"Kurotsukihime" Remaster using Alex Moukala technique

Hey all once again!

Here is a track of mine I write about a year ago. I was listening some of my older pieces to see where I’ve improved and what I still need some work on and I came to this piece and thought that the mix wasn’t too bad, but the mastering needs to be better; the instruments needed a bit more definition and the whole thing needed to be louder to better match streaming peak presets.

in the process, I just happened to remember seeing a technique that Alex Moukala uses, or did use at one point, to bring out the definition and “epicness” in his strings specifically, and that was adding duplicate tracks of your strings but kind of washing one track out with reverb, and having the duplicate be dry. I have to say, it seems to have worked well. I took this mix and mastered it using Ozone 9’s reference track assist function, using a track that was close to what I wanted, made some EQ adjustments to taste and this is the final version.

This is an epic, Sci-Fi action piece with a kind of “Dark Hero” theme, with a driving 7/8 rhythm at 159BPM. It’s in the key of C minor and I use a lot of chords that use C as a root; Cm, Ab/C, Ab7/C, C5 add b9.

Instruments used are all from Audio Imperia’s Nucleus, with the solo horn from Cinematic Studio Brass and some percussion from NI Action Strikes. Also used a u-he synth for the bass.

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Sounds great! When you do that strings trick, are you using the same sample for both or do you pair a dry sample with a different wet sample? Nice synth bass too! Were the different sounds on the synth part of a arpeggiator cycle or was that you tweaking the controls?

I like Alex Moukala. He recently did a couple interviews with Austin Wintory on YouTube that are really good.

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Yeah, I use the same string sample–it’s an exact duplicate. One track uses the onboard room reverb with the modern mic mix and then run through a bus track with Valhalla Room reverb for some extra reverb. The duplicate track is completely dry and sent directly to the master bus with no other FX–I didn’t need to make any additional EQ beforehand.

Actually, there are two synth bass parts! I forgot about one! The u-he is a dry sine bass that is there just to add some beef to the bass line. The other that you’re probably talking about is from Heavyocity’s Evolve. It’s actually a loop that I tweaked (I forget what parameters) but I EQ’d the bass frequencies out of it so it didn’t clash with the other bass parts, but it adds increasing amounts of the flanger/phaser effect as you turn up the mod wheel.

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