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MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 76 - May 2021


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, you have the chance to work on an "Electropop" production. The multi-tracks are kindly provided by the duo "Suspicious Flashlight" (represented by @Christoph_K), and the song is called "Same (REMIX)".

One of the twists this month, is to work with "printed-to-tape" source material where a clean version couldn't be recovered, and trying to properly integrate that into the mix. Else, this particular challenge has more focus on your mixing creativity.

Please take special note of the attached TXT files (Technical Details section in "Words by the Song Provider") and 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: MC076__Suspicious_Flashlight__Same_REMIX__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

Please also 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
Mix Round 3: Global Feedback and Round 3 Participant Announcement
Results of the Mix Challenge: Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Saturday, 01st May 2021 to Friday, 21st May 2021 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-05-2021, 23:59 UTC+2/CEST (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: Suspicious Flashlight
Song Name and Length: Same (REMIX), 3:34 min
Song Information: 110 BPM / Signature: 4/4
File Format: WAV, 48kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Electropop (Electronic / Pop)


Preview of the Song (Demo Mix):
phpBB [media]



A word from the song provider:
Christoph_K wrote:This track is a remix of the song "Same" by Suspicious Flashlight. The track was originally released with our debut album "Stars" in 2013.

We decided to redo the mixes of the whole album for a re-release in 2021.


The remix version was produced by taking just the vocals from the original version which is way slower at 89 BPM. We sped up the vocal tracks to the actual tempo of 110 BPM. We were looking for an uplifting mood and somewhat danceable version of the song.

The original mix from 2013 is a pre-master (aka mix) and was mastered by Abbey Roads Online Mastering for the release. But we decided to provide the pre-master because it honestly reveals the lack of skills we had back then ;)

There are quite a few things we don't like in our mix: the muddiness, way too much reverb on the lead vocals (we loved our reverb plugins too much obviously), some harshness, the low-end is bad (balance between kick and bass), the main guitar riff needs more love, there are clap hits here and there and they just get buried - just to name a few examples.

The lead vocal track in the chorus has a stereo slapback effect on it and we couldn't find the dry mono version, so we regenerated a new mono
track. You can use either or, but not both at the same time because of phase issues. In the last Chorus we chose to crush the vocals with a telephone-ish sound to bring in some variety, but you can try to find other ways to do that. Sadly, there is no dry version available anymore.


Feel free to come up with your ideas of how you would approach a modern vibe with a good balance between a punchy rhythm section, spacey keyboards and vocals. We suggest starting with all faders set up to zero after import. The tracks were leveled so that the mixbus doesn't clip.



The winner mix may get released online if we're happy with the result along with the rest of the re-mixed album.


Have Fun!



(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Mister Fox wrote:Please don't let the "simple" arrangement fool you, there is still a lot going on in this "Electropop" production.

Finding a balance between punchy percussion, clean synths and strong vocals might not be easy. But nothing that some clever routing can't handle (hint: side-chaining).

You can try to clean up the vocals "printed" with the slap back delay and chorus effect, but this might not work in the long run. While testing the occasional trick from my toolbox during the Integrity Check, I didn't get that far. Your only choice might be to "build upon" this given sound. Then again, who knows what idea you came up with. In this case, I would definitely love to read about your particular solution!


Giving references is not easy this month. Although the vocal sound is definitely heavily inspired (in my humble opinion) by songs from the 1980s. "Taco - Puttin' on the Ritz" (1982) comes to mind. Else, maybe access Youtube with the search term "Electropop".

Here you can find songs by "Katy Perry - Chained to the Rhyhtm ft. Skip Marley" (2017), "Maroon 5 - What Lovers Do ft. SZA" (2017), "DJ Snake ft. Bipolar Sunshine - Middle" (2015), "Bruno Mars vs. David Guetta - Versace on The Floor" (2017), "Wiz Khalifa - See You Again ft. Charlie Puth" (2015), "Ellie Goulding - Love Me Like You Do" (2015). Just to name a few. What should be clear here, is that all these songs use specific "techniques" for the percussion section.

The rest is up to your gut instinct. So please read up on the lyrics, take a closer look at the instrumentation, and then try to 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. Edit/Mix in such a way, that barely any after-touches other than loudness adjustments and final limiting is needed in a possible follow-up mastering step.
  • render the edited material in the same sampling rate and bitrate as originally provided (MC076/May => 48/24)
  • ADD-ON RULES - PRODUCTION RELATED:
    • no 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. There will be no additional reminders given.


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


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (529,80 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: file unavailable after 21-MAY-2021


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 2256,52 MB, packed 529,80 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!

JohnK
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#3

Post by JohnK »

Hi Everyone,

The mix: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1qouwt4ee4lfz ... K.wav?dl=0

Summary:
Really fun song to mix and great vocals.

Drums:
The drums sounded really good so I just enhanced some transients and level them out a bit. SSL Comp on the drum bus and thats it pretty much. Tamed just some harshness from the snare with EQ. Other than that, I kept it pretty straight forward.

