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MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Winners announced

#1

Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 093 - August 2023

 ! Bonus Info
This month, you have the chance to work on a "Classic Progressive Rock" production by the band "Rocketgoldstar", kindly provided to us by Gaz Williams. The song is called "Born Taurus Man".

Avid consumers of audio tech news may recognize the name from the weekly "Sonic TALK" podcast by online magazine "Sonic State", or even Gaz William's own live streams called "The Gaz Williams Show". The song in question offers an unique insight on a 1970s-type Classic Progressive Rock production. You will encounter traditional room bleed, "printed" tracks, and an option to work with multi-tracks from a quite uncommon microphone setup. If you choose to go that route, that is. (use either / or, not both!)

Interested in this new challenge?

Then please take special note of the attached TXT files in the Mix Pack. And please read about the details and special requirements for handling this mix further down below.



:information_source: BEFORE WE 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)
  • The focus of this game is "mixing". Try to create a mix in your own style that complements this production and can stand on it's own, no matter the playback medium. Edit/Mix in such a way, that barely any after-touches other than proper fade in/out and finalizing for distribution (incl. loudness adjustments e.g. for release on Streaming, Vinyl, Tape, CD) is needed for a possible follow-up mastering step.
  • The "Mix Pack" and additional information for this months production can be found in in post #002
  • Please consult the bundled TXTs for more info -- a sub-300 words TL;DR Rule Set is also part of the "Mix Pack"
  • Filename Template: MC093__Rocketgoldstar__Born_Taurus_Man__ForumUsername.wav
Failing to adhere to the rules will result in disqualification. There will be no additional reminders given.
If you got any question, please also reach out on Discord



.
:arrow_right: MIX(ING) CHALLENGE THREAD INDEX

Post #001 -- Introduction post and index for the various stages of the Songwriting Competition. Will be updated as we progress
Post #002 -- Submission Period: General Information, Source Material, License Sponsors
Post #136 -- Mix Round 1 Statistics/Data Sheet: Overview of Submissions - is your entry within given parameters?
Post #214 -- Mix Round 2: Global Feedback and Round 2 Participant Announcement (additionally: post #206 for general feedback and hints)
Post #000 -- Mix Round 3: <optional>/<not happening this game>
Post #256 -- Results: Winner announcement
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#2

Post by Mister Fox »

CURRENT CHALLENGE - GENERAL INFORMATION

Time Frame: Tuesday, 01st August 2023 to Thursday, 24th August 2023 (21+3 days, extended timeframe)

Challenge submission will end on 24-AUG-2023, 23:59 UTC+2/CEST (Germany) - until further notice.

Want to find out if you're still within the deadline, please either consult the Global Countdown (dedicated page), or the countdown on the landing site. There will also be short reminders on Social Media and on Discord.



Song Provider: Rocketgoldstar (represented by Gaz Williams)
Song Name and Length: Born Taurus Man, 5:51 min
Song Information: 85.125bpm rising to 91.5bpm at bar 90 beat 2 / Signature: 4/4
File Format: WAV, 48kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Classic Progressive Rock


:arrow_right: Preview of the Song (Demo Mix):

phpBB [media]


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


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


:arrow_right: SOURCE FILES:

Main Mix Package - full package (1098,77 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: download window might show a smaller file size, file unavailable after 24-AUG-2023 (extended timeframe)


The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression (specs from 2015).
File size extracted: 4020,51 MB, packed 1098,77 MB (ZIP, LZMA)


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

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


A word from the song provider:
Gaz Williams wrote: The song was originally written in 2009 and a demo was recorded. This version of the song was recorded in 2019 and was created for a Steinberg AXR4 audio interface review for sonicstate.com

We used the template of the 2009 demo to rerecord parts over.

What makes this mix challenging is that it is a multi part song with lots of dynamics.

The core of the song is performed by Rocketgoldstar a three piece band. Drums, Bass and Piano were played live - with Hammond, electric guitar, percussion and vocals added as overdubs.

The lead vocals need to be very present in the mix and ideally the backing vocals need to be upfront and song too.

The vocals in the middle 8 section (lyrics: "Rifles fire and ..."") ideally should be treated like a radio voice with the backing vocals being much fuller as a call and response kind of thing.

Big 1970s rock songs are the undeniable influence here with Queen, Supertramp, Yes and Gentle Giant being foremost. The original production has attempted to mimic this kind of production with all live instrumentation and very dry drums.

It would be interesting to hear a much more modern approach to this song.

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:

As of MC092 / June 2023, and for easier thread readability of the game thread, the "Words by the Mix Challenge staff" are now only part of the bundled TXTs of the Mix Pack. Please check out this text section as well for additional explanation and possible hints for this month's game.



Rule Summary:

More technical details are in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs. In there you can find the lyrics of the song (incl. a translation to English), more information about the individual files, possible changes to the time signature, and maybe even additional tips and tricks relevant to this production. Additionally a TL;DR Rule Set and, depending on the song provider's approval, an available "Off-site redistribution agreement" for a possible portfolio presentation.

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.


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:arrow_right: LICENSE SPONSORS (Bonus Prizes):

A huge thank you goes to our very generous License Sponsors for this month's game. Those being (in alphabetical order):
Acon Digital, Audified, Hornet Plugins, IK Multimedia, Kilohearts, Metric Halo, NOS Audio, NUGEN Audio and Tone2


A detailed list of offerings can be found in the following information block.
► Show Spoiler
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#3

Post by Dodgingrain »

WOW! a Gaz song, how crazy! Now we just need a track by Nick.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#4

Post by scottfitz »

Hi all,
Thanks to the band, what a truly amazing song, performance and recording! wow, best mix challenge yet, sadly I have so little time this month argghhhh!
Good luck all.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#5

Post by TomImmon »

Wow, that's a great song (I feel taken back to my youth ;-) ). Also great recorded.
That's interesting with the Polarize Mic/Plugin. So we can change the polar pattern electronically. So use the proximity effect of a mic with a cardioid pattern and still make it sound like it was recorded omnidirectionally. However, I don't quite see the advantage for the vocals in this recording. With the BG vox it may make sense to increase the omnidirectional component if e.g. the room sounds good. But with the lead vocals?
What do you guys think?
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#6

Post by Mister Fox »

The song was actually also used for two hardware reviews (the Steinberg AXR4, and the LEWITT Microphone range). Gaz tried this microphone feature to see "what is possible". The best part here is, with the "Polarizer Version" of the multi-tracks, that you can decide what polar pattern you want to use per mic - after you finished your recording.

For example for the lead vocals, (if you want to) a Cardioid, or Hyper-Cardioid. And for the Chorus/Background Vocals anything from Cardioid, to Figure Eight, to Omni. This is a rare chance to not only learn how a polar pattern affects a recorded sound, but you also have full control over it. Which road you go, is up to you.

If you can not use the "Polarizer Plugin" (which is always a possibility, the plugin is not available in VST3 and native M1 yet), then there are still the split tracks with an already set balance - pushing more towards a Cardioid sound.

The plugin doesn't offer that many changes to the proximity effect. There are still other tools out there that can help you with that (e.g. from Tokyo Dawn Labs).



:arrow_right: As bonus information:
Here is a demo pack by LEWITT, offering you selected material for additional learning and experimentation purposes.

LEWITT - Change the polar pattern after recording
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#7

Post by TomImmon »

Mister Fox wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2023 19:25 CEST
The song was actually also used for two hardware reviews (the Steinberg AXR4, and the LEWITT Microphone range). Gaz tried this microphone feature to see "what is possible". The best part here is, with the "Polarizer Version" of the multi-tracks, that you can decide what polar pattern you want to use per mic - after you finished your recording.

For example for the lead vocals, (if you want to) a Cardioid, or Hyper-Cardioid. And for the Chorus/Background Vocals anything from Cardioid, to Figure Eight, to Omni. This is a rare chance to not only learn how a polar pattern affects a recorded sound, but you also have full control over it. Which road you go, is up to you.

If you can not use the "Polarizer Plugin" (which is always a possibility, the plugin is not available in VST3 and native M1 yet), then there are still the split tracks with an already set balance - pushing more towards a Cardioid sound.

The plugin doesn't offer that many changes to the proximity effect. There are still other tools out there that can help you with that (e.g. from Tokyo Dawn Labs).



:arrow_right: As bonus information:
Here is a demo pack by LEWITT, offering you selected material for additional learning and experimentation purposes.

LEWITT - Change the polar pattern after recording
Thanks a lot for your feedback. Yes, i have read the Lewitt pages before i asked here, because this mic feature seems really interesting for me.
So, the idea with the proximity effect is not mine, it came directly from Lewitt (https://www.lewitt-audio.com/blog/lct-6 ... r-patterns)
The LEWITT LCT 640 TS is a unique mic that allows a mixing engineer to change the polar pattern after the fact, and thus the proximity effect can be used to shape the sound in postproduction.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#8

Post by Mastemoth »

This is great song and a great challenge! A really cool song.

I hope I will have time mixing this with the ending of my vacation and me jumping from Pro Tools under Rosetta to Apple Silicon with whatever that brings. I don't know how many of you use Pro Tools but since this community is about sharing I thought I'd share a trick for a problem I've had since forever, due to Pro Tools. This was triggered by the files delivered in the competition.

When you import the Audio Files into a Pro Tools session all stereo files come up as Mono files with the suffix A1 and A2. This is a headache because you want to process most of them as stereo files and route them as stereo files to whatever it is you route them to. The reason for this is usually an added ixml chunk to the wav file done in the export. This doesn't always happen but it happens often enough to be annoying to work through manually, especially with large sessions.

You can do this in a lot of software but I actually bought Reaper just for this reason(plus that I was pissed off at Avd's business idea along time ago) and I basically only use Reaper for this issue. You can just batch convert all the files removing the chunk without changing sample rate or anything with just two clicks. Add the files and remove the chunk. On a Mac mini M1 and the conversion of this session took like 5 seconds. This would've taken maybe 10-15 minutes to do manually or 5-8 minutes with short cuts in Pro Tools. If that happens a lot it's a pain in the ass.

As I said I don't know how many uses Pro Tools on here but you mind find it useful. This happens with Puremix and ProduceItLikeAPro mix competition files too so it's not unusual. I'm still using Pro Tools after 20+ years and it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks.
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#9

Post by Mister Fox »

TomImmon wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2023 20:25 CEST
Thanks a lot for your feedback. Yes, i have read the Lewitt pages before i asked here, because this mic feature seems really interesting for me.
So, the idea with the proximity effect is not mine, it came directly from Lewitt (https://www.lewitt-audio.com/blog/lct-6 ... r-patterns)
While they're technically not wrong - depending on the polar pattern, and the distance to the mic, you do have different proximity effects (in certain frequency ranges). Also see Polar Pattern charts of your microphones, how they behave in certain situations.

However, the Polarizer Plugin does not change the signal distance to the mic, also affecting the polar pattern. Here, something like "Tokyo Dawn Labs Promixity" has way more influence.


Mastemoth wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2023 21:06 CEST
As I said I don't know how many uses Pro Tools on here but you mind find it useful. This happens with Puremix and ProduceItLikeAPro mix competition files too so it's not unusual. I'm still using Pro Tools after 20+ years and it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks.
This reads like an "Import > Load as Dual Mono" situation for me. Which is how ProTools works.

I often have the other way around in Wavelab, most notably with batch processing multi-tracks... If files are labeled _L.wav/_R.wav or .L.wav/.R.wav, Wavelab interprets that as "Dual Mono", and insists that this is "a stereo track", even if it actually isn't. I have to explicitly turn this handling off in the settings.

Unfortunately, I have no influence over how files are being provided for the Mix(ing) Challenge. Sometimes there is even a bpm tag written inside, which affects Cubase/Nuendo's Audio Pool and sometimes activates the "Musical Mode", which in turn (if active) results in time stretching to the bpm you set your DAW to.

This topic is all part of a project setup however, and should be part of your workflow routines.

Still, thank you for letting everyone know how you would handle the situation.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC093 August 2023 - Submissions until 21-AUG-2023 23:59 UTC+2/CEST

#10

Post by Barry M »

Fantastic song. I'm looking forwarding to mixing it.

The Polarizer is great. I used it previously on a Lewitt ran St Agnes mix comp.

I find it particularly useful on the BVs, for Y-axis placement.
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