(Retrowave) Night Cruise

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Vincent Vitellius
Posts: 8
Joined: 22 May 2021

Post 26 May 2021

Is it ever too late to begin producing music?
As I turned 50 some months ago, I decided to give it a try. This is my first result.



Made with Reason+ demo, emvoice demo and Microsoft Azure AI TTS, and some extreme editing of pitch and timing of the voices.

Family and friends say it "sounds nice", but I can’t grasp if they mean it or just don’t want to hurt me with the truth. Hoping for honest constructive feedback here.

As a side note, I regret using Reason+. I have since bought Reason 11 with upgrade to 12, but that means I can’t edit old projects without paying for extra months or buying missing Rack Extensions. Lesson learned.

Oh, and I am not well versed in musical genres… if this isn’t Retrowave, please let me know what the correct genre is.
Thanks.
Thinkpad X1E | Win 10 | :reason: 11 | Donner DMK-25 | FiiO K3 | Beyerdynamics DT-880 Pro

Popey
Posts: 552
Joined: 04 Jul 2018

Post 26 May 2021

Wow this sounds cool. First result is very impressive and your never too old to start anything 👍

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killhamster
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Location: Portland, OR

Post 26 May 2021

It definitely nails the aesthetic, right down to the MTV-style chyron in the corner of the video. Pretty slick for a first project, are you sure you hadn't done this before?

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Noplan
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Location: Cologne, Germany

Post 27 May 2021

I like it. :clap:

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Vincent Vitellius
Posts: 8
Joined: 22 May 2021

Post 27 May 2021

Thank you all for your kind words. I really appreciate it. It makes me more confident that it is worth continuing making music.
killhamster wrote:
26 May 2021
Pretty slick for a first project, are you sure you hadn't done this before?
Okay, I’ll confess… I had a Casio VL-1 as a kid :lol:

I have played around with GarageBand for iPad on and off over the years, and I spent a month doing a few simple tracks while learning Reason.
I am just one of those annoying people who has an ability to learn a new skill in no time instead of having social skills.
Thinkpad X1E | Win 10 | :reason: 11 | Donner DMK-25 | FiiO K3 | Beyerdynamics DT-880 Pro

danc
Posts: 736
Joined: 14 Oct 2016

Post 27 May 2021

Bl**dy impressive for a first stab at production - the bit around 1:50 onwards when the vocal stops has such a retro feel.

Loving the narrative later on as well... 'I've got something for your birthday'.
Keep it up.
300+ original grooving Techno, Tech-House, House, Drum-and-Bass tracks on SoundCloud.
Produced in Reason 11 and Studio One 5 (WIndows).


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Skimrok
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Location: U.K.

Post 27 May 2021

the start reminds me of the crocket theme for the first 4 seconds , good tune retro sounding , yeah i like it :-)
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FHtH
Posts: 114
Joined: 21 Jul 2016

Post 27 May 2021

Very good! In my opinion, this is more synthpop than retrowave and that's great. Very cool.

The_Real_DeanC2000
Posts: 47
Joined: 04 Mar 2017

Post 01 Jun 2021

I like it. The key modulations in the song I wasn't expecting. It terms of genre retrowave is ok. Synthwave maybe appropriate too. Can you tell me which synths you used for the song? Thanks.

Dean.

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Micha1973
Posts: 423
Joined: 24 Mar 2017
Location: Germany

Post 01 Jun 2021

Nice and sweet
Music Is My Life
&
Reason 11 sounds better :essentials:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsW3Wr ... gA05XklBng

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man made material
Posts: 20
Joined: 13 May 2021

Post 02 Jun 2021

Awesome job mate... great production! Really well balanced and great sounds... if that is your 1st track, you should be multi platinum by track 10!🤣

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Vincent Vitellius
Posts: 8
Joined: 22 May 2021

Post 03 Jun 2021

Again, thank you all for the kind, encouraging words. I didn't expect such a positive reception.
The_Real_DeanC2000 wrote:
01 Jun 2021
The key modulations in the song I wasn't expecting.
To me, melody, harmony and production is everything. Vocals means nothing to me. The best melodies and harmonies are the ones going in a totally unexpected direction. I feel like I am close to achieving that in the last half of the lead synth part.
I don't know much about music theory, but I feel like songs that are "breaking the rules", are the ones giving me goose bumps.
The_Real_DeanC2000 wrote:
01 Jun 2021
Can you tell me which synths you used for the song?
Sure, no problem.

Notes:
Most of the presets are slightly tweaked.
I don't know the presets used for the Reason+ devices. I'm too cheap to pay for another month.

Drums:
Kong, using a variety of samples from the factory sound bank.

