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MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Winners announced

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Mister Fox
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MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Winners announced


Post by Mister Fox »

Hello and welcome to the Mix Challenge 61 - December 2019

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 post for re-submissions for Mix Round 2.

For the last Mix Challenge of the year, we'll get access to a Jazz (Big Band) production by Francis Adam, with a performance by the french Jazz/Big Band "Jazz MUK". The song is called "Two Seconds to Midnight".

Two important things to point out this game:
You do not need to provide a MP3 file, and please keep your mixdown/export at a reasonable level of -16LUFS ILk (+-1LU) max.

Read more about the production below, and in the bundled TXTs.

Please take note of the following
  • IMPORTANT: It is mandatory to provide WAV files, files need to be accessible/downloadable, try to work within suitable work levels (the focus of this game is "mixing", not mixing and finalizing), document your edits (ideally also with screenshots), name the files properly to distinguish your edit from all others.
    IMPORTANT: please use the following naming convention (Contestant Name = Forum Username):
    • MC000_ArtistName_TrackName_ContestantName.wav
    • MC000_ArtistName_TrackName_ContestantName_R2.wav for those that go into Mix Round 2
    • Example: MC061__Jazz_MUK__Two_Seconds_to_Midnight__<forum_username>.wav
  • please only upload to cloud storage spaces (DropBox, GoogleDrive, etc), not SoundCloud. Please consult the official "Rules and Gudelines" regarding Upload and Submission Guidelines
  • It is highly encouraged to give feedback to each other, to share tips and tricks. Ideally, this should happen after Mix Round 1 has ended, to not influence each other during the main competition round

Also please take note of the following
  • Our Song Pool has dried up! We're looking for new source material for future competitions. Please follow our official campaign. Your only investment is time in turn for a free mix by our very talented participants. No new tracks mean no more challenges! Please reach out!
  • Social Media accounts can be found via the handles @MixChallenge (Twitter) and MixChallenge (Facebook). Please spread the word!
  • if you like what the Mix Challenge (community) has been doing in recent months, please consider supporting us.

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 2: Global Feedback and Round 2 Participant Announcement
Results of the Mix Challenge: Winners announced

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by Mister Fox »


Time Frame: Sunday, 01st December 2019 to Saturday, 21st December 2019 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-12-2019, 11:59pm CET/GMT+1 (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. You can also consult the World Clock at the top of the forum or alternatively the following tool - in this case please select "Berlin (Germany)" as location 1, and your location as location 2: Time and Date - World Clock Meeting Planner. We do post reminders via our Twitter account and Facebook page.

Song Provider: Francis Adam (Producer), Jazz MUK (Performer)
Song Name and Length: Two Seconds to Midnight, 5:42 min
Song Information: 146-148 BPM / Signature: 4/4, Key of Ab maj
File Format: WAV, 48kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Jazz (Big Band)

Preview of the Song:

A word from the song provider:
Francis Adam wrote:The title "Two Seconds to Midnight" was originally an arrangement for the orchestra by American composer Alan Baylock and taken up by the French orchestra "Jazz MUK" with new arrangements. I've realized this sound recording as producer.

This recording simulates the conditions of a live concert (but without an audience). It's an orchestra of about twenty musicians, all amateurs except the saxophonist Nicolas, with whom I realized the mix in 2008.

You will discover all the hazards of a sound recording: level changes, room acoustics, bleed of the microphones, clipping, etc ...

Technically this work was done in a mobile studio in a concert hall with a Mackie Onyx 32.4 console connected to an Alesis HD24 multitrack recorder. There was a microphone in front of each instrumentalist (several for the drums) and the recording of a title was done in one take (no re-recording / overdubs). It was of course necessary to record several versions of the same title. But without the possibility of editing at a later state, because of small variations in speed during the interpretation of the title. And especially because of the improvisation of solos (trombone and guitar).

Take the original mix as a landmark.

What I advise you to do :

-First group the different wind instruments per panel
-Then take all the instruments while trying to compose an open and spatial soundscape thanks to the use of reverb.

Also remember to correctly name your entry, try to stay within the recommended work level / max loudness of -16LUFS and stick to the given 48kHz 24bit. Failure to follow these instructions may greatly disadvantage you.

It is not necessary to go into technical detail regarding the used plugins, but rather try to explain why you used a certain FX chain.

I hope you will enjoy this mix and do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. I will be happy to help you as best as possible.

Good luck to everyone !


(Footnote: The client is not a native English speaker. This introduction has been edited by the staff for easier readability.)

