One thing I’ve been struggling with is keeping my track “open” and “big”, and not at the same time be straining (harsh sounding), so I did some research on that and made some changes accordingly. I think I’ve succeeded pretty well for now at least. Considering the track isn’t final (far from it) there’s no reason to spend too much time getting a perfect mix, but I at least wanted to have the knowledge now and make my track sound a bit less straining (mainly for my own sake as I’m the one who’s listening to it quite a bit, over and over again… 😛 ).
I’ve also done some work on the percussion elements, making them more interesting. Might still need a bit of tweaking here and there, but I’ll look into that later. The clap sample has also been replaced, as I never felt the old one really sat well, but the new one does. I also added a cymbal crash, because hey, got to have that, right? 🙂
The top melody has also seen a slight change in that I’ve removed two notes for better flow. 🙂
I’ve also scrapped the entire current (old) intro and working on a new one. I got an idea for something I could do and I figured I might as well start from scratch now that I have a some melodic elements that I can utilize during the intro segment.
It’s also important to note that these current WIP updates are not representations of how it’s going to be in the track. It’s basically a small little segment that has been made as I was making the chord progression and melody, so that I could have it in context of a track setting to see how it works.
I also recently discovered a plug-in called TrackSpacer from Wavesfactory. It’s a great little simple plug-in that I’m currently using as “frequency sidechain compression”, having replaced some of the compressors otherwise doing that in the track. What I mean by “frequency sidechain compression” is that the plug-in works as an EQ, where you send in a sidechain signal and it then applies “compression” on the frequencies that are active in the that signal to where you have the plug-in. You can control how much (compression), the attack and release, panning or work in mid/side mode, as well as HP and LP filter the sidechain signal. Basically it’s just a more surgical sidechain compression where you only actually compress the frequencies you need, instead of the entire signal.
Right now it’s running on the basses, triggering from the kick. It’s also on the bus that has all tracks going into it, except for the lead sound and kick, helping create a bit more room for the lead (it’s the one triggering the compression) when everything else is playing.
As you might be aware, the DAW that I use is Studio One (version 3, professional) from PreSonus.
Recently I managed to make a new friend, one who works on the Studio One Expert website, which is a wonderful resource for Studio One users. Incidentally him and I managed to connect during the live stream event(s) announcing the new Studio One version 3 a little while back, simply by us being equal amounts of silly.
He quickly tried to get me to write for Studio One Expert, something I’m not entirely sure I’m capable of with my limited experience, both with music production and the program itself. I don’t know what I’m doing half the time and I don’t feel I’m in much of a position to teach anyone anything in these matters. 😛
Never the less I did write a small article for the site, as I wanted to highlight a feature in Studio One that not everyone might know about, but is a great tool when working with multiple MIDI tracks. If you want to read that, head on over to the article on Studio One Expert.
In the future I might write some more articles for the site. It’s at least something we’ve talked about and there are some ideas for things I could possibly write about. I’m all for helping out people with the knowledge I’ve gained, but there are also a whole lot of people way more suited for it, but if none of them do it, then I might as well… 🙂
Yes, I’m a render whore… 100 bloody WIP updates and I’m far from done? I’m horrible… It was the same when I did 3D graphics… I will try to improve, okay!?! Does anyone know of a support group for this kind of thing? 😛
Anyway… A good amount of changes have happened. The chord progression has seen a few minor changes and the top melody major ones.
A lot of minor changes to a lot of other aspects as well, most notably the hi-hat patterns have been made more interesting and the sounds of all them tweaked. Lead, main pluck and bass sounds have been tweaked, too. And a whole bunch of other tweaks here and there.
This is something that has been on my mind for years now and it’s still bugging me, especially because it can become a real problem at one point…
I want you to consider this before we go on, because it really is the staple of what I’m writing here: The CD (Compact Disc) was released over 30 years ago. Yes, it’s been that long. For over 30 years we’ve had a standard in audio quality that was pretty good, and what a lot of us have come to expect as the bare minimum in terms of audio quality. But this has changed – we have gone over 30 years back in terms of audio quality. Think about that for a second. With all our technology advances, we (well, not everyone) have somehow accepted getting worse audio quality – and for no reason at all. That is kind of peculiar, isn’t it? And the worst part is that it’s driving the market.
It’s 2015 and we should have wide access to 24-bit/48 kHz music as the standard, but instead that standard is 320 kbit MP3. What happened?
I was trying to make some progress on Surge yesterday, but my brain wasn’t quite having it. So instead I jumped into Photoshop and played around with making a new cover, because the current one was just something silly I threw together quickly.
I wanted something that was visually interesting and that I could re-use for other tracks, which this allows me to do (especially since I can easily change the entire color scheme).
So uh, yeah… Here it is!
Here’s a few quick color variations I made, just to try out some alternatives.
Besides that I’m working on the track, trying to really nail a good chord progression/melody, since I’m not entirely happy with what I have. My latest attempt (which I haven’t posted) was… Not good… 😛
It’s been a little while, but here’s an update to Surge. 🙂
A good few things have happened since the last update, most noticeably I’ve changed the chord progression a bit and completely replaced the lead melody sound. I wasn’t quite getting the sound I wanted from the Hive (x2)/Nexus/Mai Tai (a Studio One synth) setup I had going on, so I decided to try my luck with Spire instead, which is what you’re hearing now (and an instance of Nexus still).
I struggled to get a properly big sound, while still keeping it fairly clean, despite trying all manners of tricks. Add to that the high frequency noise I was getting from Hive for some reason, which wasn’t particularly ideal. Not sure what the deal is with that, but something I might look into. But I ended up simply trying another synth to see what I could do with it, and that seemed to be the right call in this case.
The top melody has also been refined to, among other things, fit with the new chord progression. Might tweak it a bit still though, not sure I’m entirely happy with it.
I’ve also done a bit of work on various other elements, but nothing major as such.
Never the less, check it out and leave any feedback, good or bad! 🙂