"Civilization of the Mind" - synthwave/electronic

endlessrain

New member
The track sounds good. I wish there was more variety in the drums/percussion though (especially before the vocal starts). The kick and snare hits (maybe the hihats too) could be altered every now and then for the sake of contrast. I think that would give more of a "human feel" to the drum parts (again, only before the vocals start where they are very noticeable). But, I should also mention that I am not very experienced with this type of music and hence, my feedback could also be received just as a personal opinion.
 

Stevie_M

Member
The track sounds good. I wish there was more variety in the drums/percussion though (especially before the vocal starts). The kick and snare hits (maybe the hihats too) could be altered every now and then for the sake of contrast. I think that would give more of a "human feel" to the drum parts (again, only before the vocals start where they are very noticeable). But, I should also mention that I am not very experienced with this type of music and hence, my feedback could also be received just as a personal opinion.

No worries man, thanks for the review. And yes good call, the drums are fairly simple - which is actually pretty common for this kind of "synthwave" music. Fat, steady marching drums.
 

Stevie_M

Member
Mir - Thanks bro. I really like your music as well, you sound like a seasoned producer, so that means a lot.
 

Bulls Hit

Well-known member
I think the intro is too long. It sounds good once the fat synth kicks in at .45 but the part before that is too puny and one dimensional to deserve more than a couple of bars. Vocals are great and fit really well. Composition is real good too. Nice job
 

Stevie_M

Member
I think the intro is too long. It sounds good once the fat synth kicks in at .45 but the part before that is too puny and one dimensional to deserve more than a couple of bars. Vocals are great and fit really well. Composition is real good too. Nice job

Interesting point on the intro. Does anyone else think the intro is too long? I feel the extra bars give more contrast when the synth bass kicks in, but now you got me wondering. Anyone else agree/disagree with the intro length?
 

br3ttski

New member
Balance is very good, only comment from me isn't on the arrangement, just the freq content of the instruments in the top end...

You've got a lot competing for the high end, which is okay so long as they take front of stage when there's something of interest in their part and make way for the other instruments when there's not.

I'd love to hear the hi hats being ducked slightly with each kick / snare... buss those together and use them to sidechain the hats, or just compress the whole kit as one so that a kick / snare hit pushes the hats lower.
A 30ms attack and > 300ms release time will give you that nice breathing movement of the hats swelling toward the end of each quarter note, without killing your transients.

Bass might also be a bit to wide, but that's a real nit picking. It's not out of place where it is. Just my personal taste.

Vocals are well EQ'd and effected, but I'd buss everything-other-than-vox then shelf EQ that buss above 3kHz by -3dB to really let the vox shine through.
Either that or automation of EQ for the top end of that buss to pull it down when the vox come in.

All the best, br3ttski
 

Stevie_M

Member
Balance is very good, only comment from me isn't on the arrangement, just the freq content of the instruments in the top end...

You've got a lot competing for the high end, which is okay so long as they take front of stage when there's something of interest in their part and make way for the other instruments when there's not.

I'd love to hear the hi hats being ducked slightly with each kick / snare... buss those together and use them to sidechain the hats, or just compress the whole kit as one so that a kick / snare hit pushes the hats lower.
A 30ms attack and > 300ms release time will give you that nice breathing movement of the hats swelling toward the end of each quarter note, without killing your transients.

Bass might also be a bit to wide, but that's a real nit picking. It's not out of place where it is. Just my personal taste.

Vocals are well EQ'd and effected, but I'd buss everything-other-than-vox then shelf EQ that buss above 3kHz by -3dB to really let the vox shine through.
Either that or automation of EQ for the top end of that buss to pull it down when the vox come in.

All the best, br3ttski

Wayne Br3ttski - Thanks for the observation. I experimented with your suggestion and added some subtle sidechain ducking to to the hats and ducking to the high end freqs. Does it sound better on your end?
 

br3ttski

New member
No worries happy to provide opinions - I have many ;)

Can't say if it sounds better until I hear a revised version... or have you hidden it somewhere I'm not looking?

I've programmed 4 bars of the same pattern and applied the effect to every other bar of this example.
I've included the hat reverb in my ducking, you may want to just include the hats and not duck the reverb.
Personal taste. It's just about getting some dynamics into the drums as they sound programmed at all the same velocity.
Which is not to say that's out of place for synthwave, I just think a swell toward the end of each beat would groove well.
I'd even try applying a bit to the bass.

View attachment Hats movement via KicknSnr ducking.mp3

ATB, Br3ttski
 
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br3ttski

New member
Hi Wayne, to my ear the hats still sound as even as they do in your track.
You can afford to be heavy handed with the effect if you want to make the pumping audible.

To demonstrate, I've done a high pass of the Civ hat test 2.mp3 just to isolate the hats a bit
(which creates a whole bunch of ugly phasing when recombined with a low pass of the original)

I triggered the sidechain compression on every quarter note to get the "hats track" to duck then swell back.
You'll be able to apply this a bit more cleanly to the actual hats track in your multitrack mix.

Synthwave tends to have this kick triggered pumping applied to the "everything but the kick" buss, so you might like to take it further, but I was only suggesting it to create a bit more groove in the drum track.
Every sound design choice is an artistic one, sidechaining is just a tool to be used as narrowly or broadly as you like.

Settings I used for Fruity Limiter (hats highpass track only); Threshold -60dB (infinity), Ratio 5:1, Attack 0ms, Release 350ms, Curve 1
I also narrowed the stereo field by 60% since the snare verb is really wide, the genre doesn't usually have such big sounding 80's drums.
However, listening again to the full track, narrower drums may not compete with the rest of the mix width. They fit the width context just fine.

You could also lose some top end niceness off the drums and let them be more gritty - think 8 bit Atari or Pollard Syndrum FM synthesis (in both cases)
I did so on the drums buss with Effector [Lo-Fi] to get a little 8 bit grit in there, and another Effector [Filter] to lose a little top end

Obviously taking top off your drums has a knock on effect to the rest of your mix... so I'd (gently -3dB above 3.5kHz) low pass everything except the vox and lead synth.
That'll let those two instruments really pop.

View attachment Civ hats suggested sidechain.mp3
 
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br3ttski

New member
It's still very very subtle

Could you drop the compressor threshold lower by 6dB and post the result?
What ratio and attack / release times have you got set up?

Sounds to me like your attack time's okay, but the release is too short so it's not lasting any longer than the second 16th of each beat before it's back up at 100%
Aim to get the three hat notes to grow through soft then medium to full by the last 16th in each beat.

ATB, br3ttski
 
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