(more technical details in the Mix Pack bundled TXTs)

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Staff (Mister Fox) wrote:One hint I can give on the way, is to look at the production as a "whole". Of course you can go in-depth and find every issue with the recording, but in the end it has to sound like a big-band performing. So pitch correction is not advised in this case.

Another thing to look out for, is the quality of the source material:
are there offsets, does it need cleanup, does something need to be repaired? Or can you just "build upon" what you've been given. This is up to you to decide.

Have fun editing, and good luck.

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.

Special Add-On Rules:
  • try to create a mix that complements this production (in your own style)
  • Clean / Alternative versions can be used if you need more flexibility over a certain sound (if present in this production)
  • No rearrangement or pitch shifting of the song structure, with the exception of the following add-on rules
  • PRODUCTION RELATED: make the best out of the provided audio material (EQ, compression, transient tools, etc), no "drum sample triggering / replacement"! Failing to adhere to this rule will result in instant disqualification
  • summing bus processing is allowed, as long as the dynamic range (average signal strength to maximum signal strength) doesn't suffer - use of this method is artistically!
  • provide the material in the same or higher sampling rate and bitrate as originally provided. Do not convert/dither down (song provider wants to see 48/24 mixes!)
  • try to not(!) pre-master the track (please no overuse of mix bus treatment, no loudness adjustments / limiting) - read: NO MASTERING


Source Files:

Main Mix Package - Mirror on the Mix Challenge Homepage (887,97 MB, LZMA compressed, zip)
IMPORTANT NOTE: file unavailable after 21-DEC-2019

The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 1209,63 MB, packed 887,97 MB (ZIP, LZMA)
In order to extract the files, we can recommend these programs:

The Unarchiver - get it here
Keka (open source) - get it here

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


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.

Acon Digital is kind enough give away a single plugin of winner's choice
License will turn into NFR
More info on Acon Digital: http://acondigital.com

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

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

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: http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/

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

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

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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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by JulienMeirone »

Hi guys,

here my submission for this month. That's was an interesting song to mix and for me the challenge was not to overprocesse it and to keep it natural and warm but not messy

MP3 : https://www.dropbox.com/s/o47hhxik4pl2b ... e.mp3?dl=0
Wav :https://www.dropbox.com/s/de7pg849puowx ... e.wav?dl=0
Screenshots : https://www.dropbox.com/s/de7pg849puowx ... s.rar?dl=0

Plugins used :

Mix buss : VCC, Bx digital V3, satin, gullfoss, ozone 9 dynamic, VBC, Pro L2, softube P1
Drum : Rbass, submarine, transient designer, puigchild 670, tsar reverb pro q3, L1, DBX 160 , bx console G, millenia nseq2, bx twonhouse
Bass : Pro Q3, cla76, bx console E, L1
Guitar : Pro Q3 CLA2A, pro MB, L2, d-verb
Keys : Cla 3,jjp keys
Sax, trumpet, trombone : pro Q3, L1, Lo-fi, Vertigo sc2, maageq2
FX : Reverb R4 and psp 2445

Faithfully. Probably my last mix ont this website; i don't have time anymore to pratice this year but keep going guys this is such a good thing for all engineers.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by brydonjoshuahill »

Hi All,

New to this competition, hope I'm submitting this right!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1603FXA ... sp=sharing

Cheers! :gotidea: :tu: :clap: :hmmm: :hyper: :hyper: :P
Brydon Hill

Edit: I didnt realize I was supposed to list what I did so here it is:

With stock logicprox plugins...
Noise gated every track
Eq'd every track
Levelled every track
Hard panned every track
Added a bit of real tape echo, mono down the middle
Thats it!!! :smack:
Last edited by brydonjoshuahill on Tue Dec 31, 2019 00:55 CET, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by Chriswilson83 »

Hi all,

I’ve been a combination of busy and also recovering from an operation so missed a couple. I enjoyed doing this one!

As it’s a live recording with plenty bleed I decided to do no correcting or gating of anything. Work with as is (I do wish the bassist hadn’t missed the first note in the piece though). I haven’t bothered to automate any volumes as the musicians are doing this themselves.

I used Cubase Pro 10.5 with a healthy amount of Softube, Waves, Soundtoys, BX, IK, Slate Digital and UAD plugins. (Screenshots of plugin routings in the folder).

The main information:

-Instance of Tape of all tracks (same settings) and another tweaked on the master to give it a little more mojo.

-Drums, Trombones, Trumpets and Sax get routed into a bus compressor of their own for a little “glue”.

-There’s a lot of different snare tone hits going in the piece making it tricky to keep it clear in the mix at all times. I’ve opted to live with it and find a happy medium so there is the mildest parallel compression on it.

