Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

The place for musicians to share their knowledge and ideas about music and remixing, and to post WIP snippets and feedback. Also suggest tunes for remixing, here.
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Doddsy
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Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

Hi all,
I thought it might be a cool idea if I documented my next c64 remix project as a WIP diary. WIP diaries seemed to be all the rage back in the early days of the internet (along with FAQ whatever happened to them?) I guess we call them DEV Diary Blogs now a days...
So without further ado providing real life and gaming doesn't interfere too much I should get it completed in the next few months...

Week 1
16.1.16
To start me off all I needed was an idea for a remix project. I have decided upon a remix that is based on an 80's coin-op arcade conversion. In other words what would a sid tune sound like if the game had been converted into a coin-op at the time much like Chopper Lifter on the Apple II. FM synthesis ruled the arcade in the 80's so I will be using my trusty Yamaha TQ 5 which has a basic sequencer and can perform several parts at once. Sampled drums were also the order of the day much like the ones found on the Outrun sound tracks. I have a set on my Korg Symphony.

17.1.16
The next job is to find a sid tune to remix. After auditioning several tracks that included Lightforce, Comic Bakery and Bruce Lee I think I will settle for Thing On A Spring. The tune is fast and fun so it should lend itself well for FM synthesis.
The remix is to be called Thing On a Spring (80's Coin-op conversion remix)

18.1.16
I'm familiarizing myself with the tune by playing the sid through sidplayer to transcribe the notes. Will also use sid2midi for assistance after this I will print out a basic score and then the fun starts-remixing it.
Last edited by Doddsy on 30/01/2016 - 17:24, edited 4 times in total.

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Mordi
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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Mordi »

Interesting to see how you work. Maybe some video/audio would be nice as well? When it's done you can link to this thread on the remix info page as well! :cheers:
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Doddsy
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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

Cheers for the suggestions Mordi. :cheers: Will put up some WIP on soundcloud as the project progresses.

19.1.16
Printed out score parts. The track stripped down mostly consists of a bass, main lead (that alternates between instruments for variation) and drums with Fx to liven it up a bit. Currently practicing the parts & designing patches to fit the tune. As FM synthesis requires a bit more thought than analog patch making. The patches for my TQ 5 (as the programming interface is limit) are designed by using the Pfarm app which takes 2 patches and by taking the "genes" from them mutates them into other patches. It is then just a process of selecting the best sounding ones that fit the tune. FM made easy!

In the meantime here is a video of the TQ-5 in action. Very 1980's and Coin-op sounding I must say!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34ihBoRF_IE

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Chris Abbott »

Sounds like fun.
Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

Yes I guess the fun part is not knowing what sounds it will throw out.

20.1.16
Having rehearsed the parts a bit and got the general gist of them, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty of sequencing it all. For this I won't use the inbuilt sequencer of the TQ5 but I'll link up my Yamaha Rm1x for more flexibility.
Some of you may be wondering why I'm not using my computer for this and the answer for me is simple. I've found the midi output timing on the Hardware Rm1x to be more tighter than my PC plus using the pattern sequencer, I can remix patterns in any sequence I want. Booting the whole thing up to record is quicker too.
I will block out 16 patterns that need to be sequenced and each of these will be of a certain bar length. This will all be worked out on the printed score. I have a few programmed patches to use as a start and I prefer to play the notes rather than step input them unless the part is really tricky. I think it gives more of a "feel" to the music. I suppose I could humanize it later but the Rm1x won't allow that. The only option you've got is to alter the note numbers a bit.
The tempo is quite fast making some of the phrases a little tricky. The solution for this is to slow the tempo down to a comfortable speed and simply speed it up once the full track is ready to be played back.

Time to start sequencing & build up the track...

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Dumper »

Interesting thread Doddsy, looking forward to how this will turn out.

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

Cheers dumper I hope you are going to enjoy the end result.

22.1.16.
Work & Fallout 4 are taking up my free time. However have worked out the patterns to be done on the Rm1x and got a test pattern up and running to see if the instruments work together. These are an FM violin patch, an FX spring sound, analog style bass and a computer fx hi hat with the sampled drums. So far I'm pleased with the result. :D
Here is that short test run.
https://app.box.com/s/9g08mqnuttidgplg4myewak8dh0bnsip

Will progress on the sequencing now. Another file will be available once most of the patterns have been done.

