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Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#241

Post by Mister Fox »

CantusPro wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 07:19 CET
...
I kindly asked you to stop several times (via PM and on the forum), instead you've doubled down.

My patience has run out.

 ⚠ Warning Message from Mister Fox  
I am hereby issuing a temporary suspension to the user CantusPro until/including 02-MAR-2021.

The user has been warned several times through PM and on the forum to take a step back, assess the situation, and then move on. Instead, user ignored warnings and doubled down via PM and on the forum, mocking the host.

Furthermore, the last comment by the user in MC073 has been deleted (disruptive behavior).

Should this behavior continue after the temporary suspension, a permanent ban will be issued.


Please only contact me via the official contact form if you want to disable/delete your account. Anything else will add to a possible permanent ban.

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Song from May 2020 released

#242

Post by Cameron »

Hello all!
I'm not sure if this is the correct thread for this but I wanted to share that "Take Your Time" was released in January under the artist name "Sterling Styles" The mix was done by Seva at Sequoyah Studios in Knoxville, TN. he also did the mastering.
Just wanted to share with everyone that participated in that challenge (May 2020) who may be curious!

Cheers!
Cameron

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#243

Post by Naturecord »

I have been following some of the discussions about the rules and guidelines for the mix-challenge, and I understand that it sometimes can be frustrating. I did use quite a lot of time to understand all the technicalities of how to deliver a mix that is within the framework of the challenge, and I ended up investing in getting some better tools for measurement than I had before, to get an easier workflow (and better results).

Maybe it would be an idea to make a simple checklist before submitting that is a little easier to follow, than reading the comprehensive rules posts. Maybe also some suggestions for plugins that would help measuring the peak, LUFS and so on (this migth exist, and I have missed it :smile: ). I have made a preset in Mastering the mix Levels for the Mix-Challenge letting me know when I am out of bounds, and that has been a time saver.

On the other side I have to say that having these restrictions, and learning more about why they are in place, has been very helpful. Even if I have some experience and have released music both as a mixer/producer and musician, this was something I had not paid enough attention to and doing so have helped me get better results and ease cooperation with others (mixers, mastering engineers).

Paying much more attention to amongst other things gain staging has improved my overall sound, what I get out of my plugins and hardware and my overall workflow. It has really helped me to think more about the mixing stage and to prepare the mix for what comes after (mixing, mastering, release and so on). It has been a learning curve that really has helped me develop.

The feedback from the mix-challenges has also helped me address some (huge) issues with my room that I am still working on improving, but it has become much better, and my mixes keeps improving.

The work put into this by Mister Fox is substantial, and I really appreciate it. It has at least helped my come a long way since I started participating, and I am always looking forward to every 1th of the month!

If I had a comment to the rules, it would not be about the “technical aspects” of the rulebook, that aspect has helped me develop, and is something I have learnt to appreciate.

My comment would be on drum replacement/sample part of the rules. I do understand the rationale behind only using the tools available to shape the drum sound, and that replacing the drums could create an uneven playing field and change the sonic quality of a song. When specific drum recording techniques have been used, there is also a nice learning experience there.

At the same time, using drum samples/one shots to help shape and improve especially kick/snare sound (not replacing) seems to be a very common practice in most genres these days, more so now than 5-10 years ago. Using a snare sample to trigger the snare verb/plate to avoid bleed on the way in and create a nice tail also seems like a widely used technique.

I know that drum samples/replacements has not always been looked upon as good practice, but it now seems like a widely used technique, and I would say that I see more mixers using it than not. It seems like it has become an essential tool in the tool-box that we also have to master.

I do see that there are arguments both for and against drum samples in the mix-challenged, but as it is becoming widely used, I am wondering if this restriction is not necessarily helping me become better at mixing, as I would not use the techniques I apply in the challenge out in the “real world”. In my case I often get recording of a for example a snare that has a nice crack or body to it, but seldom both. I would then use a sample to “fill the gap”, rather than shaping the recorded sound with EQ/transient designer/plate/verb.

