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MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Mix Round 2 in evaluation

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stu b
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:42 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by stu b » Wed May 08, 2019 9:25 am

Mister Fox wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 4:41 pm
stu b wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 1:06 pm
Mix Buss - Slate Bomber, VCC, Neve eq, CS Lift, FG-MU comp, Stress, Tape, KClip.
Excuse me asking but... is this a pseudo mastering chain?

See:
Mix Challenge - Rules and Guidelines Addendum: Summing Bus Treatment
Hey Mister Fox. While I am aware of the rules, I just went back and re-read everything and while I now understand your concern I'd like to explain myself. As I stated in my previous post, I use a lot of plugins but they're all doing minor stuff and that goes for the mix buss as well. I always mix into the mix buss with several plugs then add a couple more later on if needed. I just opened my session and had a look. I mix into the Neve eq first, I added and subtracted 2.2db around 3k, this pulls the mids up a little without adding harshness, it just sounds pleasing so I always use that. The CS is just adding a little top end sparkle which I think my mix needed.The Stress comp is only just touching -1db on the choruses and I have the mix knob at about 60%, I really could have done without it this mix, but it sometimes has the effect of tightening up the bottom end. The FG-MU isn't compressing at all, at least the meters never move, I just like the sound of the plug itself, makes everything sound more present. Same with the Virtual Mix Buss and Tape, they're not doing much, and its no different than if I was mixing on a console. The KClip has an input gain of 2.2db to get the whole thing to a reasonable level, then rising to 2.8 in the choruses, and judging by my waveform its not actually clipping, I just like to use the input for my volume automation. I used the Bomber plugin this mix, I've no idea what it does technically but it just seems to make everything a little larger without adding volume, it improved my mix so I used it. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm just using that stuff to improve my mix, I'm not giving a thought to mastering or pre-mastering. If I removed everything my mix would, to me, sound a little dull, flat and too quiet. Therefore I wouldn't be happy with it and I honestly can't see the point of submitting something I wasn't happy with. I'm certainly not using the mix buss to crush anything or to limit it to death, I like to think there's plenty of dynamics left and its certainly not too loud, in fact I often find my mixes are quieter than most other people's. I have used a professional mastering engineer before and have never had a problem, and I'm fully aware of what they bring to a production and there's no way I'd attempt to replicate what they do. All I'm doing is mixing 'top down' which is pretty common these days. Anyway, hope this is acceptable, Stu.

Screen shot of waveform.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/l4g1g32jyseuh ... 9.png?dl=0

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JulienMeirone
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Wed May 08, 2019 11:59 am

Sory, missed this passage, but if it is realy the case, you have to disqualified more people than me because i am not the only one. For exemple, delicate changed his mix, posted it before mine and he is not disqualified. This feels unfair.
Mister Fox wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 4:39 pm
JulienMeirone wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 3:21 pm
Just updated my mix ;).

Please re-educate yourself on the Rules and Guidelines:

We do recommend to not send in your mix within the first 24 hours of the Challenge. Take a day off, give your ears time to relax, take another listen the next day. Your entry is final - no re-submissions with changes allowed unless you're selected for Mix Round 2



One more time - and I (sadly) have to draw a line with this one:
Every violation of the known and very detailed rule set, especially to longtime participants, will result in an instant disqualification.

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Mister Fox
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Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Wed May 08, 2019 7:09 pm

stu b wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:25 am
I guess what I'm saying is, I'm just using that stuff to improve my mix, I'm not giving a thought to mastering or pre-mastering. If I removed everything my mix would, to me, sound a little dull, flat and too quiet. Therefore I wouldn't be happy with it and I honestly can't see the point of submitting something I wasn't happy with. I'm certainly not using the mix buss to crush anything or to limit it to death, I like to think there's plenty of dynamics left and its certainly not too loud, in fact I often find my mixes are quieter than most other people's.
I'm just asking in general to point out the (well established) rules.

Summing bus treatment is allowed, see addendum thread, as long as you don't overdo it (in my case, I'd probably use a console simulation/saturator, and instead of a compressor just a tape machine slightly overdriven to get the same effect). You mentioning this amount of tools sounded strange to me. Two EQ's, plenty of compressors/saturators, and a clipper on top. It just rang certain alarm bells.

