2021-MAY-18 Info: Please have a look at Songwriting Competition 057 / May 2022. Theme: "Synth Racks, Presets and Cables", genre: any Electronic sub-genre.

MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Winners announced

Join the Mix Challenge - recurrence: February until December
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Arthur Labus
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by Arthur Labus »

Hello everybody !
Very thankful for the opportunity and here is what i've done:

I dig the Fleet Foxes reference, so i decided to go for it ;)

Tracks set to 0 VU and all with EQ. Izotope Neutrino and NLS Channel (Neve) on every instrument bus.

BASS: Hornet 31 eq, Instant Audio Quick Bass as doubler, GMonoBass for mono under 200Hz, Gem EQ550 for extra crunch, Scheps 73 channel strip with hi pass 80Hz

Rode: transients shaper for less attack, de-esser, Hornet 31 eq, Instant Audio Quick AG strip
SM58: slightly higher pitched, transients shaper for less attack, de-esser, Hornet 31 eq, Instant Audio Quick AG strip
Harmonics: Hornet 31 eq, Instant Audio Quick AG strip, Voxengo Stereo Touch widener
Solo: Hornet 31 eq, Instant Audio Quick AG strip

Main Vocals - much effort to tame the sibilances !
TDR Nova eq as de-esser, Waves C4 multiband comp as de-esser, Toneboosters Sibilance as de-esser, Waves Scheps 73 channel strip, Waves RVox comp, Black Rooster Audio VLA-3A compressor, Wavegroove Vastaus for taming the highs

Chorus Double (dito)
TDR Nova eq as de-esser, Waves C4 multiband comp as de-esser, Toneboosters Sibilance as de-esser, Waves Scheps 73 channel strip, Waves RVox comp, Black Rooster Audio VLA-3A compressor, Quilcom Vocoral (vocal doubler), Wavegroove Vastaus for taming the highs

Instruments are slightly eq "ducked" with Trackspacer trigerred by vocals

All groups are sent to channel with Acustica Silver reverb (modern church space) with hi pass. The only reverb used in the mix.

Master Bus:
NLS Bus (Neve) analog summing, Waves TG12345 console with subtle EQ, Acustica Celestial (only Dimension fx), Density MkII compressor (glueing), Toneboosters ReelBus tape sim (very subtle), Toneboosters Sibilance, Charly Limited analog gain
as metering: Toneboosters TB_Barricade, Youlean Loudness Meter

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14r8br0 ... sp=sharing

WAV 24bit/44kHz, round 5,1 dB headroom / loudness -16,2 LUFS

Good succes everybody ! Let the sun return ...
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Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2021 19:11 CET

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by Locrais »

Hi, first time on Mix Challenge as well as using a new setup, so any feedback would be really appreciated.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iee4Vb ... sp=sharing

First approach was of course to create a static balance of the tracks.
Following, I started looking for the right ambience for it, so after trying some different reverbs, I ended up using 3 instances of seventh heaven, all the same type but different lengths and eqs.
I was still feeling the lack of a vibe and didn't want to push the reverbs too much so I created a send directly from the master to AA Silver with a hi-pass to prevent boominess and mono compatibility issues. This gave me a mellow brightness and an overall space that in my opinion suites the song-writer type of song. The fade out is the "dry master" fading while the reverb is static and the overall volume is fading.

From here I started working on individual tracks, vox needed a fair amount of polishing taming esses and the some times to present proximity effect.
BV same as before plus added stereo enhancing with StageOne to create more width.
Electrics have been reamped both using SoundDrops Surrey, than compressed and sent to the longest reverb.
Acoustic just slightly pan left and right to maintain a strong centre and added extra width with StageOne.
I think the bass is a bit too aggressive in the low mid range for the style so I cut a fair amount of it meanwhile boosted the low freqs directly on the master buss to give more body to the all arrangement, while controlling the low freq side informations with AA Celestial.
Meanwhile try to carve space for each track using FF Volcano 3 (as eq) or ProQ 3.
On the master buss, AA plugins for some mojo.

Hope you like it, looking forward for your feedback
Edu Cesar
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by Edu Cesar »

Hello there!

Thanks for the opportunity to mix this song, it was quite a challenge and a very welcome one.
The track is apparently simple but it has it's tricks. The recording could have been better (it had some issues with clipping and out of sync stuff) but I faced it as a challenge (it's the name of the forum, right?). I got the tracks last weekend but only got time to mess around with them last night and today, so sorry for being so close to the deadline.

Here's my mix

I first started by doing some clean up on Izotope RX (I just got a copy, so it was cool to put it in use and practice). Might have done a better job if I had more experience with it but I guess it worked.

Acoustic Guitars: panned them about 25% left and right and applied the same chain, but with slightly different settings:
- Fabfilter ProQ 3 with some dynamic bands to tame the high end of the strings as well as some low bass notes. I found it hard to get a "natural" sound, it sometimes reminded me of a banjo, so I went with it.
- Slate VMR: Some boosts on an eq, followed by a mild compressor and exciter.
- Sent them to 2 busses, Ambience and Plate reverb (the first one to get a room sound and the second to give it some depth and sustain).

Electric Guitars:
- Waves NS1 to tame the hiss, but I didn't remove it completely because it's kind of part of the feeling.
- Some EQ to cut the harsh or annoying frequencies and Slate VMR with a basic eq boost, through parallel compression and an exciter.
- Guitar Harmonics then went through a 200ms and sent to a medium plate reverb.
- Guitar Melody went trough a spring reverb and sent to the same reverb as the other guitar, but dialed in less effect.
- Both guitars then went to a main bus that I applied subtle compression and trackspacer side chained to the vocals to duck it a little and not cause conflicts.

- NS-1 to tame the hiss, same deal as the elec. guitars
- ProQ 3 to cut some low mids, some dynamic bands to control the high mids and then Neutron's Transient Shaper to bring a little bit of thump and tame the high mid attacks.
- Slate VMR using the eq to slightly boost or cut some frequencies, 2 compressors in series to finish shaping transients and round the sound.
- Soothe 2 to get some annoying frequencies out of the way and Gulfoss doing it's trick I guess (didn't quite trust my ears on this one).

- Did some editing to try to match the backing vocal to the main vocal. Very slight pitch correction with MetaTune on both vocals just to try to make them sit together better.
- RX De-Plosive followed by Eiosis Desser to try to get rid of some persistent sibilances then Soothe 2 to clean up some harmonics
- Slate VMR with a gate, some eq, compressor and Air Q to get a little bit of air.
- Additionally I used Animate to spread the backing vocals to get a wider image.
- Both vocals went to a Ambience and Long reverb (backing vocals got a little more reverb).
- A mild compressor on the vocal bus and some mid-side eq to balance them

- Slate Tape and a tiny touch of EQ to get some vintage vibes going
- Slight compression with a SSL type bus compressor, with 80/20 mix, to give the mix a little more glue.
- Gulfoss tame and boost very slightly some frequencies (I'm not really sure I hear much difference here)
- Fabfilter ProL to give it some volume and reach the final LUFS
- Loudness meter to check the levels and that's it.

Thanks! Good luck everyone!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by monjeco »


here s the link to my mix.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I-Scl6 ... sp=sharing

First of all thanks to the song provider

as for the documentation... here s it is

First of all I did some aligning on the backing vocal, then i just wanted it to sound organic and folky.

So i reamped the gtrs added a little bit of crunch some verb and delay...kinda wanted them to sound country like.

then i did some leveling on the bass and duplicated it to give it a different tone for the upper melodies.

Used some eq to carve out the vocals and give em more of a classic folk songwriter tone (like Bob Dylan and such)

Also used reverb and some transient control on the vocals

for the acgtrs i carved out a more natural tone with eqs then added some distorion and parallel compression for character.

For the mix bus i used a bit of compression for glue, some tape for color and some eq for clarity.

Had a lot of fun.

Good luck everyone.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by LocalMusic »

Hi everyone!

Heres my mix of this song:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7s9yvd7q6f2y7 ... c.wav?dl=0

Since I'm handing this in very last minute, I don't have time for a lot of explanation.
I did very basic processing on all the tracks, but switched up the chain in terms of whether compression or eq comes first in the chain. I did this to add color and life to the mix in general. Other than that, I played around with different reverbs and settings and ended up with this setup.

Good luck to everyone for this challenge!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Submissions until 21-12-2021 23:59 UTC+1/CET


Post by satchboogie »

Hi !
Thank you for the opportunity.
My approach: I wanted to make the guitars permanently present and counterplaying with the bass.
I wanted to position the song between indie and pop style.
Vocals: used oxford infiltrator to gives some bottom width. Also used a paralell vocal channel.
Guitars: I ised UAD2 Woodworks to give som more acoustic grit, panned them a bit.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Sr7jan ... sp=sharing

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Mister Fox »

It is the 22nd December 2021, 01:30 UTC+1/CET - the first Mix Round has officially ended

Another very warm welcome to all new participants. As usual, a huge thank you to everyone that is spreading the word about the Mix Challenge. Please help get the Songwriting Competition as popular (less than 3 days left).

Statistic sheets have been updated (on 23-DEC-2021 17:00 UTC+1/CET)
Statistic sheets are not available yet, please wait for the official announcement post -- sheets will arrive by mid 25-DEC-2021 latest


Please take note of the announcement of (officially) implementing both the Wild Card Mechanic and the Statistic Sheet.

You can find that announcement post in the "News and Announcements" section:
Mix Challenge - changes to main game (October 2021)

 ⚠ Moderation Message from Mister Fox  
Important Update:
As of MC081, the Song Providers can now decide from the start, or once the Statistics Sheet has been provided, which route to go in terms of providing feedback. You can read more about this in the Mix Challenge - changes to main game (October 2021) thread.

:arrow: Our Song Provider for this month, @Johnny_Fingers, decided to go the "(Feedback for) Top 15" route. We will also have a short break over the Holiday Season. Mix Round 2 will start in January. We will keep you updated.

I now open the field for everyone to give each other feedback (highly encouraged). This will be independent to the client feedback however.

Please watch this spot for the statistics sheet, client feedback and Mix Round 2 participant announcement.

Good luck to all participants.

:arrow: The Songwriting Competition 52 (SWC52) is still in full swing.
The deadline is 24th December 2021, 23:59 UTC+1/CET. The genre is "free to select" (Ballroom Dance). So far we have 1 entry.

Please spread the word!
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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Mister Fox »

:arrow: The "Overview of Submissions" PDFs have been uploaded.
You can check them through the upper post (post #87).

As officially announced here earlier this month (September 2021), this data sheet is used to give an overview of all entries, and whether or not they are within given parameters (loudness, sampling rate, bitrate). This is adding to the overall learning process of the "Mix(ing) Challenge", and there will be a dedicated "Mix Challenge Addendum thread" explaining the mechanic in even more detail in the foreseeable future (I need some time for that). Please take note that creating this sheet is not a fully automated process. I am using Wavelab 10's "Batch Analysis" tool (EBU R-128 specs / equivalent to ITU-R BS.1770-4), but the overall layout and highlighting issues/mishaps, is time consuming. If you do not find yourself on this list, please let me know.

We have a disqualification rate of 15,71% for December 2021 (70 entries, 11 disqualifications, 0 "Out of Competition" submissions).

In comparison to previous months (detailed in spoiler tags):
► Show Spoiler
On average (17 months), we currently have a disqualification rate of 26,28% (compared to last month's 26,94% avg), the rate is on a decline again.

Please keep in mind, your mix being tagged "disqualified", does not automatically mean "you're out of the game" (exceptions do apply, see Wild Card Mechanic, read more about that below).

:arrow: A commentary on this month's entries:

Once more welcome to all new participants that joined this December. I hope you enjoy your stay and you will learn something from this experience. And of course, a "welcome back" to our long-time users that haven't participated in a while.

This month is quite interesting in terms of statistics. While we only have 11 disqualifications for 70 entries, sadly 5 of them can not advance. That leaves us with 6 mixes that count to "mishaps". Nearly all of these mishaps are due to loudness specs, exceeding -16 LUFS ILk and/or -1,00 dBTP. There is entry in the wrong sampling rate this month, but one that is in the wrong bitrate. Easy fixes, if you are selected for Mix Round 2.

We do have a lot of "non accessible files" and "ignored filename templates" this month. For example... @FromAtoZMix's entry went through the known "non-accessible Google Drive" link issue. Then it is clearly stated in the Upload and Submission Guidelines, that not only need all entries be accessible for the duration of the game, you should also not use a service like WeTransfer as this only stores your content for 7 days max. I got the file early on (because of a myriad of reasons) - but you also need to give the Song Provider a change to catch up (@georgwalt).

On the topic of the filename -- this is just as important. This is not just a random rule - it adds to the readability and file management (plus, it shows if you can stick to given parameters). You can't just write "sun returns <username mix 2444.wav", "Sun Returns <legal name, not username> Mix" or "Master John Henderson final(2).wav". Not only will your entry not be associated to your user account. Should there be a mishap on saving, your entry can not be found in the first place. I provide a template for a reason, please use it (@Chokaprod, @likemucas, @georgwalt).

And I sadly also had to pull out a mix due to it being a re-submission, with higher loudness even (@Chris M).

Overall, I am happy with the participation this month. We could still have more mixes, but an average of 50 entries (see global statistics) is not bad in my opinion. Now let us please show the same love for the Songwriting Competition

:arrow: A topic for 2022:

I want to see more documentation for your entries. More details as to why you had to omit certain tracks, why you think that strong pitch correction and time-alignment was needed, why you opted for leaving DI tracks "as is" and not re-amp, what sound you really enjoyed sculpting and how you go there, etc.

I won't let arguments like the following count anymore: "I don´t write any extensive information about individual tracks anymore as I don´t think anybody cares much and more important nobody will have a benefit from knowing which eq, which compressor or reverb someone used". If I read such comments in the future, your entry will be out without any option for a Wild Card. I really do not understand why this is a monthly recurring topic, as this particular rule has been established for several years. And by joining the game, you agreed to adhere to the well established Rules and Guidelines.

Tell us more! Don't assume that nobody will read this.

The documentation is part of the learning aspect of our community. A lot of participants are still only mentioning "I did the usual usual" or "I just adjusted things here and there for warmth, what is there to tell?". While you might think this is unimportant, others join our community for this very reason. To gather knowledge, to experiment, to learn. Granted, learning can also be done through plain listening (if you know what to look for), but having an explanation "how sound ABC was created" (like a vocal chain, or a guitar setup) on top of that, is adding so much more to that.

:arrow: Important to point out (for all new participants): :

Unless your file couldn't be downloaded, has been re-uploaded/re-posted during the course of the main submission round, or can not be associated with your user account, having your entry being tagged as "disqualified" does not mean that you're completely out of the game (yet). Should you be selected for Mix Round 2 by this month's "client" (Song Provider), you have the option to advance through the use of the Wild Card Mechanic.

Please don't be frustrated but rather learn from the experience, find out what went wrong, and use your possible chance to fix this in a follow-up round. This is why the concept of the "Statistics Sheet" and "Wild Card mechanic" exists. It offers you an additional learning factor. Something you usually do not have the chance to outside of this community's monthly competition. :educate:

:arrow: I now (re-)open the field for everyone to give each other feedback (highly encouraged). This will be independent to the client feedback however. Though please note - criticism on the rule set and angry posts will be deleted without further notice (previously: moved to the General Gossip Thread, thread is now closed due to ongoing negativity).

Please watch this spot for the client feedback and Mix Round 2 participant announcement.
Due to the Holiday Season, this will happen sometime early/mid January.
Waleed Morris
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Waleed Morris »

Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC083 December 2021 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Johnny_Fingers »

Hello Everyone!

I really want to thank all of you for the kind thoughts you expressed about my song, and for the time and effort you put into your mixes. I’m overwhelmed by the huge number of people (70!) who felt inspired to work on the song, and by the creativity and musicality you showed in your mixes. Your work inspires me to keep writing and playing my own music.

The downside of this game is that I have to somehow choose 15 mixes from among this group. I’ll be posting the 15 in the next day or two, but first I just wanted to say that the decision was very very hard, and there are many excellent mixes that didn’t make the cut, not because there was anything wrong with them at all, but simply because a line had to be drawn.

To give you a sense of the things I looked for in selecting mixes, I had my ears on a few items. Most importantly, I wanted the mix to sound musical, emotional, and to convey the feelings in the lyrics. This is hard to make concrete but it’s the sort of thing you know when you hear it. Part of that for me is that the vocals sound present. This means for me that they sound up front and nearby without sounding “dead”. I’m not a mix engineer but I think this means some but not too much reverb/delay so that the sound is natural but dynamic.

Another consideration for me is that the vocals be in balance with all the instruments. Because the song is lyrics-driven, the vocals have to sit enough above the instruments that they can be heard without sounding like they’re outside the mix. Related to this, the instruments have to be in balance with each other… the bass can’t overwhelm the guitars and the guitars can’t overwhelm the bass.

I also looked for some connection to the artists and bands that I referenced in the background. I didn’t expect that the song would sound exactly like any of those bands… they all have their own unique sounds… but that there would be some sense of those types of styles.

Beyond this, I was looking for a clean mix. In these times of lockdowns, we don’t always have the luxury of going out to dedicated recording space, so we make do what we can. The guitars, bass, and vocals needed cleaning. Beyond that, processing and effects should add nuance without introducing noise, and certainly without creating artifacts impossible to ignore.

Finally, many of the mixes were very similar, so I looked for something unique or creative that set mixes apart. A few of the mixes on the top list went out on a creative limb and added something unexpected that appealed to me for one reason or another, and for that reason ended up on the list.

In the end I’m not sure I’m able to say exactly why I like the mixes I do more than other mixes… hey, it’s music, not math! But that’s part of the beauty of creativity and art and why we enjoy it so much.

Again, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to and think about my song! Even if you don’t make the next step, I hope it was enjoyable for you.
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