If using samples to shape drum sounds is becoming an essential technique to master, which I feel it is, it would also make sense for me to being able to use it in the mix-challenge. Maybe with restrictions like a limited amount of samples available (maybe we could build a small library available to all), no replacing of drums/only shaping of sound, no samples if special techniques have been applied in the recording and so on.

I am quite happy with the status quo, and will continue submitting mixes, but it’s just my thoughts on the subject and I it would be interesting to hear arguments both pro and con or discuss the use of drum samples in mixing 😊

Again, thanks for the effort you are putting in Mister Fox, it is highly appreciated and thanks for helping me develop and improve!
Pål Isdahl Solberg
www.naturecord.no

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC074 March 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#244

Post by Square »

My mix was disqualified because i switched the bitrate and sample rate.

Amateur mistake, i spent many many hours on the mix and only 10 minutes to final export and submit and somehow and for reasons ill never understand, i changed both bit and sample rate :face: ..

This was very stupid of me.

Overall though, theres a lot of passion and time and effort and love put into these mixes, for me in particular, this way my favourite song ive worked on here, and for that excitement to turn into nothing is a real bummer. Thats why people are passionate about their mixes not being accepted every month even if the rules are clear, and some people look at this as more fun and a form of art rather than a technical procedure, though both are obviously important, everyone has there own take on what side is more important and interesting to them.

Im not trying to say anything is unfair, its not, but im not sure that learning these types of lessons are what people are here for. I would imagine we are all here to share our love of mixing, not so much the love of getting everything right with it on our initial upload.

I dont know if the participation has outgrown what the admin side can handle, or if learning these lessons is the main focus here, but i do think that if people put in quite a lot of their own work, there should be less punishment in return for mistakes, and yes the real (higher paid jobs) world can be harsh on these things, but i still think we could all learn with a bit more leniency. Again, its not that its unfair considering its all done with i believe just Mr. Fox, which is increadable and very appreciated, but if things such as a simple explaination is needed or a re upload, that should be feasable and a bit less dis heartaning for participants.

Again, we all accept the rules when we participate, me for example, i accept that i messed it up and that i should be disqualified by the rules, but it doesnt take away from the fact that a lot of hard work was lost for an easily and quickly fixable mistake that i made, and i dont particularly join things like this to learn life lessons like that.

I dont mean to say that youve done wrong or to start anything, ive seen your responses and how you handled things over the past year and youve nearly always been fair and patient with people, and we all participate only because of what you have built, so i have no issue with you at all, what youve done is amazing.

But i would like to see it maybe expand to be a more friendly atmosphere with such things where people are guided to getting there submissions right and encouraged to learn by being guided as oppossed to losing hours of your life due to technicalities or interpretations, and yes its not a complete loss as you get access to great tailored material, but if it was handled in such a way that people were highlighted on their mistakes or their mixing procedures they could discuss where mistakes were made without disqualifications being needed. It might take another person to help manage this for time reasons, but it would be much more welcoming.

This ties into the documentation side, people all mix very differently. While some approach it in a very organised way, others may approach it in a much more chaotic and constantly moving way. This could result in 20 plugs on a single track whereas someone else may use one to get a similar effect. One person may move from each thing in a orderly way balancing it perfectly as they go and others may just move from track to track doing small changes as they go resulting in the use of hundereds of plugins. This very process may annoy some people and make them mad that anyone mixes like that, but it doesnt take away from the fact that some people do mix like this for better or worse. Documenting a project in deep detail would be a dissertation. And sometimes, what may stick out to the listener, may be completely forgotten by the person who mixed it as it was just one piece to them, until its brought back up, which then its all remembered. My basic point is, certain technical limitations need to be followed in order for things to be received, but the process is up to the individual, and at the end of the day, what is shared is going to be relative to what mood the person is in when they write and what they are thinking about and are excited to share, or whatever they have time to type up, and what kind of a person they are when it comes to writing and how much they care about the technical side, their background, how much they actually understand etc etc etc.. but overall, this could all be solved by discussion and not disqualification. If you would like very specific feedback of mixes, create a list of questions to answer, though again, i dont think thats the way to go, some people want to share and others not so much, just let it be like that. Same as problems when people upload. Its easy for people to go on a rant and say 'well if you got it right, you wouldnt have this problem, the rules state...'. True. But not what people are here for. I dont want to lose a bunch of passion that i put into something because i made a dumb mistake during export and sending the link. We participants also put our own free time and effort into this blog and dont wish it to be erased when a simple conversation could fix the issues. Again, i think this may be down to not having enough people to manage rather than any bad feelings from Mr. Fox, who again, i think tries to be fair and kind. But if we could drop some of the rules and just try to have a bit more fun and still learn with a bit less pressure on perfection that would be great.

