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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:31 PM

#5016857 Demo reel 2012 - Do you think I'm ready for contract work?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

Oh and reconsider doing a shorter demo reel that is between 2-4 minutes total. Too many folks forget that demo reels are simple introductions and not full conversations with clients. The average time a client or audio director spends on a demo reel is about 10-45 seconds so giving them 10+ minutes of stuff to listen to isn't the best approach. Hook them right from the get-go, be succinct.

#5016856 Demo reel 2012 - Do you think I'm ready for contract work?

Posted by nsmadsen on 02 January 2013 - 03:57 PM

I have to be super quick as I have a meeting in six minutes. Yep, you're ready to start doing audio for games. There's plenty to prep and learn before you start taking on gigs but rest assured the learning doesn't stop there. You'll learn a great deal more ON the job and that's not a bad thing! :P I cannot tell you how many times I've told a client "yep, I can do that." then googled it right after our meeting. Part of this crazy job is taking that plunge and just trying it while studying and learning as much as you can. 


The key to know if you're ready or not is pretty simple:

- does your audio make the player feel something?


- can you meet a client's needs on time?


Especially with more.... entry level, indie projects timeframes and budgets can be more nebulous so you have more flexibility. Is there stuff I hear that can be improved upon? Yep. But that never stops. Do some A/B comparions of your music to stuff you admire and want to emulate. Gotta run!


Best of luck! Go get it!



#5014867 Feedback required

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 December 2012 - 03:42 PM



While I enjoyed the track itself to me it didn't really convey battle to me. Or at least much danger... it definitely conveyed energy which is good. The mix is pretty muddy with lots of stuff happening in the mid. Consider doing a bit more automation with volume, velocity settings as well as panning instruments left or right to create more space. Finally there's not much low end, at least that's how it's coming off on my set up. You mentioned this isn't the finalized version so perhaps those steps have not been done yet. These are just my quick thoughts on the piece but thanks for sharing!


Edit: It sounds like you have a strings or cello patch holding long tones when the action gears up a bit. Instead of long tones how about an ostinato? The long tones are contributing to the muddiness of the track as well as contradicting the battle vibe.


Keep it up!



#5014860 Branching Into A More Professional Audio Sound

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

I remember what a professor said once during undergraduate: "It's time to upgrade your horn. That one is fighting you now."

I had been playing on a student model horn all the way through public school and half of college. My skills and demands as a player had exceeded what the student model horn could do. So I sold it and got a pro level horn and what I could do with it as well as my inspiration for that instrument increased greatly. It's akin to this: you have professional aspirations but are working with free/low quality gear. 

#5014314 Experienced composer and sound designer

Posted by nsmadsen on 25 December 2012 - 09:06 PM

Please use the Classifieds section to recruit for work. The Music and Sound forum is for discussion and feedback on one's work.





#5014208 Happy Holidays and Thanks!

Posted by nsmadsen on 25 December 2012 - 01:15 PM

Ouch! Hope you feel better Moritz!

#5013955 Happy Holidays and Thanks!

Posted by nsmadsen on 24 December 2012 - 09:59 AM

Hey guys,


Short and sweet: I'm so thankful for everyone who reads, posts and contributes in other ways to the Music and Sound forum! I hope each of you have a wonderful season with your friends, family and loved ones!


Cannot wait to see what 2013 holds for game audio as well as gamedev!


Thanks again,



#5013185 Branching Into A More Professional Audio Sound

Posted by nsmadsen on 21 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

I've built my studio up over years and years. There's no way I could have afforded it otherwise. The great thing is you can often find good sales on sample libraries which should really help improve your sound. Even if you cannot find a good sale there are many, wide range sample libraries that can help you cover a good bit of ground to get a jump started. I'd recommend something like pairing the EWQLSO up with Komplete 8. Or even the Complete Composer Collection which is $900 (at the default setting) but gives you seven libraries to get going.

#5010052 Atmosphereic/Ambient Track [Free D/L]

Posted by nsmadsen on 12 December 2012 - 08:54 PM

:P I think we're splitting hairs here. When I offer critiques on pieces I do so in the form of positive feedback only. In other words I don't just type "I hate this" or "you suck." Just trying to get a feel for your intentions behind this post but offering up a piece for feedback is more than cool.



#5007085 office hours for musicians

Posted by nsmadsen on 04 December 2012 - 08:44 AM

Every in-house job I've held was salary. And Hodgeman is exactly right - the job entailed everything audio, from sound design to voice overs to music and implementation. It also included pre-production and production meetings with other depts. I was always required to work mostly on-site but at one company I had a nicer audio set up than they did. Once my boss got to know and trust me he'd often tell me to work from home if we needed a certain style of music that my home rig did better than the office rig. Most companies, at least at the start, will want you on-site. It can also present a licensing issue if employee A is producing company material on their own set up - but not all companies are concerned with this issue.

