Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

A little musical experiment for all y’all


There have been two main pieces I’ve been working on in my synth class this past semester. One I’ve posted a version of already: the Absoludicrous theme song. The other was a master edition of the Escape piece from Travels. I did quick versions of both of these before I had the instructor come in and look at it. He helped me tweak and fix a whole bunch of little issues with both pieces: EQ, compressors, limiters, and other audio buzzwords. The Escape piece we worked on for two whole months (of classtime, not realtime) trying to get it to sound better. Now, here’s the ticket. I want to know, to the average Internet listener, 1) which version you think came first (before the tweaking) and which came second, and 2) which one sounds better. They’re labeled “version 1” and “version 2,” but that doesn’t mean that version 1 necessarily came first.

Absoludicrous theme: version 1 | version 2

The Escape: version 1 | version 2

Leave your comments! Nate, I’m looking in your direction! Bonus points to whoever can tell me the biggest thing that still needs fixing in both versions of “The Escape” in terms of audio.


4 responses

  1. Ok here we go…

    With the Absoludicrous Theme I thought they were difficult to tell apart and I have no idea which one came first. However, I listened to them side by side in pieces and I think the FIRST one sounds better. It has a more crisp and dynamic sound to it, particularly with the more melodic instruments.

    With The Escape, I think it’s pretty clear that the SECOND one was the one you’ve been working on and it definitely sounds better. The sounds are sharper, clearer, more dynamic, and the balance feels better. It’s like taking a normal photograph (ver. 1) and then clicking “enhance” in a photo editor to get ver. 2. If only music editing were that simple.

    As for what still needs fixing… um Eric Barney screaming “NOOOO!!!” like Luke Skywalker (but midi)?? The only other thing I can think of is some more reverb if you want to “wet” the sound a little bit, but I don’t see that as a necessity.

    I think you should add the audio clips of Mr. T saying “you have to wear clothes, otherwise you’d get arrested.” or whatever. That would be good.

    Anyway, well done.

    December 18, 2008 at 10:49 am

  2. It’s been a while since I’ve heard any of your new stuff.

    I’m not much of a music expert, but I think they both sounded great. The Absoludicrous one makes me think of a TV panel-show theme song, and “The Escape” is very inspiring. I’m now having a hard time keeping on task at work and not writing an adventure scene of some sort.

    December 22, 2008 at 2:22 pm

  3. Casey Wayman

    I still like the first version of the Absoludicrous theme, it sounds clearer, more concise and any other words that begin with “C” that can describe it. Cool! As far as Escape goes, Number two all the way and in the famous words of Dan “The Man” Omer. “Get your arms beware!!!”

    December 27, 2008 at 9:21 am

  4. All right, time to reveal the true answers to this conundrum.

    I don’t know exactly what this signifies, but on which one was first you were wrong on both counts, Nate. #2 of the Absoludicrous theme is the later one, and #1 of the Escape is as well.

    The difference between the two Absoludicrous themes: in the second one the T voice is panned stereophonically, whereas in the first one it’s simply mono. Also some multiband compressors have been put in place so the melody line near the end isn’t as piercing. (I personally didn’t like that change once it got to my home speakers, but in the studio that ending was a little too ear-splitting.)

    There are a lot of little differences between the Escapes. I think the main one is that in #1 (the later one) the distortion guitar in the middle doesn’t sound as MIDI-ized. Also, the bass part in the reworked one isn’t nearly as in-your-face. Both my teacher Dave Zimmerman (a percussionist) and the head of the department Ron (a bass player) said that lessening the bass helped bring out the other parts in the mix. There are a few other differences too (like getting the strings and brass not to clip and distort during the stabbing part).

    The thing that still needs fixing: Volume balance. The loud parts are way too loud and the soft parts are way too soft. This is actually better in the earlier one because I had a limiter in place that I turned off while working on it and forgot to turn it back on when I mixed down the later one.

    So the fact that the earlier ones were liked better means that all of my training has apparently been for naught. Oh, well. I tried.

    January 9, 2009 at 12:40 pm

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