Bubble Man Theme

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Bubble Man Theme

Postby Xen » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:17 am

I am fairly new to famitracker so I wanted to attempt doing a cover. So..yeah this is it lol. Any feedback is greatly appreciated :D
bubble man.ftm
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Re: Bubble Man Theme

Postby PaulMannIV » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:56 am

Evening. VRC6 Veteran to give you a few tips and tricks.

First and foremost, welcome to the forums. I don't post very often, but I try to stay in touch from time to time. I'm known as that one guy that over-analyzes and over-explains everything, but I'll do what I can to aid you here.

For a "newbie" cover, you have something going here. You understand some of the concepts of Famitracker, which I'm pleased to see. As far as what could improve this work in particular, a few strategies and tips.

The first thing that rung off to me was Square 2 and Triangle. In the original .nsf (Nintendo Sound File), it's clear that Square 2 is used as a Triangle echo rather than a complete accompaniment, whereas this version has them playing at the same time with some clashing. To alleviate this, I used two commands: Gxx and Pxx. Gxx is a delay command. The higher the number, the more the delay. Studying the .nsf of Bubble Man's theme shows that at Speed 1 (900 BPM), the difference between the Square 2 and Triangle channels are five "beats" (I use that term because of the 900 BPM), or five lines to keep it simple. Gxx should be able to emulate spacing more properly in a regular track, but in this case, all we have to do is drag the notes down one line (for a similar effect, G05 would make the same sound in this case). As for Pxx, that changes the pitch of any given channel. Because there is some pretty obvious clashing, I applied a P7F to Square 2 to reduce it. As a tip for the future, all channels, if you want the correct note you put in the tracker, should all keep to P7F, P80, and P81. This will reduce most, if not all, muddling possible. This is especially useful when using the Triangle and Sawtooth as the same baseline, so they do not get in the way of each other.

Second, the Square 1 (and eventual Square 2 Harmony) volume control. It's...mostly fine, but something gets me: The note cutoffs. This is a water theme, so you want to keep with it very easily. Rather than a complete note cutoff, try using the volume channels. I have replaced all note cutoffs on Square 1 and Square 2 with an appropriate volume in the volume channel, taking it back to F when a note needs to be played. This did bring up a problem with Instruments 09 and 0A clashing, so I edited 0A to make it more like a classic echo instrument (the volume stuttering is a personal grudge for me).

Third, the percussion. I assume you did this by ear (and one hell of a job for getting pretty damn close), but I just made some edits to make it as close to the original as possible, even adding a drum instrument. Check out the changes I made to them directly in both volume and pitch. Finally, unless it's stylized, avoid using V01 in the Noise Channel (this rule applies for Sawtooth for a different reason; Noise makes a horrible...well, noise, and Sawtooth plays at full volume).

Finally, the use of the VRC6 chip. When using an expansion chip, you better be prepared to utilize it in every way you can. In this case, not even close. I could go on for pages on how you could utilize every channel, but I'll be quick and simple AND without typing anything. The edited version will show you all of the above edits as well as some VRC6 usage.

Other things I didn't mention above but edited:

Lack of a hit when the song needed it and the lack of DPCM samples, which I added some to help.

When Square 2 is used as a Square 1 echo, the notes are too close together. Using an .nsf importer for comparisons helped match up much better.

Frames OC and OE, the last three notes in both Square channels were off. Minor edit (though the way you did it sounded mostly fine, honestly).

Changed the instrument in Square 1 that was supposed to hit harder from 07 to 01.

The VRC6 additions. As far as I'm concerned, RushJet1 did a fantastic VRC6 cover of it (as well as the entire soundtrack) a long while back, so there's no way I could top the work of a moderator ^_^"
As another bit of advice, sometimes doing a direct cover will hinder any chip usage. You'll have to get incredibly creative when fully utilizing it, so the additions are mostly echoes and accompaniment.

Considering that this is a cover VERY early on in your time here, I say that this is certainly MUCH better than my first covers without a doubt. You have so much room to grow and you're on a very steady path. Don't be put off by what I said earlier; I tend to write a novel when I'm supposed to write a paragraph.

Things to take into consideration for future covers:

Your ability to cover by ear will grow over time. Take it slowly to make sure everything is covered correctly. Double check instruments to get the correct feel, especially with any percussion.

Use the Pxx effect to avoid clashing.

Use the Gxx effect when echo spacing is a bit difficult. Play around with it to get the correct sound. Experimentation is always welcome (except in my case when I have half the forums applauding me and the other wanting my head, but whatever).

Don't ever get down because you can't get the right notes.

If you have questions, feel free to look at any tutorials and guides or message any of the regulars for some advice. We're sometimes around to help, even if our lives get in the way sometime. This involves with my edit; if you have questions respond to this post and I will gladly answer them as concise as I can.


That is my full analysis and edit of this cover. I say to you: Good luck in the future. You have a bright one ahead at this rate. Paul out.
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Re: Bubble Man Theme

Postby Xen » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:43 pm

@PaulMannIV I would like to firstly say thank you so much for taking the time to provide me with all of these helpful tips and and for the criticism you gave me. All of it is super helpful and just reading your post has given me a greater understanding as to how famitracker works. I also appreciate that you took the time to provide an edited version of the cover for me to give a look over. All of this has been very beneficial to me. Once again thank you, I will be taking this all into account and you will likely see me on the forums again soon :)