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Skol303

March Composition Challenge - GET WRITING

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[quote name='RockfordStone' timestamp='1457695622' post='3001003']
ive done it before, but i've spent the past 6 years using these monitors for everything, so it will be adjustment until i get some new ones.
[/quote]
Don't use your monitors as an excuse. You're a better composer than that! :)

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1457696220' post='3001013']
Don't use your monitors as an excuse. You're a better composer than that! :)
[/quote]
i know, but im also the kind of person who can lose confidence in a song or mix if i don't like the sound of it :P

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[quote name='RockfordStone' timestamp='1457696679' post='3001017']
i know, but im also the kind of person who can lose confidence in a song or mix if i don't like the sound of it :P
[/quote]
In theory, it should sound better on your hifi than it does on your monitors (not sure how true that holds though).

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1457699351' post='3001054']
In theory, it should sound better on your hifi than it does on your monitors (not sure how true that holds though).
[/quote]
we'll see, ive got a seperates system with yamaha amp and cambridge audio speakers so hopefully should sound ok. i'll try them tonight... or just go out tomorrow and buy new monitors. the M-Audio ones lasted me 6 years, may get some KRK's this time

Edited by RockfordStone

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[quote name='RockfordStone' timestamp='1457700091' post='3001067']...cambridge audio speakers...
[/quote]

If they're Byfleet-made TL200's, I was a test engineer with them at the time (early '70s...). Even with a hefty staff discount, I could never afford a pair, and they spoiled me for ever as regards listening quality. I had never, nor since, heard better systems. We would play a JBL test vinyl; which simulated a recording session; one could distinctly hear the 1db correction on the bass drum. All the detail was there. Splendid kit. I don't know if the modern systems cut the mustard, but in any case my own aged hearing is now, by far, the weakest link in the audio chain..! :blush: Still, I'd love to get to listen to another pair of TL200's, if only for the memories engendered. B)

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1457705484' post='3001153']
If they're Byfleet-made TL200's,
[/quote]
IIRC, Cambridge are now a Richer Sounds brand... Doesn't mean they're no good, just not as top-end as they used to be!
But you'll be pleased to hear I'm still using some Ditton 66 speakers...

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1457709064' post='3001199']
[size=6]IIRC, Cambridge are now a Richer Sounds brand... Doesn't mean they're no good, just not as top-end as they used to be!
But you'll be pleased to hear I'm still using some Ditton 66 speakers...[/size]
[/quote]

Fixed, for the old and decrepit amongst us... :blush:

Dittons..? Yes, similar concept there. Any good for metal..? :lol:

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1457709462' post='3001204']

Dittons..? Yes, similar concept there. Any good for metal..? :lol:
[/quote]

They're very good for the harder of hearing at all audible frequencies (and beyond - 18Hz-30kHz!), they work as well for metal as jazz or classical. Mine, however, had the optional Folk-Filter fitted, so as soon as the words "I sawe a prettye mayde" or assocoiated fiddle-de-dees appear they shut down until re-activated using Brotzmann's Last Exit...

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1457710123' post='3001217']...Brotzmann's Last Exit...
[/quote]

:lol:

... and yet, so sad, so young..! I'd pray for you but for being an atheist..! :P

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[quote name='Dad3353' timestamp='1457710845' post='3001224']
:lol:

I'd pray for you but for being an atheist..! :P
[/quote]

Everybody knows that heaven is only for the atheists!

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Got an update on mine... see the spoilery bit below.

[spoiler]

The gentle wind noises at the beginning worked amazingly well. Kinetic Metal really shone on that bit I thought. The track built up in a way I was pleased with then went into its lull, perhaps a bit too early and without the sound of wind being sucked out of the room. It still had a decent effect though.

I never added the pianos in the end. Not sure if I should go back and try them or not. The mix is pretty busy at the moment so I'm hesitant to add more to it.

I bounced a pair of Rise and Hits effect around the stereo field that sounds to me like a tornado whirling round my headphones. I was pretty pleased with this. I may have been able to find some better sounds from that software package but you have to load each one in separately to preview them which is a bit of a pain. I liked how I could change the length of the build up on those. A few use the default 8 bars but I stretched a couple out to 32 bars for greater tension.

I didn't end up using Absynth either but I did get some gowly-breathing type effect from Skanner XT.

