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Author Topic: Mixoff Contest with Mike Senior - Win Mike's New Book!  (Read 188995 times)

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April 19, 2011, 10:32:43 PM

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April 21, 2011, 09:57:36 AM
First of all, thanks to everyone for getting so involved in this competition ;D ;D ;D You're all helping to make an online educational resource that's second to none, and I've been extremely impressed by the quality and variety of all the mixes that have been posted, as well as by the friendly and constructive nature of all the thread posts.

However, a competition is a competition, and the time has come to announce the results of my first stage of judging. I deliberately left a few days gap before returning to these these mixes, and removed the track names in my comparison DAW project, so that I could try to avoid listening with too many preconceptions. My only criterion for choosing between the mixes was how well I thought they fulfilled the potential of the material within the brief provided by the band. Where appropriate I loudness-matched the mixes to try to avoid loudness affecting my decision.

Shortlist: ALivingSight, Daunt, MartinOlsson, mrtuesday, and mugo.

Very well done to you five, but I'd also like to give 'Honourable Mentions' to the following people, who made it through the first round of auditioning, even though they didn't quite reach the top five: Argle, Berk13, deejsirois, DirkZuber, essessbe, fHumble fHingaz (who provided a great original mix), fixated7, gLOW-x, GuitarZero, karumba, Loon, mlabman, and Xander.

I'll be sending the mix files to the band for their input now, although I'll make it clear to them that they're also welcome to consider any of the other mixes which might have taken their fancy. I've also just now set up a Competition Shortlist Poll so that the band can get an idea as to the general concensus of opinion on this forum if they want. At the moment my plan is to announce a winner on Monday May 2nd, depending on how long it takes the band to get all their feedback sorted.

Stay tuned! And if you get a chance to participate in the poll in the meantime, then that would be great! :)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 10:57:57 AM by triviul »
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
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April 21, 2011, 01:24:34 PM
It's no surprise to me that this shortlist doesn't match my own favourites at all. I knew after reading the first few critiques that Mike listened to the mixes in a very different way then me. And that's a good thing, because I wouldn't learn anything from someone who thinks exactly like me...

Now that the contest is almost over I want to say one thing though: I'm sure a better mixer would get a better result from these tracks. But I truly think that most could be gained by actually re-recording/re-producingediting it. 'Mixing' this felt more like 'fixing'. I'm not saying that to bash who-ever recorded it (I have no idea who that might be). Just want to say to the band that they could achieve much more in terms of end-result in future projects by putting more weight on those earlier stages. I hope this is taken as positive as it is intended!

I am surprised to see the mix with the vocals tuned to the wrong note in there though ;)

Thanks again Mike for your insights, John for the creating forum and Young Griffo for the tracks!
I'm cleaning up my server, but you can find some of the mixes I did on this forum here: http://soundcloud.com/stefhartog

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April 21, 2011, 05:01:32 PM
But I truly think that most could be gained by actually re-recording/re-producingediting it. 'Mixing' this felt more like 'fixing'.

Got to say I agree. There's some overlap between mixing and production, but it can become too much IMO.

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April 21, 2011, 06:23:08 PM
Congrats to the "final five".  I learned one very important thing from Michael, and I think it will make me a better mixer in the future, so for me it was well worth it.  That lesson:  Pay close attention to phase issues when mixing.  The other feedback was all more of a personal taste thing, which also helps, but for me the big lesson was checking mono for phase problems.  My final mix for this contest may have some issues, but it is the most phase coherent mix I've ever done.  It's all about progress.

Thanks again to all who put this on.   Fabulous effort

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April 21, 2011, 06:52:26 PM
I wouldn't learn anything from someone who thinks exactly like me...
But I truly think that most could be gained by actually re-recording/re-producingediting it.
I am surprised to see the mix with the vocals tuned to the wrong note in there though ;)

Yup, time allotted to fixing took away from mixing. Some of the most interesting mixes submitted were also ones left with the most problems (pitchy vocals, timing issues, dull snare & kick, etc.)...And vice versa.  

