Feel So Free (Drum & Bass, trancey + female vox)

Discussion in 'New Talent & Track Reviews' started by djdizzy, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    here's a song ive been working on for almost 3 months. i'm a long-time DJ (10+ years) and i really like producing too but i've never been happy with my production efforts, i'm trying to step up my game. i'm a big fan of the old classics Adam F - Circles and LTJ Bukem - Horizons, so the inspiration for the break came from those 2 songs so i followed in their footsteps by starting with the Do The Do break as the starting point and running with it. aside from that, the song is heavily trance inspired. i like to work in trance elements into dnb, something i started doing about 5 years ago but this is my best attempt.

    mastering is not a strong point for me. i did parallel compression on this song plus eq'ing as needed but it still needs a couple db in loudness so i'll raise it a few db with a maximizer. i've spent a ridiculous number of hours on this song so it goes without saying that critiques are very welcome



     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  2. djSing

    djSing Ill-usions

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    Yeah mate this is actually a good track, nice trancey sounds to it.. the break does get a bit repetitive to begin with but it changes up nice in the second half. I'd think about expanding the ideas of the tune, I know the bass is meant to be really subby and deep but maybe bringing it out a little more in the mix could help.. maybe add some mid range bass to it for a bit more character.. just my opinion tho!
     
  3. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

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    all good mate

    trance is my guilty pleasure... try to dig this vibe tho

    [video=youtube_share;iCU9ZfEmZRc]http://youtu.be/iCU9ZfEmZRc?hd=1[/video]
     
  4. neddez

    neddez Member

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    sup man

    First of all, good on you for spending time on a track instead of uploading 1 per day like 90% of other 'producers' about.

    In the intro, the mids on the break sound great but the kick drum sounds a bit over-compressed to me. I'd say don't worry too much about giving it punch in the intro.
    The subtle bass parts in the intro are fuckin great. The pad movements are pretty cool too.
    For that little arpy synth in the intro, have you considered putting a reverb on it? To me it just sounds like it'd be a bit better with some tails on the notes.

    Drop and beyond: that synth playing during the kick roll at 1.25-1.30ish sounds out of key for the last couple notes. Dunno if that was your intention.
    Those vocals sound pretty kinky but they're too far back in the mix imo. They're behind the synths and it's causing them to lack clarity (I'm assuming it's a good recording originally.

    In terms of arrangement: this is just my preference but I thought the vocals were too prolific. As soon as the track drops it's just constant vocals for most of the tune. I'd let them breathe a little bit. There's enough stuff going on in the track to allow you to do that and still have the track sound complete IMO. At 2.16 you could have dropped the vocals completely, or done a cool little delay effect on it (perhaps using the harmony of the vocals rather than comprehensible lyrics).
    The transition from 2:37-2:40 sounds good. And in the section from 2:40 to the 2nd drop the lil drum edits sound great.

    The synth sounds out of key on the 2nd drop (like the 1st).

    From 4:08 onwards it sounds a lil iffy to me, kinda like you started to run out of ideas. But I dunno, on a second listen those major/minor switchups are kinda cool. Pretty different :p, I can't remember hearing anyone do something like that in DnB or Trance before.

    And then you roll it out with the dnb vibes. Nice man.

    The fact you spent a lot of time on it shows, there's detail there. On my HR824 Mk2s the mix is sounding pretty good. Where's your sub peaking? I'd probs make it a bit louder. But aside from the sub and the vocals the mix sounds pretty good to me (don't be afraid to alternate attention from synth parts and the vocals, so during some parts the vocals have the stage and then at other parts its the synth - I think it would sound good).

    But yeah man, that's my 0.02. If you wanna know what I thought about anything else, just ask. (Got mad respect for spending so long on a track, I just finished a track that took 3+ months myself).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  5. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    neddez, wow thanks for the reply. you gave me a lot to think about, your post was very helpful! yeah on 4:08+ i was wondering whether i should go ahead and do the dj-friendly outro or try throwing in some kind of change-up and let the verse/hook ride out a 2nd time. by that point i'll admit i was running low on ideas. the sub bass typically peaked around -10db to -12db and the rms was a fairly consistent -16db, i automated volume on the sub bass to even out its output gain b/c lower frequencies tended to be a few db quieter. i did try a reverb on the higher pitched pluck synth at one point and it seemed to sound a little messy but looking back, i think it was just a matter of setting the pre-delay shorter and also having the reverb not bleed into the next key, which was what it was doing.

    yeah the acapella is a good recording originally, i'm not entirely sure i follow when you say the vocals are behind the synths? meaning some of the shared frequency range for the synths is dominant over the vocals? i pushed the synths out to the sides a bit because even after eq'ing, it seemed the synths and vocals shared a big portion of their frequency range. subtractive eq'ing any more out of the synths or vocals anymore than i already did seemed to make a big impact on the sound and weaken the synths/vocals, so i decided to push the synths out to the sides somewhat.

    thanks again to everyone!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  6. nusphere

    nusphere Member

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    Kool, I love trance free of guilt, I think there is a battle in this track between the Trancy vibe and the Drum&Bass... the arpeggio I think is too load for the break and could do with a bit of filtering. The break seems a little too static in some places then too jumpy and broken in others. lovely vibe though.
     
