Piano Ballad (Broken World)

Hi guys,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, even though I have produced a few songs since then. Most of them didn’t work out or fulfill my expectations. I’d like you to hear my most recent song, which was lyrically influenced by the likes of Savatage and Circle II Circle, Broken World: Final Mix.

The vocals are only a demo, and I’m STILL looking for the perfect vocalist. I’ve made a few contacts but still nothing promising; mostly alot of backing out and excuses.

Comments and critique welcome.


HiBlake…better all the time…song shows promise…I’d be happy to have a go at the vox on it if you consider me a good enough singer…cheers, Kevin

I’m not a fan of this kind of music but I think you mixed the track well. Compared to your earlier tracks this one sounds much clearer and better balanced.
In my opinion you could improve the drums by giving them more life (reverb?) and make them more realistic. I think they sound a little bit too “automatic”.
I really liked the outro! The piano melody combined with the string melody as the song fades out really fits the track.

I think the core ingredients are pretty good and my ‘producers brain’ is hearing all sorts of potential. It’s sounding all a bit ‘stiff’ and regimented at the moment - for want of a better words, certainly up until the outro anyway. And, I don’ think that drum pattern at 2:00 works so well, but I do get what you were going for. And I get it’s a WIP.

It sure would be interesting to hear Kevin’s on this, though you might have to consider a key change? And, I reckon there’s plenty room for more in the arrangement. Why not post up the lyrics… I’d like to have a read.


Kevin has been sent files and will have a recording for us shortly!

@ Zerik: Yes, I’ve finally got studio monitors instead of headphones. Been trying to read up on mixing techniques and sharpen my skills; it’s amazing what can be done with the plug-ins bundled with Cubase. The drums were mostly tapped out on my keyboard with the fills being programmed straight with a mouse.

The good news is that I have ordered Superior Drummer as well as the Pop! EZX expansion, so drums should sound considerably better from now on.

@Ian: I see what you mean about the stiff and regimented feel to it. It’s definitely due to a lack of dynamic contrast and the interest that it affords, also I have a hard enough time singing at all, much less keeping the energetic performance that recordings necessitate. I would have to echo Kevin’s sentiment that I often fail in the production aspect of it (though he’s obviously much better than I); still once Superior Drummer arrives I’ll try to maybe swing the beat a bit more. Lyrics are now in the Soundcloud description.

Hi Blake…dont wanna rain on your parade but you shoulda bought Jamstix drummer, it’s a bit of a learning curve but this VSTi just gets on with it and plays fills, M8’s or whatever with a real human feel…no searching around for the right midi file…just tell it chorus…verse…bridge etc, and it does it then you can tweak to your hearts desire, took me a while to realise just how good Jamstix is and I doubt I will go back to Superior drummer now…all those wasted hours looking for midi files…


Thans for the advice Kevin but I really just bought Superior on the basis of sample quality. Jamstix is an investment for another day, haha! Looking forward to hearing the difference it makes in your sound. |)

It screams for a proper string section throughout to my ears. :wink: I think with that and your ideal vocalist it’d be pretty cool! Some nice stuff to continue working on. What instruments are they supposed to be at the end section?

It`s actually a HALion SE strings/angel choir layer. I have no clue how to do a proper strings section but maybe you could link me up to some of your posts that were typed up to Kevin if you have time. OTOH it looks like the ideal vocalist part may come through.

I guess a good place to begin might be just using 1st violins, 2nd violins, violas and cellos (forget divisi writing for now) and have them sustaining the chords not greater than 2 octaves apart. Use a specific patch for each one so they can be panned properly and it’ll give a much better sound in the stereo field from left to right than a pad. Though you can write the harmony as a pad first and then split the 3-4 notes up, obviously lowest note to cello and highest to 1st violin. It’s all good practice anyway, and strings do work really nicely for piano ballad kinda stuff. I really love the string writing for Vanessa Carlton’s first albums.

Alright I’ll give that a try. I dont exactly have the top notch EWQL libraries, so the HALion Sonic SE is the best I can do for the time being. But when you talk about panning to achieve best stereo image, how do you approach that? Panning the bass oriented instruments left and staggering the rest until reaching the 1st violin at the right?

Opposite way round, see; http://www.reasonexperts.com/images/orchestra2.jpg For pop/ballad though you might have less players in each section, so they’d be a bit closer together. Depends what samples/patch you’re using, probably be best to sustain some chords in a pad way if you’re using the halion sonic patches.


This is one of the best scored piano + strings that I’ve heard. It features double bass, but if there electric/acoustic bass guitar then the double bass would be omitted. I think it’s a good guide for what kinds of pitches/range/distance between intervals within the strings to use. Hope it helps!

Wow Jonathan that is nice! I’ll definitely use your advice as a reference from now on. But I haven’t decided if I want to replace the patch that I’m using on this particular song.

For those of you interested here is a rough mix with Kevin’s voice in the new key. The voice was not processed by me at all except some compression to pin it down better. You can download it here:


Edit Sorry guys I accidentally used an old version of the project on that last one on this post.

I’m definitely not happy with the drum sounds, but haven’t had time to install Superior yet, it’s pretty darn big library.

Hi Bane,

don’t know if it’s my ears but I think you could give the vocals in your last version a little bit more room or velocity in the mix. It’s difficult for me to understand the whole text.
EDIT: or is it still the old / wrong version?

In general it’s not a bad Idea to let Kevin sing :slight_smile:
Hey Kevin… could need a soprano voice for some orchestral stuff… :wink:

Best regards,

Hi Chris, I don’t believe I’m a soprano…I think I am a tenor, or have I got it wrong?..wouldn’t surprise me at all if I have…Kevin

Hi Kevin, just joking :wink: - Chris

He sounds like a tenorish range to me as well, not soprano by a long shot haha. My most comfortable range is bass but then again I’m a mumbling teenager so what do you expect?! After comparing our performances I think I’m gonna try to sing in a little higher key from now on. I’ve been getting better results with that.

yeah…you should go for it, try hard and you WILL get there…Kevin

good idea using Kevin ,good depressing lyrics(hope they aren`t true .but if they are ,cheer up) but the bridge lyrics seemed a bit like an after thought ,i could hear the compression on the vox at times. anyway yeh, good one, i enjoyed it ,i know where to come in future if i want some lyrics,hey hey.

Thanks for the critique. Having Kevin as a vocalist is always a good idea. And no, the lyrics aren’t true thankfully! :stuck_out_tongue: