Ben Theaker - Ishtar - Feedback request

thefica

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I used to make music for fun on old Keyboard Workstations like the Korg M1 and Yamaha SY85 but then work and family got in the way....
Fairly recently I started making music again this time using a DAW or course!

This is the first track I 'finished'. I was going for a 2010 Trance vibe, not sure if that's what I achieved... I actually completed it in 2020 and stuck it up on youtube just for friends to give me some feedback (friends are always kind of course). For one reason or another I haven't been making much music since then but now I'm really getting back in to to it so I'd love to get some feedback from more critical ears on this forum. Any comments would be gratefully appreciated that would help me improve going forward. If anyone has any suggestions I may make some changes to the track and see if I can improve it (or just bin it depending on the feedback!)

Many thanks in advance!!
 

Bobby Summa

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I used to make music for fun on old Keyboard Workstations like the Korg M1 and Yamaha SY85 but then work and family got in the way....
Fairly recently I started making music again this time using a DAW or course!

This is the first track I 'finished'. I was going for a 2010 Trance vibe, not sure if that's what I achieved... I actually completed it in 2020 and stuck it up on youtube just for friends to give me some feedback (friends are always kind of course). For one reason or another I haven't been making much music since then but now I'm really getting back in to to it so I'd love to get some feedback from more critical ears on this forum. Any comments would be gratefully appreciated that would help me improve going forward. If anyone has any suggestions I may make some changes to the track and see if I can improve it (or just bin it depending on the feedback!)

Many thanks in advance!!
Im liking this. Please dont bin it.
Il add more feedback in a bit. Just listening to it now.
————

ok. I’ve listened.
Honest Opinion. You are very talented.

I am in a similar position to you as used to write in the 90’s had a 22 yr break tho and got back into it January ish 2020. Im planning to release my first trance track with the Trancefix Records label.

Back to the track. …..

There are clearly some amazing elements in their. For me the first half is very solid. Its very charged with energy.
Around 2.45 some chords come in at the quiet part, pads. Some of the chords to me are perfect but some for me aren’t quite right. They don’t do credit to the atmosphere of the rest of the track . Its the ones towards the end of the first progression, which are also repeated i believe. Because of the complexity of this section and matching the bass line, i can see its a challenge and I certainly wouldn’t find it easy.
After that the track is alright but some of the new melodies could do with popping out more. Bit more presence or just louder or clearer (eq) as they are good melodies and good sounds. Just that mid or latter mid section lacks the punch of the first 2 1/2 minutes. The track then returns to a similar theme to the beginning which is a nice fluid flowing idea.

Lots of credit to you for going back to a track you started in 2020 and being able to put together a track which in areas shines. With a little bit of work it could be a lovely Banger! Its decent as it is but if you could at all push for more itl be a great atmospheric highly charged pumping track.

Edit:

i listened again. On better sound products: Apple airpods, previously i listened on a Sonos ( fiancé insisted we got one 🙈) my produced tracks never sound as good on there

The pads actually sound decent. In my opinion its only one chord. The third from the last in the chord part. Apart from that they are great.
Listening on the airpods the track really sounds great.
I might just say the whooshy riser might want to be varied more when using it, perhaps slightly harsher sounding.

The energy of the first half of the track is huge but somehow in the last few minutes of the track the enegy tails off a little. If you can keep the energy levels high throughout you have a right Banger!
 
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thefica

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Thanks so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it! I'll have a look at those chords again and play around with a few variations. Great idea for the riser, I might run it through a trance gate and maybe put it through a mild bit crusher to give it a bit more dirt.

When I was listening to your track yesterday I saw that you had quite a similar story to me with the long break away from producing. I'm 47 so similar age to you too. Actually it was great to hear your story and see you are getting close to a first release because I was thinking "Am I too old to get in to producing a new style of music?" but seeing how well you are doing really lifted my spirits and made me realize I'm not too old at all so thanks for that!
 
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erickUO

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Hearing this reminds me of classic hard trance.

Mixing is quite muddy, seems there's too much reverb on the synths.

Liking the build up, those arps and stabs complements nicely. Pads and main supersaw melody are nice on their own, but when combined, I feel some notes could be tweaked to create stronger emotion (I'd tweak the supersaw since the pads are already good, but it's just my personal preference though).

Not a fan of some "weoooww" swooshes (if that make sense 😄), it may add some personality/memorability to the track, but sounds cartoon-ish for the theme you're trying to build here (again, just my preference).

For a 138 BPM track this lacking some drive on the beatwork-bassline combo, however GTR - Mistral has the same problem too (eventhough it's 140).

Overall, the idea is there. In the end it's up to you to decide what feels right for you.
 

Hensmon

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Nice classic feeling track. The ideas are simple, but cool and I like them.

Agree with the feedback above that the mixdown and balance of the track is not great. The start I didn't feel it too much and the atmospheric pads sound pretty nice. But as the track goes on and melodies and drop it becomes more apparent, especially main synths and even percs to some extent. Keep going though dude!
 
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thefica

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Hearing this reminds me of classic hard trance.

Mixing is quite muddy, seems there's too much reverb on the synths.

Liking the build up, those arps and stabs complements nicely. Pads and main supersaw melody are nice on their own, but when combined, I feel some notes could be tweaked to create stronger emotion (I'd tweak the supersaw since the pads are already good, but it's just my personal preference though).

