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MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Winners announced

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FixInTheMix
Posts: 73
Joined: Sat May 20, 2017 20:13 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#41

Post by FixInTheMix »

el-bo wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 13:22 CEST
Unable to download Wav's from the following participants. Tried yesterday, also :sad:


FixInTheMix
Nonlinear
HerbFelho
That´s weird.
I tried downloading the wav files from the three of us and it worked well but for some reason Nonlinear´s mix and mine wouldn´t play in the preview.

Did you get to this part?
Screenshot_9.png
Anyway, I deleted the previous version and uploaded the file again.

here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-HEHp ... sp=sharing

here (this one is compressed in RAR): https://we.tl/2WQPDbr1JE

and here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hatfz2kl8s0p1 ... x.wav?dl=0

I hope this solves the problem :headscratch:

User avatar
Nonlinear
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun May 21, 2017 17:08 CEST
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA
Contact:

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#42

Post by Nonlinear »

el-bo wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 13:22 CEST
Unable to download Wav's from the following participants. Tried yesterday, also :sad:


FixInTheMix
Nonlinear
HerbFelho
I don't know what the problem is - it works here even on my iPhone. Please try again and advise the issue/error message.

BTW - this wave file is 24 bit. It will not play in the Google player until you agree to skip the check and download it.

el-bo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 09:43 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Submissions until 21-05-2017 11:59pm GMT+1/CEST

#43

Post by el-bo »

VasDim wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 11:51 CEST
Hi all,
this is my attempt to mix:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/c8gh1xl1sv9er ... m.mp3?dl=0
You have only uploaded an mp3. Since I am judging everyone else on their WAV submission, I wonder if you can upload the extra file.

Cheers!

el-bo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 09:43 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#44

Post by el-bo »

FixInTheMix wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 17:16 CEST
el-bo wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 13:22 CEST
Unable to download Wav's from the following participants. Tried yesterday, also :sad:


FixInTheMix
Nonlinear
HerbFelho
That´s weird.
I tried downloading the wav files from the three of us and it worked well but for some reason Nonlinear´s mix and mine wouldn´t play in the preview.

Did you get to this part?
Screenshot_9.png

Anyway, I deleted the previous version and uploaded the file again.

here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-HEHp ... sp=sharing

here (this one is compressed in RAR): https://we.tl/2WQPDbr1JE

and here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/hatfz2kl8s0p1 ... x.wav?dl=0

I hope this solves the problem :headscratch:

Yup! Don't know what was going on. Tried Sunday, and this morning. Each time I got to the part where it told me that the file was too large to scan, and elected to download anyway. But nothing happened.

Anyway, I have managed to download all 3 now. Since you are the only one who re-uploaded (Thanks for that!), it might have been an issue with google drive.

Anyway, all is good. Thanks!

el-bo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 09:43 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#45

Post by el-bo »

Nonlinear wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 17:19 CEST
el-bo wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 13:22 CEST
Unable to download Wav's from the following participants. Tried yesterday, also :sad:


FixInTheMix
Nonlinear
HerbFelho
I don't know what the problem is - it works here even on my iPhone. Please try again and advise the issue/error message.

BTW - this wave file is 24 bit. It will not play in the Google player until you agree to skip the check and download it.
I have managed to grab them now (Monday afternoon).

Thanks!

User avatar
Mister Fox
Site Admin
Posts: 1658
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#46

Post by Mister Fox »

davemcisaac wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 00:38 CEST
17 entries! Lot's of good competition! I think the new format is working out :tu:
Thanks for counting the participant amount for me. Definitely appreciated. And yes, I really hope the new format/place works out on the long run. More than 15 participants is already a good start.


I try to respond in more detail in a separate thread on Wednesday (Thursday latest), after AES Convention #142.

el-bo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 09:43 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#47

Post by el-bo »

Hi guys!

Apologies for being a bit quiet. Have been busy listening, appraising etc. Going to sleep on it, and then tomorrow will finish some edits to the text, have one last listen through etc.

You should have the first Round evaluations up at some point tomorrow (As early as I can)

Cheers :tu:

el-bo
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2017 09:43 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#48

Post by el-bo »

I want to start off by saying how pleased I am that everyone put their time and effort into this project. My music tends not to get heard that much, so I am really happy when people enjoy it (Especially after having to hear it over, and over, and over….and over again).

Now to my huge disclaimer/caveat. It probably goes without saying, but just in case:
There is no right or wrong, here. Despite the length of time making music, I still consider myself a relative noob when it comes to the mixing process. As such, I am not judging this from a technical point of view, but from the perspective of how much I like the overall effect.The documentation that some of you have provided will be useful for the learning process, after this is done, but, after an initial read, I avoided it in deference to my ears.

And what of those ears? As I said in the intro documentation, I would be listening via a good quality headphone setup, which includes software that seeks to flatten the frequency issues inherent in the cans. That said, I am in my mid-40’s, and would not regard myself as having anywhere near ‘golden’ ears. All this to further make the point that all my commentary/critique is not to be taken as some definitive standard for how to mix. It’s all just my subjective, personal, opinion.

Speaking of “Personal”. I must stress urge that people not take my critique personally. My commentary is not as organised as it might be, as I just made small notes of anything that stood out while I was listening. So, some folk might not have as full a review as others. Also, the language I used might, in some cases, feel a little, erm…direct. This was more a case of fighting against time, and trying to keep things a bit more succinct (By the end of this introduction, you might have worked out that that is not one of my strong points :D )

Another thing that I feel is important to note: I made sure to remove any bias that I could. Going into this, I had no prior contact with this contest, and I made a conscious decision not to familiarise myself with past challenges. As such, I have no idea of any ‘usual suspects’, or how people generally place.

Now, to this specific project:

I feel that on the whole most of the entries kept within the scope of the initial instructions. There were some issues, some of which I take responsibility for.

On creativity:

There were a few cases here where entrants got a little creative with the arrangements. In all but a couple of small instances, this didn’t work for me. I take responsibility, here, for not stressing at the start that I wanted the arrangement to stay as is.

It’s not that I am not open to being shown an alternative viewpoint, but within the context of this project i.e a band that has it’s shit ‘down’, I wouldn’t expect a mix engineer to make such drastic changes, without the artist’s consent. I have emboldened that last part not as a virtual slap on the wrist, but to highlight what I see as one of the major flaws of this type of process; That is, I can’t imagine any mixing process in which the artist, assuming they actually have any interest, would not be present. In this scenario, where there is dialogue between mixer and artist, it is perfectly reasonable that an engineer might make such creative/arrangement suggestions. And in such a scenario, such suggestions would be agreed upon, or dismissed, long before a lot of time has been committed to something that is ultimately not close to what the artist envisioned. In most cases, here, I would have saved the engineer time and effort, but in a couple of cases I would certainly have run with the ideas, albeit with certain refinements.

So, apologies, if it feels like I have dismissed your ideas out of hand. That is not the case. I only wish that I could have known certain intentions sooner, to save any of you the time and trouble. Had I thought about this, going in, I would have stressed that there be no arrangement changes, just to be on the safe side.
On specific instruments:

I have centred most of my comments around specific instruments, most notably Bass, Organ, and Brass. This is another area where I wish I had done things differently. It was agreed, in the lead up to this challenge, that there would be some freedom given for the contestants to influence the core of the sound. This is something that in retrospect I would have done differently

I take full blame for this. Even though I was convinced by ‘the management’ of the logic of providing bare tracks, for flexibility’s sake, I wish I had stuck true to my initial ideas.

Mister Fox’s logic was sound. He thought (I think that this is correct) that the Bass and organ were perhaps too distinct/heavy-handed, and so would be hard for people to get to sit in the mix. The idea was to provide the bare tracks to give people a good base to start from, but I should have stressed that the tracks should still end up somewhere close to that original vibe. That was my fault. In the end, in pretty much each case, I preferred the original, effected, tracks (Remember, that is opinion only, not about which is empirically ‘better’).

To expand a little on my philosophy, in this regard: I feel that most artists/musicians spend quite a lot of time carving out their own ‘sound. Whether it be obsessing over string gauges, pickups, amp-heads, or the little leads that connect the stomp boxes; That sound is normally a very personal thing, so for an engineer to decide that what that sound is missing is a ton of xxx is playing with fire (From our imaginary bassist, not me :D. ). With regard to this project, requests for more bite/definition etc., are just me trying to get back to the sound I originally chose.

