Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Azul

Mixing and Mastering a Very Sparse Track

This topic is 2476 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm currently working on a project where the game developers want formless, medatitative, sparse music (they actually thought my first idea of a sparse track was too busy!). We're talking a little twang of a shamisen here and there, an occasional far-off bell or drum hit and lots of empty space. I'll post a little link when I'm further along but I wanted to ask, what approach should I take to mixing and mastering a super-empty track? Its a unique challenge as I'm more used to mixing stuff with a beat or many instruments.

I'm thinking of adding a background track fo some babbling brook or wind in the trees sounds, since its sort of a contemplative puzzle game. I'm not sure how to mix something like that in either, I'm assuming I'll just "trust my ears" for the most part, but I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
The more sparse the track, the larger the relative size of sounds in the mix. Standard advice is: grab some reference material in the same vein to see how other people have tackled the mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
For me when mixing an ambient/sparse track I like to do A/B comparisons. Actually the A/B comparison method applies to almost any kind of mastering/mixing. You don't want your audio super loud compared to the average game but you also don't want it super low. My goal has always been to have the user be able to go from game X or movie Y to my game and not have to change the volume knob too much. The problem is you often face the loudness wars - where everything louder is automatically better.

So shoot for that. Another important element is how well does the music content fit in with any in-game sound effects the project is using. Does the music sit in the background and allow for the sound effects to ring through? The overall audio level (music, sound effects, any possible voice overs) need to be at a level that I can change media back and forth and not have drastic, extreme, super changes in playback level.

Another tip: Do NOT use a normalizing plugin when mixing really ambient/sparse stuff. Or perhaps I should say... if you do then use it sparingly. Instead I would do things by hand which shouldn't take too much time. Since you're going for nuance - many generic normalizing plugins can blow things way out of proportion and ruin that understated feel you're going for in the music.

Finally - consider yourself lucky. It's rare nowadays that I get to actually implement my audio into a game! Instead I often throw it over the fence (so to speak) and the team implements it since I'm often remote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good advice, thanks so much. I've been struggling with how loud it SHOULD be...It has been an interesting project thats for sure! I never did asian style music so I had to spend a while just researching and listening to new stuff, which also had the nice side-effect of discovering the Yoshido Brothers crazy Shamisen rock!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!