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MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Winners announced


Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 77 - June 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 a production that is blend of "New Age" and "Pop" (the definite genre is a bit hard to define). The multi-tracks are kindly provided by former act "Keystone Angel" (represented by @RodA), and the song is called "Afterglow".

You might have heard of this multi-track package before, since it was already showcased in 2015 through the Cambridge-MT Free Multi-Track Library repository (hosted by Mike Senior). However we have the added benefit of the songwriter being actively present, and him deciding on how the game further progresses. Without him and his interaction, this particular mixing challenge wouldn't exist.

There are no big twists this months. But you still have to pay attention to detail as this is a fairly old project and has the occasional editing and rendering issue. It is also important to understand the concept of the song as a whole before starting your mix.

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: MC077__Keystone_Angel__Afterglow__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: <in debate / not used>
Results of the Mix Challenge: Winners announced
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Mister Fox »


Time Frame: Tuesday, 01st June 2021 to Monday, 21st June 2021 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-06-2021, 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: Keystone Angel
Song Name and Length: Afterglow, 3:21 min
Song Information: 90 BPM / Signature: 4/4
File Format: WAV, 44kHz, 24bit

GENRE: New Age, Pop

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

A word from the song provider:
RodA wrote:The music started with the bass loop I came up with to which I wrote the piano part. Hiedi (The vocalist wrote the lyrics) The lyrics are inspired by the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime.

"The city smoulders" is a reference to bushfires which periodically burn through Australian towns. There is an argument that Ancient Aboriginal land management could control theses fires. The lyrics are open to interpretation but could refer to an Aboriginal Elder who has died as the fires burn after warning people what was coming. And is now moving into the Dreamtime.

I came up with the tribal sounding beats to fit with the theme and wrote the flute melody. Then Hiedi wrote the vocal melody around that. Most of the instrument sounds come from Logic Pro.

I think the biggest issues that come up when trying to mix this are

1. getting the bass elements to work together. The low pad, different drums and the bass are all jostling for space in the low frequencies. Maybe some side chain ducking could work to pump that low pad. I was never quite happy with how I got the low to low mids sounding. More impact you can get in the low end the better. But I don't think a really bassy mix is the way to go. It's a fine balance.

2. Hiedi's vocal is quite dynamic for this context. Her voice is very choral or operatic and if you listen to recordings of this type of music it is very dynamic, but in the context of a compressed beat driven popular music track that level of dynamic is not going to work. So you'll have work to get the vocal level. One compressor, I don't think, is going to do it. An added problem is that at some point bits of automation got printed with the vocal so it goes up in volume briefly in spots and for certain sibilant syllables. I tried to find an earlier version without this issue but couldn't.

Some possible reference songs for participants:

Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
Enya - Orinoco Flow
Florence And The Machine - Cosmic Love. No Light, No Light
Adele - Hello
Sting - Desert Rose

(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Mister Fox wrote:This might look like a "small and easy" production, yet there are so many intricate details in this song that can make or break the storytelling. Paying attention to detail is more than important this month. Read the lyrics, take a listen to the mentioned references, get a feel for the bigger picture before you start working.

You might also notice that some tracks have audible clicks and render "bugs" in them due to this being an older project, and the original material not being available anymore. Easy to fix, but this might stand out in the final mix.

The double tracked vocals drift a bit away form each other, as in, their timing might not be to certain standards. You can try to align them, but please have an open ear for the overall flow, don't let things turn too perfect and sterile.

Additional references I could offer:

Goldfrapp - Ocean Feat. Dave Gahan
Susanne Sundfør - The Golden Age
Jillian Aversa - Aletheia

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 (MC077 / June => 44/24)
    • time alignment of vocal double takes is allowed, but try to prevent things turning too perfect/sterile
    • no (more) 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 (93,69 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: file unavailable after 21-JUN-2021

The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 1331,59 MB, packed 93,69 MB (ZIP, LZMA) (file size is no mistake, ZIP/Normal would have been 389,84MB)
In order to extract the files, we can recommend these programs:

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

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.

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

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

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

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/

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/

NUGEN Audio is kind enough give away one license from the depicted tools (see image) to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on NUGEN Audio: https://nugenaudio.com/

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

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 - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Dodgingrain »

Hey @RodA ,

Thanks for the song to work with, its a great change of pace and definitely cool. Are you thinking more soundtrack on this one or more pop? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being soundtrack and 10 being pop where would you like this one?

