View Full Version : where do you draw the line?

05-05-2003, 01:36 PM
It\'s called the prayer method. You PRAY you spent enough time to make it sound good, but not too much time fiddling with it. Working to deadlines suck, but if you\'re in the video game business, get used to it. The \'The cutscene has to be done by TOMORROW, can you get it done tonite for us?\' scenario is very familiar to me. Been there, done that. There is no hard, fast rule for this though for amount of time. It\'s going to be based on your judgement, and when that deadline is looming. Unfortunately, in this business, if you can\'t do it, then there\'s 100 guys behind you that can, and probably for less money too. images/icons/frown.gif

Low budget? Be happy you even had a budget. I\'ve had to pay for everything out of my own pocket, but I at least own all the equipment too. If you want some nice brass, I\'d say look at the Dan Dean stuff, which is very well done. If you\'re really scrimping for penniess though, maybe the Bigga Orchestral Brass for like $189 retail can get you by for some better brass. Don\'t own it, but anything has got to be better than a hardware sampler brass though.


His Frogness
05-05-2003, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the suggestion images/icons/smile.gif I was sooo happy to get some nice trumpet ensemble samples in an update for GOS that Gary sent out. They\'re really functional. I\'ll definitely check out the Dan Dean stuff.

05-05-2003, 08:58 PM
If you havent done so already:

1) You will have some of these percussion sounds sent to you free in your GOS updates but there may be some here you dont have yet. Visit frequently for more to come, get to it before Gary has a chance to put it in the next update. ;-):

http://gtown.has.it/ (\"http://gtown.has.it/\")

2) The free instruments from ProjectSAM site were included in the last GOS update if I remember reading correctly. If you want good brass then pick up the very cheap yet amazing Horn and Brass libs from them. ;-)

www.projectsam.com (\"http://www.projectsam.com\")

Good Luck!


PS: I have a Kong Triton as well. Do you have the MOSS expansion board or any of the other expansion boards for it? I dont know if they are really worth it.

His Frogness
05-05-2003, 10:23 PM

I\'ll be downloading all night! Thanks a lot for the link. Totally awesome!

I don\'t have any of the MOSS expansion cards, primarily because I bought expansion cards for my QS8 and they just sounded like the same sounds with minor changes I could have done in the keyboard myself. I did get a RAM expansion and a SCSI card for it. The RAM was definitely worth it although our IT guy said AFTER buying the KORG RAM expansion that any RAM of the same speed would\'ve worked so look into that if you\'re thinking about getting it. The SCSI just helps store samples and .sng files faster. I guess the Triton\'s ok if you\'re not doing Brass. I could just never get the brass to sound usable as a featured sound. The strings were actually pretty useful, if you don\'t compare them to GOS images/icons/smile.gif

Scott Cairns
05-05-2003, 10:38 PM
Hey Frogness, if the budget allows perhaps also consider Distorted Reality 1 and/or 2.

www.spectrasonics.net/libraries/index.html (\"http://www.spectrasonics.net/libraries/index.html\")

These libraries are the \"ducks nuts\" images/icons/wink.gif for games and tv/film sound design. I can\'t watch TV without hearing DR in there somewhere. Despite the libraries being used to death I think you can still do a lot with them.

For the price (around $200 U.S.) you just can\'t beat them IMO. I think you could do a whole game with one of these babies alone.

Actually, DR 2 Darkness and Light is really cool. If you want sinister, moody, scary, spooky as well as angelic, uplifting, surreal all at once - this is the one to get!

Cheers, Scott.

