[Kevin] MGR: It Has to Be This Way - feedback required

An arrangement of the final boss theme, by Jamie Christopherson.

From the feedback I got on this,the vocals here (starting at 0:52) weren’t a success. So I’d like some advice on how to improve on them. Issues mentioned were that they’re in the audio equivalent of the uncanny valley (doubt that can be fixed), that the mixing vis-a-vis the instrumentation was off, and that the vocals don’t have enough ‘oomph’ for this high-energy of a song. So, how should I address this?

For comparison’s sake, this is the original:

The vocals are way too weak for a metal song, you should have maxed out tension, belt and solid for a stronger tone as well as draw additional tension curves for emphasis. It may not sound like it because of the mixing emphasizing the instruments but the original singer like most rock singers is belting really strongly. Also would recommend decreasing breathiness, increase gender, and draw upwards tone shift curves in places to get a thicker nasal tone

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Hi, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

I had belt up pretty high already, to the point where I couldn’t really hear any difference dialling it up further. But I maxed it out now, as well as adjust the other parameters you mentioned. Some other things I’m struggling with;
The “trying to make history” line. The word history sounds kinda janky round now - disconnected, especially in how the sto- connects to the -ry. Any ideas on how to make that flow better?

And a second thing, the line “beneath the blood-stained -” sounds like it’s phasing, as if the lead and accompaniment are hitting the same notes. (they’re not) Any ideas on how that could be addressed?

You could change the phonemes to / hh ih s t ax r iy / to get a finer control over the timing and make the r longer. In the version you posted here, the word sand in that sentence is barely audible, so you could draw the loudness curve up for that note.

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Right! I changed the parameters, adjusted some phonemes, and added some saturation on the bus to give the illusion of grit in the voice. I also added some breath noises - they’re not really audible, but maybe it’ll subconsciously add to a feeling of realism. I dunno. lol

So. Does it sound better than the first attempt, and can I do anything to improve it, still?

I think the timbre is more fitting now, so it does sound better, but for more realism/expression you could try adjusting the pitch curves with different settings in custom auto pitch tuning and run it with random seeds (you can set a keyboard shortcut for this) multiple times until you find the one that sounds best. I like to use Improvisation near max, Vibrato 1 slightly to halfway weak, vibrato 2 strong, Overshoot anywhere from 50 to max. But this might sound shaky in some parts so you could also set Vibrato 1 to strong. But generally using extreme settings sounds more expressive.

I’m not sure how to do this. Is there a tutorial somewhere showing the process?

You have to turn instant mode off if you have it on. Then you can select the notes and go into Auto-process > Pitch > Auto pitch tuning (customized style). I’d recommend setting a keyboard shortcut for it in the settings tab.

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Got it. Thanks, you’ve been a big help. :smiley:

No problem!