KVR MIX CHALLENGE - MC14 September 2015 - Winners announced

How to do this, that and the other. Share, learn, teach. How did X do that? How can I sound like Y?


Hello and welcome to the KVR Mix Challenge 14 - September 2015.

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 maybe even the first post for resubmissions.

The current challenge is a change of pace. We're still in the rock genre, though in stark contrast to the Progressive Metal track from last month. This month we're tackling a Country/Rock Ballad, which was recorded over the course of various years.

Please take note of our overhauled rule set as of MC10 (strict time frames) and MC11 (active client involvement). Consult the sections on "Song Provider" and "Voting Rules" in the official Guidelines thread for further information: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 2&t=415154

IMPORTANT (please spread the word!):
We're looking for new source material for the KVR Mix Challenge 15 (October) and up. If you have a track that gives you headaches and you want the talents of this challenge have a stab at it, please get in touch.

We're especially looking for a Rock/Metal track for "Rocktober" (October), preferably with vocals. Maybe even with DI tracks again. We'd also love to get a charol singer/pop mix for the winter holidays (December). So please spread the word, and get in touch with us by early September latest for Rocktober, and mid October for the December mix!

Please follow the official campaign here: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic ... 4&t=443876

We also highly recommend to sign up to our official Twitter account to stay up to date regarding news. Though we will try to answer short questions as well of course.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KVRMixChallenge
Hashtag: #kvrmixchallenge

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
End of the first mix round: Announcement of End of Mix Round 1
Mix Round 2: Evaluation of Mix Round 1, participants for Round 2 announced
Results of the Mix Challenge 14: Winners announced
Last edited by Compyfox on Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:05 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Time Frame: Tuesday, 01st September 2015 to Monday, 21st September 2015 (21 days)

Challenge submission will end on 21-09-2015, 11:59pm PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) - until further notice. If you want to find out when that is the case at your place, please use the following tool and and select "Los Angeles" as location 1, and your location as location 2:

Song Provider: Jeff St. Clair
Song Name and Length: All I Can Think Of (Is You), 4:20min
Song Information: 100 bpm, time signature 3/4, in Key of E maj
File Format: WAV, 44kHz, 24bit

GENRE: Country/Rock Ballad

Preview of the Song:
http://www.jeffstclairmusic.com/my_pages/cd-2/cd2.html (Track 09)

A word from the song provider:
Jeff St. Clair wrote:I'm looking for a clean, warm yet punchy mix with good balance. I'd also like a good, solid, well defined bass guitar.

The background vocals are important to me. I want them (and the whole song) to sound like the Eagles (Pretty Maids All In A Row, Desperado, In The City) with a good reverb on the BGV's. And I like the big reverb on the snare but only during the spots where no other instrument is playing except the hats. You can be creative but only if it adds to the song.


Find a good balance between all instruments including vocals. Use all tracks. Do not add any tracks or instruments. No replacements. Do not rearrange the song.

A few words by the Mix Challenge staff:
Staff (Compyfox) wrote:The song provider would love to hear mixes that have their sound roots in the late 70ies to early 80ies.

His style is influenced by rock and country music of that era. So I recommend to also listen to bands like "The Allman Brothers", "Marshall Tucker Band" and both late "Creedence Clearwater Revival" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd".

Another starting point is this Wikipedia article:

But the client won't be disappointed either if the mixes will be a modern sounding country/rock ballad in the end. Especially if that is more your style of mixing.
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:
- find a good mix balance (vocal mix and reverb, well defined bass)
- No rearrangement of the song structure (all tracks need to be featured)
- No omission of any track/no muting/deletion of channels other than to cut noise or using a custom reverb // an exception may be the supplementary ride track (which is optional/bonus for those that do more modern/pop oriented mixes)
- no drum replacement
- try to not(!) pre-master the track


Source Files:

Mirror on Studio Compyfox (441MB, LZMA compressed)

The provided files were packed as ZIP with LZMA compression.
File size extracted: 1170 MB, packed 441 MB (ZIP, LZMA)
In order to extract the files, we can recommend these programs:

The Unarchiver - get it here

7zip - Installation, Portable


Please take note of the official rules - they can be found at the following thread:
KVR Mix Challenge - Official Rules and Guidelines

Please address any OT question in the official Gossip thread:
KVR Mix Challenge - Gossip and Discussion


SPONSORS (Prizes):

Prizes for mix 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.de

Ghostwave Audio (KVR User Karten) is kind enough to donate MixRight (a Reaktor Ensemble) to the winner (until further notice)
License won't turn into NFR, you need Native Instruments Reaktor 5.8+ for this
More info on Ghostwave Audio: http://ghostwaveaudio.com/

JRR Shop will give away either one of the following plugins:
SONiVOX Wobble, Pulse, Vocalizer, or Twist (until further notice)
More info about the plugins on SONiVOX: http://www.sonivoxmi.com
More info about the sponsor: http://www.jrrshop.com/

Metric Halo will give away a single plugin of winner's choice.
License will turn into NFR
More info about Metric Halo: http://mhsecure.com/metric_halo/

Sound and Graphic, KVR user and Mix Challenge staff satYatunes is donating one commercial product of winner's choice (until further notice)
More info on satYatune's page: http://www.satyatunes.com/

Tone2 is kind enough to donate either a bundle consisting of AkustiX Enhancer and WarmVerb, or a license of Ultraspace to the winner (until further notice)
License will turn into NFR
More info on Tone2: https://tone2.com

Two Notes Audio Engineering is kind enough to donate one license of Torpedo Wall of Sound III to the winner, loaded with 57 cabinets (equivalent to "Torpedo WoS II") (until January 2016)
License will not turn into NFR
More info on Two Notes: http://www.two-notes.com/en/

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 the challenge staff.

Also, please spread the word of the challenge. We now have a dedicated Twitter Account:

You can also still use the hashtag #KVRMixChallenge


Good luck to all participants.
And most importantly, have fun!
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OK, looks like I will get this ball rolling. Links to my mix below.

mp3: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxuC5 ... TBPNzdSNFU

wave: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BxuC5 ... zhadmtvUm8

I started the mix by using Melodyne to clean up the lead vocal, mostly focusing on sustained notes to keep it as transparent as possible.

I set up three convolution reverbs: 1) plate for the vocals, 2) medium size room for the instruments and 3) cathedral for the big snare hits. All reverbs were pre-EQ'd to prevent low end mud and high end ring.

All instrument and vocal tracks were subgrouped to their own busses which is where most of the EQ and effects were applied (with a few exceptions).

The snare drum was subgrouped within the drum bus to make it easier to adjust levels while keeping the blend of top and bottom fixed.

DAW - Cubase 6
Drums - HiHats: high passed at 3.3KHz and boosted at 9.5KHz for added "air".
Drums - Kick: low shelf boosted 5dB at 290Hz (bass guitar was cut in same range)
Drums - overheads: high passed at 2.6KHz, 6dB high shelf boost at 7.4KHz
Drums - Ride: high passed at 800Hz, 5dB bell boost at 8.7KHz
Drums - room: no eq, used sparingly in the mix (added reverb to drum bus to match/blend with other instruments)
Drums - snare top/snare bottom: no EQ, blended 50/50 to snare subgroup track with wide Q boosts at 378Hz and 1.6KHz. No low end roll off seemed required. Compressed 4:1 with Antress Modern Deathcore using attack time set to add a bit of snap but with the overall levels more consistent.
Drums - toms 1,2 3 - subgrouped with 2.4dB shelf boost at 200Hz and 2dB wide Q dip at 1.7KHz
GTR - Bass: 5dB low shelf cut at 400Hz to reduce boom (and interference with kick) and bell boost at 4.5KHz to bring out growl
GTR - AC 1 and 2: subgrouped to AC bus, panned hard left/right, high passed at 190Hz
GTR - fill 1 and 2: subgrouped to fill bus, panned hard left/right, high passed at 250Hz
GTR - solo 1,2,3,4: subgrouped to GTR solo bus (panned center, left 40, right 40, center), high passed at 135Hz, slight bell dip at 2.4KHz (to reduce shrillness in that range) and peaking low pass at 7KHz to add presence while cutting harshness
GTR - solo bkg: subgrouped to solo BKG bus, panned hard left/right, high passed at 250Hz
GTR - tail AC: subgrouped to tail bus, panned left, 40, 40, right, high passed at 145Hz
Harm Vox bus: subgrouped to harm vox bus, Hi/low pairs panned hard left/right, high passed at 300Hz, 10dB (yes!) shelf boost at 4Khz for air,
compressed with 20:1 ratio for solid level using Antress "Modern Deathcore"
Voc - Lead: subgrouped to lead vox bus, high passed at 110Hz, 2.5dB bell cut at 1.6KHz, 2.4dB shelf boost at 3KHz, added harmony vox to vocal section at 2:45 using "Pitch Proof" plugin

Volume automation throughout. Bootsie's "Ferric TDS" plugin added on stereo bus to thicken sound overall and add touch of "analog warmth".

No mastering, multiband, limiting etc.
Last edited by Fender19 on Thu Sep 10, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.


Hi all,

Here is my mix of this nice track.

