If only a plugin was all you needed to actually make your music louder/bigger!
All of the above plugins help. But the greatest thing that will make your music sound ‘big’ is a good arrangement that is well balanced between all instruments. Having the right amount of ‘high frequency’ instruments balanced with ‘low-frequency’ instruments.
There is a reason why the staple rock band sound is bass guitar (low), rhythm guitar (mid), lead guitar (mid/high), drums (all frequencies but short punchy sounds). It’s because this line up is very easy (comparatively) to balance.
There is a reason why orchestras are setup in a certain way (the number of players playing each instrument).
It’s all about balance and thus your arrangement of the music. One of the classic mistakes a lot of composers fall into is “I can make my music bigger by adding MORE”. Actually this reduces the clarity a lot of the time, and can actually make the music sound smaller because there is so much ‘stuff’ competing for space in the mix/arrangement.
If you listen to Tim’s work, his music is very well balanced. A few ideas executed perfectly. Each element has a chance to shine through, and because the arrangement is not cluttered, all of them have weight and punch and aren’t competing against each other.
That is when plugins such as the ones listed above REALLY start to shine. When you have a great arrangement/mix, the mastering plugins start to make a massive difference.
But it all starts at the composition/arrangement level, then the mix.
My 2 cents.
Will Sonar work on Windows 8.1?
I doubt Cakewalk will ‘officially’ support Sonar 6 (your current version) on Windows 8.1. That said, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. If in doubt, ask Cakewalk. Their customer support and general quality since they were acquired by Gibson has been top notch.
At this stage, if you’re getting a new computer, it might be worth taking the plunge on a newer version of Sonar. The jump from version 6, what you are using, to the X3 series (which is now super-duper stable) – will be huge, especially with the vastly improved interface. Everything else, has largely stayed the same for quite a while. I am doing some pretty heavy work in Sonar X3 on Windows 8.1 and I just don’t have any issues with it.
I’m a Sonar user since the very early days so I can make some suggestions.
With CPU, clock speed is king. Especially if you are working with Kontakt instruments. That said, AMD’s clock speeds differ to Intel, so I can’t really comment on that computer you linked. For the record, I’d personally choose Intel.
Multiple cores are good, but there is a law of diminishing returns, clock speed is king. There is a LOT of complicated scripting in instruments these days and it takes a lot of CPU power to process all the simultaneous voices.
Upgrade to Windows 7 if you can still find it, otherwise Windows 8.1. I am willing to bet you are still running a 32-bit operating system (I could be wrong), as Win XP 64-bit is very niche. You NEED a 64-bit operating system these days to take full advantage of your systems. I believe Sonar 6 was 64-bit if memory serves me correctly (it was the first DAW to go 64-bit)
You need at least 4 GB of RAM for today’s instruments, preferably 8 GB.
SSD’s are nice but not essential if you can’t afford them. It depends on the size of the libraries you are working with. Whatever you decide though, make sure you have at least two different drives for your samples and another separate drive for your system. Spread that out as much as you can.
Contact Support if you want to transfer your exclusive tracks to non-exclusive. (and what FXProSound said)
My posts are usually too long, so I’ll be brief. Regardless of how you proceed with royalty-free music or composition in general hereon, good luck. The doors will be open to you should you decide to go exclusive again or simply set up a new account and start over.
We followed the thread this morning and wanted to chime in, and clarify a few things.
1) We typically hard-reject when issues are numerous enough that they cannot be resolved quickly. This was the case with your track. Based on this thread, it’s clear that other authors don’t agree, and this is the main reason we’re responding, to clarify and go into detail why the track was hard-rejected. Regrettably, it’s not simply a case of ‘add a better reverb’ or ‘swap in a new more expensive sample library’. If only it was that simple!
2) The hard reject was not at all based on the quality of your composition. Hence you got the “This submission does not meet our general commercial production (sample quality/mixing/mastering) standard, unfortunately.” – as opposed to “This submission does not meet our general commercial composition/arrangement standard, unfortunately. “
This means the track has multiple specific issues with the production.
3) A track being hard-rejected does not mean it can never be re-uploaded.
As per Envato Knowledgbase – “Items may be soft-rejected if they require small changes. See our article on re-submitting soft-rejected items for more information. If your item has been hard-rejected, do not resubmit it without significant changes.”