Damage came through for me for both percussion and the junkyard smashes. I'm pretty sure one of those is a sample of a school bus being dropped from a crane. It sounds very destructive.

I said I'd end it with some stabbing strings but never did. That's something I may actually go back and do. I almost abandoned the track at one point as the string parts just weren't working. Action Strings doesn't work for me as well as Session Strings did, and even Session Strings Pro is a different beast. I've yet to tame those two but that's the peril of working with so many new instruments.

No room at all for movie clips so I've not gone for any of these.

So at the moment I'm fairly happy with the arrangement. I cut it short a couple of times to avoid stretching out some parts for too long. It's now around 3 mins which is about right for this type of piece I think.

I added some guitars in. I heard a cinematic track with some guitars in on Heroes Reborn the other night (if I'm honest, it was the most interesting part of the series so far but that's a topic for another day and place). I liked it, and thought some guitar twiddling may help with the strings sounding a bit meh. I like it so far. A simple D minor chord struck on every 4th bar drenched in delays and reverb worked well. I added in a couple of tracks of fiddling on the high cheesewire strings on my tele using the same guitar effects too. This worked well with the strings so they seem to fit in now.

So now I'm in the process of mixing. I spent quite a while just getting it sounding right with the volume sliders before doing anything else. Then I started looking at adding some compression to the drum parts for some added punch and drama. Transient Master worked nice for this but I could have spent a week just trying out all of the different compressors I have now. I've eq'd some low end out of the percussion, cellos and French horns so there's more free energy around that part of the mix.

So now I need to give it a few more listens with fresh ears, see if I need to compress or EQ anything else, and adjust volumes further if needed. I also need to get it onto my monitors as I've been doing this in my headphones so far. I'll apologise to my neighbours now for this :)

After that I'll be trying some mix glue stuff. I chucked on my usual T-racks mastering preset. It's a decent starting point I've found. I use it on most of my tracks and tweak to suit. It lifts the whole mix which is quite nice but I think I need to try some slight delay or reverb too. That works well on a lot of tracks but maybe not on one as percussion-heavy as this. These cinematic style tracks are incredibly difficult to mix.

So far this has been a bugger to work through. Too many new instruments didn't help and I lost my way on it more times than I have on any other track. I have a few ideas and a desire to do an EDM type track and just play around with beats and synths (Polyplex is sounding amazing so far so I want to take this out to play). I also fancy a nice upbeat tune with more real instruments. Go back to my EZDrummer, bass and guitar days. So I may go off and do those and perhaps revisit this month's entry in a week's time.

One last thing... with 19 tracks of virtual instruments I had my overclocked 4.6ghz Devil's Canyon i7 working up to 60% cpu load on all 8 cores and a total use of over 6GB of RAM. That's the most I've seen so far. To put it in perspective, my old PC (overclocked Core 2 Duo E8500 with 8GB RAM) couldn't play one of my earlier tracks without going over 100% load and stuttering. My new rig with the i7 played it without breaking a sweat, never going above 11% usage. That's a lot of audio processing I'm chucking around now.

Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks!
[/spoiler]

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I'm looking forward to hearing some of (if not, all of) these compositions.

I've almost finished mine. It needs mixed a little better & then mastered, but I'm really happy with what I've achieved. So much so, I want to post it...

[url="https://soundcloud.com/gxmix/beautiful-destruction"]https://soundcloud.com/gxmix/beautiful-destruction-1[/url]

I'll put the blurb in a spoiler too...

[spoiler]I started this on bass. The bit that's now a synth bass line did start as some slap bass.
I then created the guitar parts using amp models from logic, one side is my bass, the other is my electro acoustic & the high guitar part is my bass with octave up.
The main bassline is my bass & also the Alchemy synth in LPX, the 2nd one is NI Monark & played on my new keys (S88) & had some fun with the mod strips too.
The ambient synth is also Alchemy & played on the S88. The mod strip assigned to control the wind sounds (opening a filter on a wind sample).

Anyway, here's what I saw from the pic...

It's a calm day. I see something on the horizon & the wind is picking up. All of a sudden I see the vortex dancing in my direction & run for shelter.
In the safety of the shelter I watch as the storm destroys everything in it's path, then it goes quiet.
Thinking that it's over, I go out & discover that I'm right in the eye of the storm.
Caught up in the surreal of watching it & everything spinning around me, it catches me & lifts me up.
I'm getting tossed about way up in the air & I'm trying to find something to grab on to, but everything is just moving so fast.
Twisting & turning & spinning, I feel like I'm flying out of control & then see land.
The storm passes.

