Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

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Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:55 pm

I like to experiment in my music, and this track contains portions of carefully crafted phrases that are played and performed by Plogue's free Alter/Ego.
I was trying to envision a future where artificial empathy (as a facet of AI systems) has become something that we humans have to deal with, and Alter/Ego was perfect to create that almost human-like voice. The track also contains orchestral undertones and relies heavily on SynthMaster 2 and Dune 2, along with a couple of sample based vocal instruments. I thought some of you might find it interesting, and maybe even enjoyable to listen to. Comments are always welcome :)

Artificial Empathy

experimental.crow
KVRAF
6051 posts since 9 Mar, 2003 from the bridge of sighs

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:40 pm

i mostly enjoyed this ...

i'd advise looking at the dynamics of the track ...
or lack there of , more to the point ...
you need to drop levels across the board when the vocals occur
to bring them forward in the mix ...

i found the mix a tad bass heavy , but that will be a system variable ...
i'm on some mid price cans atm ...
Image

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 pm

experimental.crow wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:40 pm
i mostly enjoyed this ...

i'd advise looking at the dynamics of the track ...
or lack there of , more to the point ...
you need to drop levels across the board when the vocals occur
to bring them forward in the mix ...

i found the mix a tad bass heavy , but that will be a system variable ...
i'm on some mid price cans atm ...
Thanks for the feedback! There is some slight compression going on where the timpani and the synthetic vocals hit at the same time. Apart from that the dynamics shouldn't be affected compression wise.
Fair point about the vocals. It was one of the issues I had with the mix becoming to crowded (especially at the end) and the vocals not getting their proper place. Any advice on how to do this in a proper way? I always feel that if I drop the surrounding mix to enhance one certain element (like the vocals in this case), it sounds like an abrupt change in the loudness of the track.

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ecamburn
KVRist
455 posts since 16 Dec, 2003

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:39 am

I enjoyed the melodies in this piece. The ryhtymic/stylistic shift at :49 seemed a little abrupt, but I enjoyed the groove once that section got going. Reminded me a bit of Daft Punk. Love the floaty arp at around 1:57.

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:53 am

ecamburn wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:39 am
I enjoyed the melodies in this piece. The ryhtymic/stylistic shift at :49 seemed a little abrupt, but I enjoyed the groove once that section got going. Reminded me a bit of Daft Punk. Love the floaty arp at around 1:57.
Thanks! Yes, knowing that the shift at 00:49s was a bit abrupt I made two versions of this track. One has no intro at all and starts at 00:49s (it's not on soundcloud though). Cool that you liked it :tu:

experimental.crow
KVRAF
6051 posts since 9 Mar, 2003 from the bridge of sighs

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:30 am

Torden wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:41 pm
experimental.crow wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 2:40 pm
i mostly enjoyed this ...

i'd advise looking at the dynamics of the track ...
or lack there of , more to the point ...
you need to drop levels across the board when the vocals occur
to bring them forward in the mix ...

i found the mix a tad bass heavy , but that will be a system variable ...
i'm on some mid price cans atm ...
Thanks for the feedback! There is some slight compression going on where the timpani and the synthetic vocals hit at the same time. Apart from that the dynamics shouldn't be affected compression wise.
Fair point about the vocals. It was one of the issues I had with the mix becoming to crowded (especially at the end) and the vocals not getting their proper place. Any advice on how to do this in a proper way? I always feel that if I drop the surrounding mix to enhance one certain element (like the vocals in this case), it sounds like an abrupt change in the loudness of the track.
my work is primarily instrumental , and i rarely work w/ vocals ...
i do have some elements in my work need to be treated as vocals ,
as regards the rest of the mix ...

i don't know what your level of experience is , so i'll recommend this
article as a basic over-view ; i've found it's principles helpful , keeping in mind
the vast range of differences that a ' vocal ' track may entail ...

https://www.audio-issues.com/music-mixi ... mpression/

i've also found this video quite useful , and it puts into practice some of those same principles , utilizing a free plug-in ... really , any video by dan worrall is going to be worth watching ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CHFv4mWQYM


apologies if this covers ground you are already familiar with ...
Image

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:06 pm

experimental.crow wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:30 am

my work is primarily instrumental , and i rarely work w/ vocals ...
i do have some elements in my work need to be treated as vocals ,
as regards the rest of the mix ...

i don't know what your level of experience is , so i'll recommend this
article as a basic over-view ; i've found it's principles helpful , keeping in mind
the vast range of differences that a ' vocal ' track may entail ...

https://www.audio-issues.com/music-mixi ... mpression/

i've also found this video quite useful , and it puts into practice some of those same principles , utilizing a free plug-in ... really , any video by dan worrall is going to be worth watching ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CHFv4mWQYM


apologies if this covers ground you are already familiar with ...
Thanks for these. I do have some experience, but there is always much more to learn.

Nova (free version) is one of my most used plugins. I use it for both EQ and compression. One of the best free plugins out there.

