Mix Challenge - Gossip and Discussion

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?
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Uncle E
KVRAF
10581 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:50 am

This thread is for gossip and discussion about KVR Mix Challenges. For details on the rules and prizes, and to submit your own mix, please visit this thread:

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=413297


The goal of this challenge is for everyone here to grow as mix engineers and learn about the plugins and ways of working we're each using. Entrants can share about the techniques and plugins we use so that we all can hear them in practical use and discover some new uses for ourselves.
Last edited by Uncle E on Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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arkmabat
KVRAF
3603 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:09 pm

I'm no mix expert, but I'm excited to participate in the voting! Great idea.

Mercado_Negro
KVRian
655 posts since 22 Sep, 2007 from Caracas, Venezuela

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:16 pm

What's the purpose of having a song mixed on the next challenge if the winner is clearly good at mixing? He could just mix his song himself. I think it shouldn't be about winning something but learning from others and sharing tips and tricks along the way. I do this for a living but it sounds fun to participate and see how others approach the song.

I don't have stems atm because all projects I'm mixing aren't public yet and I doubt any of my clients would agree to disclouse their work, sorry. I'm very interested, though... Sounds like fun :)

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Uncle E
KVRAF
10581 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:29 pm

Mercado_Negro wrote:What's the purpose of having a song mixed on the next challenge if the winner is clearly good at mixing?
Great point! In that case, I guess they could simply gift the prize to someone else. I just want this to be as organic and self-generating as possible, having this be the prize allows us to quickly be ready for the next month's challenge.

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bluedad
something special
8448 posts since 16 Mar, 2002 from Birmingham, Alabama

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:01 pm

I'm in. So what are we going to be mixing?

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Zombie Queen
KVRAF
4542 posts since 1 Aug, 2005 from Warszawa, Poland

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:14 pm

Something with vocals and live guitars or bass could be interesting. I'm no good at this, it could be educational to practice on someone else. I understand, this is gonna be mix, not remix thing, that is, no creative mangling.

Mercado_Negro
KVRian
655 posts since 22 Sep, 2007 from Caracas, Venezuela

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:03 pm

Uncle E wrote:
Mercado_Negro wrote:What's the purpose of having a song mixed on the next challenge if the winner is clearly good at mixing?
Great point! In that case, I guess they could simply gift the prize to someone else. I just want this to be as organic and self-generating as possible, having this be the prize allows us to quickly be ready for the next month's challenge.
Sounds good.

Now let's wait for someone with a song to mix :)

kbaccki
KVRAF
2438 posts since 12 Sep, 2004

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:42 pm

So if someone submits an unmixed song for the contest, mixes their own song for the contest, and happens to *win* the contest, then they effectively get a two-fer??? Sweet!

OK, one thing I'd suggest is to normalize all entries to the same loudness scale... Some mixes will come through effectively "pre-mastered" and will sound subjectively better than others, but won't necessarily be better mixes.

Also, something w/ some complexity, if possible... Piano, vocal, mayb some strings for texture...
You need to limit that rez, bro.

highkoo
KVRAF
3813 posts since 26 Jun, 2004

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 2:50 pm

Coool. :phones:
ImageImageImageImage

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Uncle E
KVRAF
10581 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:54 pm

Is anyone here interested in having your music be the first challenge?

Compyfox
KVRAF
14279 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:35 am

I've been talking to Eric through PM for quite a while now. Actually, he was also asking me if I could provide a song to mix up. Unfortunately I can't. But, I was suggesting some rules for the competition.

Actually, the KVR own "One-Synth Challenge" and the "Songwriting" Challenge has some. And to some, my now suggested rules might be strict. But the main issue I had with the last "Mix Challenge" (actually called "Mastering Challenge" in the FX section), where the rules.



Still... if you happen to have a song to mix for this particular challenge, speak up. I think currently preparations are due. Once those are cleared, then we can start a little bit early this time around and pull of the challenge every other month or so. Though granted, I currently do think about trimming the time frames from 3 weeks mix contest and 3 weeks of voting down to 2 weeks each. This is to make it into a more "real world scenario". (see rules down below - maybe they're trimmed already).

I also suggest that KVR finally gets an own sub section for contests like these. This would put them into a global place for everyone to find and enjoy. Especially if there might be more to come in the future.



Here are my suggestions for rules:

RULES ARE CURRENTLY BEING FINETUNED AND WILL BE OUTSOURCED AS OWN THREAD.