Mixing, Mastering, Remixing Services
Two Cat Audio Labs, llc

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by RodA »

Dodgingrain wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 01:44 CEST
Hey @RodA ,

Thanks for the song to work with, its a great change of pace and definitely cool. Are you thinking more soundtrack on this one or more pop? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being soundtrack and 10 being pop where would you like this one?

Dodgingrain wrote:
Thu Jun 03, 2021 01:44 CEST
Hey @RodA

Yes bit of a pace change. I think at the end of the day I would aim for a sound that will hold up against pop when played back on crappy systems but still sounds pretty big if you know what I mean. I think maybe 6 or 7 on your scale.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by UHLS »

Hi there, thanks for this song.
It wasn't easy to create a certain balance, but that's my attempt now.
I first formed the groups in the daw and then sent them to hardware (KT76, EQP-KT). then i added a little izotope trash2 to some instruments, and formed two buses with reverb. I added a little eventide harmonizer to the vocals and that's it.
song is rendered in 44/24 and has -14 LUFS integrated (youlean measurement). I hope that everything is according to the rules.

https://www.file-upload.net/download-14 ... S.wav.html
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by alavault »

Hello !
Mix : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wTQwRU ... sp=sharing

Bass :
  • Regular + sansamp in parallel
  • Multiband comp + limiter + EQ
  • Sent into parallel compression, short verb and flanger
Lead and backing Vox :
  • used VOLA2 as a vocal leveller before doing anything else.
  • 1176 comp + EQ (SSL + Luftikus) into limiter
  • lead sent into vox crusher, plate and long hall verb, 1/4 and 1/2 note delays, slap delay
  • backing vox sent to vox crusher, medium verb, flanger and stereo delay
Synth and keys
  • Piano : EQ into 1176 fast-fast,20:1
  • Pad : heavy ducker, sidechained to drum 1 & 2 (since they are "kick-like")
  • "Auxiliary" : EQ (8k all around), sent into medium and long verbs
  • Sent into parallel synth comp
Drums :
  • Drum 1&2 : processed like kick drums = top and bottom + transient designer. Mono-ized and panned 50L/R
  • Drum 3&4: processed like toms : some top, lower mid and dip around 500.
  • aux percussions : fast attack compressor and getting rid of the low-end (highpass and low shelf)
  • reverse cymbal : added synced ping/pong delay
  • Sent into long verb, stereo delay and flanger
  • vanilla flavoured : nothing done to them.
Master bus :
  • Kotelnikov into Buster pre-fader
  • Busscolors, PtEQ-x into eq intoToTape6 into limiter
  • volume automation
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by EchoOread »

Hi everyone!
Great song! Thank you for the music. I enjoyed mixing it. I hope you like my take on it. Thanks.

I chose a bigger space bc I like some of Enya's stuffs. Spent a good better half of time working the drums until they form a cohesive rhythm section. That included mostly HP, some EQing, and a parallel. The bass and other low synths were treated with HP and parallel to bring up the growl. Even up some vocal parts with clip gain, compressed, and sent to 3 stereo delays. Not much done on the piano except for HP and parallel in the drops for highlighting purpose. I love the flute so I chose to highlight it slightly louder than the dogididoo (or something like that) on the choruses and sent it to 2 stereo delays. The tambourine and persc were HP, compressed, and sent to a short stereo delay.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CqeOK4 ... sp=sharing

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by patriktors »


I have tried to ”find the song” in this heavy arrangement of things colliding a lot. Upon a first listen it just left me hollow. What did this song want out of me, other than to be forgotten? So I wanted it to PLAY instead of just sound. To have soul instead of flat-ness. To sound like music. Impact. Bodily responses in the listener rather than confusion.

So. Ok. Here goes:

On an old PT HD rig with only stock PT eq, comp, verb, and the lofi-plug. And one instance of a McDsp two-shelf plug.

Loads and loads of automation.

Some killed darlings here and there without anything dissapearing completely. I consider mixing to be much about the fine taste of building strong parts by knowing what have to stand back. Sometimes thing have to leave for a moment or two.

Zero bus mojo. It is a clean stereo out.

Zero parallell tricks.

Just basic, classic, listening. No visual aids other than red lights upon clip. I run an old all-TDM system.

This is my take of what I consider to be the song’s hidden potential:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/crfyq9ahvv41x ... s.wav?dl=0

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by Beja »

Good afternoon everybody.

