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    • CommentAuthorTheBeatles
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited

    PREFACE: This is not a tutorial. The goal for this is to be a look inside what I consider to be a decent onboard audio track, with the hopes that you all can give it a shot with your own rides!

    Have you ever dreamed of creating an epic onboard soundtrack for your NL2 coaster? An audio track with thrilling dynamics, exhilarating equalization, and heavy, professional acoustics? Well, then you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m the farthest thing from a professional, but I definitely think it’s fun to mess around with mixing music. In this tutorial, you won’t find correct terminology, “the best way” to do things, or anything outside of my own learning experiences.


    In this thread, I'll be dissecting my custom soundtrack for X2, the Insomnia soundtrack. This audio does NOT play on the actual X2 roller coaster. This is my own fictional version, intended to play only at night. I've spent a lot of time making sure that my version synchronizes well with the actual coaster, and lines up with the track triggers on it. Although this version will never play on the ride, I figured it was worth attempting to make it feasible.

    First Things First

    Before we get started, I highly encourage you to watch this video, and refer back to it if at any point you get lost in my descriptions. Click the image below to listen to the X2 Insomnia Soundtrack:

    ADDITIONALLY, here is a POV synced up with the soundtrack:
    • CommentAuthorTheBeatles
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited

    All Done? Let's Get Started.

    The image below shows the entire soundtrack within Adobe Premiere.

    As you can see, there's quite a bit going on here. Across 4 different audio tracks, all kinds of different songs and sound effects shoot seemingly randomly into your ears. In the video track, we can see a full POV of X2, which helps a lot in synchronizing the audio with the tone of the ride. Looking at this can probably be a bit overwhelming at first, so we'll take a closer look at each part, one by one.

    These divisions are not random. I have divided each segment of the soundtrack in the exact same way as the real coaster. It's my understanding that there are a series of track triggers throughout the layout that force the audio to the next "segment" in order to keep the soundtrack synchronized with the layout, regardless of changes of speed between trains.

    The Pre-Lift/Lift

    The image below shows the beginning of the soundtrack all the way up to the top of the lift within Adobe Premiere.

    Right out of the gate, you're greeted with "I Write the Songs" by Barry Manilow, a nice slow warm-up. This is a great place to begin out walkthrough, because it's an example of what I call an "invisible edit". This means that I've merged two separate segments of a song to seamlessly flow between one another. Don't believe me? Go check out "I Write the Songs" on Youtube.

    I Write the Songs (Original):

    Now, if you compare this to the edit that I've made, you'll notice I removed quite a bit of the introduction to the song. If I did my job correctly, you wouldn't have noticed the cut unless I showed you. There are a number of ways to achieve a cut like this, but I always do it by looking for a beat (drum hit) near where I want my cut to be. I cut at one beat from the beginning of my edit, and at one beat from the end of my edit. I then take these two beats, and line them up as perfectly as possible, so the music appears to flow. I then but a "band-aid" over my cut by using the "Constant Power" audio transition.

    Now for the most important part of the soundtrack, the lift. Why is this the most important, you ask? Well, this is one of the only parts of the soundtrack that riders will actually hear. This is your opportunity to infuse energy into each and every one of the riders, getting them excited for the ride.

    In the case of my soundtrack, I've actually made the choice to mellow things out. Keep in mind that this soundtrack plays at night, looking over all of Magic Mountain with glittering lights. My intention is to somewhat "distract" riders from the intense roller coaster that awaits them with soft music, while still alluding to the craziness with rolls of thunder.

    Note: You may notice that I try not to block out vocals from any of my songs with sound effects. This is a personal choice, I feel it takes away from the immersion.

    As you reach the crest of the lift hill, laying down, staring straight up at the night sky, you can hear a distant clock chiming as you drift off into sleep.

    The Drop & Main Layout

    The image below shows the the soundtrack from the first drop all the way up to the fly-to-lie (right before the flamethrowers) within Adobe Premiere.

    Just as you're about to "fall asleep", the loud clock chimes as Rage Against The Machine screams at you, telling you to Wake Up. This sequence was intentionally jarring, seeing as things go from 0 -> 100 pretty quickly on X2. You can see that this section is quite a bit less dense than the lift. This is because throughout the layout, the audio does drown out quite a bit, and most people will be too scared to focus on the music. There are more invisible cuts in "I Miss You" by Blink-182, which rearrange the instrumental solos with the chorus. in order to play along nicely with the sequence of events on the ride.

    This is also a good example of what I call "Bleed Room". If you look at the end of this segment (or any other segment), you'll see that the audio flows past the POV video. This is because the train doesn't always hit the trigger at the same time. Therefore, you need "extra" audio to fill in the gaps between trains with different speeds.
    • CommentAuthorTheBeatles
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited

    Down to the Final Stretch

    The image below shows the the soundtrack from the fly-to-lie (right before the flamethrowers) right up until you're about to hit the brakes within Adobe Premiere.

    My favorite part of this segment is that I tried something a bit new, an invisible cut between two songs. The segment leads in with beeps and a drum roll from "Murder City" by Green Day, seen here:

    "Murder City" - Green Day:

    "Cult of Personality" - Living in Colour:

    Right as the snare hits at the beginning of "Murder City" I transition to instrumental solo at the end of "Cult of Personality" by Living in Colour, which begins with a nearly identical snare hit. For added fun, I added a cool flame thrower sound effect that should sync up relatively well with the flame throwers in real life, based on the position of the track trigger.

    The Brake Run

    The image below shows the the soundtrack along the brake run within Adobe Premiere.

