Something I would suggest if you want a more realistic sound, is to go through the track and "humanize" the notes -- in fact, in Mixcraft, you can select all the notes and choose "humanize" if you feel like cheating! If you can play it on a keyboard, that'd be even better for getting that imperfect sound! But if you manually entered the notes in the Mixcraft, "humanizing" the notes can be beneficial. It's a very interesting melody but the way it is played is rigid. Let the velocity change throughout the track, let some notes be imperfectly timed. The reason being that when we hear a harp, we don't expect perfection since it is an instrument played by a human. But when it is perfectly played by a computer, it gives off an amateur vibe - not that there is anything wrong with being amateur! However
, if you want to keep the quantized feel (which I would recommend), I would change the instrument to something electronic. I think the "Crystal Harp" preset would be perfect. But un-check the Acoustica Orchestral Harp layer within this preset for a "spacey" sound. And maybe turn down the Ambient Wind just slightly.
Your tracks Space Cathedral
and Emptiness of Space
work well because you stuck with electronic sounds.
(Forgive me for possibly spouting off too many of my own opinions, but I think you are good!) I tend to be of the mindset that if someone doesn't have access to real or realistic sounding instruments, that they would be better off sticking to electronic sounds, committing to it, and making it sound like they always intended for the music to be played by a computer. Stay away from the pseudo-realistic sounds meant for demos and you're one step closer to sounding more professional. I'm reminded of an interview with the lead singer of the electronic band Austra. When she was in school, she wanted to write for string quartets but couldn't afford one and hated the way the fake strings sounded on her computer. So she continued to write the same music utilizing electronic sounds. That became her thing
. I think your music would benefit by sticking with the electronic sounds. I love the note bending in Emptiness of Space
, by the way - it is something I am too lazy to attempt much to my annoyance!
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Since I'm off topic anyway, I have a few other (hopefully helpful) recommendations:
I think Space Cathedral
could really benefit from some different percussion samples to replace what is in the track. I'd recommend looking at Goldbaby's stuff - he has tons of free samples here: http://www.goldbaby.co.nz/freestuff.html
The first bit of constructive criticism I received was from someone that left a comment on a track simply saying "Too much reverb." I was embarrassed but they were right. The percussion is a bit drenched in Space Cathedral
, I would ease up on the reverb - especially in the kick drum.
Don't be concerned about how loud your mixes are while you're still working on tracks. Let a mastering engineer make your stuff louder later on. A few of your tracks clip because the volume is pushed too much. If you're not worried about mastering right now and just want to quickly upload some tracks online but want the volume louder, add "iZotope Mastering Essentials" to your Master Effects, and select the preset called "Equal Loud". This will give you a good volume boost without squashing everything to bits. A real mastering engineer would be 100x better but for quickly putting music out, this is a good trick. You will have to tweak the EQ in the iZotope plugin to get a sound you like. Then add the Classic Master Limiter plugin directly after iZotope and move the knob to about 2.0-3.0 dB. Trust your ears. (I'm not sure if you have the iZotope plugin in your version of Mixcraft, though.)
Lastly, this technique is something that was eye opening when I learned it: mixing with pink noise (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b3DtQALtuY
). It's a great way to get your mixes sounding better!