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MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 71 - November 2020


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 have the chance to work on an "Electronic / Singer-Songwriter" production by Patrick Lord with his project "Digital Genes". The song is called "Blue in Grey".

You can once more dive deep into your tool arsenal and get creative in terms of sound design. As long as you don't loose sight of the overall concept, and have a special focus on certain important parts of this production (like certain synths and/or the violin).

Please read about the details and special requirements for handling this mix further down below.




Please take note of the following
  • Please consult the official "Rules and Guidelines" for the Mix Challenge regarding principles of the game, recommendations and upload/submission guidelines
  • IMPORTANT: please only 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, name the files properly to distinguish your edit from all others.
  • 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: MC071__Digital_Genes__Blue_in_Grey__ForumUsername.wav
  • please only upload to cloud storage spaces (DropBox, GoogleDrive, etc), not SoundCloud - and check that your material is downloadable
  • 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
  • Our Song Pool has dried up! Future Mix Challenges are in jeopardy. We're 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!



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 1: Statistics/Data Sheet: Overview of Submissions - is your entry within given parameters?
Mix Round 2: Global Feedback and Round 2 Participant Announcement
Results of the Mix Challenge: Winners announced
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Sunday, 01st November 2020 to Saturday, 21st November 2020 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-11-2020, 23:59 UTC+1/CET (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: Digital Genes (Patrick Lord)
Song Name and Length: Blue in Grey, 5:44 min
Song Information: 120 BPM / Signature: 4/4
File Format: WAV, 44kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Electronic / Singer-Songwriter


Preview of the Song:


Official release (for reference):
https://digitalgenes.bandcamp.com/track/blue-in-grey


A word from the song provider:
Patrick Lord wrote:I wrote this in Ableton Live 10, starting as an instrumental which then became a full-blown song. I used a professional session singer for the vocals.

The way I built the song was to start with the main parts and then I added multi-rhythmic 'filler' tracks in the in the mid and top ranges that when combined together can deliver sometimes quite interesting overlapping rhythms.

For this mix challenge I have removed practically all the original processing (EQ, reverb, etc.) including the original volume variations of the tracks between different sections of the song. I have provided both dry and wet versions of two of the tracks ('Rob Papen RG' and 'Synth Motion') because the FX were essential to creating their motion and rhythm. There are a handful of "guide and reference tracks" present that show you the original sound design.

Special focus should be on the Electric Guitar and Synth Motion, the Violins and the Serum synths, as they are the main rhythmic and lead elements for this production.

I have no reference songs for you to use, I'd simply like it to sound like it has modern production values applied to it. It is a unique song and I'd like some creative results.

Remember that it is, above all, a love song, so it needs to be moving and emotional.



(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote:This production heavily reminds me of "New Wave" music from the late 1990s/early 2000s, with vocals that have a dash of James LaBrie (Dream Theater, i.a.) from the same time. Very interesting blend.

However, I sadly can't provide an interesting reference mix this month either. So you have to go by your gut instinct. Which is just the right thing for this creativity challenge.

I highly recommend to take a closer look at the additional "guide tracks". Not only can you listen to how the drumloop has been mixed originally, but also get an insight on the used timed effects (delay). Please also to take a closer look at the "Sparkle" synth part (Massive), as this one has a very distinct effect. Recreating that one might not be easy.

All I can give you on the way for MC071, is to listen to the demo mix, to the already released mix on Bandcamp, get inspired, then find your own groove.

Have fun!

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.

Rule Summary / 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 for this production)
  • make the best out of the provided audio material (EQ, compression, transient tools, etc), no "drum sample triggering / replacement"!
  • summing bus processing is allowed, as long as the dynamic range (average signal strength to maximum signal strength) doesn't suffer - artistic use only!
  • the focus of this game is "mixing" - NO MASTERING
  • render the edited material in the same sampling rate and bitrate as originally provided (MC071/November => 44/24)
  • ADD-ON RULES - PRODUCTION RELATED:
    • <no additional add-on rules specified>
Please consult the official Rules and Guidelines for a more detailed set of rules. Failing to adhere to the rules will result in instant disqualification


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


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (888,83 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: file unavailable after 21-NOV-2020


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 3300,14 MB, packed 888,83 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

If you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months:
Please consider supporting us

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


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 (exception: Verberate Immersive)
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
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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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#3

Post by Mister Fox »

.
:arrow: An important announcement:

 ! Bonus Info
As of Mix Challenge 071 / November:
If you do not document your edit by the time the deadline has been reached, your entry will be disqualified.


This is not to steal your knowledge - but to actually expand on it, and to train yourself for the real world, where "session recall" and "re-editing" is a requirement. This is adding to the learning factor of understanding possible mistakes and/or for others to benefit from your findings, ideas, not to mention gather some new inspiration from your type of mixing. Nobody can improve if you can't learn anything.

By posting only a screenshot of your arranger window, or just part of your mixing console, there is no learning factor. You don't have to list every single tool and setting you've used (this is for your personal documentation for possible recall sessions), but please give a general insight of how you got to your final product. As absolute minimum, document/highlight your process for any instrument cluster and/or vocals to your liking, and how you got to this particular sound in your edit (used tools).


