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MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 086 - June 2022


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 posts for re-submissions for Mix Round 2 and (possible) Mix Round 3.

 ! Bonus Info
This month, you have the chance to work on a "Halftime Drum & Bass / Darkstep" production by recurring Song Provider 7th Pyramid (@Jorgeelalto). The song is called "No Escape" and can be found on his mini EP " Demographix / No Escape".

With the current challenge, you have the opportunity to experiment with layers and "supportive sound design". Meaning, you can get more acquainted with time based effects (reverb, delay, etc), but also creative saturation and maybe even the occasional "special FX". The biggest focus will be clarity of the main groove, while still providing your unique fingerprint to the production.

Intrigued? Then 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.



IMPORTANT: Before you get started, please consult the official "Rules and Guidelines" for the Mix Challenge regarding principles of the game, upload/submission guidelines, the concept of documenting your edits, and maximum allowed loudness values (see Rule Book - post #6). Interaction is highly encouraged, including asking questions for the song provider. Giving and receiving constructive feedback to your entry, and sharing tips and tricks should ideally happen after Mix Round 1 has ended, to not influence each other during the main competition round.




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: <optional>/<not happening this game>
Results of the Mix Challenge: Winners announced
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Wednesday, 01st June 2022 to Tuesday, 21st June 2022 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-06-2022, 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. There will also be short reminders on Social Media and on Discord.



Song Provider: 7th Pyramid (@Jorgeelalto)
Song Name and Length: No Escape, 3:54 min
Song Information: 170 BPM / Signature: 4/4
File Format: WAV, 48kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Halftime Drum & Bass / Darkstep


Preview of the Song (Demo Mix):


INFORMATION: This version might sound different from the provided multi-tracks.



A word from the song provider:
7th Pyramid wrote:This is a pretty simple track designed to work as a DJ tool on Halftime D&B sets. It is very drum-focused, with a really low bass that should work pretty well on big sound systems, and a dark/scary character typical of these genres.

There is not really much going on in the arrangement, so I would say the most problematic part of the mix should be balancing kick frequencies and making it work with the bass sounds, as well as pumping the rest of the melodic elements (side chain).

As mixing requests, I'd like you to take a creative approach with delay units to get a more 'dub delay' sound (see the original mix) to at least these sounds:

- Track 3, Snare
- Track 7, Chant
- Track 31, Dialogue
- Track 32, Scream

Also please create some space (reverb) for secondary drums (not the kick nor the main hats) and for the melodic sounds.

Sounds that I don't want to be messed with (you can still add reverb and delay, just to make them sit in the mix), are:

- Track 24, Signature fill: that is my sonic 'signature' in a lot of my tracks.
- Track 28, Main Pad: already heavily automated


You can take a look at these tracks for further sonic reference:
Skeptical - Pitch Black
Bredren - Whose Rights




(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Mister Fox wrote:Where to begin? There is so much room for creative FX usage and sound layering this month. I highly recommend listening to the original mix first, then take a look at the individual tracks. See where things can still be pushed (also AUX FX wise), or where "subtle layers" can emphasize the groove of the production.

A focus should be the main beat. Drum and Bass makes a point with distinct spaces for the main kick and snare. So please keep that in mind. Another thing to take into consideration - modern day drum and bass is a bit on the "thin" side if it comes to the snare. This is at least Jorge's style. But the main idea of the Mix(ing) Challenge is to listen to your interpretation of the mix, not a 1:1 recreation.

I can't give good references this month, as "Drum and Bass" is an ever evolving genre, that is also overlapping with each other. I can therefore only direct you to the "Ishkur's Guide to Electronic Music", most notably the "Drum and Bass" section (Darkstep and Jazzstep, branching off mid 2000s), and then go from there. Youtube and Spotify will definitely lead you down plenty of rabbit holes.

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)
  • 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.
  • 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", neither any changes to the arrangement (copy/add/move/remove parts)! (unless otherwise stated)
  • please only provide WAV files, files need to be accessible/downloadable from your preferred cloud storage space (no SoundCloud, WeTransfer or similar!)
  • render the edited material in the same sampling rate and bitrate as originally provided (MC086 / June => 48/24)
  • ADD-ON RULES - PRODUCTION RELATED:
    • Filename Template: MC086__7th_Pyramid__No_Escape__ForumUsername.wav
    • you can and in certain places even must use creative with effect devices
    • summing bus treatment ("glue compression") is common for such genres, but keep the rule set in mind
    • no (more) add-on rules specified
Please consult the official Rules and Guidelines for a more detailed set of rules, including how to document your edits, maximum loudness values and delivery formats (see Rule Book - Post #6). Failing to adhere to the rules will result in disqualification. There will be no additional reminders given.


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


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - full package (244,90 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: download window might show a smaller file size, file unavailable after 21-JUN-2022


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression (specs from 2015).
File size extracted: 2500,42 MB, packed 244,90 MB (ZIP, LZMA)


In order to extract the files, we can recommend these programs / apps:

Macintosh:
The Unarchiver - get it here
Keka (open source) - get it here / please take note of the file extraction guide

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

Got an interesting production and want to become a Song Provider?
Check in with the Song Pool campaign and reach out

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


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 to give away a single plugin of winner's choice (exception: Verberate Immersive)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Acon Digital: https://acondigital.com/


Image
Hornet Plugins is kind enough to give away one license from the depicted tools (see image) to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on Hornet Plugins: https://www.hornetplugins.com/


Image
IK Multimedia is kind enough to give away one license of T-RackS Tape Machine Collection 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: https://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/


Image
NOS Audio is kind enough to give away one license of NOS Roomer to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on NOS Audio: https://www.nosaudio.com/


Image
NUGEN Audio is kind enough to 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/


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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MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#3

Post by Mister Fox »

:arrow: I am happy to announce the following sponsor for the Mix Challenge audio community


Image
IK Multimedia is kind enough to give away one license of T-RackS Tape Machine Collection to the winner
License will turn into NFR
More info on IK Multimedia: https://www.ikmultimedia.com



IK Multimedia has been a kind recurring license sponsor for the Mix(ing) Challenge since May 2019. They renew their partnership for the Mix(ing) Challenge with the T-RackS Tape Machine Collection.

A huge thank you goes to IK Multimedia for providing the licenses. :tu:
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#4

Post by Jorgeelalto »

Hi all,

I'm the guy that made the original tune. I'll try to be around to answer any specific questions you have about the track :grin: . Have fun!
Franz
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#5

Post by Franz »

Hi Jorgeelalto, hope you are well.

Yes, I'm bothered by your excellent master mix which "sounds" really good but is technically at -9.2 Lufs and a True Peak of +1.65 dB.
In itself, this obviously poses no problem. As a result, you will end up with mixes (and not masters) which will be at a maximum
of -16 Lufs and -1 dB of peak. There, suddenly the difference is huge: 6.8 dB difference in Lufs and almost 3 dB difference in true peak.
Under these technical conditions, the mixes that we are going to offer you will never have the impact of a mastered mix.
Will you be able to have an objective judgment under these very specific conditions ?
In any case good luck ....

Franz
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#6

Post by scottfitz »

Great tune Jorgeelalto, is going to be fun. One question on the stereo field. If this tune is designed expressly for a club, in which you will often be hearing the mix as mono, how much in the way of automated panning and stereo effects should we be using? I started out using loads, but then listening to the mix you've provided, it sounds like there is less going on and I suspect that is for a reason.
Cheers
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#7

Post by Jorgeelalto »

Franz wrote:
Fri Jun 03, 2022 01:27 CEST
Hi Jorgeelalto, hope you are well.

Yes, I'm bothered by your excellent master mix which "sounds" really good but is technically at -9.2 Lufs and a True Peak of +1.65 dB.
In itself, this obviously poses no problem. As a result, you will end up with mixes (and not masters) which will be at a maximum
of -16 Lufs and -1 dB of peak. There, suddenly the difference is huge: 6.8 dB difference in Lufs and almost 3 dB difference in true peak.
Under these technical conditions, the mixes that we are going to offer you will never have the impact of a mastered mix.
Will you be able to have an objective judgment under these very specific conditions ?
In any case good luck ....

Franz
Hi Franz,

Good point. When the time to check and compare your mixes, I will probably normalise them all to a common LUFS value and go from there. I might not even use my mix as a reference, I'm not sure about that but don't worry, I'm taking the loudness difference into account (I will try to be as objective as possible given that LUFS is determined by contest rules). :tu:

scottfitz wrote:
Fri Jun 03, 2022 05:20 CEST
Great tune Jorgeelalto, is going to be fun. One question on the stereo field. If this tune is designed expressly for a club, in which you will often be hearing the mix as mono, how much in the way of automated panning and stereo effects should we be using? I started out using loads, but then listening to the mix you've provided, it sounds like there is less going on and I suspect that is for a reason.
Cheers
Hey Scottfitz,

You are welcome to play with the stereo field as much as you want, the only "restriction" being a club track imposes in the mix is strict mono compatibility, but apart from that it's cool to have an interesting stereo mix when listening at home or with headphones. So, I'd say feel free to do as much pan and stereo processing as you want -- I will evaluate it positively. My own mix could definitely use some more creativity on that department :scared:

And thanks for the kind words BTW :hug:
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#8

Post by Franz »

Here we are.

When we talk about mixing, with this title (still complex), we are right in it. So thank you Jorge
and congratulations on the order of the tracks (except song n° 7 which ended up in the wrong place) which allows us
at first glance to take control of the content of the multitrack.
This greatly facilitates the first operation which consists of forming subgroups (percussion, bass, synth, background effects and voice).
I balanced each group and then I started "sub-mixing" them together. I had to make huge re-balancing but it was quite predictable.
Once a first general balance has been obtained, comes the second most delicate and necessarily the most personal part which consists
in giving "a character" to the mix with multiple possible orientations.
Yes, we are in the EDM universe. I focused on kicks and bass. After that it was necessary to form a complete rhythmic line.
From an effect point of view, it was not necessary for me to bring in an armada of plug-ins, most of the tracks already having personality.

So, as already written, it's a mixing base just waiting for mastering. At this stage, you cannot include mastering effects.
Difficult exercise but really interesting...

Good listening !

-16,1 Lufs and - 5,79 dBTP 48K 24 bit

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hcNBhE ... sp=sharing
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#9

Post by Mister Fox »

Technically, you can use "summing bus processing", which I also hinted at in post #2 above.

Since this is electronic music, summing bus processing is not uncommon for this genre. However, you need to find a balance between "artistic glueing" (which is a valid topic for basically every mixing challenge, if done tasteful) and straight up "let's make things loud, and get a psycho-acoustic side-effect, giving us the impression that stuff is super intense and aggressive" (which would be "modern day mastering"). And that is not scratching the surface of processed instrument groups.

So yes, you can create aggressive/punchy productions at -16LUFS (iTunes, Vinyl) - you just need to know "how".



If in doubt, maybe do something that I sometimes do, especially if my client already says "it needs to work at every loudness", and I'm in unfamiliar territory (like a workstation I'm not used to):

Work on, or even finish your mix, run through a heavy limiting array ever so often to check how things would sound if "over-processed"/super loud. For this purpose, I tend to use TDL Limiter 6 with it's various stages of compression and limiting, overdo things on purpose, but compensate the output (neutral A/B purposes). While this is not an elegant solution (and something I can really only recommend using if you're stuck -- else, don't do it), it can help to understand "what might happen" later down the line.

If the sound is only emphasized after over-processing, you might need to improve your mix and check again. If something "sticks out too much", you might need to adjust. If it sounds the same, just louder, then you can check with your volume knob and/or maybe an additional "device simulator" (like Audified MixChecker). If nothing falls apart, no matter the volume, you did great.



This is all I can give you on the way. The rest comes from experience. And this is why we run the Mix(ing) Challenge, to gather that.

Have fun, everyone. And remember, you got time, so triple check your mix prior to submitting your entry/"mix proposal" (incl. leaving some headroom in front and back of the mix for possible fade in/out).
Ronson79
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC086 June 2022 - Submissions until 21-06-2022 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#10

Post by Ronson79 »

Here is my mix. I really enjoyed this contribution as many mixing competition websites offer mostly Rock/Pop and Metal songs
which gets annoying over time.

I mix into a mixbus chain and while preparing the final export to the specs of -16 LUFSi and -1 dbTP I made two exports. One where I put down the level after the limiter to reach the specs and one version I turned down the input level going into the limiter to achieve the specs. I thought I would prefer
the limited version but it was the opposite. I preferred the version having more dynamics.

The bass is kinda quiet but will come out if you aim for around -8 LUFSi to -10 LUFSi in the mastering stage.

On drums I clipped several tracks to reduce peaks and for tonality. Also I dipped some resonances here and there. Overall I did not do a lot to the
individual drum sounds in terms of spectrum balance as they sounded nice. The main shaping was done on the drum bus using some saturation and bass enhancing and some multiband expansion. A touch of parallel transient designer at the end of the mixing process was given just to the kick and snare.
Also did some ducking to the drum loops to make room for the kick.

After that I created a few dub delay aux channels which ended up on the rim, snare, chants, screams and vocal sample.

On the basses I dipped a few resonances and shaped the sound with a multiband exciter to give it a more polished and focused low end.

On the instruments I tamed some resonances if necessary and added some rhythmic texture to the noise track to compliment the groove and to give it some more variations. A touch of saturation on the dark synth pad. Also some ducking takes place on the instruments. Also no special compression or tonal shaping as the sounded nice.

Made some creative automations to raise the tension before the next part in a few parts.


That´s it. Hope someone enjoys my mix.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Mh9ew8 ... sp=sharing

best Ron
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