I'm not telling you "how" you should work, I'm just hinting at a "maybe rethink your workflow". For the next game (as in: you've been warned)


JulienMeirone wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 11:59 am
Sory, missed this passage, but if it is realy the case, you have to disqualified more people than me because i am not the only one. For exemple, delicate changed his mix, posted it before mine and he is not disqualified. This feels unfair.
No, it does not.

In case of "delicate", his mix was pushed and he's been called out (also due to a misunderstanding of the rule set, which has been remedied). In fact, three participants have been called out so far. All of you (that have been called out) are longtime users. You know the Rules and Guidelines at this point. I didn't state "you're out" yet. In fact, I'm giving you one more free pass.



HOWEVER: The free passes will definitely stop as of MC055/June.

I've been very accommodating in the recent years. But we have to draw a line. In fact, I'm not thinking about using the built in "warning" function of the forum, starting with this month, to keep me in the loop in terms of possible rule violations. I'm not using this feature on the forum for anything else, so it would be a suitable use. Maybe introduce a new rule that "after 3 warnings, you're sitting out 1 month in terms of games" or something.

I need to think about this - and will address this in a separate thread.

KrissK
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 08, 2019 7:54 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by KrissK » Wed May 08, 2019 7:57 pm

Great song! Very nice vocals and groovy beat! Reminds me a bit of Steely Dan and Donald Fagen which I am a big fan of.

Here is my entry to the challenge.

DAW : Pro Tools HD10
Monitors : Genelec 1031, Presonus e66, krk rokit rp5 g3
Interface : x32

wav : https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jwvou ... LY0lgd40LA

Screenshots : https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Qive3 ... pwfu_ndC-i
Last edited by KrissK on Thu May 09, 2019 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jamesirving
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:18 pm
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Jamesirving » Wed May 08, 2019 9:19 pm

Mister Fox wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:09 pm


I'm not telling you "how" you should work, I'm just hinting at a "maybe rethink your workflow". For the next game (as in: you've been warned)

I think Stu B gave a very articulate summary of using the top down mixing technique, I don't understand why he's being warned to change his approach going forward. I myself have started to use this approach too. It's an interesting way to work. Hugely efficient in terms of adding highs, lows, tone and glue to a mix. Lots of participants here are using a form of this technique as well as some of the most sought after mixing engineers in the world. I think another point on the technique is that it is an attempt at adding color, tone, saturation etc. to the digital medium in an effort to recreate some of the qualities you would get if you working with analogue desk. If we take April's (excellent I will add) track as an example - programmed drums, DI bass and guitar re-amped digitally (for most participants). Nothing aside from the vocal has really existed outside the digital realm before it got to us. It can help immensely add some flavor to things. It's not the only way, it's a way. But considering how most recording takes place these days it's not a terrible thing to have in mind and more efficient that adding, say, 24 instances on the channel inserts to get the same outcome.

As for their being too many things on the 2bus, i feel this is an overly simplistic metric. I could put one compressor (as I understand not an issue for the challenges) on my 2bus and make the track a loud. squashed mess. Technique is a delicate and varied thing. We should make room for these variations. Ultimately a track with nothing on the mix bus or 10 things on the mix bus can co-exist and be equally valid, dynamic, exciting and excellent. I will quote Andrew Schepps here: The only thing that matters is what comes out of the speakers. I think if you are mixing and leaving things with less sparkle, less width or less power than you are hearing in the track then you are fundamentally abandoning the role of mixing engineer. Mixing is not about being a gatekeeper for the next guy down the line.

I do totally agree that we don't want these challenges to become a race to squashed, overly loud mixes without nuance, detail or dynamics. Working to a set loudness is great practice and helps to meld the opposing forces of this forum being a learning experience and a competitive environment simultaneously. I would 100% be behind disqualifications for being over a limit - a rule I would have fallen foul of in my first attempt. I think Mr. Fox you have a hard job in keeping everyone in line and I almost feel there is more ambiguity to the 2Bus rules than any other. I think if the rule was a target loudness that if exceeded means DSQ by the provider then people would pretty quickly figure it out. Many of us may not ever win a challenge, we're here to learn and experiment and I think that resolves the issue in the easiest way without this constant merry-go-round on the subject. In short I think you can 100% say - "that mix is too loud" but I don't think you can unequivocally say "there are too many processes on your 2Bus".

