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And the mix competition winner is...
12-08-2017, 08:04 PM
Post: #1
And the mix competition winner is...
Hey guys !

First of all, we want to thank every competitor for their fantastic work on this complicated song. I guess this kind of music was a first for most of you. So you just felt what I felt when I mixed the album 'Into My Dreams' one year ago. This was my very first album I had to mix...

Keeping the song interesting from start to the gong hit at the very end was not an easy task, and a lot of you did an amazing job. It was very refreshing to hear new horizons on this song and even if our mix critiques was pretty tough on some points, you managed to enhance your first mixes and took the band's requests with open arms.

So, now is the time to reveal the winner of this mix competition...

Congratulations to Friggy who wins the first prize ! Your mix is very detailed while having quite of a big sound. You respected every part of the song and make it very attractive from start to finish.

Second place goes to ArmedNDaverous. Your mix has a distinct vision but is still highly interesting.

I will spend some time on the forum to discuss on every mix with all of you !

Thank you everyone for your time and patience, and I promise you that the next song I will share on this fantastic website is going to be muuuuuuch shorter Big Grin

Have a nice week-end and see you soon on the forum !
Cheers from France
Florian and Perpetual Escape
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12-08-2017, 10:27 PM
Post: #2
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
I didn't think I got my mix in in time for the competition. But if my mix was eligible for the competition still, that is amazing! It is super exciting to have your work acknowledged, and now I am even more motivated to keep mixing and trying to get better.

Thank you Florian and Mike for providing the tracks and the place that makes this possible. You offer an opportunity to all of us mixers that is really something special.
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12-08-2017, 10:36 PM
Post: #3
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
Mixes posted before July 23 were eligible for a critique (I even criticised a couple more), but every mix posted before August 6th were eligible for the competition. So.... congratulations man Smile
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12-08-2017, 11:46 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2017 11:53 PM by javierpg84.)
Post: #4
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
Congratulations to the winners.

Florian: Thank you for hosting the competition.

Mike: Thank you for the platform and the knowledge you have provided us through all these years.

To myself: There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.
Malcolm X

Cheers.


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13-08-2017, 12:35 AM
Post: #5
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
Congratulations to Friggy and ArmedNDaverous

Mandubien: Thanks for the advice. I learned a lot
From now on, I will use your advice for mixing

Mike: I appreciate the management attitude of this site
I want to learn and grow a lot

Mixed members: I want to admire the members who have overcome many difficulties

To myself: I only have to pursue my music
And I will continue listening to and learning lots of music

Yoshi
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13-08-2017, 02:39 AM
Post: #6
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
Congratulation to both winner, and appreciate every advise from Mandubien to everyone here. It's really great to able get advise from the band and this song really help me learn a lot.

I'll wait for the next song from you to work for ^^
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14-08-2017, 04:59 AM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2017 05:13 AM by Pedaling Prince.)
Post: #7
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
OK. First, before I say anything here, I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Friggy and ArmedNDaverous on their win. What I'm about to say here takes away nothing from their work for one simple fact: they obviously captured what Perpetual Escape was going for better than the rest of us. Being able to interpret what an artist is going for and bringing that to life is a vital skill in any discipline where technical skill is needed to support an art form, as is the case with the relationship between audio engineering and music. So well done in that respect.

Having said that, I must admit to a certain degree of puzzlement as to these being the winners.

Friggy's mix is, in my opinion, just not dynamic enough for this song. This was particulalry evident entering "Part III: The Twilight of All Things." The volume level dropped a little but not nearly enough to give that sense of chills up your spine that part of the music should have evoked. The song was obviously run through compression at the mastering stage, and while everyone who's read my postings here over the years knows my opinion on compression in mastering in general such compression does more damage to some songs than others; I feel this is one of those songs where narrowing the dynamics blunts the mood.

I'm not dismayed that I personally didn't win; I'm dismayed that the winner is dynamically crushed. This is not the first time I've seen this. I've looked up other mix competitions and listened to their winners; almost every winning mix was squashed, in many cases to the point of being "stupid loud" like Metallica Death Magnetic or Disturbed Immortalized. Well at least this case isn't that bad but still not great. After listening to it I ran it through the TT Dynamic Range meter and got a reading of 7. Myself personally I find anything below 10 unnatural sounding, and even the Dynamic Range Database lists anything below 8 as too loud.

Actually, of the two winning mixes, I preferred ArmedNDaverous' and when I ran it through the DR meter sure enough it came in at 10. Still a little narrow for this song but a good compromise I suppose if you absolutely must be "loud." Actually, the only significant issues I had with his mix was the toms were a wee bit buried in the mix and the snare wasn't punchy enough for my taste, but other than that it was a hell of a lot more pleasant on the ears than Friggy's.

So why is this bothering me so much? If you'll humor me, let me give a little history:

I was born in 1972. Back then, dynamic range in recording was limited by the noise floor of the analog magnetic tape that was the state of the art recording medium of the time. While recording artists did recognize the value of dynamics, and often used dynamics to great effect such as in classics like Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," they were limited by the fact that tape noise became more and more evident the quieter your recording became. The holy grail of the analog recording days was a noise floor 90 dB or better below tape saturation level, a level that was next to impossible to reach with magnetic tape; not until the introduction of Dolby SR noise reduction in the mid 1980s did magnetic tape ever approach this holy grail of low noise floor, but even then magnetic tape had its limitations in wow, flutter uneven frequency response and saturation distortion. Also, when using magnetic tape for multitracking, tape noise was cumulative; the more tracks you added the higher the noise floor became. Even with Dolby SR there was eventually a point of diminishing returns once you got enough tracks going at once in a mix.

