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Hey everybody, I recently finished a piece that I've been working on for some time. It's probably the most ambitious video game piece I've ever written, as my music is usually reflects a Japanese-style video game music influence, whereas this piece reflects a more "American" video game music influence, I guess? Basically more cinematic and less structured:P Anyway, I imagine this piece would accompany a cinematic sequence of some kind within the video game, probably an opening sequence. I struggled at multiple times in writing it, but I'm pretty happy with the result. So, I leave it for your critiques, let me know what you think!

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You encouraged me just now to start using piccolo in my orchestral works. Snap.

Anyway, the piece sounds great, and very cinematic indeed - I'm especially blown away by the mix itself; it's neither too muddy (like my ones) nor too... crude, I'd say. Just right. May I know what's the equipment you're using or what kind of processing have you done on the piece?
Wow, thanks alot guys! I'm very humbled by your kind remarks:)

Greg, I work in Logic Studio 9, using East West samples. I usually set up a reverb aux to send certain instruments to, (such as that piccolo), and sometimes I've applied just a master reverb for the Output 1-2. One thing with East West samples that I've learned is that honestly, their on board reverbs that you can add to individual instruments through the PLAY interface, at least in the Silver edition that I have, do nothing except muddy the whole thing up. Therefore, the ONLY reverb I ever use is usually the Space Designer plugin that comes with Logic Studio. Any reverb that comes with your DAW will probably be better than the ones that come with the East West PLAY engine.

Also, when working with sampled instruments, EQ is definitely your friend, when used minimally and in the right places:) For instance, I applied some EQ on my harp and brought some higher frequencies out and cut some lower ones. Without having done that, you probably wouldn't have heard the harp at all in this piece, because it was previously being masked by everything else:P Sometimes I use a little EQ on my Horns too, just to brighten them up if needed. And, in the way of getting a clearer and less "muddy" final mix, I always use EQ on my master Output 1-2. It all comes down to playing around with it, but I have a custom saved EQ setting that I always use, and tweak from there. For this piece, I just raised some frequencies around 1kHz and 5kHz, and lowered the level at around 100 Hz. The change afterwards in terms of clarity is striking!

What samples and software do you use? Depending on frequency build ups inherent in your samples, you can try different EQ settings until you get a mix that sounds clear and good. And a little bit of reverb usually gives depth to the sound and kind of "glues" the mix together, sort of filling in the spaces, y'know? Anyways, sorry for the longwinded response, I tend to do that because I like explaining things:P but I hope that helps!
Yeehaw!
John Hoge said:
What samples and software do you use? Depending on frequency build ups inherent in your samples, you can try different EQ settings until you get a mix that sounds clear and good. And a little bit of reverb usually gives depth to the sound and kind of "glues" the mix together, sort of filling in the spaces, y'know?


I use EWQLSO Gold Kontakt version, so I'm basically stuck with whatever reverb is already recorded in the samples. I'm afraid I have a lot more of the "glue" you're talking about than I'd like xD I was told that getting the close mic addon would help (isn't it for PLAY version only btw?), but until then I'd like to know the possibilities of tweaking my mixes via DAW, especially the recent one which is 99% finished. I use Sonar 6 btw.
I guess I'll experiment with EQing my master output in a way similar to the one you described. Thanks for a detailed reply - and saying sorry is completely out of place, haha, such an extensive explanation is certainly very helpful :)


Greg Brus said:
John Hoge said:
What samples and software do you use? Depending on frequency build ups inherent in your samples, you can try different EQ settings until you get a mix that sounds clear and good. And a little bit of reverb usually gives depth to the sound and kind of "glues" the mix together, sort of filling in the spaces, y'know?


I use EWQLSO Gold Kontakt version, so I'm basically stuck with whatever reverb is already recorded in the samples. I'm afraid I have a lot more of the "glue" you're talking about than I'd like xD I was told that getting the close mic addon would help (isn't it for PLAY version only btw?), but until then I'd like to know the possibilities of tweaking my mixes via DAW, especially the recent one which is 99% finished. I use Sonar 6 btw.
I guess I'll experiment with EQing my master output in a way similar to the one you described. Thanks for a detailed reply - and saying sorry is completely out of place, haha, such an extensive explanation is certainly very helpful :)

Ok, so you have EWQL too, just not the Play edition. Because in the Play edition, you can add reverbs to the sample besides just the natural reverb that the sound was recorded with. If you simply leave your sounds as is in the Kontakt version, (as in don't add any extra reverb) and tweak in your DAW, I think you'll still be able to get noticeable results. Make sure you pan your instruments and sections properly as well, and definitely work with some EQ on your master output:) Muddiness can be a buildup of frequencies in the wrong places and a lack of frequencies in other places, so try experimenting with that!
Very Impressive! You capture the video-game feeling perfectly! The harmony and rhythm is absolutely Perfect! I love it!
WOW! Nicely done.


Tesselode said:
This is a nice song. It's very "epic." The only problem is it doesn't have much of a melody or theme. So it wouldn't be that great to just listen to, but it's really good if you want epic music that doesn't stick out too much.

Thank you! Only I do include a theme, it's repeated a few times actually. First at 50 seconds, then again at 1:15, then softly at 3:20, then again in full at 3:50. It shows up a couple other times too, although altered rhythmically. I've had one or two other people say they didn't recognize any repeated theme as well, so maybe I need to work on stating it more clearly? Thank you for the comment though
Thank you all for the encouraging comments, I really appreciate the accolades!
Just wanted to pop in and mention that I poked my mix with EQ delicately, setup similar to the one you mentioned. Result, frankly: triple the epicness. Thanks a lot!


Greg Brus said:
Just wanted to pop in and mention that I poked my mix with EQ delicately, setup similar to the one you mentioned. Result, frankly: triple the epicness. Thanks a lot!

Sure thing man, glad it worked!
Great Tune, John! I really like the way you are orchestrating your music! You know how to write music for full orchestra! Did you study a lot of contemporary video game composers? Well, one thing I thought listening to your score is, that some clearer changes in time and metre would give your score more life, perhaps? You could also leave some longer areas of space, since it's designed to be in-game background music.
Let me know, how do you get this wide sound? Especially by using pan and reverbs? And if yes, in which way do you use them?
David.

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