Lets be very real here too, many will never get a chance to make a living out of this and this is as close as many will be to any recognition of their mixes. Learning the technical side can all be done on Google now (or books, or classes). But if its gotten to the point where that engaging in a bit of fun way of describing you effects, but not in the 'correctly documented way' could lead to disqualification and a stern pointing at the rule book, instead of someone just being like 'Cool! So how did you do that then?'... This all starts to feel like a strict and unexciting classroom and not a place where people with a shared interest come to learn, share and compete with each other.

Again, from your perspective i get it, its like the same thing all over again every month, but its not the same thing for the individuals that participate, its a unique situation where a lot of your passion is being rejected for things you may or may not agree with or even understand.

TLDR: is it possible to remove disqualifications, replace that with discussion and allow re-uploads, if the mix is still 'bad' put a disclaimer for the song provider before they listen. And just relax the forum a bit. We are a very small niche group of people interested in these things, lets just keep it real and fun and remember that although you may go through this every month, it doesnt take away from the passion and time and effort others put into in their free time during the months they participate too and that instead of making a strict system of denial to getekeep the order, allow it to be more loose, let the song providers listen to and judge a few mixes that arent 'in bounds', and there to be more discussion about the topic of why peoples mixes arent being liked by song providers, those conversations would be much more interesting then going through why someone was disqualified each month, and i think a short 're-upload' period would fix that, if the mixes come back out of bounds the second time then mark it before its sent to the provider and the discussion can begin about exporting and other issues, which will most likely be every month anyways. I doubt many people will break the hard rules if they are a short and clear list such as re-doing the parts of the song, if they do, it will most likely be obvious, if there is any doubt, ask and discuss. And as there are people coming in all the time, there will always be all different levels of understanding on all sides of mixing and technicalities, and as well, the first month or so, people may only be half interested in the forum and its rules, if they are told about their mistakes and learn things instead of being punished for not following all of the rules, they might stay, become cool members and these negative discussions each month might just slow down or stop.

Again to just say it one more time, i have NO negative feelings towards mr fox or this forum, quite the opposite, i still often read and listen when i dont have time to be involved, but i do think it could be handled differently and in a way that is better for everyone, but this is also from my relative perspective and im only trying to start a discussion on how to make this more positive, NOT to start any arguments or discontent and even if it continued just like it is, i would still be here as its an awesome and unique place and im legit only trying to be constructive.


Peace and Love`

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#245

Post by Mister Fox »

First and foremost, thanks for the feedback @Naturecord and @Square. Much appreciated. I will get more in-depth over the course of my next two posts. Post 2 might drop later tonight - apologies in advance for the waiting time.


Naturecord wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 16:42 CET
Maybe it would be an idea to make a simple checklist before submitting that is a little easier to follow, than reading the comprehensive rules posts. Maybe also some suggestions for plugins that would help measuring the peak, LUFS and so on (this migth exist, and I have missed it :smile: ). I have made a preset in Mastering the mix Levels for the Mix-Challenge letting me know when I am out of bounds, and that has been a time saver.
I'll definitely work on a "TL;DR" version of the rules, which will then show up in the third post of the Mix(ing) Challenge Rules and Guidelines (Rule Book). Due to current time constraints, I might not be able to finish this in time for MC075 / April 2021 however.