Bass:
Monotone, preset "Swartze Leder"

Low rough bassy thingy (Not sure what to call it) starting at 0:19:
Combinator with:
Thor, Preset Combing Lead
Thor, Preset Fairlight Tubes
Stereo Imager
Compressor

Synth Lead:
Thor, preset Epic Poly

Strings (beginning at 0:19, barely audible):
NN-XT preset SynStrings

Dreamy synth at 0:03:
Scenic Hybrid Instrument

Flute-like instrument at 0:54-0:56:
Thor, preset Mellow FM Keys

Background Lead during the bridge:
Combinator with:
Complex-1
2x Layers
Layers Wave Edition

Synth supporting the vocals (1:04-1:33):
Combinator with:
NN-XT, preset TunedNoise
Subtractor, preset Bright Gate Lead

Arpeggiator at 0:56:
Layers

Some effects are done using Parsec, cowbells are done with NN-XT and all the swoosh effects are from the default factory sounds

Vocals are done with emvoice, modified like crazy in the pitch/slice editor.
Echo of the vocals are done manually using extra tracks.

Speaking part is done with Microsoft Azure AI Text To Speech, and modified even crazier in the pitch/slice editor.

Mastering:
EQ: TDR Nova
Compressor: TDR Kotelnikov
I also used Voxengo Correlometer to help make sure that the track is mono compatible, Youlean Loudness Meter 2 to help with the compression and VAC-6 to make sure clipping was completely avoided.


I mostly composed by playing something horrible (I can't play any instrument), and then moving things around in the piano roll until it sounded ok. Scales & Chord as well as other player devices were of great help making it sound like more than my lack of talent would allow.

It's quite obvious that I have absolutely no talent for lyrics. I used theselyricsdonotexist.com to generate some inspiration. I simply took the most promising lines and replaced some of the words to make it fit the melody.


The video was made in GTA V with various mods to make it look more like Los Angeles. Edited in Lumafusion on iPad.


It took me about 80 hours over the course of a month to complete the track. Most of it was done in the first week, the rest of the time was spent tweaking stuff that annoyed me.
Every hour I was awake during that month, I spent on either this track, or watching Youtube tutorials on music production.

The hardest part was learning how to make it sound ok on a variety of speakers. For example, if it sounded right in my headphones, it would sound horrible in my car.

My solution was:
1. Watch a ton of YouTube tutorials on mixing and mastering.
2. Buy better headphones (Beyerdynamics DT-880)
3. Use great sounding commercial tracks as a reference, and do frequent A/B comparisons during mixing and mastering.
4. Play the track on every speaker and headphone possible at varying volume levels.
Thinkpad X1E | Win 10 | :reason: 11 | Donner DMK-25 | FiiO K3 | Beyerdynamics DT-880 Pro

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Vincent Vitellius
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Joined: 22 May 2021

Post 03 Jun 2021

man made material wrote:
02 Jun 2021
if that is your 1st track, you should be multi platinum by track 10!🤣
Apart from the very simple tracks that I made while learning Reason (available on my Youtube channel and soundcloud), It is my first track that I put effort into.
Since it took me 50 years to get to this point, expect my track number 10 to go multiple platinum around year 2521 :lol:
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raymondh
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Post 10 Jun 2021

Your first result? Surely not, this is *way* too polished for that!
Great work!! Excellent retro sound!
Win 10 64-bit | :reason: 11 | Reaper | Scarlet 18i8 | M-Audio Code 61 | KRK VXT-6 | JX-8P | System-8 | D-05 | JP-08 | Sirin

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Vincent Vitellius
Posts: 8
Joined: 22 May 2021

Post 10 Jun 2021

raymondh wrote:
10 Jun 2021
Your first result? Surely not, this is *way* too polished for that!
Great work!! Excellent retro sound!
Thank you.
Allow me to elaborate just a teeny tiny bit on why you hit the nail on the head by mentioning polish:

As stated in earlier comments, I spent quite a lot of time on the track. Importantly, most of the time was spent on polish.

But how did I know what to polish?

In retrospect, I believe that the most important epiphany for me was discovering stem-packs. It turns out that a lot of commercial tracks have stem-packs available.
Being able to study the separate instruments of a hit song really enlightened me on how to construct a song.
There are so many little touches that you don't really hear, but if you take it away, the polish disappears.

To illustrate what polish means, here is my track after 7 days of work. That's the point where I thought I was done.



But then I visited some family members and played it for them, and it sounded horrible to me.
In one of the Izotope videos, they discuss the phenomenon of listening though someone else's ears. That's exactly what happened to me, plus it sounded muffled through their speakers.

Comparing my track to tracks from Max Martin and other successful producers made me realize that I had a number of problems:

Too slow, too long intro, not enough cowbells, need less reverb on some instruments, muffled sound, horrible chorus effect on the vocals, need more cowbells, uninspiring melody, speaking part sounded depressing instead of fun, need way more cowbells, need some supporting effects, need more variation in the drum track, need more cowbells, need some echo effect on the vocals, need some different drum samples, need more cowbells, and a lot of other small annoyances.

Fixing all those problems took about three weeks. (And I'm still not 100% satisfied, but I also need to get on with my life)

I think the take away from this is that polish can make or break a track.
Thinkpad X1E | Win 10 | :reason: 11 | Donner DMK-25 | FiiO K3 | Beyerdynamics DT-880 Pro

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aeox
Posts: 2931
Joined: 23 Feb 2017
Location: mars soon

Post 10 Jun 2021

I've been trying to make music for years and it's better than anything i've ever made. I'd say you found your calling, keep going!

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