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JulienMeirone
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:59 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Wed May 08, 2019 9:45 pm

Thanks you for your comprehension (i am still new on this site) and i won't make any mistakes like this anymore. Have a great day.
Mister Fox wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:09 pm
stu b wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:25 am
I guess what I'm saying is, I'm just using that stuff to improve my mix, I'm not giving a thought to mastering or pre-mastering. If I removed everything my mix would, to me, sound a little dull, flat and too quiet. Therefore I wouldn't be happy with it and I honestly can't see the point of submitting something I wasn't happy with. I'm certainly not using the mix buss to crush anything or to limit it to death, I like to think there's plenty of dynamics left and its certainly not too loud, in fact I often find my mixes are quieter than most other people's.
I'm just asking in general to point out the (well established) rules.

Summing bus treatment is allowed, see addendum thread, as long as you don't overdo it (in my case, I'd probably use a console simulation/saturator, and instead of a compressor just a tape machine slightly overdriven to get the same effect). You mentioning this amount of tools sounded strange to me. Two EQ's, plenty of compressors/saturators, and a clipper on top. It just rang certain alarm bells.

I'm not telling you "how" you should work, I'm just hinting at a "maybe rethink your workflow". For the next game (as in: you've been warned)


JulienMeirone wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 11:59 am
Sory, missed this passage, but if it is realy the case, you have to disqualified more people than me because i am not the only one. For exemple, delicate changed his mix, posted it before mine and he is not disqualified. This feels unfair.
No, it does not.

In case of "delicate", his mix was pushed and he's been called out (also due to a misunderstanding of the rule set, which has been remedied). In fact, three participants have been called out so far. All of you (that have been called out) are longtime users. You know the Rules and Guidelines at this point. I didn't state "you're out" yet. In fact, I'm giving you one more free pass.



HOWEVER: The free passes will definitely stop as of MC055/June.

I've been very accommodating in the recent years. But we have to draw a line. In fact, I'm not thinking about using the built in "warning" function of the forum, starting with this month, to keep me in the loop in terms of possible rule violations. I'm not using this feature on the forum for anything else, so it would be a suitable use. Maybe introduce a new rule that "after 3 warnings, you're sitting out 1 month in terms of games" or something.

I need to think about this - and will address this in a separate thread.

GGermaine
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:15 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by GGermaine » Wed May 08, 2019 9:51 pm

Jamesirving wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:19 pm
Mister Fox wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 7:09 pm


I'm not telling you "how" you should work, I'm just hinting at a "maybe rethink your workflow". For the next game (as in: you've been warned)

...In short I think you can 100% say - "that mix is too loud" but I don't think you can unequivocally say "there are too many processes on your 2Bus".
I do agree with Mr Fox on this one. Using so many mixbus plugins is definitely more "mastering" than it is "top-down" mixing. I use top-down too, but using 4 compressor types?
(SLATE BOMBER: Enhancer/compressor, CS LIFT: Expander, FG-MU: Fairchild compressor model, STRESS: Empirical Labs Compressor model). Not to mention a "Mastering limiter" (KClip).
I realize that there is very little happening with any one of these plugins, but in "MASTERING", there SHOULDN'T BE.
Adding so much sizzle and enhancement on the mixbus makes it harder on the contestants trying to stick to the rules.

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Mister Fox
Site Admin
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Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Wed May 08, 2019 10:07 pm

Jamesirving wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 9:19 pm
I think Mr. Fox you have a hard job in keeping everyone in line and I almost feel there is more ambiguity to the 2Bus rules than any other. I think if the rule was a target loudness that if exceeded means DSQ by the provider then people would pretty quickly figure it out. Many of us may not ever win a challenge, we're here to learn and experiment and I think that resolves the issue in the easiest way without this constant merry-go-round on the subject. In short I think you can 100% say - "that mix is too loud" but I don't think you can unequivocally say "there are too many processes on your 2Bus".
That's the thing - I named the rule set "Rules and Guidelines" for a reason. There is a huge paragraph dedicated to "suitable work levels" and "target levels" in there. Also, I've posted plenty of posts regarding this in Production Techniques.