I do need to take another look at "Mastering the MIx - EXPOSE", but I can also recommend Youlean Loudness Meter 2 Free as modern day "low budget" solution (the Pro version also offers drag-and-drop of audio files for offline/"faster-than-realtime" analysis).



Naturecord wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 16:42 CET
If I had a comment to the rules, it would not be about the “technical aspects” of the rulebook, that aspect has helped me develop, and is something I have learnt to appreciate.

My comment would be on drum replacement/sample part of the rules.

...

I do see that there are arguments both for and against drum samples in the mix-challenged, but as it is becoming widely used, I am wondering if this restriction is not necessarily helping me become better at mixing, as I would not use the techniques I apply in the challenge out in the “real world”. In my case I often get recording of a for example a snare that has a nice crack or body to it, but seldom both. I would then use a sample to “fill the gap”, rather than shaping the recorded sound with EQ/transient designer/plate/verb.

If using samples to shape drum sounds is becoming an essential technique to master, which I feel it is, it would also make sense for me to being able to use it in the mix-challenge. Maybe with restrictions like a limited amount of samples available (maybe we could build a small library available to all), no replacing of drums/only shaping of sound, no samples if special techniques have been applied in the recording and so on.
You bring up a couple of valid points here. "Drum Sample Triggering (Sound enhancement)" or "Drum Replacement through the help of samples" is indeed a thing that you hear even in Youtube videos these days. One recent example I remember, is actually Meytal Cohen - a couple of her videos were definitely "enhanced".


My personal viewpoint against "sample enhancements"/ "replacements" is, that you should still know/learn/focus on the essentials. And with modern tools these days, you can do a lot on top of those basics, unbelievable elevating your sound seven further.

For example:
  • Accusonus Drumatom can easily adjust/remove drum mic bleeding
  • tools like Waves Torque can shift the tone of a drum shell (very simplified, it is a frequency selective pitch shifter)
  • both Eventide Physion and Boz Digital Labs Transgressor offer transient shaping and overall tone mangling (transient and sustain part separately), although Transgressor's main focus is transient control and tonal shaping, while Physion is also offering compression, EQ and pitch shifting (sustain section)
  • for low frequency enhancement, there is Waves MaxxBass, Melda Production MBassador and Plugin Alliance/Brainworx bx_subsynth (although that is more like a simplified side-chain sub-bass tool)
Technically... the rules allow the enhancement of drums with such tools (bleed removal, sine wave or white-noise triggering, saturation tricks, "torquing" if really needed). And that is merely covering some special tasks. Well - transient designers are no "special tasks" these days anymore. Gates are available a-plenty, side-chain compression (aka NY-Compression) is common-place these days (slamming a room mic and then mixing the slammed signal "back in" comes to mind), side-chain ducking of reverbs is a thing to "clean up" the overall room tone. And let us not forget over-driving analog consoles/pre-amps on purpose (soft-clipping).

All this offers you a lot off possibilities. And I've also been fair with somebody that used a heavily processed render of the provided snare, to trigger a specific reverb effect (a little convoluted roundabout, but it was not "replacement"). As long as you explained exactly what you did to get there (not only for learning purposes).



:arrow: The problem arises with straight up replacement/sample enhancement through tools like Slate Digital Trigger, WaveMachine Labs Drumagog, SPL DrumXChanger, Massey Plugins DRT, Melda Production MDrumreplacer, etc...

Simplified:
  • not every user has access to these tools
  • even if these tools getting affordable these days, or you can technically also use audio-to-MIDI conversion from your DAW (example: Cubase -- Hitpoints to MIDI conversion) and then use a built in drum-sampler or another sample player, the sample content can't be any more different (for example: you recorded your own drums that others don't have access to)
  • this in turn offers participants with "better tools/samples" an unfair advantage over others


So not only do I consider "drum sample triggering/replacement" in a lot of cases to be "an easy way out" (and making everything sound similar, in some cases even robotic), I also have to keep a balance of users and their available tools in mind.

I am fully aware that to those that have easy access to such tools, this restriction can be frustrating. But this "forced thinking differently" also offers you a whole new perspective on sound design on the biggest participant of the "core sound" of a production: the drums.