    With an abrupt transition, we are now finished the ride using "Man on the Moon" by R.E.M. to catch our breath, and slowly return to our "sleep". To help emulate this, the song gradually slows down more and more as you approach the station. In the static that transitions into the song, I've placed a series of very small (<1 second) snippets of "Man on the Moon" in order to help the transition feel a bit more convincing, and less "stock".

    This section also has significantly more bleed room than the other segments, in order to account for being held on the block brake for longer than usual.

    The "Welcome Back"

    The image below shows the the soundtrack for the former unloading platform within Adobe Premiere.

    This section is pretty simple. I used the "failed" sound effect from Guitar Hero 3 as a transition, followed by a harp chord into "Good Night" by The Beatles, where soothing violins accompany Ringo Starr wishing everyone a good night.


    Well, this sure took longer to write than I thought it would. It's getting late here in California, so I may not have worded all of this in the best way. I hope you guys were able to get at least something out of this post, whatever that something may have been.

    Also, what'd you think of the audio? If you have any questions about ANYTHING regarding the process of creating onboard audio, please feel free to ask! Although I'm no pro, I want to be able to help in any way that I can.
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited
    This isn't really a lesson? This is more you trying to advertise the sountrack you created for X2. I'm sorry if I sound harsh here but people will come here looking for a way to add an onride soundtrack to their coasters and you haven't even mentioned that part once.

    I get that you're passionate about your own work, and it's good work. But you've just spent three long posts to advertise it, and then tried to promote it as a lesson. Where is the script help? Or Adobe Premier help? Or how to add triggers to go from one section to another? Any kind of help for people wanting to get their own onride soundtracks into NL. I know some of these things have been talked about before in other topics, but you could at least have links to those topics that contain the information that they'll need.

    No offence and I'm sorry if I sound mean, but without any of that kind of information I don't really understand what you're trying to achieve with this topic.


    I figured I would add some useful links for anyone who is interested in creating their own soundtracks.

    - Phyter provides an excellent onboard soundtrack script and tutorial here. The whole topic has interesting things that you may find useful.

    - Alternatively, Joshua Velez has created another type of onboard audio (This version can also be heard off ride). Not sure where the original post is, but Joseph provided a simple walk through in the second post of this topic here.

    Other tools that I have found useful when creating soundtracks:

    - Audacity is an excellent free piece of software that you can use to edit pieces of music together, much like Joseph has done above using Adobe Premier. It's relatively simple to use (I managed to figure out the basics without requiring any kind of tutorial).

    - Freesound is a great website that has literally thousands of free sound effects that you can use when editing a soundtrack. You have to create an account, but it's free and it's worth it if you're just looking for simple sound effects to add.
    Sorry for the spam post, then, everyone. I was just trying to selfishy, mindlessly advertise my own work. I can see how this isn't useful to anyone, so please refer to Crazycoaster's links to any and all insight you'd like.
    • CommentAuthormuchwoo
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016
    ^I think the post is really useful for every guys that have no idea how to make a good sync soundtrack.
    I'm planning to make something similar (I've work on Premiere too) but I've a question, how is set the timeline (talking about FPS)? It is important to set at 30 or 60 frame for seconds?
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016
    Daniel's confusion level: >9k.

    Good Job(?!)

    I'm only offering a bit of critism here, don't act like it's the end of the world. The only issue I have was that you called it a lesson. Like I said in my original post, your work is very good. The coasters you create utilise very clever designs and well made audio, Destroid and X:Reborn are two of the finest examples of what you can do in NL2. And I can see what you were going for with your post and that you've clearly put a lot of effort in. I just wish it would have contained more information about the "How to". My second link is to a post that you yourself wrote, so it's clear you have the knowledge.
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016
    I mean in all honesty Crazycoaster wasn't entirely wrong. The whole post is essentially a detailed walkthrough of your own soundtrack. It was fairly minimal when it came to "here's what you'll be learning".

    Just my 2c
    • CommentAuthorTheBeatles
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited
    @muchwoo, Thanks for an on-topic question! The FPS for your sequence doesn't matter too much. I would personally set it to 60 so your snapping intervals are shorter, but doing 30 won't kill you either. The FPS doesn't effect the audio quality at all, though.

    @Crazycoaster, I apologize for calling this a lesson. I tried to address that in the preface that I put at the very top of the post, but I guess that didn't really fly. I really appreciate your compliments, they mean a lot coming from a longtime NL-er like yourself. I also apologize for my immaturity this morning. If anybody's interested I can definitely go more in-depth with this, but I tried to keep it general to gauge interest.

    If anybody's interested, I'd be more than happy to make some tutorials on certain aspects, or further explain any part of the process.


    So here's my explanation for this post. I don't really know what the purpose is, as you all have pointed out. I didn't want to just post a link to the video somewhere on the forums, because I don't really think that represents how much work I put into this. I know that sounds selfish, but I spent 2 months on this soundtrack. That's as long as some people spend on coasters, which have entire threads of their own.

    That said, I decided to give this it's own thread so that people could see that there was a little bit more to this than throwing a bunch of random songs together and plopping sound effects over them. I tried to put some sort of informative spin on the post, which clearly didn't work too well.

    Lastly, I admit I reacted poorly to Crazycoaster's comment, and the ones succeeding it. If anything, I was expecting negative criticism on the work that I posted, not on the quality of this post.
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2016 edited
    Wow I was really interested to read this, and it really shows what it takes to do a thing like this! I think I might take a shot at an X2 soundtrack someday (maybe for a NL2 recreation), but soon I have to make a onboard soundtrack that can tell a story, dramatically! Not to mention lots of sound effects that will be hard to mix, along with knowing that it's hard to find perfect clips that will stay consistent in overall sound though they might not be from the same source! I loved this post, ignore the hate and understand that it's hard for people to appreciate hard work sometimes and people like me are into it 100% and there to cheer you on!