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MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Mister Fox »

It is the 22nd August 2022, 00:20 UTC+2/CEST - the first Mix Round has officially ended

Another very warm welcome to all new participants, nice meeting you and I hope you'll enjoy your stay. Also a "hello back" to participants that didn't join in a while. 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 25-AUG-2022 07:45 UTC+2/CEST)
Statistic Sheets are not available yet, please wait for the official announcement post -- sheets will arrive by mid 25-AUG-2022 latest

 ⚠ 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, @Los_ady, decided to go the "(Feedback for) Top 15" route.
(although knowing Ady, he might give feedback to everyone)

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 060 (SWC060) is still in full swing.
The deadline is 24-AUG-2022, 23:59 UTC+2/CEST. The genre is "free to select" ("Water" - Picture Theme). So far we have 5 entries, with moderate interaction.

Please spread the word!
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Davias »

I made the link available for everybody, if there's still a chance to fix my mistake : https://drive.google.com/file/d/12pJOTT ... sp=sharing

I didn't know Google Drive was asking for credentials when I clicked on "share" and it gave me a link, that I copy pasted here. I don't use it often so I was surprised ^^

And if not I'm looking up already for the next challenge, good luck to all participants !

EDIT : just for the sake of it, and it could interest someone, i'll detail a bit more the process : All ITB mix done in Reaper. All tracks are going into Britson (was on sale not long ago ^^), then they are cleaned by MEqualizer and different free gates if there's some background noise, then most of them are compressed by various compressors, depending of the track material. they can be boosted by SSL EQ (t-racks british channel). they can be saturated if needed (I mean more saturated than consoles emus already presents, but below clearly audible distortion (I hope !)) and they end up into SKnote Strip (Tube A mode).
Fionna's voice got some delay on it while Lala's voice got some reverb (Valhalla I think). I tried to make Fionna's voice question/response with the Ribab. I tried to give a "western movie" feel too during the more guitars intensive parts. On the mix bus I have a PA Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor Class A (got it for 7$ or so, I strongly recommend to check their sales/mails vouchers/reddit often) doing about 1-2 dB of reduction; and a very slight bit of Drawmer S73 (on sale too !) for "intelligent glue" (about 25% wet).
Mixing : Reaper, Reason 12, Mixbus 32C 6.2, Cakewalk, Mixcraft 9, Samplitude
Producing : FL Studio, Reason 12, Renoise, Waveform

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Coiled_Ear »

Yesterday was a really bad day for me so I'm really LATE...and I don't have any idea may I ask for wildcard the first time in my mix challenge life. But try is a try, let's try. Even a comment from a song provider (or anybody) would be very welcome .
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-atPjn ... sp=sharing
So for me it's kind of mix between stoner rock, world music and pop arrangement. Here we go

Desert Rose beat - I made everything to make a kick in this beat physical and present good in the mix. So a couple of PRO-mb, transient shaper and finally Analog Obsession LoveEnd for this
Karkaba - Pan straight and room signal (room not so full left), eqed each and decapitator on the buss a bit
Cahon - only front mic in use, khz Haas for make it wide (pan for perception compensation then) and loveend around 250hz boost to make it more present and punch from the sides
Cymbals - grouped and hipassed pretty high
Cala - grouped and eqed and compressed by Pulsar 1178 (to make it active in bass room responce if you know what I mean, good tone in the bass was been noticed)
Bass - Kelvin (with mid cut), SSL saturator, Pro-MB, Wavesfactoy spectre (to add accents), Pultec by IK (to add 100hz oomph)
Fiona vox - Magicdeatheye compressor, LALA compressor, Pulsar 1178, Decapitator, PRO-MB, Analog Obsession LOADES for deesing a bit and EQ to add crisp then
LALA Tamar vox - MagicDeatheye comp into Pulsar 1178 comp
All guitars - Decapitator
1st guitar - PRO-mb
dist guitar - Nembrini Doubler
Dist 2 guitar - spectre, pro-mb, eq

Solo guitar - Pulsar 1178, PRO-MB, Soundtoys microshift
Sax - no processing
Trump - Pro-MB, Spectre

Solos - Magicdeatheye comp
Ribab group - LALA comp (analog obsession), Spectre

Ableton Reverb, Two Valhalla VV, One ValhallaRoom and Echoboy
Master buss
PRO-MB (just tiny bit harsh control), 30hz and 16khz cut accordingly, U-he Satin (does a voodoo magic in the end)

Good luck to all participants and sorry with disturbing anybody with my situation, cheers
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - 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 #91).

The 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". 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.

Please keep in mind, your mix being "tagged disqualified", does not mean "you're out of the game" (exceptions do apply). For more information on the Statistic Sheet and the "Wild Card" Mechanic, please consult the following addendum thread:

Mix Challenge - Addendum: Statistic Sheet and Wild Card Mechanic

:arrow: Statistics Addendum:

We have a disqualification rate of 25,00% for August 2022 (64 entries, 16 disqualifications, 2 "Out of Competition" submissions).

