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Member Since 22 Feb 2006
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 04:19 PM

#5090866 Free DAW?

Posted by nsmadsen on 01 September 2013 - 03:01 PM

There are also ways to download DAWs for free but it pirating. If that doesn't bother you then that's another way to go.


Just use extreme caution here because if you end up producing music for any games and pirated software and you get caught - both you and any games using your material can be liable. I find it's best to just purchase things instead of pirating them. It's not worth the risk. If you're looking to just learn and experiment... it's less risky. Still not legal but less risky. :P

#5090865 Free DAW?

Posted by nsmadsen on 01 September 2013 - 02:59 PM

Is there any good daw for creating music or it's really necessary to buy one?


It's not necessary to purchase one but keep in mind the really good sounds (for almost any genre) are 3rd party sample librarys which do cost money. Unless you're wanting (able) to track everything yourself, playing the actual instruments... you're going to need some virtual sounds. Also the old saying "you get what you paid for" often rings true.

#5090688 Is Propellerhead Reason good for making game music?

Posted by nsmadsen on 31 August 2013 - 05:49 PM

Provided you have enough sounds (aka refills) to go after the genre/style you want, Reason is more than powerful enough to make game music. I've literally made all kinds of music with Reason and really enjoy it. The only limitation with Reason is that they do not support many 3rd party sample libraries (VST, AU, etc). They have Rack Extensions and their own Refills but there's plenty of good material there. 

#5089505 Proposal for a Composer's symposium

Posted by nsmadsen on 27 August 2013 - 08:38 AM

Nah, it's not troublesome. I think folks of all backgrounds should (and could!) take part. It might be really cool to have a "speaker" or presenter for a portion of the meeting then open it up Q&A and/or open discussion after that.

#5087999 Two martial/orchestral pieces. Any feedback appreciated!

Posted by nsmadsen on 21 August 2013 - 10:54 PM

On top of what Eric already stated - March of the Damned feels a bit flat to me. I think there's too much reverb. You might be doing this to hide the quality of samples you have to work with (I've certainly been there before) but that much reverb begins to wash over everything and takes away impact. Also the last bit becomes repetitive so what I'd consider doing is stripping out certain parts the first few times that idea is stated and then bring them in. It could even be cool to have some key changes, grow the tempo and the dynamics to a truly epic ending. 


You've got some great ideas! Just spend some time tweaking the details a bit more and I think you could raise the bar on this track. 


Edit: Check out Time from Inception. This is a GREAT study in how to give the listener the same idea numerous times but by changing textures and instrumentation it stays with you rather than getting boring. Plus the tension build over a long period of time is masterful. It's got a big, epic sound without being washed out by too much reverb as well. The reason this track works is the balance between tension and release. Too often young(er) composers forget this and throw everything at the listener right away then wonder why there's no tension).


Thanks for sharing, 



#5087998 Would love your thoughts on my material

Posted by nsmadsen on 21 August 2013 - 10:49 PM

In The Woods - Nice opening. I like your sound and mix, has depth and impact! Effective piece. These are not the kind of woods I want to be in.... The ending drum figure at 50 seconds was a bit odd to me. Perhaps prepping that or changing samples instead of a strict repetition of that sample would help? Something's off there to my ears. Overall, though, nice stuff!


For You - Evocative opening. Piano's a bit too dry for my taste and the solo violin is awfully exposed for that quality of sample. As is the trumpet. I know we (or most of us) have to work with what we have but I'd really consider hiring a solo violin and trumpet player to record those parts. It will really add SO much! This is an interesting track, going in directions I'm not really expecting and fusing together several ideas. Curious to know your vision/intent behind this track. 


Prepare for War - Mainly one major critique: you're over using that celli ostinato. When you're forming a piece built over an ostinato consider your audience and how long they can take a repeating figure. The problems I have with your ostinato is that it appears in the same instrument throughout the piece and is in the same voicing as opposed to inversions. The human ear starts to automatically "mute out" repeated figures if they last long enough. Also some of your mix is a bit out of whack, especially the percussive elements around 1:15 or so. 


Some great starting points - now dig deeper to see how you can bring these pieces to work. Better, more dynamic mixing, variations of tempo and dynamics, less quantized MIDI data, etc. 

#5087997 Music from Antharion - RPG

Posted by nsmadsen on 21 August 2013 - 10:36 PM

Fates of Kings: Wow - right from the start I felt like I was listening to Braveheart OST. :) Some nice moods here. Kinda wish there was more low end in your strings to create that lush, Hollywood sound. There's some great writing here. 1:19 reminded me of LOTR OST as well. Although I really liked the first track I did feel like some of the segments of the song could be better connected to each other. What it felt like to me was chunk - slight pause - chunk - slight pause. To an extent the slight lift pause works when changing sections but if over used it can take away from the song's structure and momentum. 


Cities at Night: Adore the start. Delicate piano over strings. Solid! It's great for a while but then my ear starts to get tired of the texture and wanting to hear something a bit more established. Could just be me but it started off so strong but over using the contrasting rhythms and such left the track feeling a bit... meandering to my ear. 


