Instrumentation sound dated

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PGRated
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Instrumentation sound dated

Post by PGRated » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:07 am

Hi guys! I have got this critique several times that the synths sound dated or not current sounding.
I am a little doubtful about my sound designing process right now....! How am I supposed to know if the sounds I am designing for a submission aren't sounding dated?

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by mojobone » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:44 pm

Not sure if I'm familiar enough with your genre to be of much help, but here goes. I think it's mainly the drum sounds and tired beats that date you, but you also wanna maybe shy away from using synth strings/horns as strings/horns; try to find more contrast between digital and analog synth sounds and if you use a traditional synth sound, use it in a more modern way. Juxtapose that with some organic loops or sampled orchestral percussion. An occasional real bass or hihat cymbal can go a long way; you don't want to sound like everything came from a keyboard, especially if it did. More creative use of effects could be helpful. (reverse and/or gated reverb are hot again) Try mixing the drum elements bigger, for more impact; maybe use a compressor to make the whole track pump to the beat. Producers these days have a much broader sound pallette; don't be afraid to go off the beaten path for the spicy bits. A lot of your sounds are still used in chillout but the dance/club/techno stuff has kinda moved on; just mainly pay more attention to the dance/EDM charts, cuz things tend to move really quickly.
Last edited by mojobone on Tue Feb 27, 2018 7:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by hummingbird » Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:46 pm

hi - could you post a couple samples? Like, the text of the listing, a link to your track, and the feedback from the screener? We'll try to help you figure this out.
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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by PGRated » Thu Mar 01, 2018 6:18 am

hummingbird wrote:hi - could you post a couple samples? Like, the text of the listing, a link to your track, and the feedback from the screener? We'll try to help you figure this out.
That would be great.Here is the listing::-
URBAN TENSION INSTRUMENTAL CUES are needed by a well connected, Non-Exclusive Music Library with lots of placements in Film, TV, and Commercials! They’re looking for Mid-to-Up Tempo Instrumental Cues that would fall in the general stylistic wheelhouse of the following references:--
Basketball Wives LA (0:57 – 1:25) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU1goI5CBT0
Check Yourself Season 8 (2:08 – 2:50) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S9rTcvvLmo
Basketball Wives LA (0:01-0:31): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hi_wpaM54s
Give them well-crafted Tension Cues with strong Hip-Hop beats that would support tension-filled scenes in Reality TV shows. Build your Cues around a central melodic theme while adding and subtracting layers of instrumentation as they progress to add dynamics, interest, and forward movement. Avoid anything overly busy or frenetic, as it could interfere with a scene’s dialogue.

My submission to the listing::-
https://soundcloud.com/pranavghodnadika ... an/s-lMKIS

TAXI Screener's feedback::--
Higher and lower end synth sounds are pretty dated sounding, especially the higher sounding one, which is more in line with a sci-fi thriller than something that would be used by a contemporary composer in this genre.

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by cosmicdolphin » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:11 am

Yeah it's not bad but I get where the screener is coming from....some of the lead sounds remind me of my favourite Depeche Mode records for the 90's.the reference tracks are difficult to hear beneath the dialogue too

...I just think try swapping out your bass for a pitched 808 type sound...as for the leads I'm not into urban stuff so I don't know what they tend to use but I'm sure there will be some info out there. I find if I run a lead through Xfer's OTT plugin ( free ) then it can immediately make it sound more 'now'

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by PGRated » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:52 am

I'll try out xfer OTT and mojobone's suggestions....! Also waiting what hummingbird has to say!
Do you guys design your own synths or leads? don't know why but I find it easy way to get the exact taste of mine. Takes a bit of a time, though.

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by Len911 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:59 am

the only way you are going to know for sure if your sounds are dated is by listening to the current music of the genre you are producing for. If your tastes are dated, then that's probably why your sounds are.

It's a common problem though, and you are not alone!
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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:06 am

PGRated wrote:I'll try out xfer OTT and mojobone's suggestions....! Also waiting what hummingbird has to say!
Do you guys design your own synths or leads? don't know why but I find it easy way to get the exact taste of mine. Takes a bit of a time, though.
Personally no I don't program them myself from scratch...but I don't often use them as they come either... I can usually find something close enough and tweak it and I quite like processing sounds to make them more unique..distortion, pitch shifting, OTT etc can make a vanilla preset sound cool. Sometimes people have asked me how I got a certain guitar sound when it started life as a piano 8-)

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by PGRated » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:46 am

Thanks Mark and Len911..!
It might be off topic but How much time would it take to you guys to finish a "well, appropriate for submission" track?
I am asking this cuz is it just me who needs at least five days to make an entire production of one instrumental/song which includes mastering...!?! Maybe or maybe not i'm wasting my time to design my (own) sounds.!

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Re: Instrumentation sound dated

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:56 am

PGRated wrote:Thanks Mark and Len911..!
It might be off topic but How much time would it take to you guys to finish a "well, appropriate for submission" track?
I am asking this cuz is it just me who needs at least five days to make an entire production of one instrumental/song which includes mastering...!?! Maybe or maybe not i'm wasting my time to design my (own) sounds.!
I would say 'a few nights' because I do my stuff in the evening when most normal folks are watching TV..so that's maybe 2hrs per session and a few sessions..sometimes I've managed to virtually finish one from beginning to end if I've had the whole day free..and just check & polish it up the the next day.

I think 5 days is too long personally. You can only make 4 or 5 cues per month ..I'm trying to make 100 per year which is still not that high compared to some but I'm doing it part time in the evenings so I can live with that.

Mark

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