Bass:
I see what the provider meant with the mud between kick and bass. I went for Dua Lipa-isch kind of style on the bass to have it sit in the mix. Basic EQ and some saturation. Did not use the "wet" track, used the not processed one and split that into sub/top and blend it to taste.

Guitar:
Just reverb and basic EQ. Nothing special at all.

Synths/Piano:
Focused mostly on the piano which had the groove in the hook. Basic EQ but tried with some even saturation to have it sit a bit better and not compete with the synths/pads.
Other than that, just basic EQ and reverb on the other parts.
Didn't compress that much at all actually.

Vocals:
Spent most time on the vocals and tried to have them just in the pocket. I might have cut the body just a tiny bit too much but they sit a bit better in the entire mix that way. Serial compression and focused on to clean the muds but with a crisp midrange. Quite a challenge to get the clean midrange without loosing the focus.
Edit: Forgot one thing. The original vocals with the heavy slap was used in the end.. didn't bother too much about it, my thoughts are if the winner get to release the mix with the provider, I assume the ending would be re-recorded.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#4

Post by Dodgingrain »

Hey Christop_K,
Fun track! :phones: Quick question. In the premaster version in the verses there seems to be a short delay on the vocals somewhat similar to the chorus vocals. Is that a sound you're looking for just without as much reverb?

Later,
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 - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#5

Post by Christoph_K »

Do what you like with that, you will not be sued ;)

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#6

Post by kevin gobin »

Hello,

Beautiful song!

I noticed that the tracks were very well recorded/edited, and at right levels. :tu:

I mixed it in Reaper.

I used digital eq and compression on tracks, mostly to cut mud and enhance the shapes I needed.
I used Analog Obsession Eqs: Rare for pultec, G395a for highs. I also used ProQ mid side Eq to craft the stereo image.
I chose to use only Analog Obsession digital compressors: LALA, Fetish, and Fetsnap were mostly used on drums and vocals. The reason? Just trying to listen and understand this family of software I have never used before.
I used delay on some tracks.
I created no group busses.
I just setup two automated sends: a delay and a reverb for vocals.
Then at the end of the mix I put analog hardware on the 2BUS: an Elysia transient shaper to make the groove more obvious, a Bettermaker compressor to add some weight and depth, and an Elysia Eq to boost the mids and highs, and low cut the lows.
I must admit I also heavily used the mute button... The client may hate me for that but he just said no one would be prosecuted.

Good mixing everybody, have fun and be nice.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/14rt0mrozdy8r ... n.wav?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5r55kzqzymhpk ... n.mp3?dl=0

Alex Van mixland
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#7

Post by Alex Van mixland »

Hello,
It's fine to mix modern song, so i try add new radio ready modern character to song.
Here is my mix:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/10v2tyX ... sp=sharing

To be honest: I enjoyed mixing this song :phones:
Mix notes:
Kick and other drum instruments: i tried to get balance and i didn't use eq or other things. Maybe a little bit of 500hz -3db and 8k 2db.
Bass: remains the same but i added a little bit of flanger. also i cuted unwanteed ringing super high frequencies. If you turn it up it has ringing resonance frequency.
Instruments: Also nothing crazy. Tricky one was Guitar track - for me it has too much harsh frequencies and i tried to control it. I use reverb on some track.
Vocal: I started mix with vocal, because i wanted to get it as good as possible. I used effects and eq. I controled low end and add a little bit of highs.

In generel i mixed a song in same vibe as original but i added also a dance vibe - To make you move.

Best wishes and i hope you will make music video on this song:)

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#8

Post by MFTWC »

Hi there.

I used Cubase 11 to mix this song.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zpEUiT ... sp=sharing

After balancing the tracks I did some low cutting, high cutting and some shelfing to clean up the mix.

On the bass i used a low-shelf side-chained dynamic eq from the bd, the bd & bass were then bussed together and compressed with the SSL Native Bus Compressor v6.

Vocals, background vocals, Synths, Keys and Percussion got their own buses.

On the "Vocals" bus i used a LA-2A clone (VC 2A from NI) and small plate reverb from Nimbus.

Background vocals got the same treatment as the vocals. (added some pingpong delay on certain phrases)

On the synth bus i used the MSED Stereo Enhancer (to control the stereofield) and the bx_townhouse Buss Compressor. (for gluiness)

On the Keys I used the MSED Stereo Enhancer and the bx_townhouse Buss Compressor.

On the “GTR 1” and the echo y vocals I used the old pan left and delay the right trick. (I tried to find the right delay time that sounded best in mono).

On the percussion bus I used the bx_townhouse Buss Compressor.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#9

Post by Photonic »

Hi Christop_K,

What a great song to mix! Thank you so much for providing it to the challenge.
I would listen more radio, if they would play such kind of music like this song!

In general I tried to make a more brighter mix, where I can hear each instrument or vocal better. I kept the lead voice more dry, only enhancing some spots with automation for volume and reverb send.