In comparison to previous months (detailed in spoiler tags):
► Show Spoiler
On average (21 months), we currently have a disqualification rate of 25,23% (compared to last month's 25,25% avg), the rate is on a slight decline. The disqualification rate over the course of the last 12 games (May 2021 to August 2022) is about 21,47%, and is on a slight increase.

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

It makes me happy to see new participants arriving every Mix(ing) Challenge. It is also great to see "old regulars" sticking their head in again ever so often. I hope you all had fun, and could learn something from this experience.

I'd like to address the elephant in the room however: paying attention to detail.

The most reasons to become "tagged disqualified" this month, were due to submitting a mix at the wrong sampling rate, closely followed by not adhering to the given loudness limits, and finally also a lack of technical documentation of at least one(!) sound you've enjoyed sculpting. The concept of this game is to learn from each other, interact. For newcomers even how to learn to properly document your edit in case of a needed session recall (yes, this is still a huge topic in the digital realm, especially since plugins are short-lived in comparison). So to those that got the information "warning: insufficient technical documentation", please write more in a follow up game. To all others, I'm sorry, but a simple "Thank you, I enjoyed working on the mix", and then move on, sadly doesn't cut it.

Unfortunately, we do have recurring entries that keep on ignoring given Rules and Guidelines for months. Maybe these participants should re-think their work ethics. Because even if you are offered a "Wild Card" to get into the next Mix Round, and you do fix your entry as part of the mechanic... Will you change how you handle a mix in the future, or continue to gamble on another chance to advance?

And speaking of "paying attention to detail" - there is a filename template provided with every Mix(ing) Challenge. I saw plenty of participants either using the filename of the demo mix (which has been acceptable this month), or just straight up ignoring what has been written. In case for MC087, I only "tagged disqualified" one user regarding the filename template. because half of the filename was missing. I set one user to "tagged OUT", because the filename was literally just "MC087 Mix.wav" - nothing else used from the template, no forum username associated.

I have invested an extra day before posting, just to think about this recurring topic and how to address this. I have been very lenient so far. Up until this point, and for most of the last 1,5 years, I merely stated warnings to those that used a slightly altered version of the given template. But using this template is important for two different reasons: first and foremost, finding the file on my HDD in case it was misplaced (which can happen - Windows is a bit of a diva sometimes), and using scripts while creating the Statistic Sheets to extract/remove certain data from CSV files. Second, and here I speak from real-world experience, a "wrongly named file" can result in some really angry communication after the fact.

I will post a follow-up to this as part of a blog post (Q4/2022 Community Update). However, it is really imperative that you use the provided filename template. Just copy and paste, add your username, done - it really is that simple. If you do not do that as of MC088 / October 2022, as in: the filenames do not match up until your username, your entry will be "tagged disqualified". Which in turn might result in your entry being outright ignored by a future Song Provider, who has more strict personal standards. So please don't put your entry at risk by ignoring this small detail.

Overall, the Song Provider (@Los_ady) and I are very happy with the participation. We're also pleased to see some users stepping out of their shadows, and work on something that they usually do not work on. This is what the Mix(ing) Challenge is about - trying something new, and learn from the experience. We would have loved to see more than 70 entries (or even scratch the surface of 100 entries again). But this was quite the special challenge, and the Northern Hemisphere was also smitten by several heatwaves.

I hope you all had fun - and who knows what the next Mix(ing) Challenge will bring. :phones:

:arrow: Important to point out (a summary for all new participants):
► Show Spoiler

: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.

Please watch this spot for the client feedback and Mix Round 2 participant announcement.
This will ideally happen sometime within the next 14 days (starting tomorrow).
White Punk OD
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by White Punk OD »

I think if we look at the number of disqualifications, and then at the number of newcomers or participants with less than 3 entries, it looks more optimistic, in that those who keep striving, will make it next time.
A challenge episode with many failures and many newcomers would not be entirely negative. Any game has a certain entry level to make sense.
I decided to join after looking into the tracks and it was interesting.
Due to the nature of the production, I would think of 3 topics that could be discussed a bit more openly.
* vocal tuning, but also some other instruments like trumpet and sax tracks.
* timing corrections, sometimes a percussion track is off.
* mixing techniques that already may touch arrangement, to make the partially static production musically more coherent and dynamic. this means very strong volume automation to sort out concurrent use of frequency range and melodic space, and make the whole thing tell a little story. (to distinguish from corrective automation)
eg. I tried a private version where I muted the guitars shortly before the chorus kicks in after the solo parts. sounds predictable but nice.

another one: wide spectrum with dense mix, or more natural, "live" sound? would be interesting to hear the pros and cons, also in the feedback.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Davias »

Mister Fox wrote:
Mon Aug 22, 2022 00:23 CEST
[*]Overview of Submissions - is your entry within given parameters? (PDF - updated: 25-AUG-2022 07:45 UTC+2/CEST, full sheet)
[*]Overview of Submissions (disqualifications only) (PDF - updated: 25-AUG-2022 07:45 UTC+2/CEST)
Small question , when I click on these links I'm getting an "Error. Access Forbiden", anybody else experiencing the same issue ?

