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Music Discussion & submission of remastered audio

#1 User is offline Canned Karma 

Posted 21 March 2010 - 08:25 PM

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--- Current Goal: Sweet Dreams/Ending Theme, Staff Credits ---


All remastered music should transcribe the originally intended instruments and overall style, whilst updating them to today's musical standards. Obviously style can be enhanced by adding some more detailed notes, good instrument sets, stereo panning and velocity changes, as well as overdubs or complete drum kits and loops. The tempo and notes themselves should remain mostly untouched, but of course, new notes are also welcomed to avoid shallow sounds. In order to capture the ambience that Sonic Team originally intended, we prefer remastered music than remixed music. Here is an example from one of our top music contributors. The original genesis tune plays first, followed by its remastered counterpart: Click here to download!

To further clarify exactly what the project management is looking for, here's three key guidelines.

Is the submission faithful?
-the piece is easily recognizable as representing a given zone or theme from the original game

Does the submission go above simply recreating the original?
-the piece makes use with modern instruments/samples to create a new work fitting the theme and atmosphere of each area.

Does it inspire?
-not only does the piece show a faithful and reimagined take on the original, but leaves its listeners impressed that this is one of the big ways Sonic 2 HD is living up to its promise.

So what does all that mean? Here's a few examples for you.

Ransom Rath's Metropolis
Mesmonium's Oil Ocean
Blast Processing's Death Egg

You can download all the original music from Sonic 2 (including individual tracks from each tune) from our database, as a reference. All of the community's current music submissions are also available to download from the database.


--- Regarding filenames and formats for submitted pieces ---

All pieces submitted for consideration in S2HD should be named as follows:
[Zone name] [Version #] [Contributor name]

All remastered music MUST be submitted in the OGG Vorbis format at 320 kbps . This is largely because the MP3 format has some inherent limitations when it comes to looping music, which makes it unuseable for the project. When uploading music submissions to the database, it is preferred that they be included inside a .ZIP file.


--- scubaSteve's abbreviated guide to keeping your pieces from making people say "It's too MIDI!" ---


• First off, if your sampler patches don't have velocity mapped to note volume, you'll need to do this yourself. (As far as I know, any sampler in existence can do this - it's a very basic feature) As I said, you MUST use note velocities! This is always the best first step towards creating a more natural sound. Really take some time to imagine how each part should be expressed, how they should flow into each other, etc., and adjust your note velocities accordingly.

• Also, if your patches do not have multiple velocity layers - I.e., different samples for different ranges of velocities - you should consider on instruments with large ranges of timbres, such as brass, mapping velocity to a filter which will open up as velocity increases. Generally you'll want no greater than a 12dB/oct lowpass, as anything higher usually sounds unnatural. If your sampler can't do this (though most should), you'll unfortunately have to automate the filter by hand if you want the effect.

• Regarding the attack lengths, if your sampler is capable of changing the sample start time, this should your first choice for adding variation to attack times. For many instruments and applications, mapping the sample start along with volume to note velocity will do the job just fine; however, if you're looking for more control - ex. if you need a softer note with a short attack - you'll need to map the sample start to an external control (mod wheel, expression, aftertouch, etc.) and automate that.

• If the attack lengths seem fine but the strong notes just don't have enough punch, this is where a compressor becomes useful. Set it up with a short attack time (10-100 ms) and a long release (>200 ms) so that the attack of each note comes through before the compressor squashes the rest of the note down. You might also want to adjust the threshold so that only the louder notes are compressed.

• Lastly, on parts with a strong rhythmic presence (so definitely drums), it often helps to very slightly randomize the positions of the notes. This is especially important on instruments where you might have multiple notes triggering simultaneously - the toms on a drum kit are a particularly good example. Every DAW that I've used has a randomization function for this purpose, so I'd assume that most others have it as well.

I think that we also need to clarify just what it is we mean when we say "It sounds too MIDI!", as there seems to have been some confusion over this lately. Being the bunch that we are, I'm sure we're all well aware that even the oldest MIDI compositions can sound great today - it really comes down to the quality of the composition itself (Rob Hubbard, anyone?). However, I believe it was the initial attempts at using sampled instruments - especially in games - that gave MIDI a bad name, and is often what we're thinking of when we use the term informally. So I think, in a nutshell, what this usage of "MIDI" has mutated to mean today is simply "unnatural". Therefore, when we say something "sounds MIDI", it doesn't necessarily have to do with the quality of the samples - it's how you use them!

More general advice:
Generally you should EQ instruments individually as you add them, and shouldn't do a full-mix EQ until you're close to being done. Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, on your final EQ you should never need to apply more than 2 or 3 dBs anywhere - any more and it's likely that you have a single instrument (or two) that's causing problems.


For any other questions regarding music submission to the project, send a PM to scubaSteve or Canned Karma

This post has been edited by Canned Karma: 16 September 2010 - 11:35 PM

#2 User is offline Blast Processing 

Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:08 PM

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Ending Sequence.

#3 User is offline Tweaker 

Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:18 PM

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I personally prefer Dioxaz's render of the music, but that's very calming as well. Nice job!