MP3: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/717 ... otonic.mp3
WAV: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/717 ... otonic.wav

DAW - Reaper V5.0

To achieve a more analogue sound I mainly used “The Strip” from DDMF for EQ and Compressor in all single tracks. To give some tracks more saturation I used QX24 from J1000 (Jovan Iljadica), which is a very useful EQ/Exciter. All reverbs are Arcon Verberate. In general I tried to use only a few plugins, like working in good old times :D

First I thought the drums are a bit late. Then I found out that the drums are straight to the beat. But the instruments were off beat and most of the time too early. So I had to adjust the timing of nearly all instruments to the drums.
I also used ReaTune to adjust some of the sustained notes from the lead vocals.

Drumbus - FerricTDS for compression and saturation
All drum tracks - The Strip
Snare bus - got additional QX24 and a separate automated reverb send for the huge hits.
Bass – The Strip, QX24
AC guitar – The Strip
Fill el.guitar – The Strip, QX24 and tkdelay
Solo guitars – The Strip, tkdelay
Guitar BCK – The Strip, QX24
Lead VOX – ReaComp (for average gain control), ReaTune, The Strip
Lead double – The Strip, Acon Digital Multiply to give the track a bit of stereo
Back Vox – The Strip, Acon Digital Multiply to thicken up the sound

Master – MQ57, TDR Feedback Compressor, Satin (Vintage Master Preset), SPAN


Wow, you guys are quick. I'm just done with my fader only mix and you've already finished the whole mix.


The following questions recently floated into my inbox (sorry that I couldn't post them sooner), and I'd like to share both the questions and the answers:
Questions via PM wrote:Are the files in the correct speed/length?
I triple checked the files. They should all be at the same speed, they should all start at the same position (bar 1). Only the length of the files can slightly differ due do different renderings (drums compared to vocals and guitars).

If your host does unintentional auto time stretching, turn that feature it off.

Questions via PM wrote:What is the deal with the "supplement ride" and the bonus cleaned vocals?
The supplementary ride is a track I rendered separately as additional "spot microphone". As mentioned in the General Information (see above) You can use it, you don't need to. If you're after a modern pop mix, feel free to use it. If you're after a more vintage mix, you can just use the overhead mics.

The bonus cleaned vocals are, if you're after a very clean/modern sound. But keep in mind the technical limitations of current day clean up software (this take is already at it's sonic limits! Some pumping was/is inevitable). These bonus files are not(!) made for doubling vocals. If you want to use them, then it's either/or.

Questions via PM wrote:Why have the vocals such an overwhelming chorus effect? (especially the background vocals)
First and foremost, the material you hear in this production, was recorded and re-recorded over the course of several years.

The Lead Vocal doesn't "suffer" from chorus issues. It was actually recorded in a fairly untreated room, so what you might hear, are Early Reflections of the room. You if you want to address this, you need to be very careful(!) with treating material in order to not destroy it (see previous post and bonus folder - the "cleaned up" material is already at it's current technical limits).

The "chorus/harmony" vocal tracks are actually consolidated/grouped.

The client told me that each harmony section was once recorded with 4 tracks, then mixed down to one. So 4 voice ranges, but 4 tracks each - originally 16 tracks recorded back in the days. Sadly, the original tracks weren't available anymore. But considering that recording techniques in the 60ies and 70ies did similar (print several vocal takes on to one tape track), this is adding an IMO interesting/fun twist to the challenge...

Questions via PM wrote:Probably a small niggle, but have the guitar fills been cleaned ? They end up a bit too abrupt imho.
Yes, the tracks were "cut clean" by the client already years ago.

Questions via PM wrote:If the guitars are sims, maybe make the DI tracks available ?
These tracks are not made with guitar sims, but recorded with real guitars. There are no DI tracks available.

Some technical info:

Acoustic Guitars:
Guitar -> MXL Microphone -> ART Tube Preamp -> M-Audio Delta 2496

ESP LTD M-207 7-string -> Digitech GNX3 -> Kustom Amp -> SM57 -> ART Tube Preamp -> M-Audio Delta 2496
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Friendly reminder:
10 days left for the first mix round.
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Compyfox your server is running a tad slow today, DLing at roughly 250kb/s


Sorry, I really have no influence on that. The server is in Germany and fast connections are usually the norm. Though sometimes (rare) the connections are not ideal (mostly during maintenance hours in the middle of the night) - especially for overseas connections.

My only advice in this case - wait an hour, try it again.
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A friendly reminder:
Including today, 6 days left to mix.
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A friendly reminder:
A bit more than 48h left to mix.

Don't forget to submit your mixes!
We don't want this to be the challenge with the lowest participation number.
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Great song... and I really was curious how a classic 70s-80s rock mix would go down (+ I consider balancing tone/levels is one of my forte)... unfortunately I didn't had the time...
really disappointing!


I will be submitting mine tomorrow morning. So theres 3 mixes at least.


Every mix is welcome/appreciated. From old cats, to newcomers alike. :tu:
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I'm trying to join and submit my mix, but it is not ready yet (on half way I assume). Who knows, maybe I finish it in time :)

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