I'd say... if we get a song to mix by 9th June, we start the contest within the following days, do the voting through half of July and then restart regular contests with the 1st of August. Depending on how popular this type of game was, how much source material is available, etc.



Mister Fox, will you be the headmaster of this contest? You pretty much hit us with a bus there!
Er... I gave ideas, but I can't offer that much time for it. And I rather join myself just for fun and games rather than host a contest. So yeah, I'd like to vote if possible. Uncle E started this, so I'd give my vote to him being the headmaster (remember, the headmaster can join the game - he just can't vote!).


This concept sounds cool - can I donate stuff?
Sure. Preferred are mixing tools. Individual plugins, Bundles, modular environments, Metering Tools, etc. Samples, Presets and the likes are IMO only usable for songwriters. And for this, we have the One-Synth and Songwriting Challenges. Franky, I don't know what to do with financial donations. Though feel free to join anyway if you don't like the provided tools. You're not forced to take anything.


Last "Mix" Challenge (the Mastering Challenge in the FX section), there was a professional/paid engineer involved. Will that be the case as well?
I was talking to Eric about this, and to be honest... I speak against it. Everyone does their mix differently. And the voting process will definitely reveal personal preferences and subjective thinking. If there is a professional engineer involved that does "his" thing, then people think that the material has to sound like that. Read: this is the definite solution. And that is far from objective. Audio engineering doesn't have a definite solution - this is the reason why engineers are still being requested, and some are famous for their work, their specific sound. Of course you can work as clean as possible, but you still have an own mixing style - and just a small change in volume or EQ here and there can change the complete mood of a song (hence the "song provider agrees to artistic freedom" comment above). We want variety with this contest, we want people to "listen" and draw some inspiration for his/her own work. This is what this contest is about, not who has the final word. Which is the very reason why the competition headmaster and the song providers are not allowed to vote unless there is a tie being involved.




Now that we're down with the basic stuff... feedback welcome.
Last edited by Compyfox on Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Compyfox
KVRAF
14279 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Sat Jun 07, 2014 4:54 am

So... obviously... there is interest in this kind of contest, but no source material to start with.


Reading from other threads, it's the usual "hopefully it's not rock" comment, and so far the people I have contacted didn't respond (or offer anything). Is till a DOA idea yet again?
Last edited by Compyfox on Sat Jun 07, 2014 8:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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nineofkings
KVRAF
1769 posts since 9 Apr, 2011

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:25 am

I have an unreleased song kicking around. It's got a very "bedroom studio" aesthetic, which could either be fun or a nightmare to mix. I'd be willing to donate it for this contest. I already have my own mix of it, so it'll be cool to see other interpretations if we decide to use it.

What's the policy on how "un-mixed" the track has to be? If there's some compression or saturation as part of the production rather than the mixing, is that acceptable? Or does it need to be as dry as humanly possible?

Preview: http://kiwi6.com/file/9melpkx4q1

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satYatunes
KVRAF
1950 posts since 22 Aug, 2006 from Charlotte

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Sat Jun 07, 2014 6:50 am

Compyfox wrote:So... obviously... there interest in this kind of contest, but no source material to start with.
I did send a PM to OP as requested in the post but never got a response. The simple question that i have is what type of source material you need for this challenge. I wanted to offer one my track from soundcloud page but i don't know if that's what you need. It's not really clear to me. Your rules and guidelines are spot on, it must have taken a lot of your time, i surely appreciate that. As far as interest is concerned, i think if we can get some prize sponsor then it may go up. I don't think the reward is worth enough to spend enough time, if one has other projects in line. It's good to share the technique but at the end of the day it's limited to what you have. If someone shares technique on how he/she used the waves plugin it's of no use to me as i don't have those plugins and may never will. That's the primary reason why we don't allow commercial plugins in OSC, so that if someone wants recreate then they will be able to as it's free. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
satYatunes - Sound and Graphic Designer
Premium / free skins and soundsets
Melda plugins, Hive, DUNE 2, DUNE 3, Patchwork and many more...

Compyfox
KVRAF
14279 posts since 19 Oct, 2003 from Berlin, Germany

Re: KVR Mix Challenge

Post Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:02 am

And your cents are greatly appreciated. Keep in mind though that the OP is also leading a web store in terms of studio gear. So if you don't get an immediate response, do not worry. I can also answer to general questions, but so far I'm not offering hosting the competition yet. Others had that idea way before me, and it's still a lot of work.


The genre so far is unimportant. I know that a lot of people will say "ugh... not another rock song to mix", but frankly... Rock is an own world in terms of mixing, and it's not as "simple" as a lot of people think it is. So keep that genre content coming as much as other genres like: Jazz, Pop, Electronic, classical music.


To answer a couple of Q's and suggestions:
nineofkings wrote:What's the policy on how "un-mixed" the track has to be?
It depends on if we want to pull off a mastering or a multi-track mix challenge. In terms of Mastering, the track should be obviously mixed already, but not mastered (read: loudness raised, "fairy dust", etc). In terms of a multi-track mix - ideally as clean as possible after the producer is pleased with the current songwriting and rough mix result.

nineofkings wrote:If there's some compression or saturation as part of the production rather than the mixing, is that acceptable? Or does it need to be as dry as humanly possible?
A very good question actually.

Some producers or those that already started to mix could have maybe introduced a certain sound to begin with. If we talk about a mixdown (for mastering), chances are that the signal was already slightly compressed, or saturated on purpose, but the loudness wasn't raised yet (read: average signal level is about -16dBFS/+2VU @-18dBFS ref, and -3dBFS digital peak absolute max.). In this case, the currently processed/prepared source material has to be acceptable. This is a real life scenario as well.

If it's not a challenge, the communication is key at this point. Meaning: if you get a track that is totally non-editable, then the first step would be to contact the creator, be as polite as possible, make objective criticism and maybe ask for a new mix. But we are talking about a challenge - no individual mixes available / possible, no back and froth communication. You only have access to the material that was provided.


In terms of "real life" scenarios and how people usually provide material to "me":

Personally, if somebody asks me to further mix a song at my place, I request consolidated files, bounces of individual channels. Maybe also delay/reverb mixdowns just to get an orientation. Unless there are sounds in that production, that rely on a certain FX chain. In this case I ask for a processed file of course. But usually I'm like "give me what you have, and I go from there". Again, communication is key in that stage.

If I am asked to head over to a clients place and mix from "what is available locally", I usually listen to the content, ask the client what I can change or think that could be improved, ask for certain corner stones to take in mind or what rules I have to abide to, then throw out the gear that is not needed and start doing my thing.


The rule is: there is no rule.
The truth is: most of the time, the mix/mastering engineer is getting what is being flinged at him/her and has to work with that content.

Ideally, the engineer and the producer already work together. But this is a rare scenario for the majority of musicians (think old days: musician, large scale studio, engineer - today, lines are blurred). Unless a producer really knows an audio engineer personally and collaborates with him/her right from the start.

And sorry that I have to repeat myself once again - we're talking about a challenge here. No "ideal source material" available, no communication. Think of remix competitions, where you only get a handful of files and you have to make the best out of it.


satYatunes wrote:As far as interest is concerned, i think if we can get some prize sponsor then it may go up. I don't think the reward is worth enough to spend enough time, if one has other projects in line.
OSC (One Synth Challenge) and SWC (Song Writing Competition) also started without any form of sponsoring or prices. Just for the fun of it. I'm sure we can bridge at least 2-3 challenges until the developers are like "this is looking interesting - let me sponsor something useful to the winner", and if the participants are disciplined of course.

satYatunes wrote:It's good to share the technique but at the end of the day it's limited to what you have. If someone shares technique on how he/she used the waves plugin it's of no use to me as i don't have those plugins and may never will. That's the primary reason why we don't allow commercial plugins in OSC, so that if someone wants recreate then they will be able to as it's free. Anyway, just my 2 cents.
This could be a random rule at a future challenge. For example: only use host built in plugins" or "only use this freeware bundle". But for the time being, let's not limit anything.

Though I hear you on the "Waves" thing. Which is why I suggested to offer (read: it is a rule for the winner) more in-depth documentation. For example: screenshots. This way people can see what was going on. And if it's a Waves plugin, an emulation even, it's easily reconstructable in other tools.

And let's be honest - there are so many tools on the market these days that offer similar results as using Waves Plugins alone. So if you feel left out just because somebody used Slate VCC in a mix and you didn't (neither do you have a license), don't worry - you don't have to! It's just one of many ways to get to a specific sound. Same with one person using SoundToys DECAPITATOR, but you only have Klanghelm SDRR. You can still get similar results, no?



satYatunes - also throw me a PM, I'll take a listen to your track.
Will also do that with nineofkings' track later that evening.
To be honest, I was already thinking that I need to open my "vault" in terms of providing one track (something I rather not do, as I'm not a good songwriter). But let's see what we get in the queue first.
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