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MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Winners announced

Join the Mix Challenge - recurrence: February until December
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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 39/#HolidayMix - December 2017


This is the introduction post, where we directly link to the challenge corresponding files (source files, submission information, sponsors), start of the evaluation process and the first post for re-submissions for Mix Round 2.



It's the final Mix Challenge of the year, and this month we're revisiting the #HolidayMix hashtag. Parallel to the holiday celebrations, we're getting the chance to look at, and work on a Gospel production with a lot of background vocals. This one has been months in preparation, and I'm more than happy to be able to show you this outstanding work. The song is called "The Night When Christ Was Born". It is a collaboration between Alan Craig (the client) and Quincy Roan.

Though sadly, it will not be possible for Quincy Roan to listen to the end results. He passed away due to cancer around the turn to the year to 2015. With the blessing of both Quincy and his wife, Alan picked up the project and continued to work on his material in his honor / memory.

Mix Challenge 39 is in remembrance of Quincy Roan - thank you so much for your work and may you rest in peace.



Please take note of the following
  • IMPORTANT: It is now mandatory to provide WAV files (FLAC bar minimum on low internet bandwidth), files need to be accessible/downloadable, try to work within suitable work levels, document your edits (as simple or as detailed as you like)
    IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention: MC000_-_ArtistName_-_TrackName_-_ContestanttName.wav/mp3 and MC000_-_ArtistName_-_TrackName_-_ContestanttName_R2.wav/mp3 for Mix Round 2. The order of the tags might change in upcoming challenges - though this is up for debate
  • It is highly encouraged to give feedback to each other, to share tips and tricks. Ideally, this should happen after Mix Round 1 has ended, to not influence each other during the main competition round

Also please take note of the following
  • We're desperately looking for new source material for future competitions (Mix Challenge, Mastering Challenge, Remix Challenge). Please follow our official campaign. No new tracks mean no more challenges! Please reach out!
  • Social Media accounts can be found via the handles @MixChallenge (Twitter) and MixChallenge (Facebook). Please spread the word!
  • if you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months, please consider supporting us. For example with a voluntary monthly donation (this will mainly cover server and social media maintenance fees). Some interesting bonus perks await you through Patreon, and donors get a special rank on the forum.



This post will be updated with the corresponding links as we progress, and of course the suitable thread headlines. So please watch this spot:


Submission Period: General Information, Source Files, Sponsors
Mix Round 2: Global Feedback and Round 2 Participant Announcement
Results of the Mix Challenge 39: Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Friday, 01st December 2017 to Thursday, 21st December 2017 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-12-2017, 11:59pm CET/GMT+1 (Germany) - until further notice.

Want to find out if you're still within the deadline, please consult the following options:
The Global Countdown on it's dedicated page or the countdown on the home page. You can also consult the World Clock at the top of the forum or alternatively the following tool - in this case please select "Berlin (Germany)" as location 1, and your location as location 2: Time and Date - World Clock Meeting Planner. We do post reminders via our Twitter account and Facebook page.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:
The evaluation period might shift a couple of days due to the Christmas holidays. So please be patient after the first Mix Round has ended.



Song Provider: Alan Craig (written by Quincy Roan)
Song Name and Length: The Night When Christ Was Born, 5:02min
Song Information: 67 or 134 BPM / Signature: 4/4, E flat
File Format: WAV, 44kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Gospel, Choral, Orchestral, Christian Contemporary Music


Preview of the Song:
phpBB [media]




A word from the song provider:
Alan Craig wrote:This song was written by Quincy Roan, who was a good friend of mine. Quincy and I worked together musically for around 10 years. In early 2014, Quincy asked me to help him with a project containing a number of songs he had written. After working through the logistics, Quincy and I planned to start recording around the first of August. Unfortunately, Quincy was diagnosed with cancer in late July and he passed away around 6 months later. This project is being done in Quincy's honor / memory, with any proceeds going to support Quincy's family.

All instrumental parts were played by Quincy on the keyboard. Quincy also recorded the lead vocal from home. Other vocal parts were recorded after Quincy's passing. I needed a way to record BGVs at home in a manner that still sounded professional. So I constructed a vocal booth from PVC pipe and moving blankets. It was large enough to fit 3 adults side by side. I stacked each vocal part to give the sound of a larger group or choir.

The "hallelujah" section was interesting. I wanted a high soprano sound, but wasn't really sure where to start. While attending our daughters' middle school choir concert, I realized this was the sound I was looking for. So I emailed the choral directors, just praying that at least one of them would respond favorably. Thankfully, one of them was willing to help.