As example: did you know that Sylvia Massey loves to mix along pitch shifted overhead microphone tracks through the help of tools like Soundtoys' LittleAlterboy to create "larger than live" drums. Personally, I love to throw a Flanger on overheads mics sometimes to give the drums a slight early 1990s feeling (especially sampled drum-sets). A more "clean room reverb"? I simply band-pass a plate or chamber reverb (aka: Abbey Road Reverb trick). Want more "groove" in a production, sync the pre-delay of a reverb (or use a delay without feedback running into a reverb - good for electronic productions).



:arrow: Technically, the sky is the limit. Your only limit is your own personal creativity and skills/experience to get there. Something you can experiment with, and hone during the Mix(ing) Challenge. The question is... what (fair) limits should we set?




I do appreciate your feedback, but I hope this (once more) gives a bit more insight on my thinking on this particular topic.

Maybe I should create an "Addendum" on "Drum Sample Triggering vs Drum Enhancement" to cover this (recurring) subject in the "Rule Book" section. :thinking:

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#246

Post by Mister Fox »

As promised, my comment on the second post by @Square ... sorry that this took me a while.

Square wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 09:53 CET
TLDR: is it possible to remove disqualifications, replace that with discussion and allow re-uploads, if the mix is still 'bad' put a disclaimer for the song provider before they listen. And just relax the forum a bit. We are a very small niche group of people interested in these things, lets just keep it real and fun and remember that although you may go through this every month, it doesnt take away from the passion and time and effort others put into in their free time during the months they participate too and that instead of making a strict system of denial to getekeep the order, allow it to be more loose, let the song providers listen to and judge a few mixes that arent 'in bounds', and there to be more discussion about the topic of why peoples mixes arent being liked by song providers, those conversations would be much more interesting then going through why someone was disqualified each month, and i think a short 're-upload' period would fix that, if the mixes come back out of bounds the second time then mark it before its sent to the provider and the discussion can begin about exporting and other issues, which will most likely be every month anyways. I doubt many people will break the hard rules if they are a short and clear list such as re-doing the parts of the song, if they do, it will most likely be obvious, if there is any doubt, ask and discuss. And as there are people coming in all the time, there will always be all different levels of understanding on all sides of mixing and technicalities, and as well, the first month or so, people may only be half interested in the forum and its rules, if they are told about their mistakes and learn things instead of being punished for not following all of the rules, they might stay, become cool members and these negative discussions each month might just slow down or stop.

I think I've read the post three times, just trying to grasp the big picture here. But the way I understand this, in summary, is that certain rules are just not as engaging and should either be overhauled, or completely dropped, in favor for more engagement on the forum.


Which actually brings me to a couple of PM's I got throughout the course of the last two years, with the main question being:
"Is there not a way to get the files checked on upload already? So that certain things like LUFS, dBTP and wrong bitrate/sampling rate can be found right from the start, maybe even adjusted. Just like platform ABC is doing"

While I'd love to offer this feature request, I just plain can't. The two main reasons being:
  1. this would be a completely different platform, and this needs an own, intricate engine for file checks (in other words, a way different "CMS" or "Content-Management-System")
  2. files need to be uploaded to this server in order to be checked, which in turn could result in copyright related side-effects/issues for the platform, especially considering what is in queue for Europe by July 2021



Then the second topic is:
"Why not offer those participants, that did an honest mistake, a second chance? For example with a 'fix your edit' type round?"