#4 User is offline scubaSteve 

Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:49 PM

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QUOTE (Blast Processing @ Mar 30 2010, 05:08 PM)

Ooh, loving the instrumentation here. Love the chilled-out sound too, though the last section needs to be a tad more intense - the crescendo leading up to it is good, but then it kind of gets squandered since there's no overall increase of intensity compared to the part just before. My first instinct says that you need to bring out the supporting chords a little more, and the lead part needs to be more intense as well. (Maybe layer the part with a horn instrument or something?) I have just some small gripes about the lead parts in the beginning, also - one, the 16th notes coming from the flute are sounding muddy because of the long attack, and two, after the flute drops out the lead part becomes a little shrouded behind the other parts, though this may just be a mixing issue. Speaking of which, the mixing does need some tweaking, though since this is just a v1 I'll save them until the instrumentation is finalized. I'm calling this a surefire approval once the kinks are worked out wink.png

Whoops, just noticed one more thing: The snare drum is a little... unenthusiastic sad.png. A brighter, longer snare drum would certainly give the last section some of the boost it needs.

#5 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:53 AM

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While Master Emerald's rendition of Hidden Palace is quite pretty, I thought it was a bit un-Sonic-y so I decided to try my hand at remastering it myself. I think something like this would fit a bit better into the actual game than Master Emerald's slower, more ambient take.

Thoughts?~

#6 User is offline RedStripedShoes 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 09:57 AM

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QUOTE (Blast Processing @ Mar 30 2010, 04:08 PM)


This would be fine as the Normal Ending Sequence. Maybe if you get all 7 emeralds, you should get something more epic.

QUOTE (Guess Who @ Apr 1 2010, 12:53 AM)
While Master Emerald's rendition of Hidden Palace is quite pretty, I thought it was a bit un-Sonic-y so I decided to try my hand at remastering it myself. I think something like this would fit a bit better into the actual game than Master Emerald's slower, more ambient take.

Thoughts?~


Wow. I love this take on the song. I can hear it channeling the Aquatic Ruin theme. But I think you need to lay off the cymbals just a bit.
This post has been edited by RedStripedShoes: 01 April 2010 - 10:02 AM

#7 User is offline Canned Karma 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 11:02 AM

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I like your melody instrumentations Guess Who. But yes, your cymbal usage is complete overkill for this. I'm not digging the claps much either. It really does feel like someone sucked in pieces of Aquatic Ruin, but not in a good way to me. The bits you put in with the piano show a much better use of creative license. I'd like to see more of that.

On the technical side of things... well, I'm not hearing anything that screams fix me now, but I'll leave that analysis up to scuba.

#8 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 12:12 PM

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I agree the cymbal usage is a bit much. I'm already working on a V2 that tones that down, but I decided to post that version to get feedback. Also, there's no claps (I guess you mean the woodblock), and what you're hearing as piano is actually harp. smile.png

If it sounds like Aquatic Ruin, that's probably because of the flute lead.

#9 User is offline Hamneggs 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 03:42 PM

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I would agree with symbols as well, but my main quarrel is the drum trill that sounds like tapping on a 3oz paper cup. I really don't think that is as good as it could be.

#10 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 03:59 PM

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QUOTE (Hamneggs @ Apr 1 2010, 03:42 PM)
I would agree with symbols as well, but my main quarrel is the drum trill that sounds like tapping on a 3oz paper cup. I really don't think that is as good as it could be.


Yeah, for that purpose I've got two versions of V2:

Regular
Sans woodblock (or, as you called it, the "drum trill that sounds like tapping on a 3oz paper cup")

Cymbals are toned down as well.

#11 User is offline Hamneggs 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 04:27 PM

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QUOTE (Guess Who @ Apr 1 2010, 02:59 PM)
Sans woodblock (or, as you called it, the "drum trill that sounds like tapping on a 3oz paper cup")


specialed.png
That's good stuff right there.

#12 User is offline Canned Karma 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 06:52 PM

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Much better without the woodblock, but the cymbals are still on almost every beat. That many of them just aren't needed. You've got a pattern of two light hits followed by a long one going on. Maybe try reducing that to the first two hits, and then after a few repetitions have the third one come back.
This post has been edited by Canned Karma: 01 April 2010 - 06:54 PM

#13 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 07:47 PM

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Um, that's just a simple hi-hat beat that's no more prominent in my HPZ mix than in, as far as I can tell, any given other song in the project. I know the original HPZ is considerably much more relaxed on the percussion in general, but the whole point of my mix was to up the tempo a bit and make it a bit more in line with other songs in the game.

If you'd like, I could mix the hi-hat down a bit, but I don't really see a reason to change the beat itself.

#14 User is offline Canned Karma 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 08:37 PM

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For benefit of the doubt, I've gone through and listened to all the Hidden Palace mixes that have been submitted so far. I think what makes your hi-hat beat stand out is the repetition of it. It's a one-two-three pattern that goes on again and again without much variety from phrase to phrase. I've nothing against your desire to increase the tempo, it makes for good variety.

Compare yours so far to BlazeHedgehog's remaster or ancara's version. Those have better examples of extending the percussion over multiple phrases to mix things up a bit. Food for thought.

#15 User is offline Guess Who 

Posted 01 April 2010 - 08:59 PM

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Truthfully, neither of them has terribly more variance than mine - they simply have a more interesting beat they're repeating. :P However, while my hi-hat beat is repetitive, my version does vary the bass/snare/tom beat nearly every measure.

Also, I feel like both of those are trying to accomplish very different things with their percussion than mine. Both of those have more interesting percussion than mine, undoubtedly, but mine sounds more like an actual person sitting behind a drum kit. Blaze's sounds considerably more electronic, and ancara's borders on tribal. While they sound great within the context of their mixes, I feel like trying to emulate them would be a mistake given the more intentionally organic nature of my remix. However, I will try to come up with some ways to vary the hi-hat a bit more without delving out of my preferred style.
This post has been edited by Guess Who: 01 April 2010 - 09:00 PM

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