A quick Prototype update – now with less noise

Just a quick update on Prototype since I’ve managed to get the “noise” under control, so I figured I’d throw that one up here as well. Yeah, that’s about all there is to this update… 😛

As always let me know what you think! 🙂

Prototype (WIP 78)

More Prototype, talking about the changes made to the mix

Did a few minor things to the “mix” of Prototype. It was a bit “noisy” – probably too high saturation, so I toned that down a bit and made a few other minor tweaks. So before I go on and talk about the what I actually did to improve the overall sound, I’ll just throw the latest WIP. Feel free to let me know how you think this compares to WIP 66 and 75. 🙂

Prototype (WIP 76)

For shit and giggles here’s a screenshot of how this segment looks in my DAW currently.



Right, so some of the major things I did between WIP 66 and 75 to improve the sound…

On the lead synth I vastly changed the EQ’ing. Mid/Side and Left/Right both being used. For instance the frequencies around 4-6k (give or take) have been boosted using left and right, meaning there’s two separate boosts a bit apart, one being for the left channel and the other for the right. This helps widen the sound and make it bigger. There’s also some general Mid/Side EQ’ing going on, mostly boosting the high frequencies again, but only the side, as well as low cutting the low frequencies (400 or so and down) in the mid. As you can see from the screenshot there’s 3 EQ’s on the lead. On for general tweaking, then the Mid/Side stuff and then Left/Right.
I added some more complex and heavy saturation to it as well, after the EQ’ing (before it was, yeah, before the EQ’ing), which has made the sound a bit fuller without dipping too much into the lower frequencies.

The basses, kick and such have also had some Mid/Side EQ treatment.

In general I tweaked track volumes and basically made sure there was more headroom before it entered the master bus.

On the master bus I went from using a single compressor (which was doing more heavy compression) to using two, that each do much lighter compression. The EQ’ing is between the two of them, but that hasn’t really changed much.
Made some changes to Presswerk and how it was doing its job, after having read the user guide and gotten a bit more knowledge about some of the settings.

Ozone is not active right now, but not for any particular reason. The current setup is just easier to work with (less CPU usage for instance) and is good enough right now.

Again it’s far from perfect, but it’s an improvement and I’ve learned quite a bit, so it’s another step taken on the road to becoming better. 🙂

All the Mid/Side EQ stuff is sort of painfully obvious, I just kind of never thought about it. Now that I have this in my toolbox it’s powerful knowledge I can use in more situations to control what’s going on. Likewise utilize Left/Right far more to help widen things or otherwise just have control.

Now, however, it’s time to start progressing more with the actual track…:)

Update on Prototype, now WIP 75!

Despite knowing damn well I shouldn’t be doing this kind of stuff now, I’ve been playing around with the track to improve the openness and overall sound. It was just becoming a thorn in my side and I wanted to at least improve it so I had a better idea of how it was sounding, closer to the sound I was looking for.

And you know what? I’m happy to say that I managed to improve the sound quite a bit, if I do say so myself. It’s obviously not perfect or comparable to a professionally mixed and mastered track (and again there’s no reason to spend too much time doing that right now anyway), but it is a whole lot better and gives me a better idea of how the sounds and track is working, as it were.

I’ve mainly worked on the master bus chain, with a few minor changes within single tracks. Right now the master bus is using a chain of FabFilter Pro-C, FabFilter Pro-Q 2, u-he Presswerk, FabFilter Pro-Q 2 and FabFilter Pro-L (yep, no iZotope Ozone right now).

First compressor applies light compression, then into the first EQ to adjust some frequencies, then into the second compressor which also applies light compression and some “color”, into the second EQ which just cuts off the highs and lows and then the limiter for, well, limiting.

Give it a listen and possibly compare it to WIP 66 and let me know what you think!

Prototype (WIP 75)

Prototype update, yaaaaay! Also Presswerk from u-he.

About time I made an update on Prototype, so here it is!

I’ve been messing around a little bit with it today, which resulted in various changes. The synth sound has been re-made from scratch (still using Zebra 2) and I think I’ve managed to improve it. Might still need a few tweaks, but overall I find it better than previously. It’s less brittle and thin, but keeps a decent “grand” feeling to it.

I’ve added a bassline now (with thanks to Arjen Lead). I’ll probably make some changes to it, but it’s in there now to give a bit of bottom at least.

I’ve also been playing with the Presswerk plug-in from u-he (public beta currently) – and this thing is quite awesome! I got it on the master bus now and I really like what it’s doing. This is certainly a buy when u-he makes it available for purchase, until then check out the beta from the link above. 🙂

Overall I still need to open up the track a bit more – it’s sounding a little “boxed in” currently, which kind of ruins the feeling slightly (euphoric hands-in-the-air). Part of the reason I re-made the synth sound was that I couldn’t quite get it sound “open” and not brittle/thin at the same time.