While I like your thinking, I see a couple of small problems with that
  1. the time frame of the game would shift, and result in a longer game overall
  2. this round would need to introduce another "feedback" mechanic, therefore more interaction from the song provider -- and sometimes that is already hard as is
  3. an "interim round" for those participants that did a small mistake would still mean "I am sorry, you're out of the game"

As of this moment, the Mix(ing) Challenge has the following time-table (yes, I need to update that in the Rule Book)
  • 21 days for mixing and submitting (1st of the month until 21st of the month)
  • up to 3 days after 1st Mix Round: creating the "Statistics Sheet" as overview of all entries (LUFS, dBTP, sampling rate, bitrate, file consistency)
  • up to 14 days after the Statistic Sheet announcement: evaluation of Mix Round 1 by the client
  • 5 days: Mix Round 2 - resubmission period of minimum 10, or up to 15 selected entries (that weren't disqualified)
  • up to 10 days after Mix Round 2: evaluation by the client and announcing the top 3 entries
Overall timeframe: up to 53 days
Your idea would basically result in the following:
  • 21 days for mixing and submitting (1st of the month until 21st of the month)
  • up to 3 days after 1st Mix Round: creating the "Statistics Sheet" as overview of all entries (LUFS, dBTP, sampling rate, bitrate, file consistency)
  • up to 2 days after the Statistics Sheet announcement: participants that made a mistake have the chance to re-submit their entry
  • up to 2 days after the "entry correction phase": adjusting creating the "Statistics Sheet" as overview of all entries (LUFS, dBTP, sampling rate, bitrate, file consistency)
  • up to 14 days after the Statistic Sheet (overhauled) announcement: evaluation of Mix Round 1 by the client
  • 5 days: Mix Round 2 - resubmission period of minimum 10, or up to 15 selected entries (that weren't disqualified)
  • up to 10 days after Mix Round 2: evaluation by the client and announcing the top 3 entries
Overall timeframe: up to 57 days
Technically - that is possible. But not only would it mean more work for everyone involved (client, host, etc), but also mean "more discipline" for the game to keep everything running smoothly.




One possible solution I'm currently seeing, is creating the following four things as fast as it is humanly possible to me:
  1. as mentioned above: a "TL;DR Rule Set" on a unified place
  2. maybe a "to-do" checklist for both participants and song providers (see previous posts in this thread)
  3. an Addendum to the following topics
    • Drum Sample Replacement vs Enhancement -- see previous post of mine
    • Summing Bus Treatment (overhauled: covering the topic "safety limiting" as well) -- has been planned for a while
    • How to check your files prior to uploading (LUFS, dBTP, Sampling Rate and Bitrate) -- technically already a topic through this thread, which can be updated at this point
  4. maybe introduce a "wild-card" mechanic



:?: A "wild-card" mechanic? Let me explain:

I've actually been thinking about this for quite some time now. However, I don't know how to pull it off to keep it fair for everyone, yet also point out easily how many "wild-cards" have been used up. Not only that, it would mean more work for/by the Song Provider. In recent months, I did have clients that were listening to all entries, and were on the verge of just backing away. Or they straight up wrote me after the main game has ended "sorry, but I'm not doing this anymore, and I lost the interest in the community as well" - which is why the "Statistics Sheet" mechanic got more prominent in in the first place (to reduce the workload on all ends by sorting out entries that went against the established rules). That in turn introduced another dynamic on the forum: arguing about the rules.

In case of MC063/March 2020 and MC067/July 2020, the participation amount exceeded 100, with a usual disqualification rate of about 28-30%. Imagine the workload - especially if the Mix Challenge community continues to grow.


Although I did sometimes still read from the Song Providers "we really liked this song, but we're also sad that the entry got disqualified". And this is where a "wild-card" (or actually "chance/get out of jail free" card) mechanic might (could?) work.

So I thought up the following:
  • every forum participant starts with two (number: 2) or three (number: 3) "wild-cards"
  • the "wild-cards" are basically a chance to advance the game, even though you made a mistake. May it be a simple render mistake (wrong bitrate or sampling rate), or your material went a bit over the allowed specifications, or you didn't properly document your edit
  • in order to be able to use this option, your entry must be listed under "disqualified"
  • if your material could not be downloaded, has been re-uploaded prior to the end of Mix Round 1, or has been submitted after the deadline - you forfeit this option
  • the Song Provider (client) still needs to listen to all entries regardless - which is a lot of time/effort (especially if we exceed 65+ mixes), but...
  • chances are if the Song Provider likes your entry regardless, you might be selected to "advance" into Round 2 through the use of a "wild-card"
  • not only do you then need to address desired changes, you also need to fix your mistake while still adhering to given established rules
  • advancing through a wild-card can not be forced (participant insisting), it will be a "chance mechanic"
  • if/once you have advanced, your wild-card amount drops by -1
  • wild-cards can not be recovered / do not recharge