We ended up recording a total of 6 students and 2 adult women for this section. This was done in one of the middle school practice room, which was far less than ideal. There was some kind of AC/heater hum that I had to use Audacity to clean up. But I was happy with how it turned out.

Composing the BGV parts was another interesting challenge. While I am able to come up with ideas pretty well by ear, I don't have any formal training. However, my wife was chorally trained. I basically wrote out what I was hearing and had her edit all of the parts. This worked very well.

As far as a good reference track, "Son Of God" from Michael W. Smith would be a good starting point. I do realize that there is a lot going on in the "hallelujah" section. Some things might have to be attenuated in order for other things to have enough space. As much as possible, I would like to be able to hear the backing vocals clearly and with a sense of "space". I hope this all helps.

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote:Placing the genre of this production is a bit hard. It's a blend of Pop, Contemporary Christian Music, Gospel but also "Carol Singers". So I sadly can't give many (or definite) recommendations in terms of reference tracks other than the already mentioned one. There is just so much. Maybe take a dive at modern Gospel (and to a certain extend even RnB and Soul music from late 90ies/early 2000s), but there is also a lot of so called "Worship Music" (generic term) on known streaming services (search phrases: "Gospel 6 HOURS OF WORSHIP").

A start for mix inspirations might be William McDowell, Hillsong United, Kim walker Smith, Shekinah Glory Ministry, amongst others.


Let's talk about the mix for a moment:

Do not(!) let the choir section fool you to be an easy task to handle. It will not be simple to blend the choir with the already very dense music production, while getting some great and lush lead vocals on top of that (which is the absolute center of this production).

Careful automation is absolute key, while not cutting anything away. Placing the material with proper panning (sometimes even narrowing), EQ and reverb is just as important.

Another thing to look out, are possible noises in the recording. As mentioned before, the child's choir was not recorded in an ideal way. There are some hidden "noises" for you to find. In other choir sections, you can clearly hear feet tapping. You might not(!) have a chance to remove the click from certain parts in the the vocals though. At least not easily.


The vocals parts are mostly pitch corrected already. Personally, I'd not touch this area - but depending on your workflow, you might.


Other than that - I can't give any more hints/recommendations. Find your personal groove with this production. It won't be easy (having the chance to work with a choir is a rare treat!), but I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun in the process.

Good luck!

Please also consult the TXT files that are bundled in the source files package below. There you can find more information about the individual files and changes to the time signature.

Special Add-On Rules:
  • try to create a mix that complements this production (in your own style)
  • Clean / Alternative versions can be used if you need more flexibility over a certain sound (if present in this production)
  • No rearrangement or pitch shifting of the song structure, with the exception of the following add-on rules
  • PRODUCTION RELATED: nothing to comment
  • summing bus processing is allowed, as long as the dynamic range (average signal strength to maximum signal strength) doesn't suffer - use of this method is artistically!
  • try to not(!) pre-master the track (please no overuse of mix bus treatment, no loudness adjustments / limiting)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (599,73 MB, LZMA compressed, 7z)
Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (657,60 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 2458,42 MB, packed 599,73 MB (ZIP, LZMA)
In order to extract the files, we can recommend these programs:

Macintosh:
The Unarchiver - get it here
Keka (open source) - get it here

Windows:
7zip - Installation / Portable


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please take note of the official rules - they can be found at the following thread:
Mix Challenge - Official Rules and Guidelines

Please address any OT question in the official Gossip thread:
Mix Challenge - Gossip and Discussion

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SPONSORS (Prizes):

Prizes for Mix Challenge participants:

Note: All licenses are NFR (Not-For-Resale), except where noted.
Changes to available prices on short notice may be possible and will be announced separately.


Image
Acon Digital is kind enough give away a single plugin of winner's choice.
License will turn into NFR
More info on Acon Digital: http://acondigital.com


Image
Black Rooster Audio is kind enough to give away one bundle of all currently available plugins to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Black Rooster Audio: http://blackroosteraudio.com/


Image
Hornet Plugins is kind enough give away one license from the depicted tools (see image) to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hornet Plugins: http://www.hornetplugins.com


Image
Metric Halo is kind enough to give away a single plugin of winner's choice.
License will turn into NFR
More info about Metric Halo: http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/


Image
Nyrv Systems offers AGENT incl. all currently available NyrvDevices and free update to at least v1.5 of winner's choice (until further notice)
License will turn into NFR
More info about Nyrv Systems: http://www.nyrvsystems.com/


Image
Tone2 is kind enough to donate either a bundle consisting of AkustiX Enhancer and WarmVerb, or a license of Ultraspace to the winner (until further notice)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Tone2: https://tone2.com


Image
Two Notes Audio Engineering is kind enough to donate one license of Torpedo Wall of Sound III to the winner, loaded with 57 cabinets (equivalent to "Torpedo WoS II") (donation until End of 2017)
License will not turn into NFR
More info on Two Notes: http://www.two-notes.com/en/



THANKS FOR THE LICENSE DONATIONS!
And also a thank you to all former contributors as well.