4) For the sake of clarity, each track is judged on an individual basis pertaining to their composition / production quality, and general commercial utility for the Audiojungle library. These judgments are based on current review policies and standards. It’s important to remember that Audiojungle acceptance standards are continually evolving, as they have done in the last couple of years, and will do so in future. Past tracks which fail to reach these standards may be looked at again and possibly removed from the library in the future, as part of a library management initiative we are currently envisaging.
We’d advise authors that if in doubt, always compare with what is currently being approved, and also feel free to use the Item Discussion section in the forum before you upload your track.
OK, finally to deal with the specifics of your track.
The main issues are actually not with the quality of your samples, but how they are programmed. In fact, we’d recommend not just going out and buying new samples. You have decent libraries, but you’re not getting the best out of them.
- There seems to be very little to no expression on any of your orchestral parts. This results in your track – for want of a better comparison – sounding more like an organ than an orchestra. Samples – by definition – are generally static and lifeless – thus, you have to breathe life into them to get them to play better. You can do this with volume control, and most patches in sample libraries these days crossfade between different dynamics so you can get more realism into your sound.
Your MIDI data – especially for strings – should be COVERED with all kinds of expression/performance data. Once you add phrasing to your sampled parts, they really start to come to life.
- Your percussion programming is very good, but it’s lost because the choir is getting in the way of it in the mix. Choir needs to be pushed out to the sides (use a stereo widener) and you should put a distant reverb on it. There might be an arrangement issue here too because you have a LOT of sounds playing in that low-mid register. In a ‘live’ setting, this wouldn’t be a problem, but with samples, when low-frequencies stack up, everything can get muddy very quickly.
- Strings also sound very dry. You don’t need to put a massive reverb on them but you need to put them in some kind of space to get them to breathe a bit more. There are tons of great free reverbs on the net.
- Your piece seems to have only one dynamic, and combined with the lack of expression and phrasing, this makes the piece a little monotonous after a relatively short period of time. There are numerous tracks on Audiojungle that don’t use expensive samplesets, however, time and care was put into their programming to bring them to life. A lot of what we are looking for in the review team is ‘feel’. It’s something that is difficult to describe, but you know it when you hear it. A lot of those tracks that are using dated sounds are hiding the aesthetic by performing them well.
- There were a couple of good suggestions in this thread already, but most notable is the one about using other ‘good’ samples to cover up ‘older’ ones. A very good tip.
- The most important thing to remember, is that unfortunately, you can’t get away with just uploading the notes of a well-composed track. Music should be a performance, and if there’s nothing in the music to suggest that the track is well-performed, it makes it less likely for us to approve it.
For these reasons, your piece was hard-rejected. We don’t believe that the above issues are ‘quick’ fixes. A ‘quick’ fix would be something like re-mastering a track, fixing a couple of wrong notes, improving the recording quality of a certain part or technical issues such as the correct MP3/WAV format. Here the issues are more high-level that apply to your whole piece.
We don’t all expect authors to be producing Hollywood level music. It’s not just about the sample quality. We’ve heard composers make incredible sample libraries (Symphobia, Albion) sound terrible, and we’ve heard composers make older sample libraries sound fantastic! It’s often about how convincing you can make the performance and getting the best out of your samples. You’d be surprised at how many things you can do to make cheap sample libraries sound better. Obviously, the ideal solution is to have the best of both worlds (good sample libraries, good performance) – but we’d encourage the latter before the former.
And with that, that leads me to a shameless plug of a tutorial I wrote last month, which specifically deals with these issues. Note that this not a ‘how to get the BEST sampled string sound’ – but more how to get the best out of your samples, no matter what library you use. Hopefully it helps.http://music.tutsplus.com/tutorials/the-ultimate-list-of-tips-for-producing-sampled-strings--cms-21216
Many of the tips in here with regards to programming can be applied across the orchestral setting.
We understand that it’s frustrating to get a track rejected, especially when it’s not with regards to the composition. However, you mentioned that you are a hobby composer, and perhaps one of the strengths of Audiojungle is that we review you ‘as a professional’ regardless of your background. We are all equals here, and thus in the interest of fairness the same standards are applied across the board.
We hope this clarifies a few things for you, and thanks for bringing this up in the forum which will hopefully allow multiple authors to benefit from your post.