This in turn means however, that the Song Provider (client) has more work again, the rules will be even more extensive as they already are, and I need to find a possible solution to point out each participant's "wild-card amount" or "used up wild-cards" (which is actually easier on the eyes on the forum). The last one could(!) be implemented with the use of a custom rank system. Extensions for that exist. But I need to check again how to pull off two ranks - for example: Patron/Backer status and used up wild-cards (last time I tried this on my "test-forum", things were a bit bugged out - and I was never happy with the visuals). I could in theory also use the built-in forum warning system, but this was never made for this specific task.




:arrow: The TL;DR is basically:
  1. either make the rules even more clear yet again (through the help of addendums), but otherwise stay strict (this is a challenge after all, simulating a "real world" scenario)
  2. or introduce a "wild-card" mechanic for a bkt more relaxed engagement, but risk longer evaluation times, and/or Song Providers backing out even before submitting a production for future games, due to the possible extensive workload
I would love to accommodate everyone's suggestions, but it's hard to find a fair middle ground, and then also implement everything in a timely manner. Which is also why I didn't comment on the ideas of the return of a "popular vote" system for the Mix(ing) Challenge... since this actually didn't work out in the early days,



I will leave this topic open for discussion however. I'm curious if this "mechanic" might actually have the desired result of "I made a mistake, I've learned, I'll do better" or not. Who knows what this might shape into. :thinking:

Thank you for the feedback.

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#247

Post by Square »

First off thanks for your detailed reply it is much appreciated as I know your time is tight as it is.

And I am absolutely sure there is way more work involved in this than we all know, I would just like to know that if I put in 30+ hours into a mix that there will be an ear at the end to hear it. Again, i read the rules, and I dont disagree with my disqualification, just using it as a chance to maybe go forward in a way that would keep peoples hard work recognized, even through a few dumb mistakes.

Its hard to know what the limitations are from my end so thanks for making that more clear as you didnt have to, and as i was thinking about the uploader as a possible solution.

I also dont mean to try and ruin the integrety of the game and make 'everyone winners', but just a fair jab for amateurs to be heard and maybe give them the kick that they need to take their learning further.

However, I also dont know what it is like working with the song providers, i can imagine it is quite a mixed bag.

I wouldnt personally reccommend a community voting mechanism as this community is full of learners (like myself), so people will be judging mixes on things they may not even understand leading people to change things that maybe shouldnt be etc... Plus the social aspect of it, sometimes it is tough to critisise others mixes when you have the same concerns and limitations for your own and it would always come out skewed.

But then again, if the song provider doesnt like the way it is, nothing works :face:

I also think the rules on loudness and returning the mix in the same fashion as it was received are completely fair, so im not debating that, especially as it is your area of expertise.

I like your idea of a wild card mechanic, but that would come down to how easily managable that would be.

It always seems way simpler when making suggestions doesnt it? ahah

I would like to think that people would use the chance to be included rather than as a mechanism to not follow the rules at all, from the limited amount ive seen here, people are way more receptive to mistakes in their mix being pointed out rather than mistakes in the submission process as that is a chance to learn and see what other people think about their work and art, rather than what they think about their technical specs. Again, not saying that both is not important, as they are, but i think the first conversation leads nicely into the technical side, whereas if the conversation starts on the technical side, it just ends there and often in frustration or lack of motivation.

I also dont wish to come off as 'that guy' that thinks he knows how everything should be run, i very much do not, at all, not even a little bit lol, im only trying to find solutions from the perspective of a participant who wants to see this community keep going and growing.

