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MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Winners announced

Post by Mister Fox » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:27 am

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 58 - September 2019


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.



This month, we'll get access to an Americana production by the band "The Average Citizens", represented by resident participant David Paul Paige. The song is called "Civil War Song". One of the biggest tasks in this particular challenge, is to handle Mid/Side recordings.

Read more about the production below, and in the bundled TXTs.




Please take note of the following
  • IMPORTANT: It is mandatory to provide WAV files, files need to be accessible/downloadable, try to work within suitable work levels (the focus of this game is "mixing", not mixing and finalizing), document your edits (ideally also with screenshots), name the files properly to distinguish your edit from all others.
    IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention (Contestant Name = Forum Username):
    • MC000_ArtistName_TrackName_ContestantName.wav
    • MC000_ArtistName_TrackName_ContestantName_R2.wav for those that go into Mix Round 2
    • Example: MC058__The_Average_Citizens__Civil_War_Song__<forum_username>.wav
  • please only upload to cloud storage spaces (DropBox, GoogleDrive, etc), not SoundCloud. Please consult the official "Rules and Gudelines" regarding Upload and Submission Guidelines
  • 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. Please follow our official campaign. Your only investment is time in turn for a free mix by our very talented participants. 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.



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 58: Winners announced (staff took over)

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:27 am

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Sunday, 01st September 2019 to Saturday, 21st September 2019 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-09-2019, 11:59pm CEST/GMT+2 (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.



Song Provider: The Average Citizens
Song Name and Length: Civil War Song, 3:45 min
Song Information: 129 BPM / Signature: 4/4, Key of D (major)
File Format: WAV, 44kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Americana


Preview of the Song:




A word from the song provider:
davidpaulpaige wrote:We don't like EFX that sound like EFX just thrown on. Sensible space makes things feel comfortable and helps things to blend and layer. Hint: Try using short 100-300ms reverb tails on vox and use pre delay to not give up the trick. Space should feel "real" and compliment the arrangement.

The BG vox were recorded using mid side technique utilizing an omni pattern as mid/center. The acoustic guitars were recorded m-s with a hyper cardioid mid mic to keep focus on the center.

Electric guitars were recorded with ribbons to help to separate them from the acoustics no d.i. is provided as the artists committed to the tone at time of recording.

Drums were recorded Jeff Lynne style. The same setup he used in all the Traveling Willburys recordings. Spot mics on snare, kick and M-S for the room. No traditional overheads.

The synth sounds are weird... I know, the intern overdubbed them at a members bequest. My best guess is she didn't record the entire signal just the left channel. I re-recorded them but can not seem to locate the sessions that were sent out to the mixer. As I recall I simply countered the comb filter effect with eq, squashed the center a bit and spread out the mono signal into stereo using the Haas effect 7-9ms delay on the right.

Nothing about this mix should resemble pop. Keep in mind they were recorded the way the group liked at the time. There are some obvious "pitchey" tails of vocals and slide guitar. Just "duck and tuck" try not to tune but if you do don't let it show.

Be creative... Think BIG and OPEN! That's what I had in mind the entire recording. Most importantly have fun


(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote:If you want to read up on the history of this genre, Wikipedia (like usual) is a good starting point:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americana_(music)

I can not give you many recommendations other than:
Read up on how Mid-Side setups work, and how you treat these channels.

Personally, I'd rather go with 60s/70s mix handling and tricks, than modern day ones. This is definitely not your typical modern "country" production. Meaning, no super clean cut and distinct instruments. There is a certain dreaminess to this song, which is however in stark contrast with the lyrics. And I do recommend to pay close attention to them, try to get a feeling what this song is about. Then you can experiment with the instrument balances to portray a certain feeling.

The song provider mentioned "The Traveling Willburys", who used a very distinct sound for the drums and the guitars. Although I personally do not like the over-processed snare sound of these productions. But the arrangements are definitely worth a listen (possible reference) to get an idea of how this particular band-placement could be.

However, do not take this as a "definite sound". Copying others is easy. Let the music speak to you, find your own groove and try to tell a story with your mix.

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: make the best out of the provided audio material (EQ, compression, transient tools, etc), no "drum sample triggering / replacement"! Failing to adhere to this rule will result in instant disqualification
  • 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!
  • provide the material in the same sampling rate and bitrate as originally provided. Do not convert/dither.
  • try to not(!) pre-master the track (please no overuse of mix bus treatment, no loudness adjustments / limiting) - read: NO MASTERING

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


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (450,63 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
Add-On Package - the decoded M/S tracks (209,14 MB, LZMA compressed, zip) - try to work without reaching for them first


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 1086,94 MB, packed 450,63 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
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
IK Multimedia is kind enough give away one license of T-RackS ONE to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on IK Multimedia: https://www.ikmultimedia.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
MuTools is kind enough give away one license of MUX Modular 7 of winner's choice
License will turn into NFR
More info on MuTools: http://www.mutools.com/


Image
NOS Audio is kind enough give away one license of NOS Roomer to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on NOS Audio: http://www.nosaudio.com/


Image
Tone2 is kind enough to donate a license of Ultraspace to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Tone2: https://tone2.com



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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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:31 pm

Some tools of the trade (I can recommend) for decoding Mid/Side material. If you have something built into your host, please use it. If not, the following devices are a good starting point:


Brainworx bx_control v2 (via Plugin Alliance) - link
Nugen Audio SIGMOD - link
Goodhertz Midside Matrix - link (free, but needs online activation/a user account)
Voxengo MSED - link (free)


The manual solution:
Sound on Sound - Sound Advice Post
Section on M/S Microhone techniques on Wikipedia

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JulienMeirone
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:16 pm

Hello guys,

here my submission for the challenge of this month :

WAV 44-24 : https://www.dropbox.com/s/w3kevgwu4bjso ... e.wav?dl=0
MP3 : https://www.dropbox.com/s/plvaeiqh653fj ... e.mp3?dl=0
Screenshots : https://www.dropbox.com/s/gvyri17i7c9g0 ... e.rar?dl=0

So for this mix, phase was really really important to me so i used a lot Auto-align on everything to check especially on the drum to have the best possible phase for the snare drum.

In my session, i have :

Mix buss : VCC, VBC, BX digital V3, inflator and satin

Drum : dbx160, arousor, acme opticom, SSL E channel, bx townhouse, SDRR 2, Cla76, cla drums, pro G, submarine, devil loc

Strings : same as guitars with elysia phil cascade

ebow: nothing but Q3

Guitars : cla 3, api 2500, lofi, pro mb, j37, puigtech 1, bx console SSL E

Lead Vocal : devil loc, cla 76, pro ds, pro Q3, L2, pro MB, cla 2A, C2

Background Vocals : vcomp, dbx 160, BF76

EFX : trueverb, echoboy, microshift, Pro R, H910, Vdelay, vintage verb, phoenix verb, xenoverb

I hope you will like it. Have a great day guys.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:55 pm

Well, that was certainly fast.

Excuse me for being a bit irritated... aside from being very, very close to the original (just more dynamic), I've looked on the screenshots of your setup. Maybe it's ProTools that is confusing me, but...


:?: Did you actually address the mid/side microphones?
(all acoustic guitars, the choir vocals, the drum room)

From the screenshots, I do not(!) see a Center = Mid and Left (Phase Inverted)/Right (in phase) = Side, or a setup with any of the known M/S tools. In fact, your first plugin of choice on the stereo sum is the Waves J37 Tape Machine - and that one does not have a M/S decoding option.

You are aware that this is not an A/B or X/Y setting?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microphon ... tereophony


Also - maybe there is a simple explanation for it, but why is there a "Sample" sub-group, that also has automation running?



Either way - if you missed that mic setting (it's not like it's been clearly pointed out in the file names, TXTs, documentation and the introduction of this thread) - then I'm sorry. But you know the rules, your entry is final.

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JulienMeirone
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:16 pm

No problem, yep i did it fast cause the september month is going to be crazy for me ^^ . I know my entry is final and i am ok with this don't worry.

if you look my session you will see "cm" after the files names wich mean commited. Basically i used auto-align and bx control V2 and then commited a lot of files to save cpu power and that's why you do not see any ms plugin like waves MS1 or bx control V2. I experimented of the two types of files provided too, clip gained a lot of thinks...

is it a problem to use the original mix as reference for the levels between the instruments ?

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Mister Fox » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:33 pm

JulienMeirone wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:16 pm
if you look my session you will see "cm" after the files names wich mean commited. Basically i used auto-align and bx control V2 and then commited a lot of files to save cpu power and that's why you do not see any ms plugin like waves MS1 or bx control V2. I experimented of the two types of files provided too, clip gained a lot of thinks...
Ah - this explains a lot. For both the song provider, and others that want to learn from each other, you should make that more clear in your initial post.

Still kind of confused however, why your mix console "edit" screenshot shows panning, but no M/S tools. If these are the comitted files, then you don't need panning anymore, do you? (since the Mid is basically Center, and the sides are a stereo L/R file).

Also... the "Sample" group. But if this is your workflow, no arguments form my side. :tu:


JulienMeirone wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:16 pm
is it a problem to use the original mix as reference for the levels between the instruments ?
Oh don't get me wrong here. If this is your spin on the production, then so be it. I'm just surprised that it's fairly close to the original - but more dynamic, yet with more "saturation" on a lot of channels. That's all.

I hope September won't be too busy for you.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:47 pm

No problem, i admit this is a very particular mix and i should have document a bit more the preparation aspect of this session since there is mid side decoding. it was not very clear in my initial post and i am sorry for that.

The sample group is basically the three ebows tracks ^^. I did not want to have this tracks with the guitars since it is more sustained notes that typical guitar things.

You can commit the files in many ways in pro tools (or freeze or bounce too...), you can consolidate, commit volume automations or not, pan or not.. i did not commit pan since my main goal was to save power especially from auto align wich is not very cpu friendly ^^. I wanted to be sure sure after decoding that the mid and the sides where in phase to avoid problems ( spoiler alert : there were most of the time for the guitars but not for the drums).

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by Franz » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:14 am

Hello,

A doubt: on the original mix I hear a kind of cymbal twice (from the beginning to zero seconds
to twenty seconds) which brings a kind of "breath".
Do I have a problem because I can't find this track anywhere?

Cheers

Franz

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JulienMeirone
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC058 September 2019 - Submissions until 21-09-2019 11:59pm GMT+2/CEST

Post by JulienMeirone » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:09 am

You are not deaf my friend, we don't have this track so i just did without ^^.

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