His Frogness
05-05-2003, 11:21 PM
So I\'m an in-house sound designer/composer for a gaming company and we\'re working on a title that\'s going to get lot\'s of marketing and, hence, probably a lot of exposure. Being a start-up company with a limited budget, the only thing I had to work with was a Korg Triton and Cubase. In my estimation, and probably yours too, that was not enough. I\'ve invested my own money into a Giga machine and Got GOS and Rare Instruments (still need a brass library) but now is where the real quandary presents itself. When I had to use sounds out of the Triton, I composed the music around the limitations of the Triton, avoiding brass if at all possible, drowning stuff in reverb, and layering a lot. Now that I\'ve got Giga and GOS, the whole mixing process has become so much more important. I\'m not that great an engineer. I can get stuff to sound pretty good, and after LOTS and LOTS of time I can almost get it \"right\", but I don\'t have the time to pore over a mix endlessly like I\'d really like to, and the more time I spend with the mix the larger that creeping feeling that I\'m spending way too much time on one piece grows. What\'s good enough? What will get my music sounding good enough to continue with my career but not miss the deadlines? I know there are some full-time working composers on this site and I\'m just wondering how you guys manage your time.

05-05-2003, 11:35 PM
You need to work on templates, and saved presets for EQs, reverbs and mixes

I\'ve got a template I\'ve been building in vegas that will allow me to jsut import audio files and have a basic mix based on the MIDI template I\'m building.

This can bedoen with jsut about any audio sequencing app.

As I move closer to a mixerless set up, I\'ll have both a MIDI and audio mix setup. Balanced and set to specific genres and styles.

A good way to get this tested and setup is to do mockups of existing pieces with the samples you have. This way you can reprogram and edit samples you need to (for calibration), and get a good \"start point\".

After that big band arrangement I did last week, I\'ve saved most of it as a starting point for the next time I do one. I\'ll be cleaning it up as I do more.

Templates are key to working faster. Not to mention learning a bit about mixing in general.

No matter how many libraries come \"out of the box\" sounding good, the more you add in different libs for different sound pallets, and the more you do stuff to be used against SFX, the more you need to know about mixing.

I still dont believe that people expect to do computer/midi mockups without mixing. While I understand the want to not have to \"tweak\" so much. Mixing will always be apart of it.

That said. It really comes with practice, jsut like composing, and using computers, and riding a bike...etc. You get quicker as you go, and as you learn. It took years of listening to music for me to get to the point to where I can differentiate different reverbs, and how reverb is being used in general. Same with EQ\'s and the ultimate nightmare....compression...which I still have some problems with because I come from a rock n roll school of thought (make it louder man!!!)

BTW, I\'m prolly the worst person to reply to this topic tho. I definitely am more \"engineer/producer\" than composer. Wish it was different but it isnt.

It does however tell me that the best option is to leave the mixing to the people who know how. I mean, you dont go in and hire a band and then record them yourself most of the time, do you?

Didier Rachou
05-06-2003, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by KingIdiot:
You need to work on templates, and saved presets for EQs, reverbs and mixes

Templates are key to working faster. <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">The minute I read the post by His Frogness, this is what shot thru my mind. Lo and behold King had the same bit of wisdom. Templates and organization. Streamline your entire setup and work procedure to maximize the time you spend actually composing. The last thing you need to be doing is configuring your virtual mixer\'s busses each time you start a cue in crunch-time.


Bruce A. Richardson
05-06-2003, 12:34 PM
Another trap is thinking that everything has to be all mixed at once. Individual sections, choirs, etc., can be submixed in separate files and combined.

Some out-of-the-box tricks:

Sequence up themes, render them to audio, and throw them into ACID

Mix separate sections of a piece and combine them later

Mix separate instrument groups and combine them later.

Sequence up a piece, render the tracks, and put them into a completely new environment and scramble them.

Do the above, load up the tracks into an editor and render a reversed version of each. Mix and match.

Surprise yourself.

05-06-2003, 04:01 PM
While I was working in-house, I always wrote into the budget to hire a mixing engineer and especially a mastering engineer. Both for SFX and Music. If where you\'re working is anyplace like where I started, you\'re probably spread pretty thin, having to deal with all sorts of other stuff like implementation hassles, etc...