Please take a look at the various entries for Mix Challenge 070 on how your documentation could look like.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#4

Post by Dodgingrain »

Patrick,
Do you want us to stick tightly to the released mix and just beat it or are you looking for a new direction for the mix?
Mixing, Mastering, Remixing Services
Two Cat Audio Labs, llc
https://www.twocataudiolabs.com
https://www.instagram.com/twocataudiolabs/
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#5

Post by JohnK »

Cool song and great vocals - def got James Labrie feeling.

Breakdown.

Drums:
Felt great. Didn't do much, basic EQ and a bit of compression.

Bass:
Basic EQ and some compression.

Synths/Pads:
Basic EQ, removed rumble, added some shine and panning. One secret trick was to use a doubler to get the them out of the way of the vocals.

Guitar:
Filtered it to have it sit in the mix. MB comp for 2k and added tape saturation. Some automation for the filtering and spread.

Strings:
A ton of automation. Added some tape saturation.

Vocal:
Didn't like the raw tone, it felt nasally. Did a ton of gain automation, Removed a lot of 1-3k with EQ but not a lot of compression, just LA2A for for texture and Rvox to have it sit right.

Mixbus:
A ton of parallel saturation and some basic EQ to remove rumble and adding some shine.

Momentary Max: -14.5
Short Term Max: -16.4
Integrated: -18 LUFS


The Mix:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rzz1powf3oh0r ... K.wav?dl=0
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#6

Post by spaceman »

Here is my mix.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/xmgtg8glwchqi ... n.wav?dl=0

Wanted to emphasize the low end while making sure to make it as punchy as possible.

Tons of width on this mix and tried to play around with all those syncopated popcorn style synths.

I didn't play around with automating levels which would have given more life but perhaps on another pass through.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#7

Post by Mister Fox »

As per this post above, can you provide more documentation? As in... focus on at least one instrument that you wanted to let stand out?

Please update your post with additional words, @spaceman
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#8

Post by patrlord »

Dodgingrain wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 17:17 CET
Patrick,
Do you want us to stick tightly to the released mix and just beat it or are you looking for a new direction for the mix?
Hi! I don't want to impose that you stick tightly to the released mix, and I would love to hear where you can take it.
However, if you transform it into a totally different style, then there is a risk that it may be a style I like less.
Alternatively, if you stick closer to the released mix but the hit the ball out of the park I would be super happy with that too.
patrlord
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#9

Post by patrlord »

Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 03:18 CET
As per this post above, can you provide more documentation? As in... focus on at least one instrument that you wanted to let stand out?

Please update your post with additional words, @spaceman
The synth motion, violins and vocals are the core melodic elements of the song. The pads also provide important background harmonies. The serum lead right at the end of the song has to really sound like it's crying out, I'm particularly interested in how you can treat that so it sounds just right in the context of the song.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC071 November 2020 - Submissions until 21-11-2020 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#10

Post by Franz »

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for such an excellent title. And in addition, an excellent presentation of the audio tracks which saves
us a considerable waste of time, which is unfortunately the case in some other contests.

That said, you explain very well in your presentation what you expect from the mixes that will be offered to you.
The diagram is clear and we find it of course in your mix, which is always very mastered and for me, can not really
be used as a support for my mixing. The idea is, indeed as you say, to release an emotion by listening to this title.
There is therefore a "crescendo" from the beginning of the piece to the end of the song followed and finished by the
"solo" of the instrument "serum" which must "crown the end. Easier to write than to do.

Mixed in Samplitude Pro X5 with its own plugins + the other external plugins.

The first part of the work consists of grouping the different instruments together in dedicated buses.
For me there is a bus for the rhythm (drums + bass), a bus for all the synths and a bus for the voice.
This allows a very precise adjustment with three potentiometers to finalize the mix.
But of course before that, you have to mix the different tracks on their dedicated bus.

The hardest part was to get a sizeable drums because the different tracks that make it up were really scattered and cut up.

After that at the level of the "synths" it was necessary to pay very attention to the important interferences between them
because all are practically in the same tessitura sound.
Particular attention paid to the violins track, difficult to equalize to get out of the mix.

The voice, superb, was no problem (a real treat ...).

I come back to a very important concept that is very often misused and understood by many people.
"Automation", the magic tool that allows you to do everything ....
In the case of the title that interests us, how can (abusive) automation serve us ? Take the example of singing:
there is nothing to "automate" if we want to keep the "emotion" there is in the voice, even the last sentence
which is at the maximum crescendo expressed by the singer. . No need for a boost.

Automation is a pseudo-myth associated with today's DAWs and is certainly not the silver bullet, unless of course
the recording is really catastrophic. And that is quite common, already decades ago, groups recorded in studios
in a rather questionable way with as only credo of the musicians the following sentence "one will arrange that with the mixing".

Fortunately, Patrick gave us an almost perfect title which gives a real pleasure to practice a mix with a defined artistic option.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qh9seh71dyhmn ... z.wav?dl=0

Cheers

Franz
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