listening to real orchestral recordings, my favorite movie scores, and emulating how they feel. Again, since I have a rock background I kept wanting to mix my percussion very up front and "heavy" but it ended up making my mixes sounding thin when they hit a limiter or any sort of bus compression. So given some more studying and messing with EQs you'll eventually figure out how to achieve that sound you're looking for and then you can start to slowly integrate special techniques.


One thing I always wanted to do was wash everything in reverb, but I studied more on this and I think I have improved. So I think maybe that's one thing you might want to look into. There are many ways to achieve "depth" in mixing. Carving out instruments via EQ is one way, but adding the appropriate reverb can be another way. Not to make it "better," but to achieve a new realism and life to your mixes that maybe they are lacking.


Another thing I've always been told by many many composers is to really get the hang of using your MIDI CC messages. Really dig in and use expression to give everything movement. I've had a hard time with this because I haven't spent much time with orchestral instruments so I have to always have a reference on how they should sound (Or at least what I'm trying to achieve). So making sure your automation is killer can be important to the mix rather than worrying about EQ, compression, and etc. And sometimes I forget this and my strings sound flat, or my horns don't have power. Just automation can really make a huge difference.


As far as mastering, a really great plugin is iZotope Ozone. It's got a lot of great tools and can EASILY be misused. But there are tons of tutorials on how to use it's advanced features to make professional sounding masters (That is if you don't already use it)


And of course, bounce your mixes off of someone else! I have a few friends I always go to, most of them are mix engineers, live sound engineers and don't really do composition, but they have an ear for a good track so it's good to get another perspective. Sending them to random people you don't really trust can be hard and subjective and it may be hard to tell where you need to go with your mix.


Anywho, I hope this has been helpful!

#5072239 Visionary Sound Libraries

Posted by on 23 June 2013 - 09:12 AM

Great work. I feel like I'm always in need of foley/footsteps :) Will donate when I am able to and keep up the great recordings.

#5021156 Good sound recorder? Anyone have a Zoom H1?

Posted by on 13 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

Looks like you've already made up your mind and have gotten good information from everyone - But I just wanted to say that I have the Zoom H4. It's a little more expensive but I got a good deal on eBay for this one, used. The interface is awkward and clunky, eventually you'll get used to it, but that's the worst thing about it. It's a bit noisy to hold because the plastic isn't as solid as you would think, but I have the accessory stand and just use it on a mic stand if I record any ambiance. But you can definitely hear it in your recording when you're handling it. Never really used it for voice but it's solid as hell for everything else. Built in mics are great, phantom power is a huge plus if you want to throw a shotgun mic into it at a later time.

#5001885 How much am I expected to integrate sound into a game?

Posted by on 17 November 2012 - 06:18 PM

Just wanted to add to this a bit. I have a few friends that have work as sound designers in the industry, Sony and EA Games among other studios. Every studio operates differently, but one of my friends, for example, is both sound designer and implementer. He learned the in-house tools as well as 3rd party middleware to both create and design sounds, and implement it into the game. In fact, some of the sounds are done out of house and he just receives them as assets and implements them. They frequently work with the music too. So it's probably about 2-3 guys that are all implementers/light programmers and sound designers, and then the lead audio.

On the other hand, I've had friends that worked just as editors. They're JUST creating assets. They hand it over either to an external studio that does implementation or there's another dude (or dude-ette) in house that does that. It can depend on the flow, if they're working in a new/old engine, how many people are available, budgets, etc etc. Personally I've never worked in-house for a game development studio, only external studios that do audio assets.

But on the real, it's very very common for in-house "Sound Designers" to have implementation and light programming skills.

#4956781 Are there jobs you can't do?

Posted by on 07 July 2012 - 07:47 PM

This is rough for a lot of people and I can absolutely relate. Along with what some of the others are saying, you definitely need to be forward about your services and what you CAN do. However, I got into the habit of never saying "No" so I got into a few frustrating situations where it was actually more work for me because I was simply not well versed in said area of music. However, I do know what I am good at, so it's important to be able to say "Hey, I've never written pirate music before. Why don't I try a mock-up and we'll go from there?" Sometimes that's the best way. I grew up on metal guitar but sometimes I do pop, country, electronic, orchestral.... anything. But if someone asked me to write urban hip-hop I'd just refer them to someone else or subcontract a friend who is better at it (Because I'm terrible in that genre, as well as others). I mean, if someone asked me to write traditional Chinese I would have no clue where to start, so in that situation it might be best to find another solution than "Maybe I'll just research it and see what comes of it..." (Cause I've done that too, haha...)

Anyway, I wouldn't get bummed out about it. But I'd push through and use it as a learning experience. I never knew I could write children's music until someone asked me to and I said "Yes" so sometimes the best way to know what you're good at is to continuously learn, grow, and perfecting the art of creating music! Hint: You'll never perfect it! Best of luck on the rest of the project

#4948226 Recommended DAW?

Posted by on 11 June 2012 - 11:49 AM

I know a lot of people that use Reaper too, I personally could never get into it. Use whatever works best for you. I can't emphasize this enough... People are too oriented about the tools and not the creativity. In the end, no one cares what you use, as long as you can get your work done. I've used, Ableton, Reaper, Cubase SX/4/5, Logic, Pro Tools, Reason (I haven't tried Studio One)... There's plenty more out there, Sony?

Personally I use Logic for composing music, and Pro Tools for audio editing. Every DAW has their weak spot.

#4947732 How do you work?

Posted by on 09 June 2012 - 02:06 PM

I'm more of a speed writer. I write for melody, structure, and mood.

I often do what you kind of described. I write a short part, a 4 bar piece, 8 bar. I start with a simple idea and I build upon it. I build solely on that section until it's 50 tracks and it's super epic. Now what? Well, I start deconstructing it. I start taking out elements and spreading it around. Maybe the piano part will serve as an intro. Maybe the string part will serve as a break. But I almost always start writing this way. And sometimes your stuff just plain sucks. Well, ditch it and move on, we all have bad days. I find that if I sit there on one idea complaining of "writers block" I'll never get anywhere.

I was in the middle of a project a few weeks ago, and I felt like I was writing the same thing over and over. This was for a film, by the way. I was just completely stuck on a part. Frustrated, I just moved onto a different cue. That one actually worked. The next day, the cue that caused me trouble just came to me. Everyone wants to think that composers just magically write music that all sounds amazing, but MAN it is very, very difficult to be creative all the time.

Try getting out of your comfort zone, use different plugins, approach it different. Don't write a 4 bar piece, write an odd time signature with focus on melody.. I find that I do things a certain way all the time. Which works for me 80% of the time. But when I get stuck. I have to take a step back and readjust.

There are many ways to improve upon your skills, and it comes slowly with time! This is just me, everyone is different :)