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MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Winners announced

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Naturecord
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#101

Post by Naturecord »

It is taking some time to gather all opinions and listening to all the great mixes, but we expect to get it ready by this weekend, so we will be announcing the top 15 mixes very soon! Thank you for your patience!
Pål Isdahl Solberg
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#102

Post by White Punk OD »

Pål, can I make a suggestion about the purpose in evaluating the work by the contestants?
Everyone seeks some form of success, represented by audience, good critique, deal, and eventually payment.
So in a way this should be part of what we are rehearsing here in symbolic ways.

In most previous episodes, there was yes/no flagging like
bass too muddy / vocals harsh / important instrument inaudible etc., or for the winners like
great balances, full sound, the musicians liked the style etc,
and some advice to repair mainly technical issues, and mistaken balances and effects,

which is all part of the game.

But I believe it is even more important and fruitful to explain,
- in what way does the mix enhance the capacity of the song to reach a wider audience?
- which is the audience you have, and should be satisfied with mix (a), and which audience can you gain additionally, with mix (b)?
- how does the mix reflect the attitude that you want to present to the world with this song?
- can you gain from the setting? (it sounds pop, or folk, or live, or intimate, or underground....)
Thanks very much!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#103

Post by Naturecord »

I do see your point. I have to say that the process of being a song provider is very giving, but also quite demanding. Listening to 70 mixes, trying to have fresh ear and to make constructive notes on each mix, takes a lot of time (and breaks) and I see how it is easy to mostly comment on technical aspects of a mix. Maybe it also has something to do with trying to use a language that makes it possible to compare and understand mixes.

To comment on the commercial or artistic side of each mix would be too time consuming, I think. Maybe it would make sense as a song provider to add it to the notes in the start of the challenge. Some words on target audience, motivation/attitude and optional paths (A lot of song providers do already)

I do see that there are quite some mixes that are very true to style in the mixes we have reviewed, and some that are pulling more towards a denser pop/rock style. Both is interesting to listen to, and it is also a chance that overexplaining in the start could limit the creativity of the participants to mix something very different and unique.

The commercial and marketing side of the business is much harder to comment on, and if there was a recipe for it, I believe a lot of people would like to know it 😊 I can tell you that our experience with Canardus Horribilis is quite interesting. All musicians in the band have and are still playing in other projects that are doing quite well (at least from an artistic view) in styles that have a larger target audience on paper. But with a larger audience you also have a crowded field. If you are a very skilled prog-metal band in my area in Norway, you are one of very many very skilled prog-metal bands in the area, that are fighting to play the same venues and festivals.

Being a band in a much narrower style of music (there are more or less no similar bands in Norway these days) has actually been working out very well. Canardus is playing and touring all over Norway and the Nordic countries, as there are very few other bands doing the same thing/style. So, what may look like a rather narrow scene from a commercial point of view, is quite a good place to be as a musician. There are a lot of venues and festivals wanting you to play, there are sync possibilities, lots of co-creation opportunities and you are not fighting for attention in a crowd. Maybe its better to have a 5% chance of making it in a narrow style, than a 0,01% of making it in a more popular style? I don’t know 😊

Commenting on the commercial/marketing side of things is not my strength, and you will se that our feedback is very traditional in terms of muddiness, transitions, automation, balance and so on 😊
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#104

Post by Naturecord »

First of all, we really need to thank all participants! There are so many interesting choices and mixes that we would never have come up with ourselves.

We have gotten a lot of inspiration and ideas from listening to your mixes! Thanks for all the time and effort you have put into the work!

We have made a selection of our top 15 favorite mixes at this stage, but there were a lot of contenders and it was not an easy job picking out these 15. Here they are in alphabetical order:

AN_DI P&R
Nice overall warmth, and nice stereo feel. Maybe a little too much information in the low mids. Nice balance. The drum on the beat towards the end is very nice. Vocal could be a little more present.

dnlptn
Very nice intro and a very nice transition into full band. We would like to hear a little more main vox with full band, and some transients from the drums are poking out a little. In general a very balanced and nice mix. Very cinematic and large.

Emelowsky
Wildcard
Very nice intro. Great flute and main vox sound. There is space for all instruments. Transitions nicely into full band, nice separation and low end. A very pop sounding mix, but not in a bad way at all. Nice use of reverb, more than we usually use, but very interesting. Maybe drums could be turned down slightly between vocals to give some more space to guitars and flutes?

Green-Dog
Nice intro, and transition into full band.Slightly muddy (low mids, maybe some lows creating some minor issues) on our speakers, but overall ok balance. We would like to hear a little more separation in the low end, and maybe a little more main vox?

JamesMusic
Intro is very nice, very good separation and use of stereo field.Nice transition into full band. We would love to hear a little more bass, and maybe the main vox slightly louder when the rest of the band is playing. Nice and clear low end. Very nice effect with the vocal line with a lot of reverb on it towards the end.

JanLefr
In general a nicely balanced intro, we would like a little louder main vox. Transition into full band is nice, but could be even a little more "powerfull" to mark the transition, lacking a little punch when the full band plays. Also here there is nice separation, but the main vox could be a little louder for our taste. In general the balance feels good in the mix, and the stereo field is nice.

KarlxVinten
Wildcard
Nice flute and panning in the intro. Nice main vox. Loses some presence when full band comes in, but very nicely balanced full band. Like the use of reverb, not to wet. Good separation of instruments. Full bodied and nice mix.

LCM!
Very nice feel to the intro, followed up by a nice main vox. Nice panning. Transitions nicely into full band. Mix feels a little heavy in the lows/low lows, but else nicely balanced, would benefit from more balance between top and lows. Would like to hear a little more main vox when the band is playing. In general a nice mix, and interesting finale.

MFTWC
Transition to full band is very nice. From that point it sounds very balanced, and nice separation. Maybe slightly lower drums and a little more main vox would be nice. Flutes could also be a little more present when main vox is not there. In general a nice mix. A little build up in the low mids, that if cleaned up could improve the mix a little?

monjeco
Nice intro and transition. The dry sound helps separation, but maybe some verb could be used to create a feel of instruments being in the same space (we like it dry, but maybe a little more feel of a cohesive space would suit the mix). A little low mid build up on our speakers. In general a nice mix.

Mork
Bass drone and flagoetts/bells used nicely in the intro. Nice main vox. Transitions very nicely into full band. Mix feels well balanced, and nice separation. Very cohesive sound, not too dense. Maybee drums sometimes could be a little lower. Nice stereo use and balance when the choir comes in. Beautiful use of the saga melody line poking out behind the choir.

pabloAT
Lacks a little bit of warmth in the intro, nice effects on bells in intro (maybe a bit loud?). Transitions nicely into full band, and a little more full bodies sound from there on. In general a balanced mix, maybe a little bit of low end build up on our speakers. Nice energy to the mix. Main vox and flutes could be a little warmer/full bodied.

PauPeu
Wildcard
Very nice flute sound in the intro, nice balance vox/latina. Nice transition into full band, good separation and balance. Very nice interlude, stereo field creates a nice effect. Would a little more bass give the mix a little more punch? Main vox could be slightly louder.

RobertWalter
Not a big fan of the flute fade in, but a good idea. Mix is a little bright, but very well balanced and well separated in the intro. Transition to full band is very nice and balanced. The mix still feels a little bright. Nice low end, and very natural sounding but still large drum sound. There is a little drop in intensity when the full choir comes in, and the sound warms up. In general a very nice mix, we might like to have a little more warmth (maybe the main vox is a little heavy on the top end, giving the mix an overall bright feel?)

S&F
Some low end rumbling (sub bass effect?) in the intro. transitions nicely into full band. Quite a lot of verbs in this mix, but it feels like a deliberate choice, and it kind of works :) Nice general balance. A lot of effects on the choirs, again interesting and it also fits the overall feel of the mix. The main vox has a bit too much de-esser going (just a little hint).