I mostly focused on taming spikes in the vocals of this track. Just now I went back and checked the mix, and there was actually more low end in the vocal parts than what I remembered. I normally check that elements don't compete too much on the same frequencies, but here I've made a blunder by letting too much vocal energy carry through around 200 Hz. This then creates a clash with some of the bassy synth elements. It's weird that I didn't see this when I was taming those spikes.. It's certainly something I'll be more aware about the next time around, so thanks for pointing this out! :tu:

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Frantz
KVRAF
5244 posts since 18 Jul, 2008 from New York

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:54 pm

I enjoyed this. It has a classic 80s feel. :tu:

Although the intro and mid-section were different, I think most of the piece is looping a V-IV-I chord progression. I would have liked a little more harmonic variation in these sections.

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:23 pm

Frantz wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:54 pm
I enjoyed this. It has a classic 80s feel. :tu:

Although the intro and mid-section were different, I think most of the piece is looping a V-IV-I chord progression. I would have liked a little more harmonic variation in these sections.
Thanks for the feedback!

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6327 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:57 pm

Not my usual cup of hemlock (not enough Bass VI and 12 string guitar you see... :hihi: ) but I did rather enjoy it.

With all due respect to Mr Crow, I'm not a fan of sidechaining (or 'ducking' as we old gits used to call it 'back in the day'), and so for me you've got to make a stylistic choice as to what the main focus is - is it a vocal track, or a track with incidental vocals? You've tended towards the second here, and it's a valid choice, and it works, given that the vocals are very reverby. The other way of course is to have them upfront. Now there's all manner of things you could try, but in the end the only thing that really works is...to turn the bastards up (as people always try to convince me to do.. :hihi: ) You'd need to obviously adjust your master compression etc settings accordingly, and the raised level then may then have the consequence of increased sibilance, which you'd need to address. As a very rough ballpark I always reckon that if the vocals are peaking at about the same level as the drums on your meters then you're in the right area...

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:37 am

donkey tugger wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:57 pm
Not my usual cup of hemlock (not enough Bass VI and 12 string guitar you see... :hihi: ) but I did rather enjoy it.

With all due respect to Mr Crow, I'm not a fan of sidechaining (or 'ducking' as we old gits used to call it 'back in the day'), and so for me you've got to make a stylistic choice as to what the main focus is - is it a vocal track, or a track with incidental vocals? You've tended towards the second here, and it's a valid choice, and it works, given that the vocals are very reverby. The other way of course is to have them upfront. Now there's all manner of things you could try, but in the end the only thing that really works is...to turn the bastards up (as people always try to convince me to do.. :hihi: ) You'd need to obviously adjust your master compression etc settings accordingly, and the raised level then may then have the consequence of increased sibilance, which you'd need to address. As a very rough ballpark I always reckon that if the vocals are peaking at about the same level as the drums on your meters then you're in the right area...
You're right about the vocals being more incidental. Thanks for the advice on how to get a track to sound good when the vocals are the focus. And about sidechaining, I'm not a fan either. There was no sidechaining when I grew up :)

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Benedict
KVRAF
3139 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:41 pm

Nice sounds. Nice composition ideas too.

I second that the sounds all end up being a bit static or jammed in - typical modern mixing error as we got trained out of the rightly-given advice to choose what the focus of the track is and to make the mi that way (and that can change a bit). Bear in mid that EDM is such a different mindset. I have been looking at psy for a friend (honest) and most of the time live, that is nothing but drums & bass - all offset so you only hear one sound at a time! talk about icing and eating it!

I also second that the composition could use more than the same progression looping. I know that is all that EDM does but all the magic comes from the variations and moments where things change the basic form. How good is that little bit in the middle of Gunners "Sweet Child" when the bass seems to turn upside down? And basically, all those changed in "November Rain"?

:-)

Torden
KVRist
69 posts since 25 Aug, 2015

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:31 pm

Benedict wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:41 pm
Nice sounds. Nice composition ideas too.

I second that the sounds all end up being a bit static or jammed in - typical modern mixing error as we got trained out of the rightly-given advice to choose what the focus of the track is and to make the mi that way (and that can change a bit). Bear in mid that EDM is such a different mindset. I have been looking at psy for a friend (honest) and most of the time live, that is nothing but drums & bass - all offset so you only hear one sound at a time! talk about icing and eating it!

I also second that the composition could use more than the same progression looping. I know that is all that EDM does but all the magic comes from the variations and moments where things change the basic form. How good is that little bit in the middle of Gunners "Sweet Child" when the bass seems to turn upside down? And basically, all those changed in "November Rain"?

:-)
Thanks for the feedback. I especially see the point about more variation of the underlying structure. I'll take it with me to the next musical adventure.

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biodiode
KVRian
576 posts since 23 Sep, 2003 from UK

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:24 pm

I enjoyed the listen to this track and yes the arp pattern could do with some variations. You have some very good pointers here on how to sonically improve the track. To free up the bottom end you could always look at rolling off the bottom end of the non-bass parts.
Check out more of my work at https://www.adrianearnshaw.com where you will find tips, tricks on the blog and more of my compositions.

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Bansaw
KVRian
806 posts since 19 Aug, 2008

Re: Artificial Empathy (a blend of synthetic vocals, epic vocals, timpani and synths including SynthMaster and Dune 2)

Post Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:20 am

Very nice to listen to. Well done. :tu:
Minor detail: @3:04 that higher frequency percussive element, its OK, but maybe is mixed a touch too loud, or could be EQ'd to take the edge of it.

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