EDIT : Seems to work now, not sure what happened ^^
Mixing : Reaper, Reason 12, Mixbus 32C 6.2, Cakewalk, Mixcraft 9, Samplitude
Producing : FL Studio, Reason 12, Renoise, Waveform

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by Franz »

So yes, let's share some ideas as Mister Fox strongly recommends, hoping not to influence the songprovider (not so sure...)

Started by our prolix friend WhitePunk with his always lively pen and interesting ideas. Overall I share the different points raised.
I add some remarks.

- From a "tuning" point of view, it is better to leave all the tracks as they are. For example, at the beginning of the song,
if you mix the backing vocals a bit too loud, they will conflict with the brass in terms of tuning. Almost impossible to correct.
So leave the sax and trumpet as they are and turn down the backing vocals and the matter is resolved. In addition, it creates
a special atmosphere that is very suitable for the title.

- Percussion: I think these are the trickiest tracks to mix. Well, there are interruptions but we are in the world of Moroccan music
in which few things are written. Likewise, the percussionists' playing must be respected.

- The arrangement: always the same, we respect it as it is. And indeed it is the mixing that will give the final "sound" to the piece.
Contrary to appearances, the possibilities of creating "a story" (as WhitePunk writes very well) are numerous and this is what makes
the difference between the mixes.

Let me (with Mister Fox's blessing) make a few comments on our friends' mixes. Overall I am quite possibly impressed.
But, there is always a but, two things bother me a bit. The first is the main female voice which seems to have a "veil"
on most of the mixes. Secondly, I'm still sceptical about the way the "rhythm" of the song is approached. In many of the mixes
it sounds almost pop-rock, not to say disco, because most of the time you only hear 2 beats. The result is that the "Moroccan"
atmosphere is almost hidden and would be totally hidden in some mixes if it wasn't for the ribab. As I have already written,
it is not easy to find this subtle sound balance between different instruments that are not used to living together.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by scottfitz »

Hi all,
Take what I say with a pinch of salt as I'm disqualified:)

In terms of tuning and timing I think we should not tune this recording at all, not should we clean up timing. Firstly because it's called "Power is Out", a moment when the world stopped. If everything is out, then maybe we should down the tools and be more real. For me I think the idea of tuning is a big loser most of the time. For example Liam Gallagher's recent solo album, it's just awful what they did to his vocal. Neither should we be trying to tune Moroccan instruments for which the beauty is all about their greater sensitivity outside the chromatic scale. The bass guitar part, the player did pull the strings out or perhaps had an intonation problem, but again I don't think it's at all the spirit of this to go into that.

I agree that it's not my instinct to 'clean up' the rhythm either when we have all these detail and subtlety between the instruments. The fact that the Calabash, Cajon, Beat and Karkabas form a very dense sound with hits coming slightly at odds with each other at times is what makes this great. I didn't feel my mix did it justice but I knew what I wanted it to be. The Cajon for me was the hardest part as it was doubled in the cymbal mic and I'm not up for trying to solve this with EQ for fear of some awful phase issue. But if you have the cymbal +Cajon tracks in then it's a bit loud. If you bring the Cajon level down, then we lose the nice tone of it, if we bring the cymbal down it's not doing its job, so I tried to control them both using the compressor. The Calabash was another very awkward track and I wondered if I was in the room if it really sounded like this or is the high click sound more prominent and they have just captured a good deal of the thump sound. I know you end up struggling to hear all the parts, but it can work as a kind of organised chaos, it is beautiful like that for me.

It was an amazing experience to have a go at it so thanks again to Ady and Mister Fox

Cheers all
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by JeroenZuiderwijk »

I think that anything goes as long as it is in favour of the song and the idea behind it.....but.....most of the time it is important to be subtle with editing timing issues and tuning issues. I mean it doesn't have to sound like 'Eiffel 65'' ;-) (I'm sorry for everybody who is stuck with "blue da-ba-dee" in there heads now for the rest of the day thanks to this reference)....anyway... I think with a song like this month we should respect the artistic choices and make it shine. If a little timing or tuning editing makes it shine more (without people noticing the editing) why not? But there is often a thin line between what the maker thinks is unnoticible and the mixer. So the less editing the better I think. ......but who knows.... that is only my opinion.
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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC087 August 2022 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation


Post by zed999 »

I'm pretty sure my mix sounds bad, but I have to agree with 2 of the above posters, I spent a lot of time trying to get the Moroccan instruments up and the pop beat down, like you were sitting amongst the percussion. I realise now I went too far on that! I also think tuning and timing this track would take the heart out of it. Just my opinion, but I guess that depends on what you're trying to make of it. Personally I loved all the flams in the percussion, I'm not keen on perfect timing. I wanted it to sound live in a lively building, not at all "HiFi".
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