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About nsmadsen

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    Moderator - Music and Sound

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  1. New composer looking for feedback on tracks.

    Hey Nick! Welcome! Thank you for sharing some of your work for feedback. I agree with you - production is one of your weak areas right now. I would also try and learn more about arranging and actual composition techniques. When listening through several of your tracks, one thing to struck me was how static everything was in the overall feel and dynamics of your work. You have some cool ideas and I liked your music but there wasn't much evolution or dynamic changes from section to section. Part of this comes from better production chops but it can also come from becoming a better arranger and composer. City of Synth was my favorite of the bunch! Keep studying and pushing!! Thanks, Nate
  2. Dylan B's music: feedback please

    - A DAW is a Digital Audio Workstation and some examples of this are: Reaper, Sonar, ProTools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Ableton Live, Reason and there are many more. Sibelius is more of a notation program than a digital audio workstation but the last several generations of notation software (Finale and Sibelius) have added quite a bit more features. - What I meant by saying you had some cool ideas and evolution in your music was that you took some themes and had different sections play (or play off) those ideas. This shows promise and potential because sometimes composers just state the theme and don't put any real sense of arrangement or development into it. Sometimes that's okay - it all depends on the context - but often times having a bit more development and depth to your arrangement helps!
  3. This can be true! But it can also go the other way. That's the risk element I was mentioning earlier.
  4. Dylan B's music: feedback please

    Hey Dylan, Thanks for sharing your work! I have a few ideas for you to help you take your music to the next level. First off, you obviously have some good ideas and talent in composition! There's some cool ideas and evolution in your music. The biggest area that's currently hurting you is production. - Overall track volume is VERY low. Thankfully, this is something pretty easy to fix. Take your master audio files and raise the volume to where it's more on par with what you're hearing from other music sites and composers. You don't have to blast things out of the part but I had to turn up my volume knob by quite a bit to hear your music. - MIDI samples need a lot of work. You can get create with ways to make even average samples come off more polished. I'd experiment with panning, volume automation and reverb. - Experiment with timings within the MIDI data. Computers play 100% perfectly, every time. Humans don't. See if there are some ways you can humanize your performance. - I don't know what DAW you're working in or what sample libraries (or soundfonts) you're currently using but if you can invest some money into higher quality sample libraries that offer more articulations, velocity layers, expression and round robin variations, I think you'll see a huge impact on your music. One site I recommend to many just starting out is East West's Composer Cloud. It's a subscription where you can get a ton of VST samples at a pretty reasonable monthly rate. I hope that helps! Nate
  5. Cinematic enough or too much? Choir / Orchestra

    The music is very nice! I enjoyed listening to it and it definitely created a nice vibe. I did feel there could be a bit more dynamics in your production, however. While you have some rise and falls, there's not a great deal of different in actual volumes. Also some of the high string long tones could be a bit softer in the mix. The choir could be brighter and brought more in front at times. There's also not a lot of low end warmth - but in some of your other cues there are. So I'd consider the low end balance as well. Overall, it definitely is a nice track and would work well in the fantasy genre. Cheers!
  6. Evolving Tension - Hybrid, Epic, Orchestral

    It's all good. Sometimes when dealing with just text - it's hard to get someone's intention or inflection. That opening just kinda struck me as underhanded or a bit un-needed. The rest of the post was great. Thanks!
  7. Evolving Tension - Hybrid, Epic, Orchestral