Did I survive?
[/spoiler]

Edited by xgsjx

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I am really slow this month , I have had an odd start to this month and I have started a new build kitchen extension , so finding a couple of hours for inspiration has not proved enough , I normally faff around on the piano and guitars until something clicks , but nothing yet , never say never though

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Perhaps with all this serious, dangerous storm stuff I should defintely re-think my flatulence angle...
And just as I'd made it into a cautionary tale [i]á la[/i] [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struwwelpeter"]Struwwelpeter![/url]

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1457785623' post='3001764']
Perhaps with all this serious, dangerous storm stuff I should defintely re-think my flatulence angle...
And just as I'd made it into a cautionary tale [i]á la[/i] [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struwwelpeter"]Struwwelpeter![/url]
[/quote]

Apt...

[color=#800080]In [i]"Die Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert"[/i] (The Story of the Flying Robert), a boy goes outside during a storm. The wind catches his umbrella and lifts him high into the air. The story ends with the boy sailing into the distance.[/color]

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1457796424' post='3001885']
Aye... All the stories end badly.
I was brought up on them and Bechstein/Grimm - I've got a German mother!
[/quote]

Luxury. Mine was a Scot :happy: . Yes, that meant bagpipes. And Hogmanay. And Kathleen Ferrier. And accent. And more... (but she was [i]my [/i]Mum; wouldn't have swapped for worlds..! :) )

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[quote name='Leonard Smalls' timestamp='1457785623' post='3001764']
Perhaps with all this serious, dangerous storm stuff I should defintely re-think my flatulence angle...
And just as I'd made it into a cautionary tale [i]á la[/i] [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struwwelpeter"]Struwwelpeter![/url]
[/quote]

I think the dangerous storm stuff and the back story has made it a bit dark for me , so I took a left turn with the thinking to lighten it up a bit , so while not quite a flatulence wind issue , it will have found an angle I can move forward with :)

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It is indeed a difficult picture. A great picture in terms of shock and awe but difficult (for me) to draw inspiration from. That said, it's early yet so hopefully we can get something done.

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Both 'the boy' and 'Lurks' have summed up this months' effort for me......
Struggling on with a piece that's slowly going up its own alley is not the way.....so I've left alone for a day or three and hopefully somethin' will pop in the empty space......!!

Nige

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I'm glad I'm not the only one - I've hit a brick wall.

It doesn't help that I've just come down with the flu!

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[quote name='Rikki1984' timestamp='1457869870' post='3002464']
It doesn't help that I've just come down with the flu!
[/quote]
That flu is a bassid! I had it & had me off work for an entire week (Thursday - Thursday) & just got rid of the cough that it leaves you with. Good luck with it.

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[quote name='xgsjx' timestamp='1457876071' post='3002548']

That flu is a bassid! I had it & had me off work for an entire week (Thursday - Thursday) & just got rid of the cough that it leaves you with. Good luck with it.
[/quote]

Cheers :-)

It's been years since I was last ill so I'm not sure how to deal with it. After much deliberation I've decided that wallowing in my own self pity is the best course of action!

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I think I'm in a position where I can say mine's finished. I reworked some later parts and had to EQ a few things many times to get them sounding right on all of the speakers and headphones I have.

One takeaway from this is that I'm not very impressed with Action Strings. They never seem to sound good at all. Maybe I just need more time with them. I am however very impressed with Session Strings Pro. Whilst they don't have anywhere near as many variations in the animator that Session Strings (normal version) has the range of options to create your own and the increased array of articulations more than make up for it. Rise and Hit is pretty awesome too.

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[quote name='Rikki1984' timestamp='1457889917' post='3002696']
Cheers :-)

It's been years since I was last ill so I'm not sure how to deal with it. After much deliberation I've decided that wallowing in my own self pity is the best course of action!
[/quote]
Last time I had it was New Year 99/2000. Got it just after Xmas. I was the one who caught the Millennium bug. Didn't affect my PC.

This time round, I spent most of the time sleeping during the day & coughing most of the night. Night Nurse is a good investment, but you'll have some messed up dreams.

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