Get your stuff to where the content is good and hire someone to spend the afternoon mixing it with you. It will probably take away all these problems.

If you don\'t have the money to pay, trade services, or make sure that they get credit on the game and/or demo, or pay deferred payment.

there are a lot of people trying to get into games. Use this to your advantage but don\'t take advantage of them. As a growing company, you have an opportunity to bring new talent to this industry.


His Frogness
05-06-2003, 04:10 PM
I knew you guys would come through for me images/icons/smile.gif I appreciate all the input and advice. Just to comment on a couple of things:

Scott, thanks for that link. I listened to the demos and really liked the DR 1&2. I\'ve got lots of libraries(most recently Dark Side of Sounds which has a lot of good source material) but I\'ll definitely pick those up the next chance I get. What do you think of Twisted Textures?

King, I\'ve been using Cubase for a long time and have created templates for the basic midi routing and VST Instruments but, being new to Giga and GOS, just trying to find the appropriate .gigs to use for any particular genre or style is like searching for a needle through a haystack, much less combing multiple ones which compliment each other, and then there\'s layering...oh god. I\'d really really be interested in seeing some basic Giga templates you\'ve done, or even just a list of .gigs you\'ve used for particular styles would help me tremendously. I know I\'m kind of your competition so no worries if that\'s asking too much. I think mostly I\'m doing really epic hollywood trailer type music, the kind that starts really moody and grows into massive f or ff themes. At least, that\'s the stuff I find myself spending too much time on. Ah, I\'ll just send you a PM.

Didier, thanks for the suggestions. Cubase is a breeze with bussing like that and I\'ve found a consistent template I can use that connects everything in my DAW so I don\'t mess around too much with bussing and routing anymore, until the mixdaown anyway. Of course the next time I add something I\'ll have to start all over.

Bruce, thanks for the tips. The last piece I did had about 12 tracks of stereo percussion and I ended up using a group track for global EQ / automation / effects. I\'ll some of that when I have some time.

Thanks again guys images/icons/smile.gif

Scott Cairns
05-06-2003, 05:34 PM
Scott, thanks for that link. I listened to the demos and really liked the DR 1&2. I\'ve got lots of libraries(most recently Dark Side of Sounds which has a lot of good source material) but I\'ll definitely pick those up the next chance I get. What do you think of Twisted Textures?<font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hello Frogness images/icons/wink.gif Actually I have never listened to Twisted Textures although I am aware of the library. I can say without reservation though that anything Eric Persing (Spectrasonics) does is absolutely first rate. Forgive me if you already know but Eric was (and still is I think) the Chief Sound Designer for Roland. He is really is a guru in the field of sound design so you can\'t go wrong with any of his titles. Whenever the funds allow I would be going for Spectrasonics in a big way.

Regards, Scott.

05-06-2003, 06:45 PM
Originally posted by Scott Cairns:

Actually, DR 2 Darkness and Light is really cool. If you want sinister, moody, scary, spooky as well as angelic, uplifting, surreal all at once - this is the one to get!
[/QB]<font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">DR2 is good, but I could never do without those AMBDrum and Spacey drums patches from Distorted Reality 1. I just have to have both. images/icons/smile.gif

The demos dont do the libs justice IMO.


Scott Cairns
05-06-2003, 06:56 PM
That\'s good to hear Ed! I am seriously thinking of getting DR1 and Bizarre Guitars (basically DR3), I can\'t enough of E.P\'s stuff.


05-08-2003, 02:41 AM
Originally posted by Scott Cairns:
That\'s good to hear Ed! I am seriously thinking of getting DR1 and Bizarre Guitars (basically DR3), I can\'t enough of E.P\'s stuff.

Scott. <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Oh yes there is a lot of very usefull stuff in Distorted Reality 1. Bizarre Guitar is also super usefull, and has some of the most beautiful ambiences. The bowed guitar from it is super cool as well.