    Well, actually, a lot of really great composers started out copying others to figure out the nuts and bolts of not only a composition but it's production. Lots of top notch audio engineers have recommended the same thing to build up your production chops. But your second question is ridiculous. Of course he's not going to copy himself. Why even point that out? I'm emulating Inception because I think it's a cool soundtrack and feel I have some things to learn from trying to create something similar. Do you really start off all of your feedback responses with such sarcasm and/or attacks? And do you really expect people to want to hear more of your input after you start in such a way? Strange approach if you ask me... Fair enough. I'll have to check the session when I get home but, if memory serves, the bass elements you're referring to were not panned left. Again, I'll have to check. Certain things like bass and drums I usually leave centered, or close to the center. Okay. I do worry about too much reverb muddying up the mix however. I'll give it a shot and see. Actually, it does reappear later in the final section where the choirs join in as well. But since it's a full ensemble at that point, I felt having the solo cello up and above all of that would sound weird. So it's within all of those elements. Thank you! Again, thank you! Yup, agreed. This is partly why I chose to do this kind of song. I wanted to see what kinds of issues and choices are required when writing music in this vein. I appreciate your input and your listen. I didn't appreciate the snarky remarks at the very beginning but the rest of your post was well thought out and I thank you for it.
  8. Hey everyone! Here's a new track that I've been working on as a short, side project. The idea or goal behind this piece was to compose a main idea and let that melody evolve through production and instrumentation more than actually changing the notes throughout the piece. I could see something like this working pretty well as a trailer or certain kind of in-game cinematic. I also wanted to try out some of the new tools and production techniques I've been working on. Like with anything, I could probably keep tweaking and polishing this track forever and at some point you just have to release it out into the wild! As always, feedback is more than welcomed! I appreciate any and all comments and the listens! Thanks Nate
  9. It can be very helpful to know how to implement audio when working in games. I have to help prep files and implement them into Unity but I cannot program a full game myself. I can read some code, do some simple Json or XML but I'd never really call myself a coder. But I can work with middleware or certain proprietary programs that certain developers use. It gives you as the audio content provider more direct control over how the sounds and/or music behave within the game. It can increase your odds of being able to make your audio vision come to life.
  10. ??? I can't even really make out what point you're trying to make here, honestly.
  11. I've heard it said that a pro actor will usually have a higher bid amount but in the end save you time/money because they can more consistently hit the right mark. An amateur may have a lower price but is much more of a risk, may require more redirection and may end up costing you more time/money in the long run.
  12. Getting Real Instruments?

    Agreed. But this should happen regardless, right? Always have contracts and release forms in place. I would highly advise asking something as large as an orchestra to do ANYTHING as a favor. I think perhaps some wires have been crossed. The way I understood it (or read it) was that you could hire a local school ensemble to record your piece at a cheaper rate than a professional orchestra. It would still be a massive undertaking however to record such a large ensemble. And then you'll also be dealing with nonprofessional musicians with varying degrees of talent and ability. This is why I think the idea of hiring a few key musicians and layering in those real tracks with virtual ones is a better way to go. Easier to set up and manage and easier to control the final outcome. It all comes down to good communication. If all of the terms are laid out clearly, accepted by all parties and followed to the T - nobody should feel ripped off regardless of the amounts of money made once the game/product ships.
  13. Kylotan gave you some excellent input that I totally agree with. I'd also add that it doesn't sound like all of your instruments are in the same space or environment. You have some cool ideas!!! I love the section at 54 seconds - reminds me of Castlevania. Read up on production tricks and arrangement tricks, especially as it relates to orchestral music. You can actually do a lot with subpar samples when you really push the production side of things. Thanks for sharing! Nate
  14. Getting Real Instruments?

    Consider using only a few real instruments and leave the rest in the hands of a composer who can create convincing mock ups. You'll be amazed at how just having one live instrument can enhance a recording. Also consider Fiverr. Lots of musicians, myself included, offer our services up there for affordable rates.
  15. You are probably best served covering the style(s) you do best. For example, if you're not that great at reggae and put up some mediocre reggae music, then it's not going to serve you or potential clients as well. But if you put up music that you're most passionate about, that always shows off your best skills, then people will react stronger to that and you'll get better interest in your work. The only other thing I'll add is make your demo reel easy and quick to navigate. Nothing's worse than having to muddle through long demos to find the style(s) or genre(s) you, as a client, want fulfilled.