Again, I think this place is great, the hard work put in is VERY appreciated and whatever is decided, i will still be here pluggin away and trying to learn, theres no other rescource on the internet quite like this especially all done out of your free time as a labour of love and accessible to all for free ^^

So cheers again and ive got a new mix challenge to go and work on thanks to you ^^

Peace and Love

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Mister Fox
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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#248

Post by Mister Fox »

Thank you once more for the feedback, @Square - definitely appreciated.


I understand that there is a fine balance of "where do we draw the line for rule violation done on purpose" and "it was just a honest mistake". This is something that we might need to figure out in the long run. From what I've seen throughout the years however, is that during the introduction of new game mechanics (ones that make the competitions more engaging), is that people tend to try to break things on purpose. Just to see how far they can exceed boundaries. If you do point out in a very calm and collective manner, that this is only hurting oneself - and that you (host or song provider) will still be fair towards everyone - then this particular topic / problem basically handles itself automatically.

Case in point - the Songwriting Competition introduced an "edit your production" mechanic, and suddenly there is more interaction on the forum. There are more people asking for feedback during the submission period, then get back to their song to make it the best it can be at this given point in time. The Bonus Point mechanic for the SWC is an incentive to interact more with each other, and try to stay within certain parameters. And it does pay off.

Something we can't do for the Mix(ing) Challenge, sadly. As the concept is completely different.



Which brings me to the "Wild-Card" mechanic.

:arrow: I brought this up to a couple of song providers (previous and current ones).
:!: And we are trying this for Mix(ing) Challenge 075 / April 2021 already.

There will always be users that straight up ignore the rules and work as they seem fit. There will also be new users that are overwhelmed by the rule set, and just go by their instinct. I however often read comments behind the scenes on the lines of "pity that this entry didn't make it, I liked the mix". Since the "Statistics Sheet" is not done (anyway) before the first mix round has ended, and do I recommend every "client" to make notes every time an entry is posted, this mechanic actually makes sense in the long run. It might indeed offer another layer of learning, and take away the frustration of "wait... I rendered in 16bit? Aw man!".

I also looked into forum extensions with "custom roles" that can show how many wild-cards somebody has used up already. There is not a simple extension for this - but I might have found a "workaround" for the time being. :thinking:

So yeah... the test-run is a go. Let's see how this will work out for everyone involved.

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#249

Post by studjo »

holy moly - I bow before the huge amount of work and time MR Fox is giving this community!
I can hardly keep up with the stuff I submitted or participated and he runs the whole show ....
Regarding all this rules stuff in my opinion it's Mr. Fox's place and he decides what he thinks is doable. When I'm too stupid to read it all - it's my fault and next time I try to make it better (happened to me and I was pissed of course - but I learned anyway so it's all good). I think the idea of the wild card is a great one when it's not too much work for the providers and Mr Fox. I like the idea that the provider can shout: stop this one is great - let's have him correct the faults and see where he's going ...
So I shut up now and thanks to all running this place!

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Re: Mix Challenge - General Gossip Thread

#250

Post by Mister Fox »

It is actually quite simple to implement and run.
It is not an extra step at all - as this is all part of the "statistics sheet" and "evaluation by the Song Provider".


Constantly monitoring If entries are "within specs" on a daily basis, and then informing the Song Provider in question (if he/she is not already doing a similar check up as well), is an extra workload that is just not possible. However, I download all files in parallel, then run them through Wavelab's "Batch Analysis" at the end of the game to find out certain issues with the entry.

In parallel, the Song Provider already listens to all entries and (ideally) makes notes so that there is no excess work-load after the fact. If the Song Provider says during that time "this entry did not meet the requirements, but I would like it to become a wild-card entry", then I'll put it into the "wild-card category" in the Mix Round 2 announcement post.


It is basically just a slightly shifted game mechanic. Instead of being disqualified instantly with no odds to advance, you might be lucky to get a "second chance". However if you use this possibility, you'll also loose a wild-card.




I still have to fine-tune this until 22nd April (end of Mix Round 1) - like implementing a visual representation for the "wild-card" or not (possible through the "special role" feature of phpbb). But this is the basic idea to offer a different take on the learning aspect of our community.

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