Anyway, have a listen to the latest iteration below! 🙂

Prototype (WIP 66)

That moment before the climax hits…

I have this idea for something I could do just before the climax hits in a (trance) track – I’ll likely try to pull it off in Prototype once I get that far.

It’s sort of an obvious thing to do and likely someone else has already done it, I’ve just never heard it done before. But I think it would be a pretty powerful thing to have between the part where the climax is supposed to start and when it actually starts. I’m excited to try it out and see if I can make it work at least. 😛

And no, I’m not going to say what it is… You’re just going to have to wait and indulge me being a bastard for making this post, saying I have some fancy idea and not saying what it is!


Serum, pianos and basslines, oh my!

Haven’t had the chance to do much work on As She Passes Through The Storm, but I did manage to solve the lack of openness in the track. In doing that though I need to adjust some note velocities again. I got the velocity curve pretty well dialed in again, but there’s still notes that aren’t behaving as they should. 😉 Basically the main problem is that the hammer hits are much more audible in The Grand 3 and that changes the tone of the piece. Obviously by playing the notes softer you also reduce how loud the hammer hits the string, but it does make things a little tricky because I also have to be careful not to go too soft on all the notes, as that again will change the tone of the piece. So yeah, there’s a bit of fiddling left to do still. 🙂

As for Prototype I received some bassline examples back from Arjen Lead today, so huge thanks to him for helping me out (again)! I will go through them tomorrow and figure out things (and probably bug him later because there’s stuff I don’t understand ;)) and start to progress further with the track.

I’ve had a piano piece brewing in my head for the past few days as well, so it’s likely I’ll jump on that, possibly tomorrow, and get it made. 🙂

I’ve picked up Serum (a synth) and looking forward to really using it (aside from just playing around with it for demoing purposes). I think I have some bass sound ideas so I will probably try out a few things for Prototype using it, but we’ll see how it goes.

That’s about it for now… I hope I will have some new content to post very soon instead of just talking random crap. 😛

Just a quick update

Figured I’d write a little update on what’s going on.

For Prototype I’ve sent some MIDI off to Arjen Lead and he will get back to me with some examples of how to get a bassline to match the lead melody. It’s something I’ve seen talked about, having the bassline match the overall melody, but I have no idea what it actually means in detail – how to do it. Luckily Arjen is there to help me, so I’m just waiting for him to get back to me once he’s had time to look at it.

I’m almost where I want to be with the conversion of As She Passes Through The Storm to use The Grand 3, but there’s still a bit of manual tweaking to be done to get it to sound like I want and how it sounded when I was playing it.

But yeah, that’s about it for now… More soon! 😛

Some thoughts on the Prototype breakout part

Figured I’d share a few thoughts I’ve had working on the breakout part of Prototype and where I’m sort of at in regard to progressing on it.

As could be read yesterday I’ve fixed an issue with distortion in the lead synth, which gives me a bit more freedom to do things with it (push it harder for instance).

It’s still (the entire breakout part) sounding a bit too hollow and thin, but I’ll deal with that (more) once I get some low-end into it as well, since that alone should help a bit. Never the less I’m aware and it’s of course something that needs to be dealt with. The problem I’m facing (and will be facing) is getting a full, open and “hands in the air” sound going while making room for the other things as well. However I won’t really do that too much now because it will change as I add more elements (as I have to juggle frequencies to give them each a spot in the frequency spectrum).

I’m thinking of making the lead synth progression an 8-bar loop instead of the current 4 just to give it some more variation. But on the other hand this is trance and sometimes simple is just fine. Once more elements are added it’s also likely to be less of an issue, as opposed to now where it’s really the only attention-grabbing thing and thus stands out a bit more.

In terms of how it’s progressing overall I think it’s coming along nicely. I might shift some things around and what not, but it’s certainly not sounding too badly at this stage. I also think I know how I want to go into the breakout part, but you won’t hear that yet.

I need to make a bassline that fits it (the lead melody) which will likely require me to bug Arjen Lead and make him tell me about practices for doing just that (as opposed to me blindly trying to just do something). 🙂

On a small side-note I’ve also managed to configure my new PreSonus Eris E8 studio monitors so they’re playing pretty good for the room. Think there’s still a few tweaks left to be made, but I’ll get to that. 🙂

Anyway I’ve made another WIP render of it which just has some minor tweaks and the non-distorted synth. For instance I’ve removed the vocal effect again because it was crowding the frequency range of the lead synth as well as being very repetitive. Conclusion is that I just don’t have the samples to do what I want.

Prototype (WIP 62)