If you want to sponsor content (please have a focus on mix plugins, bundles and the likes), please get in touch with the Mix Challenge staff.

Please spread the word of the challenge on social media.
For example with our dedicated Twitter Account or Facebook Page

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!

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Dodgingrain
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#3

Post by Dodgingrain »

Hopefully my mix does justice to the song and the story behind it. I appreciate the opportunity to work on it.

There is a lot of panning and m/s eq going on to try and make space for everything. Lots of compression and ducking compression as well. I was easily able to get the metronome out of the lead vocal and remove some of the room hum and other issues. I think the biggest issue I struggled with is all of the abrupt vocals. I would have preferred the vocals were not cut so tight and had a little more lead in and tails. I ended up going with higher levels of reverb than I normally would to try and hide the abrupt ending of the vocal edits. That pushed me more towards a live feeling to the mix.

The goal of the mix was to give the impression of listening to the song in a hall or church with the lead vocalist up front with a mic and piano and the rest of the choir and instruments behind him. The problem was the piano dead center ate up to much of the spectrum. I ended up doubling the piano with one panned hard right and one hard left. The hard right handles the upper frequencies and the hard left the lower.

I tried to keep the thick low end of the vocalist and really focus the mix around him. In addition to that there is quite a bit of automation to try and bring more emotion into the song and give it a bit more of a classical feel with a wide dynamic range. I tried to keep the mix with a relatively warm sounding and avoid the modern harsh overhyped high end.

mp3: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqpB-RLndYJriZYEZGKqZ-i8OquDMw
wav: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqpB-RLndYJriZYF8c1NMl3IDnD02g
Mixing, Mastering, Remixing Services
Two Cat Audio Labs, llc
https://www.twocataudiolabs.com

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#4

Post by Mister Fox »

:arrow: I am happy to announce the following new sponsor for the Mix Challenge:


Image
Black Rooster Audio is kind enough to give away one bundle of all currently available plugins to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Black Rooster Audio: http://blackroosteraudio.com/


A huge thank you goes to Black Rooster Audio for providing the licenses. :tu:

JonasLasse
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#5

Post by JonasLasse »

Hello there,

i'm having checksum-problems with the uploaded files. Could not find the mirror, could you help me?
(Using newest unarchiver version for mac, downloaded package twice)

Thanks!

Jonas
Public broadcasting engineer - here for the private Stuff.

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#6

Post by Mister Fox »

Wasnit not possible to download the file? Or can't you extract it?
Two different things.

I can download the file. But I don't have a Macintosh to check for possible issues

JonasLasse
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#7

Post by JonasLasse »

Allright, i transfered to windows, there it worked!
It was just a checksum-error all the time, may be an osx related problem.
Case closed ;)
Public broadcasting engineer - here for the private Stuff.

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#8

Post by Mister Fox »

Case sadly not closed. Because if you can't open it, then others might not be either.
May I ask what OSX version you're using?

According to "The Unarchiver", it's possible to extract LZMA2 easily (I switched to LZMA2 to give me like 100MB more compression on average). And I'm using 7zip v16 from Oct 2016 - so that should work on a Mac at this point (open source compression, over 1 year old, etc). Maybe Keka or XY Utils might work better these days for OSX?

JonasLasse
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#9

Post by JonasLasse »

Mac OS 10.12.4 Sierra
Unarchiver (newest) & Rar Extractor Lite

"Wrong checksum" - Error only on WAVs. It extracts all the other files.
Let me know if i can help.

Jonas
Public broadcasting engineer - here for the private Stuff.

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC39 December 2017 - Submissions until 21-12-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CET

#10

Post by Mister Fox »

This is strange, shouldn't happen. Maybe try downloading the Mastering Challenge as well? See if you can extract that. Maybe even try "Keka". Send me a PM with results please

If things fail, I need to fall back to LZMA1 again

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