This is my first upload on Sonic Academy. I am excited to read your feedback!
This is my first upload on Sonic Academy. I am excited to read your feedback!
Hey there @Lexwa87
Welcome then ! Since it’s your 1st upload for some feedback
Bear in mind that this feedback is based on critical listening, so in a nutshell, I’ll probably gonna try to highlight what’s not working more than what’s good, it’s the best way to be constructive IMO, but you have to keep an open mind for taking it as well. We all spend a lot of time & efforts trying to make a track, often getting absorbed by the music and the song itself, so it’s very common & easy to loose this critical sense of listening and becoming less objective. That’s where other’s feedback comes in and can be very handy
OK so let’s start by some good elements here. First of all you have a song structure & arrangement, that’s a good habit. I also like the melodic synths parts in the track, there’s some movement going on with those elements which is adding interest to the track. That arpeggiated synth right from the start is very nice ( reminds me of Tale Of Us Remix of “Wake Me Up” from Cubicolor ). There’s some modulation with the synth filter & levels, movement with panning which is nice & interesting. It’s working well in the 1st part of the track but the notes pattern variation in the 2nd part are a bit confusing IMO, but it has to do with other instruments playing and not blending that well with this main synth line.
That other synth ( more like a lower pad ) you introduce during the break at around 2:10 doesn’t play very well with the main synth, again creating confusion for the listener. Advice here is choice of sounds that already blend well together in terms of tune, frequencies and to be careful with notes choice & pattern variation. It’s very good to make a track evolving, but sometime it’s better to keep it subtle, the listener ears & mind need something to refer to, if the change is too drastic he’s gonna loose focus & interest.
Rhythm wise, the kick is quite good, fitting this kind of track quite well. Other drums parts should be a bit louder since your synths are really taking the focus here. The patterns are also quite linear & static right now, very much ON the grid, more movement and organic feel would be welcome here.
Now for the elements that are not working in this track IMO, it’s definitely that bass sound and the vocals. The bass doesn’t work very well in the track and the pattern is not interesting, not sounding like a bass line at the moment, I would try other bass sound as well as coming up with a bass line pattern playing well with the rest of the track.
The vocals are rather off at the moment and they are also not very well in tune with the rest of the track but the main point here is timing, you have slow vocals fighting with fast arpeggios and that’s again creating confusion. I’ll be honest, it’s always very hard to find good vocals for any track, unless you have access to a vocalist or being a singer yourself, then once you found the right vocals, having them sitting right & well mixed in a track can also be quite difficult. Don’t know if you’re producing for a long time, but I won’t bother too much with adding vocals to my tracks if you’re starting, get the music right first.
Here are some S.A tuts to check for the drums if you haven’t watch those already, I think they are really interesting
How To Make Better Drums → Enamour
Top 5 Tips For Creating Organic Drums → Protoculture
Those other 2 tutorials from Enamour are also very good resources, especially in terms of song structure and ways to use different elements to create variations & keep the listener interested, but keeping them working well together.
Tech Tips Vol.52 is definitely a gold mine and for a full track approach do watch the How to Make Ruby course.
Those are in Ableton Live, do not know what’s your DAW of choice, but all tuts are covering useful tips & techinques that you can apply in any other DAW.
So yep, some nice elements in this one but the track is missing a catchy bass line with a different sound, the melodic elements have to blend more and complete each-other instead of dueling and creating confusion for the listener, drums could be more interesting and have a more organic feel to them and the vocals are probably not sitting well for this track because of tune & especially timing.
Hope that can help
Thank you for your reply. It’s all very useful.
Exactly, I find critical listing the hardest part of music production, especially your own music. At this point I am taking notes and see how I can improve. Usually tracks would en up in my trash bin at this point, however
I feel I have some pretty good sounds and structure, you already pointed out, I can work with.
Not sure what you mean with 2nd part,. between 1:34 and the breakdown?
I agree on the drums , should be louder, I have been thinking about adding some elements to make them more interesting. I have watched the Protoculture tut, should be good time to practice and use some of these tips then.
I think I’ll replace the pads and try to come up with a new bass line. I always struggling with the vocals from sample packs but I am glad to hear it’s not just me… I have tried both Arcade from Output and Loopcloud, they do the auto-time and pitching thing but I am never really satisfied by those, guess it’s better to leave them out then. Do you think this track will benefit from an extra melody to replace the vocals or is that just more elements fitting for the same space?
I am going to watch some of those other courses as well. I am alway trying to learn and improve my production skills and Sonic Academy have been great recourse so far. I am excited to implement these tips in my production(s).
Thanks, hope to hear from you again.
Was simply referring to everything after the break, taking the song structure at a very basic level 1st part → Break → 2nd Part, was not having a detailed approach like intro, drop, transitions…etc, but just the core structure of the song.
Again it’s a matter of sound choice and musical & tonal balance. Pick up sounds that work well together and define a song key & a root note to follow and build from. Avoid using sounds that are in the same tonality, you’ll quickly end up with frequency masking issues and it’s gonna be harder to mix. Sounds must complete each other rather than fighting for the space in the mix.
Keep things simple when it comes to music theory, you don’t need complex chords progression or inversion to make a good track, single notes melodies can really work well and if you start to use delays & reverb and other effects on your instruments then a simple lead or pluck can become much more full & interesting, but stick to a sound key, it’s much easier to keep things in tune and it’s less confusing for the listener.
For the vocals, you can chop them in audio clips and work on the timing by adjusting the clips position on the grid. Many DAWs offer decent warping & pitching tools and can help to tweak vocal samples.
Not at this stage, it’s gonna be hard to bring something else in if you don’t fix the overall tonal balance & clarity of the mix before IMO. If after spending some more time playing around with other sounds, bass line or melodies you’re feeling that it’s getting no where, then leave it. Save the presets you’re happy with, save the project in a “draft” or “ideas” folder, keep the elements that you feel are working like the song arrangement, transitions…etc and start another project. In each project you’ll be learning something and find a way to get something working, those are the building blocks that will help to progress in your musical journey. No secret here, it takes time and you need to practice and experiment a lot. Watch tutorials, try to replicate and adapt tutor’s tips & techniques in your own workflow, reference & listen to lot’s of music you like and make music you enjoy as well. There’s no need to put pressure on yourself with results and finishing tracks each time, separate learning & experimenting sessions from the ones trying to make a full track when you’ve got an idea.
Overall I find the song very busy and everything’s seems to be fighting for my attention, which makes it hard to develop that forward movement and emotional journey which the song clearly wants to achieve. Probably it will already solve some problems if you deactivate all effects on the mixbus, move the track volume faders down and make some conscious decision on what element should be how loud in the mix.
And check the notes. E. g. around 1:50 it sounds pretty dissonant. Some dissonance is always nice, if it gets too much the instruments start to sound like they are in different rooms and don’t care what song the other instruments are playing.