Not a fan of some "weoooww" swooshes (if that make sense 😄), it may add some personality/memorability to the track, but sounds cartoon-ish for the theme you're trying to build here (again, just my preference).

For a 138 BPM track this lacking some drive on the beatwork-bassline combo, however GTR - Mistral has the same problem too (eventhough it's 140).

Overall, the idea is there. In the end it's up to you to decide what feels right for you.
Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I agree with you are 100% about the muddiness, that's the first thing I'm going to do actually, go and turn the reverb down on pretty much every track it's on and see if I can make it cleaner! I also agree the beat+bass groove isn't strong enough, any tips for how that could be improved?
 

thefica

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Nice classic feeling track. The ideas are simple, but cool and I like them.

Agree with the feedback above that the mixdown and balance of the track is not great. The start I didn't feel it too much and the atmospheric pads sound pretty nice. But as the track goes on and melodies and drop it becomes more apparent, especially main synths and even percs to some extent. Keep going though dude!
Thank you so much for the feedback, I'm finding all these constructive comments so helpful!

With regard to the mix yes this is what I find the hardest thing. I come from a classical music background (not amazing but GCSE Music and Grade 7 piano) so composition and arrangement isn't what I struggle with so much but mixing seems like a dark art! I know there is a ton of material out there on the web and some of it has helped but I think this is the area where I still have so much learning to do. I'm going to go back to this and track by track go through the effects and processors to see if I can clean it up and then maybe look at some volume automation (which I don't do at all really) to see if I can get the balance right throughout the track.

I've also found it really helpful listening to the other tracks producers are posting on this forum, so I'm hopeful I will be able to improve!
 

Bobby Summa

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Thanks so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it! I'll have a look at those chords again and play around with a few variations. Great idea for the riser, I might run it through a trance gate and maybe put it through a mild bit crusher to give it a bit more dirt.

When I was listening to your track yesterday I saw that you had quite a similar story to me with the long break away from producing. I'm 47 so similar age to you too. Actually it was great to hear your story and see you are getting close to a first release because I was thinking "Am I too old to get in to producing a new style of music?" but seeing how well you are doing really lifted my spirits and made me realize I'm not too old at all so thanks for that!
Hey no worries. Im really glad i helped. Sometimes i think the same, but there are still legends of the scene close to the top of their game. Paul van dyk for example has surely to be in his early 50s and does lots of top tier production. Same with people like Ferry. Armin etc. Big names still at it.
I never thought id admit it and say it as its an over used saying, but age is just a number.
 

erickUO

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Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I agree with you are 100% about the muddiness, that's the first thing I'm going to do actually, go and turn the reverb down on pretty much every track it's on and see if I can make it cleaner! I also agree the beat+bass groove isn't strong enough, any tips for how that could be improved?
I'm struggling with it too haha, but I usually do these:
- Add some top/hi-hat/perc loops to give the drums more fullness.
- Try different bass patterns and see which one gives more drive. Most of the time, it's the one that's simpler and give the beat some space to breathe.
- Try different bass sounds or add some saturation. The current doesn't sound prominent enough.
- Variations on bass velocity & note length. Play with the idea of "weak" vs "strong".

Easy trick to find (sub) bass oomph that corresponds the kick is by using synth that has pulse width control (example: SH101). As you move the knob, you'll hear the timbre and the oomph changes. Stop at the point you feel driving the most.

Mid 00s uplifting tracks are great source to learn about this. Cut 1 bar, zoom in the waveform, check where each sounds hits, and for how long.
 
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LostLegend

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There's actually a lot of great elements to this track. As said above I think it's the over mix that's letting it down.
The kick is lost in there and ends up sounding a bit weak and 'slappy'
The high end of your percussion sounds a bit quiet as well.
Also a lot of mud in the mid range and the track lacks a bit of punch as a result.

The synth work is very nice though and I like the overall vibe of the track!
 
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thefica

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I'm struggling with it too haha, but I usually do these:
- Add some top/hi-hat/perc loops to give the drums more fullness.
- Try different bass patterns and see which one gives more drive. Most of the time, it's the one that's simpler and give the beat some space to breathe.
- Try different bass sounds or add some saturation. The current doesn't sound prominent enough.
- Variations on bass velocity & note length. Play with the idea of "weak" vs "strong".

Easy trick to find (sub) bass oomph that corresponds the kick is by using synth that has pulse width control (example: SH101). As you move the knob, you'll hear the timbre and the oomph changes. Stop at the point you feel driving the most.

Mid 00s uplifting tracks are great source to learn about this. Cut 1 bar, zoom in the waveform, check where each sounds hits, and for how long.
Thanks for those very practical tips, appreciate it! Going to work on the track over the next week or so and I'll definitley try most of what you suggested so thank you!!
 

thefica

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There's actually a lot of great elements to this track. As said above I think it's the over mix that's letting it down.
The kick is lost in there and ends up sounding a bit weak and 'slappy'
The high end of your percussion sounds a bit quiet as well.
Also a lot of mud in the mid range and the track lacks a bit of punch as a result.

The synth work is very nice though and I like the overall vibe of the track!

Thanks for the feedback, as with everyone else I really appreciate it! Really loved listening to your 'Echoes of You' EP, it's exactly the trance I like listening to so really pleased you like the elements of my track! Definitley going to go away and work hard on making the mix a lot better.
 
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