AIM - The Final Fight

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This piece was inspired by an art piece called 'The big bad' by themefinland. You can check that out over here. http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/themefinland/the-big-bad
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Honestly, this would have been a great track if it wasn't killed by production issues and your lack of experience regarding MIDI programming for orchestra.

I have read the other reviews, and saw you use notation software. One of the issues with this kind of software is that you don't have as much control as you could on the dynamics of the instruments you are using.
If you use notation software, it's a good idea to import the MIDI in another DAW, and to add more changes to the dynamics of your instruments, for example by using the CC#01 on the DXF patches from EWQLSO (other libraries from EWQL will have similar patches, but I think it's EWQLSO, given how it sounds), and adding some velocity changes. Just to give you an example, this bass drum becomes incredibly tiring because it doesn't feel "human", it is ALWAYS played with the EXACT same intensity, every single note. The same goes with most of your other instruments, even if it's more subtle.

If you really don't know where to start, you could read EWQLSO's user manual (chapter 5 mainly). I don't know if this is the best thing to begin with, but I remember it contained some useful information about how the library worked. If you don't use EWQLSO, you can disregard this, but the "Creating an soundscape" and "Volume, velocity and expression" give some very general advice and vocabulary that can be used with any other library.

On a more general basis, you could also keep in mind that an orchestra will never play a piece perfectly. Part of making an orchestra sound realistic is to reflect these imperfections in the way you "program" your MIDI tracks - something that can't be done easily in a notation software.

Don't be afraid to spent a lot of time reading on the subject of MIDI programming or sound engineering, you'll end up learning a lot. I also recommend looking at how other composers work. You could look at Blakus' Template Walkthroughs or Behind The Scenes videos for example : Watch the beginning of his video on the Hobbit 3 trailer music, and look at his tracks, how he uses the MIDI Control Changes, how the notes don't start exactly in time, how the staccato/spiccato notes aren't all at the same velocity, how each note of a chord don't start exactly at the same time. It's the sum of all these imperfections that makes an orchestral mockup sound realistic.
...well, there's other things, but this is what you need to work on for now, I think.

I truly hope you'll take the time to improve on these points, to give your music the sound it deserves.

CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks a million for the amazing review Ylmir! I have practically no experience with production lol. I've done a lot of composing using notation software, but I've never had to worry about anything except the notes (that and making sure everything looked tidy for the performers).

You weren't too far off with the EWQLSO. I actually recently purchased EWQL's Hollywood Orchestra and I've begun to write my pieces with it. I spent a day or two just figuring out how to use the sample libraries in FL Studios.

In this piece, the main things I messed with were the MIDI control changes 1, 7, and 11; Modulation, Volume, and Expression, respectively. The only reason I knew they existed was from reading the manual EWQLHO came with lol. I touched on some small effects here and there, but I was slightly hesitant, because I wasn't 100% sure what to do with them. I'm thinking of eventually getting a midi plugin keyboard, which could help for getting a more 'human' sound; rather than having to always manually move the notes around for the 'imperfect' sort of sound you were speaking of. Plus I'm a fairly confident pianist, so using it shouldn't be too difficult! :D

I just purchased 'The Mixing Engineers Handbook,' by Bobby Owsinski and will begin studying that religiously! I'll also be looking for online resources to learn as much as I can! Thanks a ton for the awesome recommendations and general advice, it'll come in handy in the future!

P.S. Your piece for the A.I.M. Contest was fantastic!

I don't agree with RealFaction... The intro is what it should be. Reverb?... you're joking surely? Then again, I do see where the "too dry" comment comes from. Yep, a tad lacking in depth. A re-recording of a re-recording type sound, if you get my drift? A loss of sharpness and depth at both ends?
However... this is a really good listen, despite lacking the tiniest amount of sound depth.
Great composition let down by production faults... 4/5

CloakedSoup responds:

Haha yeah. I've been composing for awhile, but I only ever notated in musescore and then exported what I had straight from the software. I just got a fancy shmancy new sample library from EWQL and I just kind of started to get into production. My AIM pieces are the first two pieces I have written where I had to actually do some audio engineering. Thank you for reviewing! It's always nice to get different perspectives.

awesome :D

CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks 8D

You should go ahead and take your time and finish it, id like to hear this again when you fix it.

CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks for the review! Im pretty new to Production (I usually only ever had to worry about composition/notation), so I'm still learning every day. That being said, I know there are several things I could improve if I spent some time with this.

The beginning strings are too dry they need reverb, as some of the other instruments in the mix do, and could use a little bit more brightness (just a little more on the high end), I like what you have here though. Not bad, but I feel it could've built up to me something more. Overall the track is too dry though. But good job with everything else. Fits the artwork.

CloakedSoup responds:

Thanks for the input once again! I wish I could've spent more time on this, but the deadline was today and I just started it yesterday. lol

Credits & Info


4.43 / 5.00

Jul 24, 2016
10:45 PM EDT
File Info
4.2 MB
3 min 4 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.