Young Griffo, you have some great potential! Give the engineer time to mix rather than time used up fixing and guessing at production.

For the purpose of mixoff, this was a great track for becoming aware of what/when to fix and when to leave it, in order to focus more on the soundscape. Let's keep this dialogue going with other mixoffs!

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April 21, 2011, 07:03:23 PM
Congratulations to the final five, and congratualtions to all the others, too... It was cool.

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April 21, 2011, 07:52:43 PM
i have to agree with lastrite, livingsounds & angusmaclean. i don't care to win or not & i didn't want to respond on that point until now, but it seems others have the same view so i found it fair to be that honest to also respond.
it is obvious, that the focus has been shifted too much to production / finding production ideas / finding overdubs, etc. at least it seems it was not beneficial to only mix like a professional mixing engineer would make a mix with "release quality" given that material. a mix that sounds like its coming from a different room or vocals tuned wrong is not my understanding of "release quality" (sorry guys, but your mixes had other good ideas). pls note, that i'm not talking about stuff like e.g. tuning vocals in term of "focus to production", since from my view tuning of the vocals was not a production gimmick here, but absolutely necessary to get release quality.

long story short, i think a shortlist of course is always subjective, but it is way more "special" than i expected. further it is a pity, that this shortlist is the poll too, since there are some other mixes i would have given my vote. now the poll is too biased for me to vote. i hope my post is not understood as "bashing", but as critics with positive outcome. the latter one was my intention.

nevertheless, this was a great experience. so wanted to say big thanks to mike, young griffo & john for that contest! mike, your critics have been very detailed & "to the point". thank you very much for that! i hope you take my critics (& that of the others) also positive. maybe its a good different viewing angle on yourself and your decisions. thanks again & keep it up!
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 07:58:47 PM by karumba »

April 21, 2011, 09:14:41 PM

Hopfully this is the first of many contest we have on this site.

Have to graciously concede to the winners... 8)

Good luck in the final voting

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April 21, 2011, 09:16:27 PM
I'll reply to karumba's post, because it sums up some of the points so far.

i have to agree with lastrite, livingsounds & angusmaclean...
it is obvious, that the focus has been shifted too much to production / finding production ideas / finding overdubs, etc...

I understand that a lot of this 'mix' is actually about production, and I can sympathise that people feel that they should be judged primarily by their mixing skills in what is ostensibly a mixing contest. That said, my bottom line has always been that anyone who comes to me to have something mixed wants to walk away with something that sounds like a finished record, so it's my job to provide them with that, whatever that involves. Especially in these times of limited recording budgets, engineers are increasingly being judged in terms of what they can fix as much as by what they can mix. To quote Dave Pensado, for instance: "I think any engineer who complains about having to do that will probably be an engineer who is not working in a few years. Because that's the future. If you develop that skill set, of being able to fix anything and then mixing it, you'll be working a lot." I agree that Young Griffo (like almost anyone these days, to be honest ::)) would benefit from making better raw recordings and arrangements, but I think it's also important for the mix engineer to do the best with what's there. (As long as the band are willing to pay for the couple of extra days work involved, of course! ;D)

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long story short, i think a shortlist of course is always subjective, but it is way more "special" than i expected. further it is a pity, that this shortlist is the poll too, since there are some other mixes i would have given my vote. now the poll is too biased for me to vote. i hope my post is not understood as "bashing", but as critics with positive outcome. the latter one was my intention.

I'm happy for people to disagree whole-heartedly with my choices -- it's more fun that way, after all! 8) Mixing is art, and all art is subjective. There's no getting away from that, so I fully expected a good deal of disagreement about the shortlist, especially with 70-odd mixes to choose from. As you say, though, in the grand scheme of things it's not the competitive element that's been the real value of this exercise. It's been the learning process everyone's engaged in -- myself included. ;D

Keep those comments coming!
Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.
Free Mixing Resources On-line!