Then, in the late 1970s, digital recording techniques started showing up in the studio. Back then the best bit depth you could get with the limited hardware of the time was 16-bit, but that was enough to offer a noise floor 96 dB below the maximum level, a level of noise virtually imperceptible to the human ear. As an added bonus, when multitrack mixing was done entirely in the digital domain, the digital noise floor was not cumulative; your noise floor was no higher playing 20 tracks than it was playing just one. Additionally, digital completely eliminated wow, flutter, frequency response issues and harmonic distortion. It was the holy grail of sound clarity artists had so long been waiting for!

Then, in 1982, the CD hit the market and, for the first time, people at home could listen to this crystal clean digital sound, a perfect representation of the original studio recording without the rumble, cracks and pops of vinyl or the brutal hiss and limited high frequency response of the narrow track, slow moving cassette tape. For a time, as CDs were an expensive audiophile format at first, digital was not yet the mainstream music format it is today. As a result, digital recordings in the 80s, and remasters of older analog masters, all made full use of that gorgeous 96 dB of dynamic range. Some of the most amazing sounding recordings ever done were produced in the 80s and early to mid 90s, using digital audio to its fullest potential. You could hear this clearly in early CDs as the volume level from CD to CD might be radically different. This wasn't a problem, though; that's what the volume control is for.

Then, starting around 1995, give or take a year or two, a few artists started trying to make the music on their CDs louder. At first this felt like a welcome change as, at least initially, it didn't have any significant impact on the clarity and openness digital sound was famous for. However, as the years wore on, artists seemed to get more and more obsessed with making their music louder and louder, each artist trying to outdo the other. Flash forward a decade and the sound quality of digital had dropped off precipitously, some albums being so heavily compressed for loudness as to distort the music to the point where fans were actually complaining about the distortion. Even heavy metal fans, who usually revel in distortion as part of the sound of their musical style, started to realize something was very wrong...

What I find ironic about this, and why this annoys me so much, is because digital sound is the ultimate achievement in audio technology, capable of supporting even the most dynamic of music, and yet all that potential is being wasted by only using maybe the top 10 dB of that dynamic range if you're lucky; much music nowadays is much less dynamic than even that.

Recently there's been a move towards vinyl, with proponents saying that it sounds better than digital. Vinyl does not sound better than digital when both media are being used to their maximum potential. However, vinyl is more dynamic than the average modern digital recording. It has to be; if you tried to cut a record with a recording as crushed as most modern recordings it would literally toss the needle out of the groove. So masters intended for vinyl pressings of modern recordings tend to retain more dynamics. That's why fans of vinyl think it's better because the more dynamic masters used to make them are. However, if you were to play back that master directly it would sound much better than the vinyl pressing as it would be completely clear of any surface noise, distortion or pops and crackles (even brand new vinyl pressings have at least the surface noise and a few isolated imperfections). It would, in fact, demonstrate the true advantage of digital sound when used effectively. Vinylphiles tend to forget that any vinyl of a modern recording was probably created from a digital master... Big Grin

Now, having said all that, again this is not sour grapes over my personal mix not being one of the winners. I was actually hoping that the winner would be something dynamic and better than my mix. Hell, there have been occasions, when I was a more active participant in this group, when I actually preferred someone else's mix of a song over mine and PMed them for their 24-bit master to take the place of my own in my collection. That's awesome. I was just dismayed that it wasn't one of those more beautiful, dynamic mixes that got the nod, particularly for this absolutely gorgeous song that to my ears just screams for a dynamic mix.

Makes me wonder if there's still a place for us "old school" engineers in the modern digital recording age if even with a song like this the artist prefers a loud, compressed version. Sad

John A. Ardelli
Pedaling Prince Pictures
http://www.youtube.com/user/PedalingPrince
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14-08-2017, 05:06 AM
Post: #8
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
Well, one thing is sure... this was certainly a learning experience. Even though I didn't place, I did learn a few things about how to handle something of this scope as well as how to deal with a few of the details inside. Learning how other people approached mix preparation was also an insight worth the effort.

Thanks for the chance to meet the challenge, Florian, and hopefully, we'll do it again sometime!

Mike, Thanks for recruiting such decent folks to participate with you in supplying this forum. It's a great learning experience and I'm very glad I ran across this place!

Old West Audio
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14-08-2017, 05:29 AM
Post: #9
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
BTW, Mike. how about merging this thread into your original announcement so it doesn't disappear over time. Smile
(Also add links to the threads with the two top mixes.)

Old West Audio
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14-08-2017, 08:37 AM
Post: #10
RE: And the mix competition winner is...
(14-08-2017 04:59 AM)Pedaling Prince Wrote:  OK. First, before I say anything here, I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Friggy and ArmedNDaverous on their win. What I'm about to say here takes away nothing from their work for one simple fact: they obviously captured what Perpetual Escape was going for better than the rest of us. Being able to interpret what an artist is going for and bringing that to life is a vital skill in any discipline where technical skill is needed to support an art form, as is the case with the relationship between audio engineering and music. So well done in that respect.

Having said that, I must admit to a certain degree of puzzlement as to these being the winners.

Friggy's mix is, in my opinion, just not dynamic enough for this song......

All mixes were level matched before we listened to them. Some mixes were louder than Friggy's one but did not win Wink
It's an overall thing, not only based on who's the most dynamic. If we were the clients of Friggy, we probably would have asked him to deliver a mix at -14 LUFS since it's the current standards. But we'd rather have a loud and balanced mix with a vision we like than a dynamic but very unbalanced.

One last point: loudness is handled by the mastering engineer. The mix engineer would have delivered a mix, with tons of headroom and dynamic range. We always ask a mastering engineer for mastering process. So at the end, if the mix engineer can make a loud mix version to make us hear what the will sound after the limiter, he/she will deliver a total dynamic unmastered version Wink
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