Drum roll please!
After long deliberation, Young Griffo have chosen a winner for the competition: Martin Olsson!
and also Mix 5 on the shortlist.)
Congratulations, Martin, for homing in so efficiently on what the band were looking for. To quote them directly: "This mix is pure, clear, and clean, and it sounds like us. The mixer has done a great job with what he has to work with, using a few production tricks in there in just the right places without going overboard. Listening on headphones and on monitors, this is the one we all agreed on."
They also chose two runners up:
- mrtuesday's second mix
(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24660599/blood_to_bone_MIX_040411.mp3 and also Mix 1 on the shortlist)
The band commented: "The most commercially accessible and innovative mix. There are some great ideas in there and we could see it working wonders on many commercial radio stations (here in Oz at least). It's turned an alternative rock/indie style track into a much more polished and probably better-thought-out track. The question in our minds, though, was 'does the track fully represent who Young Griffo are?', and in the end we decided that the mix had swayed slightly too far away from the references in that respect. Having said that, there are parts in this mix that are awesome, that drop out is golden, and when we heard this mix early on we knew it would be in the running for us."
- fHumble fHingaz's original mix
(the preview mix given alongside the multitracks at http://www.cambridge-mt.com/ms-ch15.htm#competition)
The band commented: "This mix still really stood up for us amongst the mixes. Rose-coloured glasses? Comfortable with what you know? Perhaps, but we still believe Andrew did a great job. Of course he did have guidance from us, unlike the other mixers, and had worked on our other mixes too, so he had something of an unfair advantage! "
Given the nature of subjective assessments, I have to admit that I was actually rather surprised to discover that my own first and second choices were... identical to the band's! I would also have chosen Martin's mix as the winner in the band's position, and there's so much I like about this mix, as I commented in my critique. I loved mrtuesday's creativity, musicality, boldness, and lateral thinking, which all made his mix one of the most exciting and propulsive to listen to, for me. However, I did share the band's concerns that he'd moved their sound a little too far from the original material presented on the multitracks, stylistically speaking.
I'd probably have awarded third place to Mix 4 (ALivingSight's mix) myself. However, I can definitely see why fHumble fHingaz's mix appealed to the band, because the thing it really nails for me is the overall attitude and excitement, something that carries really well even on rubbish little consumer systems -- there's a definite art in that. (On a more general note, I suspected from the outset that fHumble fHingaz's mix was in the right ballpark there, and in retrospect I'm surprised that more of the competition entries didn't seem to take much of a cue from it.) The reason I decided against putting it on the shortlist was that it felt to me that the 'grit' had been pushed a bit further than necessary, and that the raw sonics of some of the other competition mixes seemed to hold together better on more hi-fi listening systems.
Even with the winning entry, though, it's as well to point out that the band would still prefer to request one or two revisions before proclaiming themselves completely satisfied. Indeed, I would personally expect no less from any band who'd had no direct input in the mixing process up to that point -- none of us are mind-readers, after all!
In addition, I think there's a considerable likelihood that the band could also have steered any of the shortlisted mixes (and a fair few others besides) towards a final mix they would have been completely happy with.
(Following on from this thought: Martin, if you were interested in implementing a few revision requests from the band on this mix (assuming you have any more time to spare!), I'm sure it would be interesting for everyone here if you could post a band-approved 'final' version at a later date.)
So there we have it! All that remains for me to do is to thank everyone once again for helping to bring this competition about: John for coming up with the idea and hosting it on his forum; the band for providing a great performance of a great song (don't believe the nay-sayers!
); and everyone who's posted a mix, for sharing your ideas and expertise, and for giving us all plenty to think about. You've all contributed to creating a fantastic on-line mixing resource which many student mix engineers will learn a lot from. (Speaking of which, I'm considering consolidating all the mixes, critiques, and revisions to a dedicated page on my site (linked back to the original posts on the thread, of course), so that things are a bit easier to navigate and learn from. If anyone's averse to my hosting their mix on my site for this purpose, please just PM me to let me know.)
Thanks also to everyone who got involved with the poll. However, since I registered my own vote (and posted encouraging people to participate) there were 17 votes in a row for Mix 3, which seems a bit odd statistically speaking -- however, I'll leave everyone to draw their own conclusions there.