In the context of this project, this is a well-rehearsed band, who have commissioned a live recording. I take full responsibility for not making it clearer that this was to be more of a straight mix job. I would imagine a good mix engineer to have the tools and experience to make even the most stubborn source material sit in the mix.

Having said all of that, there were a couple of instances where I liked changes, so there’s that.


One last think that I should have made clearer. I was/am really looking for the Organ and Brass to ‘lift’ their respective sections. This is hard to quantify, as it could be easily overdone.

In the original provided demo mp3, which pertains to much older, unedited files, you will notice there is no Organ track. There is a very quiet pad in that section to provide a slight contrast to the second section of the solo, but nothing too obvious. I added the Organ specifically to lift that second section in preparation for the climax.

That last section is supposed to take on quite a rousing, triumphant character. Again, referencing the provided mp3, you will get an idea of the intention, albeit in that case, way too…bombastic :D
Lifting the last section is really left to the brass section, much of the impact coming from it being it’s first appearance in the track.

Much can be improved by adding some brightness, and cutting away some of the lows. However, there is a lot of dynamics to the section. It goes from quite soft, through larger swells, to the punctuated section (One of you managed to make an incredible roar, here) that unifies the whole band. Good use of automation could help keep this section clear without bursting too far from the confines of the track.

Again, I take full responsibility for all of this that wasn’t so clear in my initial documentation (Will know better, next time)

The Chosen:

Successful entrants are listed in alphabetical order, and with their names as presented on this forum.


davemcisaac
erictracks
HerbFelho
Mork
Nonlinear
OctopusOnFire
Photonic




I made my decisions based on the conditions outlined in his post. Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference. I listened to each track a few times, including those tracks that I thought were not in the running. In pretty much all cases, it was clear on the first listen, though a few that I had dismissed earlier on ended up in better standing, after further listens.

As I listened, I made notes, and used a points system. I won’t divulge the points awarded, here.

Successful entrants are listed in alphabetical order, and with their names as presented on this forum.

I was asked by Mr.Fox to choose 5-7 entrants. I went with seven, as there were quite a few who ended up with the same amount of points, that it would prove difficult to separate.
I also sent an email to MF this morning, to ask what he thought about the idea of a WildCard. By this, I mean selecting an entrant who was not very close, but where there was some potential. Or even, taking someone really far off, and seeing how well they receive the further critique/instruction.
I know he is busy this weekend, so if I haven’t heard from him by this evening I might just go ahead with the idea anyway. I guess we could discuss elsewhere whether this is an idea worth sticking with for future contests.


Going forward:

For those that have made it to the next round:

Please try to stick to the notes/critique. However, I am not dismissing anything out-of-hand. If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to haggle/negotiate/make a case for certain of your changes, then hit me up. There’s nothing to stop you submitting something in the interim to demonstrate a particular idea (Maybe this is possible via ‘pm’).

Pay particular attention to the Solo and End sections, with regard to the lifting that I explained. This will be a push/pull type of affair, to bring the elements forward, without being too in-your-face. Please refer to the automation ideas, with regard to the brass section.


I can’t think of much else at the moment, but will let you know If I do. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions about my commentary on your mix, or on what I expected of you for the next round.

Once again, Thank-you all for your participation. A very interesting, fun process!


One last thing:

I’m not sure if it was missed, or if it’s never been discussed, but there needs to be a convention for the naming of tracks. It took me a while to edit these; In some cases, having to re-click links in entrants’ posts where they hadn’t included their own name on the track.

This is what I used, though I am sure this is something that can be debated further:

MC0032_ContestanttName_ArtistName_TrankName

E.g MC0032_MisterFox_el-bo_FunkThat!!






———————————————————————————————————

Commentariy/Critique (In alphabetical order)



1 - davemacisaac


Solid mix, overall. Nice balance of all elements.

Snare - The ‘smack makes it a little too heavy-handed for my liking. It also seems a little far back in the mix.

As for the relative dynamics of hits: They should be left as is i.e no automation on the rolls/ruffs - They are meant to be more subtle.

Kick - A bit too much thud/bass for my liking. Could do with being a little tighter/less flabby.

Piano - Nice ambience.

Organ - A little too mellow for me. Would prefer a bit more bite/dirt, to bring it a little closer to the original.

Brass - Nice mix of elements, but too subdued. Would prefer louder, and brighter.


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

2 - DoctorG


A pretty dark mix, overall. Not a bad mix of elements, but it’s hard to tell as the bass is obscuring much of it. I also feel that too much ‘room’ ambience might be contributing to the darkness, and the softness.

Bass - A bit too loud, but also has too much bottom end, and very little ‘bite’

Organ - Like the sound of this.

Brass - Too subdued, and sounding almost lo-fi


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

3 - erictracks


Pretty solid mix, overall.

Snare - A little dark. Also, the rolls/ruffs seem almost lost in the early sections.

Clav - Don’t mind the modulation effect, but such an effect benefits from a touch more movement.

Vibes - Too loud.

Organ - Does a good job of lifting the section.

Brass - Also lifts the section well, but is a little too dark.


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



4 - FixInTheMix


Intro/Clav sections - Just way too much modulation/flanging etc going on for my liking. And when the band comes in, it swallows the whole mix, and makes the whole thing sound ‘phasey’.
The added sustain you are getting on vibes is a nice idea, but a little too much.
As for the hanging sustain: Don’t like it coming out of the intro, but I think it works quite well going into the piano solo.

Kit - Solid sound, but not too heavy…Which I like. Hi-hat, and pedal hat are too loud.

Organ - Prefer more bite/dirt, and a little more present in the foreground.

Brass - Completely lost in the mix, so it’s hard to comment.


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


5 - HerbFelho


Great overall balance of elements.

Intro - Nice creative touch. Simple but effective.

Kit - Like the sound, overall. Wouldn’t mind a tad more brightness on the snare Pedal-hat is a little too loud.

Bass - Not keen on the effect used. Prefer without any modulation

Piano - Sounds a little ‘boxy’ to my ears.

Organ - Nice sound, but would prefer a little brighter.

Brass - Good balance, but a little too heavy. Would prefer a little brighter.


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


6 - kevin gobin


Overall, the mix seems pretty dark.

Bass - Sounds very bloated, and lacks much of the defining edge. Too loud in the mix

Kit - Seems fine, but hard to tell behind the bass. I do like the punch you have achieved with the snare.

Vibes/Piano - As with the bass, these elements are too loud.

Organ - Would prefer more ‘bite’


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


7 - Marcelo


Good balance, but feels quite subdued, overall.

Kit - Could do with a little more weight, especially on the snare. Hats, especially pedal, are too loud. Not into the edit you made during the solo.

Bass - Would prefer a bit more bite/definition.

Organ - Great sound

Brass - Too subdued, and could do with a bit more brightness.

Outro - I do quite like the organ left hanging like that


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

8 - Mork


Great overall balance.

Bass - Quite happy with the sound.

Kit - Like it

Organ - Too mellow for me. Really want the second half of the solo to be lifted by the organ.

Brass - Good balance, but would love it a little brighter.


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

9 - Nonlinear


Kit - Swamped in ‘verb, so is pushed too far back, and has lost any power.

Bass - Also a bit loud

Vibes/piano - really expose how much ‘verb you are using, but I don’t mind it as much on these sounds. Leaving the piano late on the second ‘intro’ is not something I’m getting used to, despite multiple listens.

Organ - I do quite like the sound, but it is a little too big

Brass - Nice balance, and does a good job of really elevating that last section. Also, that unison roar (Before the fill), could do with a little toning down

Speaking to your creative editing: While I can see the exact effect you are going for, and how it is perfectly suited to this kind of performance, I don’t feel it works here. To give the drummer his little solo, the other players would need alterations to their arrangements. As it is, everything is arranged around a certain expectation, and removing elements just leaves a really obvious hole.

Furthermore, in this case, it seems such a wasted sentiment. Had I your idea in the recording stages, I would have come up with something worthy of the space. Alas, as it is, all you’ve done is make room for this drummer’s lame, pedestrian fills.

Perhaps, one day I might fool around with those fills, and get all Buddy Rich up in that shit :) Thanks for the idea!




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

10 - OctopusOnFire


A lot of processor noise at the beginning and end that would be better trimmed.

Bass - Not keen on any obvious modulation effects on the bass.

Kit - Sounds pretty good, though the toms jump out at points. Would like a tiny bit more weight on the snare (Not too much), and the hats (Especially pedal-hat) are too loud.

Piano - Nice vibe.

Organ - Would prefer a bit more bite/dirt.

Brass - Apart from being a tad too loud, this is the real lift I was looking for.

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


11 - onerob


Mix-bus aside, there is just too much vying for attention here. The result of all the effects, processing etc leave no room for the track to breathe.

Intro/Clav - Too much effect for my taste.

Bass - Not keen on the sound, nor the modulation.

Kit - Kick is very bloated/heavy, and generally too much verb for everything.

Piano - This sounds good.

Organ - Too mellow, bass, and loud.

Brass - Seems extremely squashed.

I actually like your use of delays to draw out some nice sustains, but in this case they are a bit too heavy-handed.


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


12 - Photonic


Really like the overall sound of this.

Kit - Powerful, but not overdone. Perhaps the hats could be little quieter, especially in the solo.

Bass - In the spirit of the original. Nice!

Organ - Perhaps a little more top end.

Brass - Good balance, but would again love a little more ‘top’ to really lift the end section.


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

13 - SergioITASCO


The look of that waveform fills me with dread. Whether that kind of brick-walling/smashing works for any genre is perhaps for another thread, but is certainly not suitable for this source material. It’s a shame, because from what I can pick out there are some good elements here.

Kit - Nice sizzle on rides. Hats, especially pedal, too loud.

Bass - too rounded, with very little definition/bite.

Organ - Good sound, but little loud.

Brass - Like trying to force an elephant through the eye of a needle :)


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

14 - small ocean


Seems like good general balance, however:

Bass - Way too boomy. Really killing the mix, for me.

Kit - Generally sounds good, but kick is too bassy/flabby.

Piano - A little thin, perhaps.

Organ - Nice sound, but would prefer a little more bite.

Brass - Nice sound, but might be better with less verb (More direct)


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

15 - thiagoam88


Despite being pretty well-balanced, this mix is a little too dark/lo-fi for my tastes.

Bass - This might be where much of the problem lies. It could do with a bit more definition.

Kick - Could do with a little tightening (Less flabby)

Snare - Nice smack, although also a little heavy.

Organ - Could do with more bite.

Brass - Again, just too dark.

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

16 - VasDim


I feel you’ve gone little too far off-piste with this :) Really, the whole thing just sounds over-processed

Vibes/Clav - Too much effect.

Bass - Not diggin’ the Seinfeld-isation of the bass. Sounds worse with the bass chords/harmonies

Snare - Not into this sound, either. Too much verb on drums (And whole mix)

Organ - Ok! I like this.

Brass - Too subdued

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

17 - Zsolt


Pretty well balanced, although the vibes and piano are too loud.

Bass - Seems to have a touch of modulation, which I am really not keen on. Also, the sound is a little bloated/undefined.

Organ - Would prefer a touch more bite.

Brass - Nice balance, but perhaps a tad too far back in the mix.

Small Ocean
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 16:52 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#49

Post by Small Ocean »

Hey el-bo, thanks for the feedback!

Regarding the boomy bass, I totally agree - my mix was definitely too loud on the low end. I think what happened is that because of the rules regarding what you can put on the mix bus and not allowing mastering, I avoided the sort of things I would normally always do, such as a mutli band compressor and mastering EQ on the master. As a result, the low and sub bass frequencies on my mix are highly dynamic and can have very loud transients, when they would normally be filtered out and compressed/dynamics controlled at the mastering stage - something that can still be applied to the mix provided of course! :smile:

SergioITASCO
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 03:09 CEST

Re: MIX CHALLENGE - MC32 May 2017 - Mix Round 1 in evaluation

#50

Post by SergioITASCO »

Thank you for your feedback! :smile:

I got your points and they make sense.

I'll use this little experience to improve my way to approach this genre.

Thanks again.

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