Special thanks to Keystone Angel for kindly providing the song.

Here is my mix:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ni4556c58zp4b ... a.wav?dl=0

Mix Document (Google Translate)

-16.5 Integrated
-3.1 True Peal

How I have seen the mix:

For this song, I worked on the Drums, gave each of them a place
into the mix and separated them from the bass.
In turn, although the Drums do not play the main role in this song, when sounding
ordered, it changes completely. Each one of the drums, has its new
space in the stereo or mono field respectively. Drum 3 dance from L to R to give
movement and space constantly to others. It was necessary for them to differentiate themselves
well a tone processor and parametric eq.
On the guitar bass I applied a very fast side change compression, so it can fit
and go out to the bass zone without problems. So that it does not pump.
As for the Percussions, it was necessary to give a little more presence to the claps
with only 1.5 Db of gain. The Tamborine was also repositioned in the stereo field,
to add more presence and movement throughout the drum group.
The piano was able to retain its original sound, with low frequencies
ordered, it is now possible. It was not simple to protect the bass frequencies from the
piano throughout the whole song for this many instruments that shared
frequencies were tempered. Saturation on the piano, did not give the desired result,
but excitement is. It also has a Reverb and just one Delay point per send.
Choir collides with the piano and therefore has a frequent Side Change.
The FX have their own group, all are checked with parametric Eq and each one
has its place. The FX Group has Reverb and one Delay point per Aux send.
Didgeridoo has a subtle frequency Bit Crusher, in the 1k to 5k zone that
makes a little more fun. But it no longer exceeds the voice.
The Leader Voice was sought as a Real voice, an "in your face" voice. With the different
Voice tracks were achieved good backing vocals. They needed alignment, some
sometimes yes, and sometimes no. It was sought to be a free voice in the dynamic range,
that is why a compressor was applied that compresses only 1 db. Practically nothing. But
if it was necessary to work the limitation well because by leaving so much dynamic range,
he was escaping from the playing field. The frequency 6081 hz had problems in headphones
of phone. It could be corrected.
Several volume automations were performed on FX and on Instruments.

Greetings to all and good luck !!!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC077 June 2021 - Submissions until 21-06-2021 23:59 UTC+2/CEST


Post by jules666 »

Hi All

Thanks as usual to Mister Fox for organising these contests.

@RodA : thanks for providing the song.

I would have liked a bit more time on this but will be on holiday next week :smile:

The link to my mix is below:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W_ufOK ... sp=sharing

Drum 1/Drum 2: Treated as kick drums some EQ and compression (SSL 4000 G - plugin alliance).
Drum 3: Treated as Tom again EQ and compression (SSL 4000 G - plugin alliance).
Verb: Drum 1/2/3 all sent this with room verb applied.

Drum 4: Snare with EQ and Compression (Lindell 80 - plugin alliance). This went to its own plate verb.

Bass: Duplicated this, treated one with just EQ and compression, the other with some slight overdrive (Greed Smasher - mercurial audio) to give a little bite.

I aligned some of vocal a little bit here and there.

Lead Vox:
Some sibliance removal (Waves)
Saturation: Blackbox on main vox, and used the Saturation in Scheps Omni for the double track (no reason I can remember, just felt like processing just slightly different)

Both sent to a bus where I then applied compression and a little eq to try and tame some of the higher frequencies.

Background vox: All sent to bus where I applied EQ and some compression. Room reverb also used.
Choir: Little bit of verb and kept it low in the mix

Strings/Flute: Just some subtle EQ and reverb to help sit in mix
Radio: just automated volume a little
Pad: Duplicated, and on one of them I created a bit of a mangled sound (Trash/Stutter edit) to see if I could generate a bit of movement and mixed in low with original.
Digeridoo: Scheps Omni for some saturation/EQ/Comp. Also put a hard clipper on to shave some of the peaks down a little.

Piano: Lindell 80 Channel strip on the tracks for EQ.
Then into a bus with some compression to help glue them together,EQ and some Tape (Waves J37)

SFX: Was not entirely sure I dealt with these correctly. I put Softube Saturation effect on them to just warm the sounds a little more, and tried to get the levels for them working in the mix.

FX Sends: I had the following effect sends setup.

Reverb 1 (CLA Epic): Piano and Flute sent to this
Reverb 2 (CLA Epic): Vox
Delay: Vox

Master Bus: light compression

Some volume and send automations here and there as well.

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