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  #1  
Old Mar 13, 2016, 08:02 AM
docnano docnano is offline
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Default Orchestral arrangements: Final Fantasy VII (Tifa's Theme) and FFIV (Battle Theme I)

I recently made a couple of reasonably high-quality orchestral arrangements that some of you may be interested in. Download links are available on the SoundCloud pages.

Tifa's Theme: https://soundcloud.com/docnano/tifas...chestral-cover

FFIV Battle Theme: https://soundcloud.com/docnano/final...eme-orchestral

I'm particularly proud of the FFIV arrangement -- it seems to me that few remixes have done the original SNES version justice.

Feedback on arranging/mixing is welcome.
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Old Mar 13, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Jazz Paladin Jazz Paladin is offline
 
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I like the FFIV rendition as well. Even though I am planning to release my own FF IV arrangements someday, and look forward to using my new trumpet modeling VSTi for the project, I know in advance that this song will be very challenging to make sound just right...it's hard to know whether to have more of a "loose" feel sometimes with actual keyed-in performance, or more "rigid" in terms of midi notation and having everything exactly on-the-beat as in the original pieces...

You did a great job though. The variation in snare for example helps keep thing a bit more musical, and the harp is quite nice.

One thing that sometimes bothers me in general is reverb--it can sound great on high end systems, but often times it can really make things muddy on lesser dacs and audio systems. I find it very hard striking a balance between those two mediums sometimes...I've only listened on my half-decent TV speakers, which aren't horrible, but they do lack a proper frequency response and DAC...but I've gotten used to knowing how they present things when compared to my good stuff, so I am pretty sure it sounds fantastic on upper-end playback systems...but it does exhibit a bit of that muddy characteristic that sub-optimal systems so often have.
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Old Mar 13, 2016, 01:30 PM
docnano docnano is offline
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd be interested to hear your renditions of the FFIV soundtrack in the future. While the entire soundtrack has been remixed/remastered several times, including at least twice (that I know of) for official game remakes, I don't think any of them has successfully captured the atmosphere of the SNES OST. The ports of this battle theme have been particularly heinous, lacking the harmonic richness of the original and coming across as quite robotic despite "improved" samples.

The reverb problem you mention is one that I struggle with quite often. It is exactly as you say, challenging to find settings that sound equally good on high- and low-end setups. I tend to err on the side of too much reverb in my orchestral arrangements, in part to try and hide the imperfections in my sample library (and/or execution thereof). But it only goes so far.

As for performance vs. sequencing, I tend to go for the former, but with occasional quantization to pick up the slop. I find it hard to get good humanization when I rely on sequencing alone.

Last edited by docnano; Mar 13, 2016 at 01:33 PM.
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Old Mar 13, 2016, 02:46 PM
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Jazz Paladin Jazz Paladin is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docnano View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I'd be interested to hear your renditions of the FFIV soundtrack in the future. While the entire soundtrack has been remixed/remastered several times, including at least twice (that I know of) for official game remakes, I don't think any of them has successfully captured the atmosphere of the SNES OST. The ports of this battle theme have been particularly heinous, lacking the harmonic richness of the original and coming across as quite robotic despite "improved" samples.

The reverb problem you mention is one that I struggle with quite often. It is exactly as you say, challenging to find settings that sound equally good on high- and low-end setups. I tend to err on the side of too much reverb in my orchestral arrangements, in part to try and hide the imperfections in my sample library (and/or execution thereof). But it only goes so far.
Yeah, considering the number of remakes the game has had, I still like many of the originals better. I still enjoy the SNES version of Inside the Giant best, for example. That's one I hope to improve on someday, but I'm a bit tied up with a Castlevania anniversary project at the moment...but I do have a version of Illusionary World up on Spotify...

In general, I am finding that less is more with reverb. Perhaps the best results I've had are with convolution reverbs set to 100% wet as a send at a low return level, but also making sure to EQ out the high and low end of the reverb. Ends up being probably more natural than anything else I've tried...

I also find that if I use a smaller portion of reverb, even though it may initially seem inaudible, by the time you bring the RMS levels up during mastering and add maybe a small touch of compression, it actually brings the reverb tail up more noticably--the effect becomes much more pronounced as described earlier if you relied on reverb more extensively in mixing, and can end up standing out in a bad sort of way due to the compression and limiting that may end up affecting the signal.
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