  7. neddez

    neddez Member

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    hey man :)

    hehe when i asked about where the sub was peaking i was asking about at what freq (there's this sweet spot that makes my desk vibrate, sort of a little test i use :p)
    on automating the sub volume (i think i get what you mean), that's a problem i used to have as well. have you tried putting a compressor on it? using the quietest parts as a bench mark... (anything louder than that will just get attenuated hopefully without fucking with the harmonics too much)

    i meant that the synths are louder and are therefore grabbing more attention than the vocals. also on that note im not sure how much you EQ'd the vocals but it sounded a bit flat in the high end (i really dont know anything about treating vocals so im just going on my listening experience). im guessing id have liked more crispness and id look at EQing above 10khz+ for that

    and yeah i know exactly what you mean about pushing the synths out. sounds like a difficult situation. only real solution i can think of is to swap attention from the vocals to the synths over the different sections of the track (no reason why the synths have to ALWAYS be stereo right?)

    bless
     
  8. djdizzy

    djdizzy Active Member

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    oh i gotcha, the sub bass melody goes f2, g2, g#2, f2, d#2, g#2. the f2 keys are held down for the longest sustained note and with the particular sub bass, the sub bass is being generated as s simple sine wave in sylenth, just 1 oscillator so the frequencies those keys correspond to shows their peak around the 40-50Hz region according to the spectrum on my eq. i did put a compressor on it but not the way i should have. i sent all my drums/sub to the same return track which has the compressor on it, my hopes would be to help glue the instruments' frequencies together. all of these years i've spent DJ'ing and making remixes, which with remixes you're modifying material that is already mastered/etc so the past few months is the first time i've ever got into compression, limiting, anything outside of EQ'ing which i have down as that knowledge translates from years spent DJ'ing but it's a much diff approach to EQ'ing of course. i spent the past 4 months really cramming hard, reading everything i can on compression, limiting, messing around first-hand, watching youtube videos, comparing how different compressors result in a different approach to compression (ie: ableton vs fabfilter) so this is all new to me but i've tried my best to spend many sleepless nights reading and re-reading to avoid too many noob questions. mainly in part for my own pride of being a DJ for so long and not knowing the basics of a mixdown. it's easy to grasp cuz the concepts run parallel with proper mixing for DJ'ing but it's definitely apples and oranges still. so i appreciate the insight. going forward i realize i should've put a compressor on the sub bass by itself to even out the RMS because as key notes change, teh frequency and volume changes.

    i hear what you're saying about the vocals now, in fact that was something i was struggling with. i think the difficulty with this song was too many instruments having similar frequencies that were kind of need, inherit to the sounds. from the plucks, to the vocals, to even the break. what makes this break so unique is the use with the ghost hits but those ghost hits are right around the 700Hz region, smack dab where the vocals are and the plucks are. if i EQ a notch out of the breaks then it loses that really nice rolling sound during the ghost hits. so i the vocals out to the sides first but that didn't sound too great so i pushed the synths out which sounded better. but still because of this overlapping frequency it was a constant war between the drums, plucks and vocals. i thought of even ditching the vocals to simplify things and it sounded much better as an instrumental because as soon as i put the vocals in, the melody of those fast-paced plucks takes a back seat. moving the synths to the sides helped dramatically but it still felt like i had to make a choice as to which would dominant of this frequency. since it's dnb, the drums are very important so they get first dibs and i really liked the melody i came up with too much for it to fall into the background where maybe some of it might be lost behind the vocals. i think one solution would be to make the song less vocal-heavy, spread them apart like what was mentioned.

    the original acacpella sounded really good but it sounded a tiny bit muffled, but some some substractive eq'ing seemed to help a lot. i attached a snapshot of the spectrum analyzer on my eq for the plucks, vocals, and drums. i boost the drums around the 600-ish Hz region because it really brings up that filler nicely and just like with Adam F and LTJ Bukemn's interpretation of this break, i wanted to retain those ghost hits as loud and clear as possible

    edit: looks like the pic attachment didn't take so i uploaded the pic here: http://i48.tinypic.com/6qh26s.jpg the picture ojn the left are the breaks (kick, snare, sub bass not included) just the resampled Do The Do breaks i slice up and whatnot. the 2nd picture if of the main lead plucks that are throughout more of the song than any other synths and the final snapshot is of the vocals. they all peak in areas that are detrimental to the sound. anyway hopefully the picture doesn't get too pixelated if you decide to look at it and need to zoom in.

    thanks for all the tips man, your observations are dead-on with everything i felt "iffy" about during this song coming together. it can together like a piece of cake once the melodies were revised for the millionth time n i was finally happy with it. but these few aspects were something i def had a tough time with. thanks for your advice and for your time
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  9. neddez

    neddez Member

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    no worries man, glad i could help :)
     
  10. Elzerk

    Elzerk 00111100 00110011

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    Woah, give more meat to the kick is my advice. Mybe some interesting lowpassed reeses, only sub sounds pretty dull.
     
  11. JimpaDirt

    JimpaDirt Vettvilling

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    This is quite nice, quite different! but I cant help agreeing with elzerk. Both with the kick and the bass part. Seams like perhaps all of the drums are a little too far back in the mix imo! But nice work, no doubt!