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Computer game music sounding dry. Multi-Effects Processors (HW)
Old 22nd May 2008
Gear Nut

Thread Starter
Computer game music sounding dry.

Hello there,

I'm scoring the music for a computer game. Because it's a computer game i'm anticipating that its going to be played on some crappy systems. The style of the music is orchestral. Somehwhat like the Transformers music. ie not too complicated, full on strings and percussion.

My problem is getting it to retain the ambient quality on the more tinny laptop systems. I'm using an MPX1 lexicon reverb which is decent but the music sounds so much dryer on a laptop.

Any ideas? I can't just turn up the reverb as that'll swamp everything.

These are my ideas:

1) Before routing to the Lexicon use a more roomy reverb (or even delay).

2) Compress the reverb

3) boost the the reverb 1KHz+

4) Mix of 2 and 3.

What do you think?
Old 22nd May 2008
Lives for gear
jahtao's Avatar
Don't compress it.

Why can't you hear the verb on little speakers? Is it because it's quite a dark verb? In which case brighten it or loose some low mid.

Have you tried lengthening the decay instead of turning it up?

Your mix doesn't sound very robust. A good mix should work ok on most systems. But I'd argue tailoring your mix to work in the ****tiest of systems is somewhat of a loosing proposition.

Have you compared to other classical mixes?

How are you applying this verb? Are you applying it equally to all your instruments? Perhaps that is part of the problem.

Good luck.
Old 22nd May 2008
Gear Nut

Thread Starter
Thanks for the reply.

I'm basically using the hall presets on the Lexicon. I'm applying as an insert to a group in cubase an then routing most of the stuff through that group (or sending to that group if I want less).

Yea, I could lengthen the delay.. It's fairly long already though.

Agreed that a robust mix should work on most systems buts that's what I'm basically trying to sort out now.

Here's the track... not finished, but you get the idea. - online file sharing and storage - download Descent From Heaven.mp3

Cheers again.

Old 22nd May 2008
Lives for gear
starcrash13's Avatar
Sounds pretty dry to me on a good system. The strings and brass are fairly wet, but I'd say try more reverb in general. Especially the percussion if you're going for cinematic.
Old 22nd May 2008
Gear Nut

Thread Starter
Thanks ok.

Actually I didn't put much on the percussion... Cheers. I'll do that.
Old 23rd May 2008
Gear Addict

another thing...on a game I just did last year we had to really restrict the dynamic range due to the immense amount of gunfire and sound we had to compete with. That actually helped the tails a lot, as they got inevitably brought up. So you might consider limiting the mix to some extent, as well as working on the frequency colour of the tail. Massey limiter sorted us out brilliantly (sometimes in combo with Vari-MU and a massive passive to bring up the high 'air' that was lost to some extent in that process)

I now chain reverbs on the samples, when I'm forced to use them in the final mix...using one convolution reverb for the early reflection and part of the tail, blended to taste with a 480 large random hall at around 2.6 secs reverb time, (which IR-1 has an excellent one, lucky enough to have the real thing, but the convolved one is pretty damn great in most convolution reverbs, certainly good enough on multiple tracks and nothing exposed like vocals etc.). That gives you a sense of depth from the reverb that's lacking from most orchestral work, and simulates the surround mics/artificial reverb combo that most scoring mixers favour.

The ambient sound of the environment (depending on the game, of course) can really eat your tails too. My mixer and I ended up redoing quite a few tracks once they were slid in...playing them in context they sounded very different. That said, the speaker systems on computers and consoles are not often as crappy as they once were, so don't worry so much about that. They tend to flatter, though it's worth checking on a pair of cheap speakers, and being careful with the dynamics.
Old 23rd May 2008
Gear Nut

Thread Starter
Thanks Londontown,

Thats very helpful. Yea, I'll have a play with limiting the mix, and maybe groups of strings etc.

I'll play with the reverb settings you suggested, the reverb combo is what was at the back of my mind and had been implementing with woodwinds on other mixes.

Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.

Old 23rd May 2008
Lives for gear
Henchman's Avatar
The MPX1 is a pretty crappy reverb to be honest.
I've always found it to have very little definition and depth.
In fact, I woudls ay most plug-in verbs these days soud better than an MPX1.
I would suggest forget using the outboard verb, and finding a really good plug-in verb. Especially for surround.
IE., ALtiverb which some really great sounding responses.
Old 23rd May 2008
Gear Nut

Thread Starter
Yea, absolutely.

You're right, but at the same time I should be able to get a decent sound out of it.

I was working on the track today, and it is sounding better... thanks to some suggestions here.
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