I got you but this song is clearly a 3.5 but I voted to bring it to that. Here's what I want to say. You need to work more on the mastering, sometimes I spend 9 hours tweaking mastering and it's a bitch but you gotta work harder at it. That ping could use some soft clipping, Your sidechaining, is a bit too powerful for the drum, I do like the beat though it's really catchy and videogame style. Remember to sidechain and limit your reverb ion your piano and lower the volume on that thing! It sounds a bit too distorted. The following synth around 1:45, I LOVE that synth.
You have good variety but there are some bits and pieces that make it a bit harsh on the ear. That's all, but definitely I enjoyed this piece. Sorry it took a while to get back to ya. (:
1. I guess I must really suck at mastering 'cause this isn't the first time I've gotten that complaint, but the problem isn't that I don't try or don't understand, it's that I don't notice my problems. I never even noticed the mastering problems with this until you mentioned it, and even then I struggled to find them, but they must be pretty prominent if so many people call me out on it...
2. I don't know what soft clipping is.
3. I didn't put any sidechaining on the percussion, It's just loud. For some reason I always get weird side effects when I try sidechaining on percussion... One time I set a drum to sidechain a very loud reverbing piano so it wouldn't swallow the master volume, but instead of doing any sidechaining, the drum just had the effects the piano had on its mixer. You'd think I accidentally clicked "Route to this track" instead of "Sidechain to this tack" but I double checked and I didn't... Anyway, since I can't use sidechaining I tend to just make my percussion very prominent.
4. I did use Rough Rider on that piano if I remember right, which is a form of distortion, but I set the sensitivity pretty high so there was a lot of gain reduction going on. I personally don't think it sounds distorted at all, but I guess I'm just horrible at noticing my mastering flaws...
5. I'm not sure what synth you mean, there's 2 synths at 1:45 and both have been playing all the way through, just more in the background. The one that fades in is just a loud, sidechaining detuned saw that slowly fades in every 8 bars, then goes silent again. The other one is a custom preset I made for the GMS called Space Stabs with a sidechain on it, It's mostly comprised of jagged waveshapes with the maximum unison voice amount (16) and distortion with Unison Phase Retriggering. Makes it nice and powerful but short and stabby.
6. TBH This one has a lotta variety for a different reason. For once I wanted to do something minimalistic and I was gonna have just SFX, atmos, and that drum loop. I ended up removing more than half of my ideas because they just sounded off and eventually I was forced to give it a riff so it would "connect" and then it quickly built into something more maximistic...
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