Some general tips and feedback after listening to all mixes:

In general most participants did a very good job on the intro. Where a lot of mixes fell short where getting the right energy when the song transitions into full band. Creating an intimate and full sounding intro and then being able to still create a “boost” in energy when the full band comes in is a challenge. A Lot of the top 15 mixes managed to get the transition right, so it is worth taking a listen to how they have solved it!

It is also clear that many are mixing in less than ideal monitoring environments (it takes money, space and time to get good treatment and good monitors, so that is totally understandable). Many mixes have low end rumble, low mid build ups or missing the low mids and lows totally (like it has been mixed with a low pass filter at 5-600Hz). Most issues have been in the low end, and low mids.We have listened on Focal SM9`s in an ok treated room, also using SoundID Refrence for final adjustments. It is not perfect, but should still give us a pretty decent picture.

We have made some notes where we suspect there might be some monitoring issues going on:
DonIgnatius, GROF, akshatryder, Beja, canese, DIVESPANNER, hjchjc, okayzon, tiptoe3, AcademyCreations, Arthur_Labus
Maybe check the mixes on other systems, and also check it up towards some of the top 15 mixes or a reference mix you know well. We did hear some minor or major low end and low mid issues when listening on our system, that we suspect is due to monitoring problems rather than mixing decicions.

Another issue we meet in quite a lot of mixes is that the de-essers are hitting the main vocal too hard. This creates an unnatural lisping sound. It is worth taking the time to not just use presets, but finetune the de-esser so that it just removes the sibilance or harshness, but still keeps the vocal nice and natural.

We have made some notes on all mixes during the review process (not always as extensive), and we are more than happy to also share those with you in a PM on request :)

Thanks for all the hard work you have put in, and looking forward to the next round!
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 2 until 18-DEC-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#105

Post by Mister Fox »

Thank you for handling the evaluation, @Naturecord.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us kick off Mix Round 2, which will end on Saturday, 18-DEC-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

As of this moment, that is 5 days (plus the hours since @Naturecord's announcement, and I've updated the post). All Mix Round 2 participants will be sent a reminder via mail shortly.


There is a GLOBAL COUNTDOWN available to check for deadlines.
Just follow this link: Global Countdown (on homepage)



The following 15 participants go into Round 2 (alphabetical order), with "wild-cards" being pointed out (if present this month).
(all Mix Round 2 participants should have been pinged)

@AN/DI P&R
@dnlptn
@Emelowsky (Wild Card offered -- reason: not within loudness specs)
@Green-Dog (please provide more documentation, not just screenshots)
@JamesMusic
@JanLefr
@KarlxVinten (Wild Card offered -- reason: no documentation provided)
@LCM!
@MFTWC
@monjeco (please use the filename template)
@Mork
@pabloAT
@PauPeu (Wild Card offered -- reason: wrong sampling rate)
@RobertWalter
@S&F
.
 ! Bonus Info
Please read more about the "wild card" game mechanic here
Mix Challenge - Addendum: Wild Card Mechanic

The feedback to the productions can be found here:
viewtopic.php?p=12046#p12046


If you are unsure what to do exactly with your mix, reach out to the song provider and engage in a conversation here on the forum.
And please keep the Rules and Guidelines (post #6) in mind regarding submitting your entry.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 2 until 18-DEC-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#106

Post by White Punk OD »

Pål,
thanks for the evaluation and for the hard work, congrats to those who won a ticket,
and thanks for the answer on my question.

For this type of instrumentation, the low end or hipassing needs a bit of a different strategy.
Different from "Pop".

Sibilance problems have been a real challenge here, most "normal" deessers are at their limits.
Either it is poking out, or it is getting a lisp. There is not enough separation in the standard tools, they do not grab that sound.
I would recommend manual "clip-gain" work here.
Round 2 is a good opportunity to do this.
I used so far the SPL 2-band DeEsser, it is really good, and with sensitive fine-tuning and perhaps threshold automation it can go very far, but the sound is a little bit "old-school" because of course, the hardware has been used since decades for many famous top hits, and you can recognize it.