A trade off to working in-house is that everything you produce on company time and hardware is theirs. Even if they don't use it in the game - they own it. Some companies can be really laid back if you ask for unused cue X (usually the medium to smaller sized ones) but the larger ones can be more of an issue. When you work as a contractor, especially when you're completely off-site, this is less of an issue since you own the hardware/software and most freelancing contracts do not claim to own anything and everything you produce. If they do - either don't sign or charge 50X more than your usual rate!

As far as which is more common - I'd say the later these days. I know more freelancing, off-site composers than I do in-house.

#5006067 New to this site, I'd appreciate your opinion on some tracks I've rec...

Posted by nsmadsen on 01 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

Hey man,

First off, welcome!! I checked out a few of your tracks. Overall, you do a good job of creating atmosphere! Here are a few points for you to consider:

Something Wicked Comes:

0 - 47 is great. I especially like the piano.

The cymbal swell sounds pretty processed - like it was stretched or just a low quality sample. If this was intentional, cool. If it wasn't then consider replacing it. It jumped out to my ears because everything else up to this point was acoustic and realistic so a sythentic layer really jumped out at me.

Much of the mix seems to be static and center panned - consider moving things around to create more space and interest.

The guitar riff and the percussive element (sounds like a loop) at the change near 47 do not mesh well. The two conflict with each other creating an impression of sloppy rhythms.

I get what you're going for with the low strings but there's a ton of reverb on the strings and the attack is quite slow so it takes away from the impact.

For the build up/crescendo near 2:58, I'd consider also increasing the tempo dynamically to help create even more tension. Slowly building up the instrumentation definitely is effective but it can be pushed further!

Again - take a close look at some of the rhythmic loops you're using and seeing how they're jiving (or not jiving) with the other layers you're playing in.

There's some nice growth and changes in your piece so I definitely think you have a ton of promise. The production just needs a bit more polish to really let your music shine as much as it deserves. I'm glad you shared your work with us.



#5005695 Making of In Verbis Virtus "Main Theme"

Posted by nsmadsen on 30 November 2012 - 08:22 AM

Pretty cool stuff, thanks for sharing! Although I do wish the article was a bit more indepth about your actual process, allowing the reader to listen to how the various individual layers sound alone as well as combined with each other and your production approach. Not to nitpick though, I enjoyed the track!



#5001352 How much am I expected to integrate sound into a game?

Posted by nsmadsen on 15 November 2012 - 03:37 PM

Nate, what is FMOD? Is it an engine for the audio?

Yes, it's a middleware solution for audio. A fantastic program, too! Another option would be Wwise or Xact if you're working with MS projects. Some companies have their own proprietary engines as well.



#5001283 How much am I expected to integrate sound into a game?

Posted by nsmadsen on 15 November 2012 - 11:12 AM

When I was in-house it was part of my job to implement the audio as much as I could with the available tools. At first our toolset was really limited so there wasn't much I could do but later we pulled in FMOD and things really changed. Also our level editor toolset had matured to a point where we could really add some finesse to the audio. Now that I'm freelancing it varies even more. Sometimes I don't even get to implement any of the audio - I just "throw it over the fence" then try to provide as much feedback during testing as possible.

What I've learned over the years is that each team is very different and the toolsets they have differ too. As much as you can, be involved and have you hand in all things audio. I remember with one team things were so back logged that I actually started editing ActionScript in the front end (title screen, menu, character build, etc) myself. I knew the basic play or stop commands in ActionScript and fiddled my way through the code. I'd get a code review and test everything with someone who actually knew coding before checking it back in. Was that technically part of my job? Nope. But I was tired of waiting for simple hook ups to my sounds and just did it anyway. Plus it was kinda fun.

I'm rambling somewhat but my point here is game development is fluid. Sure you have the job description as it relates to HR and such, but once you're hired on - do EVERYTHING you can to make the audio awesome (and early and under budget if at all possible).

#4999930 Li Xiao'an - Online Portfolio

Posted by nsmadsen on 11 November 2012 - 09:35 AM

Your Boss Battle cue reminded me of many of the Final Fantasy cues - well done! I felt the choir was a bit oddly placed in the mix but the rest of the arrangement was pretty good. The low end could be brought up some but the musical aspects of the piece were solid. I enjoyed listening to it... made me want to kill a big, bad guy! What were you using for the choir?

Exploring the Plains was also nice - reminded me of Chrono Cross. I do feel like you could experiment more with the note velocities in the harp as well as play around with tempos and note placement so it's not so.... perfect all of the time. Humans don't play that perfectly so when writing with acoustic instrumentations I strive to make it as organic as possible. The term I usually use is humanistic.

Thanks for sharing!