The main concept of the Mix Challenge is, well, "mixing".

Artistic choice is (understandably) always a matter of debate. But where does the rule bending start, and when does it end in actually breaking a rule?



Either way - this is something for the General Gossip thread.

paperthin
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:18 pm

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC054 May 2019 - Submissions until 21-05-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by paperthin » Thu May 09, 2019 1:35 am

Hi everyone, here is my take on this month's challenge:

WAV: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dlam97g0yenr6 ... n.wav?dl=0

MP3: https://www.dropbox.com/s/k13yjbcxq7uac ... n.mp3?dl=0

Really cool song, I enjoyed mixing it. The arrangement is great, the band is tight, the parts are played very well, I liked the feel of the song and the humor in the lyrics. So thank you, UprightJoe and the band! Here's what I did.

Drums: Lots of challenges here. First I took care of the bleed with a FF Pro-G, which I had to automate to let through some of the really soft parts of the song. I revived the kick with an SSL channel, then I mixed it normally using a Pro-Q2 and a Waves CLA-76. On this kick I also added an RBass to give it more body, but it's really subtle. On the snare – apart from the usual EQ and compression – I used some tube saturation which I like to do to get more voice out of it. The rest of the drum channels got the usual treatment – some EQ, some compression here and there, plus an SSL comp on the drum bus for glueing things together.

Bass: Nothing special here: FF saturn (split at 180Hz, clean tube preset on the upper band), a Pro-Q2, and a Waves CLA-2A. I like how this compressor preserves the low end, and it's easy to use, too.

Guitar: I split the channel in three (single notes, chords in choruses, and lead) and treated them separately. The all have a C1 comp on, and a Pro-Q2. The lead part also uses a Waves CLA-Guitar plugin for color.

Keys: A Pro-Q2 and a Flux BitterSweet with about 12% on the bitter side for accentuating the attack.

Lead trumpet: Wow, that thing was bright. I used a de-esser, two separate EQs: one (stock Logic EQ) for upper resonance notches and the other (Pro-Q2) for sound shaping. Then I added an RBass with the highest setting possible to give the trumpet some body (the effect is subtle), and then I compressed it with a CLA-76.

Trumpet: Pro-Q2 and an RBass for body (subtle again).

Sax: Pro-Q2 and CLA-76 for color.

The trumpet and the sax were bussed together with more EQ added and for automation purposes.

Vocals: FF Pro-MB to control the low-mids, a Pro-Q2, a CLA-76 blue, and a de-esser. The double and the harmony vocals also have a Waves Doubler on with the center signal turned off. I wanted to preserve the lush velvety quality of the singer's voice, so no drastic moves here.

Mix bus: an SSLcomp for glue (2:1, 10ms attack, auto release, up to 3Db GR, analog off), a J37 for color, a Pro-Q2 with one node in tilt mode to add brightness, and a FF Pro-L to bring the mix up to the Mix Challenge standards – the ceiling set at -1Db to catch stray snare hits, the RMS dances between -20 and -16Db, the PEAK value reaches -1 in loud parts. None of my plugins can measure LUFS whatever that is. I know this has been a hot topic recently so I'm trying to explain everything clearly. My mix was too soft, so I had to bring it up a bit and I used a limiter to be safe. You can clearly see by the waveform and hear that it's not squashed at all.
Hope it's cool :roll:

Overall thoughts: This song reminded me of guys like Phat Phunktion and Electro Deluxe, so I listened to them for reference. I wanted to get a crisp and transparent mix which - if needed - could be made a lot denser at the mastering stage. That being said, I had to be really careful with compression which meant that I had to automate a lot more things than I normally would, to get a smooth mix and to feature different elements at different times. I even automated sends on individual channels, for example, there's a quiet place before the final chorus where I gave the keys more reverb for a more intimate feel.

I guess that's it. If anybody feels that I missed something – feel free to ask!

I'd like to once again thank UprightJoe for the cool song and Mister Fox for the work he does. Any feedback is welcomed. Good luck to the contestants! Cheers.

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