-Couple of different reverbs happening. Kit gets an Abbey Road Chambers, wind and brass get UAD Realverb Pro on a hall setting. Everything is sent to an FX of IK Tracks Hall reverb with sends to cater how much of each track I want going into it.

-Slight stereo pannings of the wind/brass sections. Nothing too crazy as in actual big band setups they are all usually sat in rows in front of each other and would be heard almost mono (kit/bass/piano to the side too. That would be an odd panning to do in a recording….)

-Piano has a monotostereo plugin as I didn’t really want it stuck totally in the middle.

Master out just the master tape, a SSL emulation feathering the needle and a Neve console emulation to round the image out.

Levels are -21.8 LUFS, -3.5db true peak. Overall LUFS levels are a little deceiving on this mix as it has some extreme dynamics between sections (as the meter I’ve send shows, there is a rather large dynamic range of 6LU in the piece).

24bit 48khz render.

WAVE and screenshots are here:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ssqEY ... j40uJfXwRk
Last edited by Chriswilson83 on Thu Dec 05, 2019 20:37 CET, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by huellafonica »

Hi guys! Hope you all are good. First, thank you so much again for this kind o contest, it keep us trained, (this is my second try) Second, I apologize because of my English.

In this link you will find the .wav file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V7fkZs ... sp=sharing

In this link you will check how I mixed the track, there are screenshots of: loudness information, mixer overview, tracks overview, busses overview and fx overview: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... sp=sharing

Now i will talk about my mixing process for this track:

I am used to organize all my session in folders and properly named and colored for my clarity.

I start with a rough mix and while it, setting up the gaing staging. For the rough mix I use my (loved Console 1) Mainly levels and panning. Other thing I do while it, is put some makers for the structure of the song, then I can select wich part I want to work with.

Then when I feel the rough mix is ready, I start a critical listening with the drum section and processing what I think need it.

You can see in the screenshots how I organize the tracks in the editing view, so usually it is the same order I process the mix. Drums, bass, piano, guitar, trombos, trumpets, saxs and clarinet.

I try to process the traks by families, each one of them has a bus where I try to process it with eq and compression.

I used 4 differents channels for reverbs, but using, for three of them, the same reverb with the same settings, but I panned each one differently.

I like to compress each bus I used to route any group of instruments, because it helps me with the glue between them, and I use some glue settings in the compressor I use in the master bus.

There is some automation mostly in the solo moments, to keep the instrument notable.

Any other thing you want to know about my mix, please let me know!


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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by rxchad »

Cool stuff!

MP3: https://www.dropbox.com/s/l2sx9s2mlf7ye ... d.mp3?dl=0

wav: https://www.dropbox.com/s/t8jgjrvr3p2e1 ... d.wav?dl=0

screenshots: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/cht5g08r5o9r ... vLJTa?dl=0

In the Box: Pro Tools HDX, FabFilter Pro Q3 and Pro Q2

Outboard: Audient ASP 8024 console, Warm WA-2A, Undertone Unfairchild 670, Shadow Hills compressor, GML compressor, Manley Vari-Mu, Manley Massive Passive, Bricasti reverb, TC Electronic system 6000, Crane Song HEDD Quantum, Waves Maxx BCL, Tascam DA-3000.

I recorded at 24/48 with the intent to cross the converters twice....once on the way out to the console, and once on the way to the recorder.

In the box setup: I grouped the instruments and created a stereo aux for the overhead drums, T-bones, Trumpets, and Saxophones. The auxes went to a pair of channels on the console, as well as all the other individual instruments, including the kick and snare.

FX sends: there were 3 aux channels for two stereo reverbs and a stereoizer effect. these were used conservatively on all but the drums and bass, which didn't get any FX. these three stereo channels were then routed to the console.

Outboard setup: I routed the channels to the 8 group faders in stereo pairs, using the Unfairchild on (1.2), Shadow Hills (3,4), GML (5,6), and Vari_Mu (7,8). These were then blended into the Stereo bus. The Kick and the reverbs also went directly to the stereo bus. The Stereo bus hit the Crane Song HEDD to convert back to 24/48, then passing through the Maxx BCL for protection, ending at the Tascam DA-3000. The final numbers were -16.1 LUFS, with -1.8 true peak.

Individual channels:

Kick -- I focused on a fundamental frequency around 100 Hz to stay within the style of big band....Wanting to be tight and real instead of larger-than-life. The kick used console EQ and was routed through the Unfairchild, sidechainded to be unaffected under 300 Hz, as well as straight to the stereo bus.

