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[NGUAC 2020] claustrophobia

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Author Comments

Plugins used:

  • Sytrus (pluck, bass)
  • Edirol Orchestral (piano, violin)
  • Serum (pluck, supersaw synth)
  • FL Slayer + Amplitube 4 Free ver. (guitars)
  • Nexus (FX)


  • Hidamari no Uta by Yuyoyuppe
  • The Whole Rest (Cytus II opening)

I STILL forgot to change velocity on those hats.

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~~~~This is an official review from an NGUAC judge for the 2020 NGUAC Knock-out round!!~~~~

I like to type my first impressions on my first listen as I go so HERE WE GO.

Loving this spacey intro, good instrument, good variation at the end.

That crash is a bit loud in the mix but loving everything else here.

Okay once the drums really kick in and the guitar track kicks in it gets a bit muddy. Lots of stuff all happening at once. The EQ on the guitar is really heavy in the mid range. ADR3-N said a lot of what I could say really. There are spots where your stereo and eq field are filled REALLY WELL, like 1:37 sounds pretty good, then there are certain instruments that are too conflicting, and you might consider dropping out other elements to make room for what you want to be heard, maybe try not to let multiple things exist in the same frequency spectrum. I REALLY love the sound and effects at 2:00. Sounds like maybe you have a bit crusher on a voice and i just LOVE this effect and the other creepy pads you added in.

The structure overall IS a bit iffy, but I really like your transitions, mainly the one into 2:00, big fan of that. The final section at 3:00 the drums could really stand out more. Maybe through some sidechain compression, maybe your mix is off.

Good small build up into a mini climax into the end with a held note, very live rock band style, it works.

Overall, loving the ideas here, could use some work on the mixing elements, and everything else that ADR3-N said really. They also know a lot more about guitar mixing it seems! Maybe some more dynamic guitars and a little more in between could be a good change of pace, meaning, some sort of inbetween of your big climactic moments with all the drums, and the ones at the beginning and 2:00.

Good work! Good luck in the NGUAC

4203 responds:

Thank you!

You know, I had a song called Claustrophobia back in the day. I think yours is better, haha.

I like that opening chord. It almost sounds like a ringtone.

Ah, now that everything's come in, I understand what you're doing with that.

I have to say, the mix is super mid heavy here. Does Amplitube come with a cab? If not there are cabs like NadIR or Kefir for free. Tames that fizzy noise on top.

Writing wise, this piece is great, if a little shaky in structure. I would not have repeated your breakdown at 2:40 twice -- I would have gotten back as quickly as possible to a final chorus. It sounds like you actually have two breakdowns one after the other, and the section you end with, right before the outro, I would have put where your distorted synths at 2:20-ish are.

Those synths by the way, I can't tell if that's a ring mod or something like Saturn distortion/saturation thrown on, but it's pretty sibilant and could probably use compression to tame it and take it down a bit.

Your modulation of effects throughout was very nice and adds touches that a lot of producers would have let go to waste. Some nice spicy moments.

The main issue to fix would be the mix. So I'll just try to parse out commentary by instrument

Drums, are not standing out in the mix when all instruments come in. This tells me either the drums are not very compressed, or the track is too compressed. I can't see the waveform since it doesn't like to display in my browser, but it sounds like there are actually just guitars covering them up, tbh.

Guitars, I would recommend something other than FL Slayer, or at least modulate velocity more. For guitars, you'll want something you can actually doubletrack without phasing, and that isn't going to sound so boxy in an amp. There's a lot of 250 hz range noise it sounds like, trying to mix in that aggressive tone. I recommend for mixing guitars a quick search on Chernobyl Studios on YT. He uses reaEQ to cut out everything on that guitar send to up to 250 hz. It helps.

This said there are good uses of Slayer, and it does not ALWAYS sound bad, but those are when the instrument is played to its strengths, which is obvious synth keytar solos, not rhythm guitar. There are lots of free guitars on the net. I would at this point even recommend something like Ample Sound's free Taylor, if you can find a way to cut off the reverb. Then I think there's a junk guitar for Kontakt, among others. Look around, I'm sure you'll find something. I think there's a Kontakt factory that offers freebies, and you can work up enough kredits doing reviews or product demos with that to afford instruments, if that's your thing.

Mix wise I think the drums and bass need to stand out more. That mostly just means turning everything else down until you can clearly hear everything. Some people recommend mixing in mono to achieve a cleaner sound profile and cutting down on reverb as much as possible.

When I was working at this stage I would then render the file at -6 dB and see if I could find a free mastering service. Helps if you want the raw product out without spending a day on the master channel.

Thanks for coming out to NGUAC!

4203 responds:

Yeah, I struggled a lot with the mix, and my instrument choice is not that great xD
I considered a lot at the breakdown, thinking it's a good idea but now it seems not quite... well, at least I got something good out of it.
Thanks for the tips!


Veri cool. it might need a little more mixing and some of the crashes feel a little bit to high pitched. however, around a minute to 2 minutes sounds really good. the part after is really bit crushed but doesn't sound too bad. all in all sounds pretty cool.

4203 responds:

I'm gonna take note of it, thanks!
I'm not that good at handling guitars and this is my first time, so yeah. I'll try more in the future :D

Credits & Info


4.20 / 5.00

Aug 23, 2020
4:20 AM EDT
File Info
3.9 MB
3 min 27 sec

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