I'm trying to understand rejection based off objective examples

I’m just looking for some feedback and comparison.

Please do not flag me

  • I hold ALL the authors I’ve linked in HIGH esteem!
  • feedback can be meaningless if it just says “i think you sound fine”
  • If my mix is bad I’ll listen to AJ mix references
  • If my arrangement is too complex I’ll look at simple AJ tunes
  • My main influences have been tunes that SELL. I want to copy what’s already successful.

This is not some moral issue folks, If you and I disagree on a musical element, let’s get it out and move on. However, I do feel it can be helpful to look at some cuts that have already been approved, in order to get feedback in context about my own cut that’s been rejected.

I do understand that certain elements aren’t perfect, but I hear stuff all the time that I feel is inferior to this track:

Is it just not loud enough? shouldn’t a mastering adjustment be a soft reject anyway?

I just heard some of Rish’s tunes - he’s got some great stuff! I don’t think the mix is of a higher quality than mine: http://audiojungle.net/item/motivational-morning-/14480366?s_phrase=rishabhnag&s_rank=5

A newer AJ user who is a machine at putting stuff out is Audiotrace (much respect for you Audiotrace)! He does tons of stuff, though I hear a lot of repetition. I’m NOT saying that’s bad; just trying to understand if that’s what I’m lacking? http://audiojungle.net/user/audiotrace/portfolio

On other AJ tracks I’ve heard dissonant conflicting melodic notes between instruments, and other harmonically unsettling things. Things I would probably not accept myself, if I was a reviewer. Obviously my standards are in a different universe?

I’m NOT trying to bash anyone else’s work, but simply show some references of mine, and ask, “If these are accepted, WHY NOT MINE?”

I do want to fit the AJ form (which I believed I had), but I don’t see reason to downgrade my quality of mixing & originality. Or melody! I’ve changed so many things on my track before even submitting it; listening on multiple stereos, playing it for many people to confirm it paints the right image. When I get nothing but positive feedback from everwhere I listen and everyone who hears…

I begin to question the reviewers or the process. I REALLY want to just find my focus (and I currently have time to compose and tweak until I get it)

I appreciate the community here so much, so please help and point me in the right direction.
thank you.

Flagged? I don’t understand why?

I honestly ADMIRE all the other composers here; and I am TRYING to adjust my own frames of reference in order to be as successful as them. I question elements of their art, so that I may be corrected to align with Envato’s standards. Please give honest help, not flagging. I’m not trying to offend anyone.


and apologies for the capslock, I hope that doesn’t set anyone off.

Please remove this “bell” or “harmonica” and “flute” :slight_smile:

do you mean the flute / winds that come in early, by :24?

Do you mean I should remove the whole bell melody, and just leave the main piano motif?

this “ding ding” is almost all time but “flute” from 30-33

Quick thoughts, for what its worth:

  1. Your writing is great…nice melodies and harmony structure.
  2. Your production sounds really dry to me…adding a 2-buss reverb with some room ambience would probably do the trick, but look at your instrument groups and just try and give them some depth somehow, whether that’s track reverb or stereo buss reverb.
  3. The stereo field seems very narrow, and I lose some of your string parts because of this.
  4. The kick seems too up front in the mix. It’s weird to hear it closer to my ears than the snare. Try to at least line those up with regard to depth (probably a combo of volume and reverb) and then put them “behind” everything else.
  5. The flute sounds—without enough ambience/reverb—kind of “cheap,” as do the strings.
  6. This track, IMO, has a whimsical vibe that would probably work well in the Children’s category so yo may consider that if you haven’t already.

Just my opinions, best of luck to you!


Thanks STM!

You hit upon a couple of tendencies I have; usually shying away from too much verb. I have had mixes that I couldn’t quite gel together the way I liked, but I believe pushing the drums back, and more verb is probably right on!

Mastering actually brought out some verb on the Glock / Vibe sound, and it was weird to me as I liked how dry that melody was before mastering.

Do you think those simple changes will be enough to clear a hard reject? Have you had any tunes go from “close, but rejected” to accepted and selling?

Hey phonetica,

The whole composition is very nice, but as SpinTone pointed out, the production and mixing needs some more work.

From first impression, there is too much going on in the 200-400Hz range. The soundstage (stereo imaging) is also a little narrow - so don’t hesitate to do some panning with background instruments - even the glockenspiel layer could be panned halfway to the right. Maybe even add some doubled claps or clicks - they’re always welcome in a genre like this.

The piano melody is great, but the marimba layer is a little loud and could probably be attenuated - try lowering the volume and panning it slightly left, maybe add a tad of reverb - but it should be fine without.

The kick drum is not doing it for me I’m afraid - it sounds out of place. It lacks bottom end and has too much in the upper mids, giving it a sort of plastic ‘click’ sound - either replace the kick with something more gentle and bassy, or try low passing the entire kick, and maybe boost the sub bass end a little - that way it should sit further back in the mix and sound less distracting.

The bass has a lot of mid-range ‘growl’ and is causing a lot of mud in the mid frequency band - try cutting some of the 500-700Hz region, and boosting the 80Hz area just a bit to smooth it out.

The strings could be brought down a bit and panned left or right to avoid clutter and expand the soundstage. The flute could also be panned. I would also fade the strings out more gently - the strings seem to end quite abruptly.

Otherwise, I think it’s a lovely composition and stands a good chance of being accepted once the above issues are ironed out.

Hope this helps, and good luck :wink:



hey @phonetica phonetica, yeah, it could be a mix issue, for me the kick and snare sounds a little dry, it has to be a little more dreamy in my opinion, in other words, using a little more of reverb, I think the piano needs more sustain, more legato, that snare for sure should be the orchestral type of snares, more roomy, yeah, and the second time you repeat the verse, when those strings show up, they need to be more far, sustained and roomy, that’s my opinion, maybe we don’t know the real reason why the song was rejected, but it seems to be a mix issue, hope it helps,

I had a track rejected a couple of weeks ago and I thought “it is a great track, why it was rejected” hahaha, they have their reasons, i will be listening to that rejected track and see if I can add some arranges and make it work…


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Thanks a ton James!

I’m eager to get back into the tune that I felt so frustrated about now, I can’t thank you and STM enough for that. Actionable ideas!

The glock does have a panned layer with it; but perhaps I’m too comfortable in the width of my monitors that I’m under “widening”… I’ll do some more checks on my small / narrow field secondaries.

I do like the piano, and it felt like it needed something more “obvious”…thus the glock/marimba. Drums came from some creative stuff i had… added edge at the beginning, but I’m going to replace the kick and go more traditional.
I’m ALWAYS tempted to try something “creative”, and make it work. In my other ventures, creative is king, and I mix / mash it till it wows people…but that’s kinda the opposite of what we’re going for in background music :wink:

Thanks again!

Thanks, that’s good to hear! I’m motivated again; that’s what counts.

Man when I get this mix “right” i’m going to keep the file, haha!!


Ok, I revised it quite heavily; even took out some of the marimba melody in the second half.

new drums; a lot more control of everything. I realized I didn’t spend a ton of time mixing this, as I got into the vibe of it! One hat at a time…

Do I need to rename it before submitting generally?


I agree with what the others said, but I’d like to add one thing.

Don’t think like this (you’re not the only one): “but others that are worse got approved”…

You’re thinking should be: “OK, I’ve gotten some good advice, and I will try to make this perfect, better than the bestsellers”.

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Thanks Flumen! I do use some of the best sellers as inspiration, and of course try to surpass.

When simpler tunes get approved, I realize I forgot to put my mix hat on, or I’m having trouble keeping it simple enough :slightly_smiling: