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Mix Challenge - Addendum: Statistic Sheet and Wild Card Mechanic

Collection of the official Rules and Guidelines, plus Addenda
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Mister Fox
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Mix Challenge - Addendum: Statistic Sheet and Wild Card Mechanic

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This thread is a supplementary for the Mix(ing) Challenge.


It offers a more in-depth explanation of/for the Statistic Sheet for each game (for educational purposes), and how the Wild Card Mechanic is built upon that. Giving you a chance to still advance into Mix Round 2, if you ran into a small faux-pas and your entry has been "tagged disqualified".

The add-on set is split over the course of the following posts, for easier understanding and simplicity:

Post 1: Introduction Post
Post 2: Statistic Sheet explained - what is it for, and what does it reveal
Post 3: Wild Card Mechanic explained - a way to still advance into Mix Round 2


If there are any questions, feel free to ask them in the Q&A and Gossip Area.
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Statistic Sheet explained - what is it for, and what does it reveal

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STATISTIC SHEET


The Mix(ing) Challenge has a certain distinct set of rules regarding submitting an entry.

As in: mix in such a way that there are barely any changes needed in a follow-up mastering process, don't exceed certain loudness and maximum signal strength limits, export in the same sampling rate and/or bitrate that the material was provided in (bar minim at 24bit), properly name your entry (filename template) and use your forum username, and finally, document your edit.

The reason behind all of this is rooted with the educational aspect of our community: learn how to pay attention to detail regarding requested specifications and/or special tasks. If you didn't, yet still advanced into the next round, that would have been unfair to every other participant. So the Statistic Sheet mechanic was re-introduced in July 2020 to not only neutrally enforce the game's rule book, but also to offer an additional learning aspect, to improve on your skill-set and possible bad mixing habits. And with the Mix(ing) Challenge, you can experience this learning process is casual manner. Before you might run into such tasks in the real world (with actual paying clients), and then run into trouble.


Here is the Statistic Sheet for Mix Challenge MC084 / February 2022, as visual example for this addendum:
MC084 / February 2022 Statistic Sheet - full sheet



:arrow: What does the Statistic Sheet tell you?

The Statistic Sheet is offering you a simplified analysis in written form for the entry you submitted. This check is handled by the staff after the initial submission period has ended, and before the the Mix Round 1 Evaluation starts. For analysis, Wavelab 10's "Batch Analysis" tool is used, which utilizes EBU R-128 specs (equivalent to ITU-R BS.1770-4). The results are a custom layouted Microsoft Excel/Apache OpenOffice sheet (manual labor).

It focuses on the following (corresponding with the columns in the PDF files):


Additional Info

A lot of participants look at this column first, as it provides a quick summary what went wrong, or what one should look out for.
  • file not accessible -- unable to download entry (either broken link, expired link, log in required, etc)
  • re-submission (date) -- proven re-upload of an entry. If both files are available for analysis, the re-upload will also show up in the re-submission at the bottom
  • filename template -- provided filename template was not used, or the filename has been turned around in some way
  • username association -- your entry could not be associated with your forum user account
  • no documentation -- you didn't provide at least rudimentary documentation of your mix (like: why you went for a certain particular sound, or explaining a certain sound you were proud of sculpting, etc). A lack of documentation results in your entry being "tagged disqualified"
  • wrong sampling rate -- your entry was exported in the wrong sampling rate
  • wrong bitrate -- the bitrate of your entry is not correct (bar minimum 24bit)
  • loudness specs -- either your signal exceeded the maximum allowed signal strength (-1,00 dBTP), maximum allowed average signal strength / loudness (-16,0 LUFS ILk), or undershoot the minimum allowed average signal strength / loudness (-24 LUFS ILk). Tolerances taken into consideration
  • warning: ??? -- a general warning what to look out for. Like rogue peaks, over-shots, song length, etc


Disqualified

The second-to-last column only shows two types of markings, or no marking at all.
  • no marking -- your entry is within given specs
  • a bold "X" -- showing that your entry has been "tagged disqualified", but can still advance into the next Mix Round with the help of a Wild Card.
  • a bold "OUT" with a red background -- indicating your entry is "out of the game" and can not advance anymore


Filename / Forum Username:

The sheet lists your forum username in this column. If you didn't use the provided filename template (always provided in first and second post of each game thread), or even worse, your submitted file could not be associated with your forum user account, your entry will be marked as such. Two more ways to get the same color, is if your entry could not be downloaded by the end of the game's deadline, or if you've re-uploaded your entry (your submission is final, re-submissions are not allowed).
  • in case of the filename template not being used,your entry will be "tagged disqualified" (this might change in August 2023 to tagged "OUT")
  • in case of no associated username, or file not being downloadable, this is the criteria where your entry is fully considered "OUT" (as in: out of the game), with no further chance to advance in the next mixing rounds. The used background color will be red.


Sampling Rate:

This column shows if you've paid attention to detail regarding the source material. If it was in 44,1kHz, 48kHz or 96kHz, you should have submitted a mix/an edit in the same sampling rate to prevent unnecessary sampling rate conversion, affecting the audio quality.
  • Mismatching the sampling rate results in an orange-toned background marking, and your entry will be "tagged disqualified".


Bitrate:

This column shows if you've paid attention to detail regarding the source material. If it was in 16bit, you should have submitted a mix/an edit in at least 24bit. If it was in 24bit to begin with, then only submit in that bitrate, etc. This is to prevent unnecessary bitrate conversion, which can result in unwanted noise and audio artifacts.
  • Mismatching the bitrate results in an orange-toned background marking, and your entry will be "tagged disqualified".
  • If the bitrate drops lower than 24bit however (due to low maximum and/or average signal strength), then the readout is marked with a grey background as a bonus information. No penalties in this case.


dBTP (L / R) -- maximum signal strength in dB True Peak (channel independent):

This column shows the maximum signal strength of your provided entry, channel independent for the left and right channel respectively. You are tasked to not exceed a certain value (-1,00 dBTP max). Tolerances due to offsets with other analysis tools are taken into consideration.
  • Exceeding this value (-1,00 dBTP max), results in a blue background marking, and your entry will be "tagged disqualified".
  • If the readout drops below -6,00 dBTP, then the value is marked with a light-grey background as bonus information (this also has influence on the bitrate readouts and is no reason to worry -- you just didn't use the full bit range). No penalties in this case.
  • If the readout is still within the allowed tolerance, only the numeric value will be blue, indicating "you should look out for possible over-shots".


Integrated Loudness ILk :

This column shows, if your entry has been in the allowed target loudness range and/or does not exceed the maximum allowed loudness (-16,0 LUFS ILk max). Headroom is important for follow-up edits and/or transferring the material on to another medium in question (Tape, Vinyl, MP3, Broadcast, Stream, etc). Tolerances due to offsets with other analysis tools are taken into consideration.
  • Exceeding this value (-16,0 LUFS ILk max), results in a blue background marking, and your entry will be "tagged disqualified".
  • Undershooting this value (-24,0 LUFS ILk), results in a darker blue background marking, and your entry will be "tagged disqualified".
  • If this readout is still within the allowed tolerance, only the numeric value will be blue, indicating "you should look out for possible over-shots/under-shots".


Mix Length

This column is currently for information purposes only, but might turn into a future "tagged disqualified" criteria.

This readout shows whether or not you might have cut the edit a bit too short. It is always recommended to at least render with one bar (measure) of silence each in front and back of a production, to not only prevent transient smearing at the beginning of a mix, but also offer follow-up edits a proper way to create fade-in/fade-outs.
  • This field is marked in in a light-yellow color tone if your export is shorter than the acceptable song length (without silence in front/back).




The Statistic Sheet is also forwarded to the Song Provider(s), giving them a quick and easier overview as to quick entry "played by the rules", and which didn't. Those that didn't and are merely "tagged disqualified" can still advance through the help of a Wild Card - should the "client" like your entry and wants to see you in Mix Round 2.

Please read the follow-up post on that topic.
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Wild Card Mechanic explained - a way to still advance into Mix Round 2

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Post by Mister Fox »

"WILD CARD" MECHANIC:

This game mechanic offers participants with mere minor issues to their mixes (pointed out in the monthly "Statistic Sheet"), a chance to still advance towards the next round (Mix Round 2). At the cost of using a "wild card". This option is not available to ignore well established Rules and Guidelines, but extends the learning factor of the game / community. Sometimes slight mishaps do happen.

The "Wild Card" mechanic will offer you a chance to learn from your mistake, fix it, and grow from this experience.



:arrow: The mechanic is as following:
  • every forum participant starts with two (number: 2) "wild cards"
  • the "wild cards" are at it's basic form a chance to advance the game, even though you made a mistake (or several) during Mix Round 1 (only!). May it be a simple render mistake (wrong bitrate or sampling rate), your material went over the allowed loudness specifications, or you didn't properly document your edit
  • in order to be able to use this option, your entry must be tagged as/listed under "disqualified" in the Statistic Sheet
  • you forfeit this option if your material (tagged as "OUT"):
    • could not be downloaded
    • can not be associated with your forum account (filename does not use forum username, see filename template)
    • has been re-uploaded prior to the end of Mix Round 1 (your submission is final!)
    • has been submitted after the deadline of Mix Round 1 (please check in with the Global Countdown)
    • or has been withdrawn due to personal reasons
  • advancing through a "wild card" can not be requested or forced (participant insisting), only the song provider can decide if you go into the next round
  • important: if your entry has been given the chance to move into the next round, not only do you then need to address desired changes, you also need to fix your mistake while still adhering to given established rules
  • if you decide on advancing and to submit your edit, your available "wild card" amount will drop by -1
  • you can decline your chance to participate during the next Mix Round, no "wild card" will be used in this case
  • "wild cards" can not be recovered / do not recharge
  • "wild card usage" will be pointed out by you getting a special rank ("Wild Card use x1" or "Wild Card use x2")

:arrow: Participants that used a "wild card" will be pointed out through the following icons on their user account:

Image and Image


Song Providers can cross check Wild Card users via these two links (the forum can only show one active "special rank"):

Usergroup - "Wild Card" use x1
Usergroup - "Wild Card" use x2



The mechanic is officially implemented as of 17-SEP-2021
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