Fields Run Red: Good rhythmic opening. Again, more low end in your production because on my set up I'm not really getting much. For a battle track I'm not really getting that big sound which I'm expecting. Some cool rhythms! 


Overall: You've got some great music here. Good ideas, fantastic moods and settings. The biggest issue I'm hearing is the mix/production could really be raised several bars to bring the music to life. 


Enjoyed listening to your stuff! 



#5086226 "Random Action Theme" a new film-style action theme by me....

Posted by nsmadsen on 15 August 2013 - 02:04 PM

Personally, I tend to combine several different string soundfonts for the best result. Sometimes I even add a VST into the mix. Sure, it's the hard way of doing things. But that's just how it is, without a proper toolset ;)


So very true! In fact, the tricks and work-arounds you learn while dealing with less than awesome samples can teach valuable lessons that you'll still use even after getting better samples/tools!

#5086004 "Random Action Theme" a new film-style action theme by me....

Posted by nsmadsen on 14 August 2013 - 10:07 PM

Well I know the samples are a bit weak; but you must understand that that's the best that can be done with soundfonts. Anything better requires something like EQWL or Garritan; which I don't currently have the money for. But thanks for the critique.


My critique wasn't meant to be overly harsh or offensive to you but to rather point out the standard at which your music will be judged when going for work. Even with the samples set you have, I do believe the production value could be pushed quite a bit more. Experiment more with velocity settings, automation and even slight changes in tempo/note placement. 

At some point, if you really want to compete for game jobs, you're going to have to spend some more cash on your toolset as it's really holding your back. That's what birthdays and holidays (like Xmas and such) are for!! :)

#5085887 "Random Action Theme" a new film-style action theme by me....

Posted by nsmadsen on 14 August 2013 - 01:01 PM

There's some nice ideas here but the production could be polished quite a bit more to give the song more impact and make it better align with current AAA-level game music. Some of your samples are quite weak and that's distracting. Also the string samples have a slow(er) attack than this style of music requires. I do love the direction however!


Hope that helps!



#5084268 cute and nasty game character voice (WARNING: language)

Posted by nsmadsen on 08 August 2013 - 05:12 PM

I'm struggling to see how this could be used in a game because this is more a performance. The thread title suggested some kind of narration/character driven voice over that could be used in games. So unless a project is looking for this exact kind of music... I don't see it being very useful, honestly. Add in the rough language and the fact that zero context is given (direction, goal, feedback desired, etc) and it's really hard to know how to respond.

#5084265 Game SFX packs

Posted by nsmadsen on 08 August 2013 - 05:08 PM

Most of the online free sfx websites I found offer some cheap amateur quality sound effects that I am not happy about.


It's rare to find high quality, free stuff. Check this guy's stuff out - http://www.gamedev.net/topic/645677-affordable-sfx-libraries-new-libraries-available/


Lots of great options and nicely priced as well. There are many other options out there too - Sound Rangers and Sound Dogs offer an a la carte method and then Sound Ideas has many libraries but they can get expensive quickly. 


Could you possibly hire a sound design from this forum to work with you? I think that's the best option. 


Hope that helps, 



#5081802 Eerie soundtracks

Posted by nsmadsen on 30 July 2013 - 04:28 PM

Sibelius is more about music notation. I would get a DAW (Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, Live, Sonar, FL Studio, etc) and begin working with 3rd party libraries that have a better sound. Not sure of your budget but ProjectSAM's stuff is right up your ally. 

Check out this demo using the library: 






Also Spitfire is a good collection of libraries that can make awesome orchestral mock ups as well. It may not be possible with this particular project but it would be a great idea to put these items on your list for possible upgrades in the future. 

#5081498 Eerie soundtracks

Posted by nsmadsen on 29 July 2013 - 11:20 AM

I just checked out a few of your links. You're on the right path but your current set of samples used are getting in your way. It's going to take quite a bit more production to make things sound more eerie. Right now, with the heavy focus on strings in (mostly) tonal writing - it's coming off more sad/somber than scary. 


Perhaps it would be best to combine some synths or drop the strings/orchestral feel altogether. If you're intent on making it an orchestral soundtrack then I think getting some better libraries would really, really help you hit the target!  Also in some cases making eerie music is less about melody (and formal song structure) and more about textures. 

Check out this track: 



Part of what makes it eerie is that it's NOT symmetrical and "normal" but instead unusual. 


Another great reference - a bit heavier on some melodic content:



And another: 



Take note of the percussion usage here. And how the strings go in and out of "tune" by playing clashing notes or doing bends. 


Hope that helps! 



#5081343 Weary Travellers [New Composition]

Posted by nsmadsen on 28 July 2013 - 09:06 PM

I like the percussive groove/intro but some of your patches feel like they stick out a bit. Especially when the strings come in - the production doesn't sound like it's being performed in the same space... or at the same time. The solo violin is really too dry. Considering adding some reverb and slight delay to help hide some of the MIDI-tastic elements of that track. 


Also, I felt the overall intensity and volume of the track remained pretty stagnant. Some tempo variations could also help. 


It has some great potential and foundation, just needs a bit more love on the production side!