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Analog-X64 »

I like it.. and I dont know why but the overall vibe felt like something you would hear in a Sega Genesis game. Maybe because of the FM sounds?
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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

You are correct in saying that analog x64. The genesis uses the 2612 FM chip and the instrument I'm using has a similar chip-the 2414 FM chip but with 2 more channels. Both chips have some degree of patch compatibility.

Week 2
25.1.16

Added an extra mid bass to the track to give it a bit more weight. Sequenced 4 out of the 16 patterns-this stage is taking longer than I expected. The main parts can be a little tricky to play and can only be done with practice- lots of sharps and accidental notes everywhere!
Still progress is being made...

In the meantime for those unfamiliar with the game here is a youtube video of it in action.
Last edited by Doddsy on 30/01/2016 - 17:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

28.1.16

Got the main bulk of the sequencing done. Here is a short preview of how the track is sounding all sounds are 4-op FM except the drums. It has been recorded from the TQ 5 outputs ( including the Korg symphony drums) into the PC without any EQ or effects; much like you would record from an actual coin op machine back in the day. When compared to the test run changes have been made during the course of the production. This version is slower at 224 BPM.

https://app.box.com/s/j8j0r33vmldxzkm0zusqdqr73olepjcx

Once the sequencing and a few tweeks have been done then it is onto recording the tracks for mixing and effects. The DAW package I will be using for this will be Cubase SX.

Later :D

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

30.1.16

Sequenced all 16 patterns on the RM1x and have strung them together to produce a full tune. To anyone who has used Noisetracker on the Amiga then they will find this system similar. The sequencing stage has taken less time than I had projected due to the riffs tending to repeat a lot - which is something you find in sid tunes. I will probably upload the full track to soundcloud sometime.

The next stage is to record all the parts for mixing and effects. There will be 14 parts to record in total. 8 will be from the Yamaha TQ 5 channels and 5 will be for the drums from the Korg Symphony. I've also set aside an extra channel that will say "Insert Coin To Continue" which will be bit crushed to 8-bits at the end of the tune for a more authentic arcade tune experience.

I will be using Cubase SX to record the parts. For many computer musicians this is an old DAW I know but it will be fine for this project as I will only be recording hardware and I'm not using any VST instruments - just effects. The signal will be put through true tape. Steinberg claim that this simulates the warmth of recording on analog tape whether this is a gimmick or not I do think that it adds "something" to the recording. Sadly the midi sync function doesn't seem to work with my Rm1x. To get around that I have inserted a single hi hat sound at the beginning of each track. It will then be simply a matter of lining them all up.
So it's time to setup a project folder and start recording...

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

02.02.16

Recorded all the parts as 32-bit wav files into Cubase SX for mixing. Recording was mostly straightforward apart from the computer glitching at times leading to a retake.
To make the track more appealing for the average listener, effects will be added to the instruments.

For interested musicians here are the patches from the Yamaha TQ 5 found in the Thing On A Spring remix.
1. Analog Bass 2.Violin 1 3.Boing FX 4.Singsynth 5.Retroviolin 6.Arp Blip 7.Whistle 8.Openhat FX.
All the patches are mine except 2 & 7.

https://app.box.com/s/1gvg0u3fi375hxh3g1bbnyeyr7rjgp3t

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Doddsy »

04.02.16
Mixed track. The whistle patch was causing me problems so I've high passed it to take out some of the higher frequencies.

05.02.16
Mastered track. The mastering chain for this was a 24 bit wav file - BBE (subtle use of) -EQ-Compressor-Quadrafuzz-Stereo Spreader-Limiter - Dithering.

The track is now complete and can be viewed here:



It's been an enjoyable and interesting remix and I'm sure that other remixers would have had their own ideas on how to produce it. It's not been a difficult one by any means as I'm only working with 2 instruments and the tune is a strong one. I suppose it's shown me that as long as you have an idea then you don't really need a lot of gear to produce music - just a few synths and a DAW to record it all for mixing & mastering.
I hope you enjoyed this little development diary and more importantly I hope you like the remix.

MD

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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Vosla »

Go, go, go, Doddsy. That remix sounds like fun and stays faithful to the original.
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Re: Thing On a Spring Project Diary.

Post by Mordi »

Doddsy wrote:The whistle patch was causing me problems so I've high passed it to take out some of the higher frequencies.
I believe that would be called a low-pass. 8)

I checked out the track. Pretty cool end result. The sound has a lot of "bite" to it - has a nice and full compressed sound.
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