WAV: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3kjku9ce27xkh ... c.wav?dl=0

Mixed in Reaper v5.99

Drum-Bus: Presswerk in Drum-Compressor mode for some parallel compression
BD and SD: Transpire for shorten the sound and make it more snappy, ReaEQ
Claps: ReaEQ
808Toms and cowbell: Acon Digital DeVerberate to remove the reverb from the toms, Transpire for less transient and to make the toms a bit longer, ReqEQ
Tambourine: On the oroginal WAV I only can hear a hard attack and nearly no decay. I removed the hard transient with Transpire andenhanced a much around 1kHz with ReaEQ.
All other percussions and drums: ReaEQ
Bass: Bass Professor II
Piano: ReaEQ and ThrillseekerXTC to enhance the piano sound
Rhodes: ReaEQ and Acon Digital Multiply for some chorus
Dream Pad: ReaEQ
Glass Pad: Extreme use of ReaEQ to enhance the highs above 2kHz. This makes the sound airy, light and bright.
Strings: ReaEQ and ThrillseekerXTC to enhance the string sound
Guitar1: Acon Digital Multiply for some chorus, ReaEQ, ThrillseekerXTC
Guitar2: ReaEQ, MidSideMangle to enhance side channels
BlipArp: NastyDLA for some additional stereo delay, ReaEQ, ThrillseekerXTC
Solo Synth and Flute: NastyDLA for some additional stereo delay, ReaEQ
Lead Vox: ReaEQ, Presswerk in vocal compressor mode, TDR Nova as de-esser, ReaDelay for some slight tap delay (room simulation), ThrillseekerXTC
LV chorus outro: ReaEQ, Green Eugen for some satturation, Presswerk
Ad libs: ReaEQ, NastyDLA, Acon Digital Multiply, ThrillseekerXTC
Mix-Bus: MQ57, Presswerk, SPAN, Youlean Loudness Meter

All reverbs: Acon Digital Verberate 2

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC076 May 2021 - Submissions until 21-05-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#10

Post by SoundBeing »

The one thing I wanted to say first, is that this process of finding a “winner” doesn’t’ really represent the actual process of mixing a song for/with a client. I find that all of the best mixes I’ve ever created are done so with the direct collaboration between mixer and client. This “game”, as it were, is fun to show off our skills, but IMO, it doesn’t really represent a truthful eye of what the best mix can inevitably be. My 2 cents on the matter. Ok, here’s my go…

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ieqi8z6dzfohq ... g.wav?dl=0

I started with the vocal. HPF, Compression, EQ and then I’ve added my special sauce which I call, “Sizzle” making sure that all of the good stuff was clip gained to make it sit right where I want it. I think the vocal delivery and the lyric are the single most important factor in this entire song.

Next steps were the Bass Drum, Bass Gtr and the various Snare/Hand Claps/Drum Loop. I created two different bass gtr sounds that move with the song. Both smooth and driving, one more than the other has a small amount of Wah creating subsonic motion.

Of course the guitar was idealized with some sweetening in the form of a modest amount of verb & tremolo along with an enveloped reverb that fills in the gaps (more fun in headphones :phones: ). This secondary reverb only activates at the end of the hits so it’s space comes and goes again creating motion.

Once I had my overall tone of the song (and I touched on track), I made sure that every detail of the vocal was still present and then I started adding some effects. There’s some tricky delays of various timings, a flanger and reverbs that change intensity by section. I also wanted the backing vocals to evolve in those spaces and I worked with some more panning, which the client seems to like from what I gathered in the material.

I took some liberties with moving some things around and muting. Maybe this will exclude me from moving forward, but I felt it and executed. I copied the snare from one section and added it to another. I muted some of the reversed swells and cymbals and replaced them with vocal stuff. I moved the beat of some cowbells and gave them some movement to add that tension release on transitions. I muted some of the tambourine beats to create a different groove entirely. :nutter:

My whole goal was to excite the song. I was very impressed by the vocal performance and was rather shocked that it was overall sped up by 21 bpms. :cool: That would kill most performances, but not this one. Very well executed and it’s only noticeable in the vibrato. I decided to stretch some of the held vocals towards to mask that faction.

Oh! I also pushed the vocal back :arrow: 4ms with a delay at the end of my vocal chain so that it relaxed the vibe. It felt a little rushed at times.

Wish I had a nice effects free vocal, especially towards the end. I just decided to just go with it as is instead of even trying the telephone. Thanks for the good time and best of luck to you and all the other competitors. I had a real fun time with this terrific song. :tu:

Mixed in ProTools Ultimate

Mostly Waves Plugs:
Q1-Q10
CLA-2a
RDeEsser
SchepsOC
KramerTape
BF-76
C1gate
OneKnbPhtr
RBass
PSA-1
RensancAxx
GTR STomp 2
-Tone
-Vibrolo

ModDelay
LX480Essnt
RVerb
H-Delay
Metaflange
Fuzz-Wah

SSL Comp
bx_solo
Abbey Roads Mastering Suite
Maxim

Track influences/references for me personally:
Jamiroquai
George Michael
Robbie Williams

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