Snare -- the snare is a prime example of one of the biggest challenges of this mix for me, which is making the dynamic control sound unaffected, while taming the dynamics to fit within broadcast parameters. Tight and defined is what I wanted for the rhythm section. The snare got Fabfilter EQ before hitting the console, got EQ on the console, then went to Unfairchild and direct to stereo bus like the kick.

Overheads -- These went to a stereo Aux and to the console for EQ and routing to all 4 groups

Bass -- The bass got EQ on console and was routed to all 4 compressors along with going direct to mix bus.

Guitar -- The guitar got dynamic EQ before the console, then slight EQ on the console, routed to all 4 compressors

Piano -- (sounding like a broken record here) EQ pre and post console.....routed to all 4 compressors

clarinet -- no need to route to an aux as a single instrument.... EQ pre and post console..... routed to all compressors

Bones, Trumpets, Saxes -- Auxes EQ then sent to console. each side (L,R) were sent to L or R on compressor groups.

The FX came into the console as 3 stereo pairs on 6 channels. The reverbs were sent directly to the stereo bus because I wanted the decay unaltered by the compressors. But the Stereoizer went into the 4 compressors at a low level.

The Stereo bus went through a pair of Warm WA-2A's into a Massive Passive to give a collective shape, then to the HEDD to convert back to 24/48. Once converted, I used the MAXX BCL for transient protection, into a Tascam DA-3000 recorder, monitored at the final stage by TC Electronic Clarity M.

Great band.

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by chriskamery »

Here is my first go around at this. I am sure I am messing something up with the post so just let me know and I will try and correct it.

Wav File:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/an904nufd4e8u ... y.wav?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y6fa8h8in8n4b ... .pptx?dl=0


I added a little automation to the bass to bring it out when the wind instruments aren't playing. Most everything else sat pretty balanced for my taste. Getting everything panned out was the biggest thing here. I grouped all of the like instruments, sex, trombone, trumpet to their own bus. A little compression on the trombones as i felt that the solo got away from the pack sometimes.

EQ on the drums to add more punch to the kick and snare. I also dropped the low end out of the overheads to keep some mud out. Plate reverb on the snare because well, I like the sound of it.

Some reverb on the stereo mix to help give more of a full band feel. A little overall compression just to tighten it up as well on the stereo mix.

Mixed in Cubase 9 LE with included plug-ins. I don't have many plug-ins yet. Still working on that part. Excited to see the feedback!


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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by paperthin »

Hi, here's my take on this month's challenge:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7hgo68nfnqhxl ... n.wav?dl=0

The track is challenging indeed. It's a new genre for me, so I had to do some reading before starting the mix.
First of all, I've arranged the players in a somewhat classic big band fashion, which can be vaguely represented as:


Having the kick and the bass anywhere else but in the middle is strange to me, but we're talking 20-30% off to the side, so it's not awful.

Secondly, I've grouped the woodwinds and brass instruments by type, which is a natural thing to do. And I did a lot of cleaning, and by cleaning I mean notching out ringing frequencies between 3k and 5k and tape emulation at lower ips (Kramer Tape in this case). This helped achieve some separation between individual notes, and also made for a smoother mix. Those trumpet stabs can give you a haircut if you're not careful.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the automation. Yes, the arrangement is good and the players control their own dynamics. But - as the song-provider writes - most of the them are amateurs, and an amateur mix is not what we want, right? So I felt a little more control could help.
I lowered the notes that are off (there are a couple on the sax5, for example), and brought out the ones that I found pleasing. I think that in complex (jazzy!) harmonic clusters it is important to follow a certain voice (or a couple of voices), this way the song is easier to understand and more memorable. Don't get me wrong, you can still hear every note, there's just a bit less fighting for attention going on in there.

On the kick I added a bit of sub frequencies (RBass) to give it a more modern feel, and gated it (it's the only channel that has a gate).
The only compressors I used are on the kick and on the master buss (both are SSL-type).

And finally, the reverb. I only used one chamber on all the instruments, it makes sense to me to have a single coherent space in which the band is playing. And there's not much of it there, either. I use reverbs for depth and a sense of space, but I don't like to hear them directly, and I guess it goes for every genre. Whenever I hear residual reverb tails (unless it's a special effect), I usually find it cheesy. It's all dependent on the style of course. Comparing my mix to the original, I find that mine is drier and less bright. Other than that I don't see how the original could be improved.

So this was the logic behind my mixing process. Whether I nailed it or missed the point completely, it's been good training. All in all, I like the tune and I wholly appreciate live human-played tracks, those are getting rare. Thanks for the challenge, and good luck to all!

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Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC061 December 2019 - Submissions until 21-12-2019 11:59pm GMT+1/CET


Post by Mister Fox »

A friendly reminder:
Including today, 14 days left to submit your edit

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