Hello! Mastering orchestral songs, eh? Let's see what I can do to help with that. -crackknuckles-
-Those samples are fairly good. Strings are a fairly easy orchestral sample to come by, but still. Those are very nice, as are the cymbal rolls and the deep bass drum.
-I particularly like the drop at 1:37, it along with the large amount of bass swells and cymbal rolls really does fit the 'tides'. Makes me feel like I'm riding on tidal waves rolling along the ocean.
-There's a small bit of percussion in the background starting at 1:54. It seems to be going along with the harp, so I don't know whether you added it in as part of the sample, but this does sound good.
THE NOT-QUITE-AS-GOOD-AND-HERE'S-HOW-TO-I MPROVE: Hookay, sorry about this, this may be rather large.
-Your mixing and mastering DOES need to be improved. Granted, I don't have as much experience in the mixing of orchestral music, but there are a few suggestions I can make, some of which I've heard, some of which are just for mixing in general. First, try to cut out more of the middle frequencies of your instruments - many orchestral instruments are heavy in the middle frequencies, so they can overpower each other if you're not careful. Second, similar to the first, cut out all the frequencies that aren't being used in the overall mix. You DON'T need the individual instruments to sound great alone, they need to sound good together. They might sound weird alone when you do this, but honestly, it'll improve the overall mix by a lot.
-The brass samples were hard to notice, and they aren't quite as good. You could improve them quite a bit - try looking up some better ones.
-The song *is* quite repetitive. I would have loved it if you developed the chord structure, the harmonies, and the melodies a little bit more. There's also something else in the next point which would also improve it.
-As I said, related to the repetitiveness of the song is the kind of notes you're playing. They're almost all eighth and whole notes, aside from the melody. Please, please try using a few more kinds of notes in there, it would make the entire song much more interesting and complex. Granted, all the quick eighth notes give the song its rushing feel, and the whole note swells make the 'tide' feel, but as a standalone song rather than a sounndtrack, it could use something more.
-The ending is a tad abrupt. It works, but I feel like you could have some really piano strings in the background right at the end, behind the harp - they could fade away in the end as the harp ends. Just an idea there.
Overall: It's good. I like it. It's just a tad too repetitive, and muddy, even though there's no sample distortion. :< You're already pretty good at this cinematic orchestral stuff, as it would DEFINITELY be perfectly fine as the background to an animation, movie, or game (well, aside from the mixing stuff).
Hopefully this feedback has helped you.
o.o Wow. That's the kind of review I love. Thanks a bunch for the feedback!
-Yes, the instrument that goes with the harp was added. It's something I added to give the song a bit more rhythm.
-In reply to repetitiveness: I've got a bad habit of being lazy. I take a song, get a good melody, and then just beat it to the ground. And that's only because I spend a maximum of a day on each of my songs. I don't put my all into every song I make for NG. (even though I know I should) Whenever I get asked to write for a game or movie, I spend a lot more time on it. It's just an issue I will work on.
Thanks again for that wonderful review.
Excellent work; next Howard Shore right here. :D
The piece has a decidedly contemporary taste with the repetition... although that can bother me sometimes, I found it very fitting metaphorically regarding the rolling crests of the waves. This song is so full of strength, vitality, and emotion... I am afraid you don't give it any time to breath and simply relax... as in, just some calm strings with no fast motion... but I see that the ocean does not take breaks.
The ending is abrupt, but not so much that it throws one off. Perhaps consider giving it a bit of a slow down or a long held note on strings at the end.
I really like what you're doing here with the motion in the strings and such... have you ever heard the opening of Wagner's Das Rheingold? It's a really neat thing to listen to... it starts with some octaves, and then some horns kinda flow up out of the deep and strings take on a steady rhythmic pattern, which reminded me of this.
I love that bass drum there, but perhaps try using it a bit more than every other measure. For the absolute climax (crest of the song, if you will. :D), consider dotted-quarter, dotted-quarter, quarter or some other more complex patterns.
.mp3 isn't that bad as long as you keep it between 196 and 320kbps. If you go any lower than 196, quality degrades very noticeably. 320kbps is perceptually not that far from lossless formats such as .wav.
Overall, it's a good piece to listen to. Mastering is good, instrumentation is good.