Do they have DeEssers at Zynaptiq? "Intelligent" tools might be interesting,
I beg for case studies, if someone is using such a thing.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 2 until 18-DEC-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#107

Post by Naturecord »

De-essing has definitely been an issue in this challenge, and there are many mixes where it is quite pronounced. I am not sure if it also could be a language issue, or if it is related to mixing decisions? Working in a language that I understand (Swedish in this case), it is quite easy to hear when it is overdone, but there are some really great overall mixes that are struggling with de-essing, making me think that this is something a trained ear will pick up. This again has made me think that it might also be related to how well you know the language you are working with? (In that case I need to be much more aware of this, if I am working with a language I do not understand or know well). I don’t know if the main vox here is just hard to get right, or if other factors that come into play? Any thought on this subject?

I am often using Fabfilter or Isoptope de-essers on background vox, but for the main vox I tend to use Melodyne and adjust every Sibilance individually, sometimes just taming the most problematic a little and then let a de-esser work on it after that, and sometimes I do everything “manually” in Melodyne.

I think I use Melodyne more for sibilance and breath control than for pitch and time adjustments at this point.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 2 until 18-DEC-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET

#108

Post by White Punk OD »

It is difficult to know, how much is too much.
Some cultures prefer a very soft "s" sound.
So when it sounds normal in Sweden, perhaps my VU meter and the compressors are already reacting a lot, which requires the knowledge to adjust and allow for this.
Do you have links to songs from Sweden and Norway, that got it completely correct?

a) too much, almost untreated, gets crushed eventually in the limiter.
b) too much de-essing, sound becomes unnatural.
With an unfamiliar language, one might not even know in which category is their mistake..
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#109

Post by s&f »

S&F
Some low end rumbling (sub bass effect?) in the intro. transitions nicely into full band. Quite a lot of verbs in this mix, but it feels like a deliberate choice, and it kind of works :) Nice general balance. A lot of effects on the choirs, again interesting and it also fits the overall feel of the mix. The main vox has a bit too much de-esser going (just a little hint).


-Hi, thank u very much for choosing my mix for the 2nd round.

Here's my mix
https://www.dropbox.com/s/iy0d8pld63plu ... 2.wav?dl=0
lufs -16.1

i didn't do anything to the bass in the intro before, so i eqed and automated. i also noticed that depending on where u listen, the bass overwhelms the music, so i lowered and automated.
i also got a new pair of dbx560a, that i put them in the BV and Drum bus. i also reeqed some drums.

did lot of automation, and removed some de-esser.

another important point, is that i mixed into a limiter, which is very important for me. it'll sound worst at -16LUFS, but, hopefully it'll sound better when everything is at full range 0 dbfs. if u want to compare to the original mix, just add 9 dbs.

thank u!

good luck for all in the next round!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC082 November 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#110

Post by LCM! »

Really glad to be here, apreciate the chance of working again on this amazing song. Thanks to the song provider.

Naturecord wrote:
Sun Dec 12, 2021 23:11 CET

LCM!
Very nice feel to the intro, followed up by a nice main vox. Nice panning. Transitions nicely into full band. Mix feels a little heavy in the lows/low lows, but else nicely balanced, would benefit from more balance between top and lows. Would like to hear a little more main vox when the band is playing. In general a nice mix, and interesting finale.
I have tried to do my homework.
- master bus: a little more high and mid-highs freqs; however, I could go further if needed :wink:
- voice: louder when the whole band comes: same

In adition I tweaked some others details, even before I knew my mix was in the R2 (not excess of confidence; just for fun).
- drums: more midhighs and a tad of reverb
- bgv: some less drone
- strings: more presence, sidechain to the bgv
- Bouzouki Flagoette: a tad of presence
- Saga kulning and choir: a bit broader
... I surely forget some other tweaks

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ikepRE ... sp=sharing
I hope it works.
My pleasure.
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