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I really like synthwave

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--- === NGADM Round 1 Review === ---
I'm a big synthwave fan and I can hear lots of things I like about this piece. The mystery and longing of the genre is here in spades.

The track sounds good and definitely fits its genre. Sadly it really suffers from trying to be too loud, I had to listen at 2/3 usual volume! At times the compression pumping is too obvious because of this. I also saw that you mentioned side-chaining. I don't think I'd use side-chaining for this genre, it really needs that consistent baseline that would be eaten away at by the drums in that situation.
The drum kit sounds great even if it is drowned out at times. What kit did you use? You also said you couldn't use each sound separately. Did you consider making a track just for the kicks and mixing that?
I love the warm bass and the synths are tasty.

Your track was interesting throughout for a synthwave fan. You have written cool melodies and created a coherent atmosphere which I genuinely enjoyed (I wish I could download it!). It's super catchy and I love how the melody plays with the rhythm. I enjoyed the extra details at times ("AH!" or something? Choir pad? Brushed metal?). It sounded really cool and added a lot to that section.

Over all this is a really cool track that simply suffered from some production issues. I enjoyed it a lot though and I would like to hear more like it. Feel free to send me demos if you want advice on mixing in the future.

Scores are weighted so that comp and prod are 75% of the score:
Composition: 8
Production: 4
Enjoyment, atmosphere, replay and all the other odd stuff: 8

This is an Official NGADM '18 Round 1 Review:

So first off, you set up the genre well. It's hard to be too cheesy with a synthwave song. But I notice a couple issues quickly. In terms of mixing and production, the track seems crowded. It sounds like you're relying heavily on compressors to keep things from clipping. Not a good thing. It creates other problems like at 03:05 in particular. There's a sub that's literally fighting with the mix and sounds like it's vibrating the whole waveform. It's like when you just crack open one window in a car and it creates a painful buffeting. You do a couple things right though. Nothing is really piercing, and you do an overall balance of mixing between everything, in spite of the exceptions I just stated earlier.

Composition and structure: The driving bass isn't bad for what this is, but I think it's a little too front and center with how repetitive it is. One major problem is everything sounds loud. There's not much use of dynamics with this track. It's easy to see in the waveforms on this page too because you can tell the volume never changes. Not inherently a bad thing but it can make it tiring for the listener. As for the composition itself, I'm enjoying your simple melodies and you have well placed harmonies. They do a great job with the feel of the piece and I didn't get tired of listening to it multiple times as I tapped away on my keyboard. You have a decent amount of details in the background happening too whether it be the driving bass, or the relaxing pads, or even the little shouts at 2:30

Sound Design: Exactly what I would expect for this genre. A flair of cheesy without sounding immature. I love the snare. I do have one small issue with one or two of the synths. The high pitched synth you introduce at 0:13 is a little piercing. You keep it mostly under control which is decent mixing on your part, but maybe it would have been an improvement to take it down an octave. Maybe. Otherwise, this is an appropriate use of synths.

Overall, decent work. A little rough but one you should be proud of.

Score:

Total - 6.5
Production - 1
Sound Design - 1.5
Composition - 1.5
Structure - 1
Replay - 1.5

Sit back, set volume to half and enjoy :D
Really like this!

Yeah, the song is way too loud. almost no room for dynamics during your breakdown.

definitely need to tighten up the mix so that your kick can be more clear. your low end is cluttered and lead synths have too much high end.

cool synth solo. i liked that choir 'aah' sample for your fills.

Pr0tagonist responds:

Yesss dude the choir part was my fav. It was like one of the first things I added and it really got me excited to work on the track more.

The drums, as I told TL, were really sloppy because of my poor education lol. I was using a vst kit, so I didn't know how to split the kick from the rest of the drums, which made limiting and mixing a pain. Although, I swore I took off as much high end on the synths as possible, I might have forgotten to filter one.

Thank you for your review!

I like the angry bass and the 80s-style synths and drums. I think the mix could be a tad tighter - drums didn't quite pop like I wanted them to, and the bass gets pretty buried in the mix at around 1:30. The mix was loud and the texture was very full, though. I also appreciated it when you stripped away the drums at around 1:45 to add some structural variety. The main melodic theme (at 2:59, and other places) is nice, but it might've needed a bit more variation after a while, especially in a relatively long piece such as this. The piece also sounds pretty uniform in intensity and energy for most of it, which unfortunately means my engagement level kinda fades after a time. The fade-out ending didn't help in that regard. Overall, I think the instrumentation, mood, atmosphere, and melodic content are all huge pluses. A little more shape and dynamism in the composition would be welcome, as well as a tighter mix. Keep at it, Pr0tagonist! :)

Pr0tagonist responds:

Yeah... I was having some trouble with the drums because they were a single plugin and not separate samples. Sidechaining reacted with the whole kit, creating that kinda sloppy effect. I really wasn't sure how to deal with it, so I just lowered the volume and bass boosted the drums to give the kick some prominence.

Definitely screwed up the flow of this one. Just kept it loud and intense the whole time. My main focus was trying to give the melodies some variety, but I definitely should have paid more attention to the structure and pacing. Thanks for the review TL! I appreciate it!

Credits & Info

Pr0tagonist
Author

Listens
449
Faves:
2
Votes
11
Score
4.26 / 5.00

Uploaded
Jul 13, 2018
9:04 PM EDT
Genre
Synthwave
File Info
Song
5.8 MB
5 min 4 sec
Tags

Licensing Terms

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