Old 04-16-2017, 05:47 AM   #41
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This month I'm not going to make it I'm away from home this week and I tried to mix the song using the headphones plugged into my laptop but it literally sounds like shit.
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Old 04-16-2017, 09:03 AM   #42
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This month I'm not going to make it I'm away from home this week and I tried to mix the song using the headphones plugged into my laptop but it literally sounds like shit.
Try a mix with just your eyes and see what happens!
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Old 04-16-2017, 10:18 AM   #43
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Try a mix with just your eyes and see what happens!
Jokes aside... I'm really disappointed I don't know if it's the integrated soundcard of my laptop that is really awful or if my ears are used to listening to a better quality one... or maybe it's just me that sucks haha
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:47 PM   #44
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Send mine.
Learn a lot.
Thanks DaveKeehl.
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:43 PM   #45
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Send mine.
Learn a lot.
Thanks DaveKeehl.
got it thanks
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:38 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by DaveKeehl View Post
This month I'm not going to make it I'm away from home this week and I tried to mix the song using the headphones plugged into my laptop but it literally sounds like shit.
That's how I do most of my mixes. I have cheap monitors not setup properly, in my living room, so I'm not sure they paint a better picture than headphones?! I'm sending in my shitty mixes anyway

I figure I can learn by comparing my mix with the sound of other mixes, and that I can learn how good mixes sounds in my headphones. I got do what I can with what I have. But I guess once you've tasted good homemade sauce made from stock you don't care for packet dry powder anymore...
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Old 04-17-2017, 09:38 AM   #47
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Jokes aside... I'm really disappointed I don't know if it's the integrated soundcard of my laptop that is really awful or if my ears are used to listening to a better quality one... or maybe it's just me that sucks haha
I think the most likely culprit is the headphones themselves. Your soundcard should be good enough, I would imagine.

Sometimes bad sounding speakers isn't so bad though. They will never sound good, but on better speakers it will. It depends how they are bad I guess. Like I said earlier, doing it in mono helps a lot. I like to get all my balances and a rough mix done in stereo, but then I like to mono the master, and then go in and EQ again for all the problems I hear, and then when I turn stereo on again, it is glorious.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:21 PM   #48
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I think the most likely culprit is the headphones themselves. Your soundcard should be good enough, I would imagine.

Sometimes bad sounding speakers isn't so bad though. They will never sound good, but on better speakers it will. It depends how they are bad I guess. Like I said earlier, doing it in mono helps a lot. I like to get all my balances and a rough mix done in stereo, but then I like to mono the master, and then go in and EQ again for all the problems I hear, and then when I turn stereo on again, it is glorious.
Well I have the Audio Technica ATH-M50x so I don't think it's a bad pair of headphones at all. I almost mixed the whole song in mono. I was disappointed because when I continued to mix the song just by plugging the headphones in the laptop (without the interface), certain things sounded really really messy. For instance the kick sounded like it was triggering a sidechain compressor on the lead vocal track
I don't know... Next month I'll go back to Switzerland and to my home studio and I'm going to win every contest muahahaha
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:05 PM   #49
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Well I have the Audio Technica ATH-M50x so I don't think it's a bad pair of headphones at all. I almost mixed the whole song in mono. I was disappointed because when I continued to mix the song just by plugging the headphones in the laptop (without the interface), certain things sounded really really messy. For instance the kick sounded like it was triggering a sidechain compressor on the lead vocal track
I don't know... Next month I'll go back to Switzerland and to my home studio and I'm going to win every contest muahahaha
Lol, that's odd. Maybe it's the audio jack connection then. If you have bluetooth in your laprop, or a USB adapter for bluetooth, and a bluetooth earphones, give that a go and see if it makes any difference.

Digital is usually sort of on or off, so if it was a digital component it would either not work at all, or maybe cut in and out in sharp cuts, or possibly with some digital artifacts. But a fade-in and out typed thing sounds a lot more like an analog issue, which could be the jack in the laptop, or potentially the adapter to go from 1/4 to 3.5mm but, I would imagine you are using the one packaged with the headphones, so I would think that's not likely. Not sure why it would be timed with the kick exactly, but I'm not very knowledgeable with electronics.

Bluetooth might solve your problem for future situations like that, but it will probably introduce latency. Not so bad for mixing, but no good for tracking. Maybe some newer iterations of the bluetooth protocol might be better for latency now.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:13 PM   #50
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Since we recently moved and I don't have my monitors setup yet, I just used headphones and laptop speakers .

I used a reference mix of course, but I don't expect it will translate well.. I struggled with this in spots, and in the end, when I listen to my submission, I feel the hihat is 1/2 dB too hot, and the vox are 1/2 dB too low lol... But I didn't feel like rendering and normalizing and zipping etc all over again, so it is what is is.
Looking fwd to hearing everyone's work. Good luck! This was fun.
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Old 04-18-2017, 02:59 AM   #51
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Bluetooth might solve your problem for future situations like that, but it will probably introduce latency. Not so bad for mixing, but no good for tracking. Maybe some newer iterations of the bluetooth protocol might be better for latency now.
Well, I think even an affordable Focusrite Solo would be a better solution when traveling, to the cheap components of any laptop soundcard.
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Old 04-18-2017, 08:44 AM   #52
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I really need to start using reference mixes. Thing is, is I often don't know exactly what to get for a reference. But, I think referencing might take my mixing to a whole new level.

It might actually be cool to have suggested reference tracks for each contest.

Or, maybe include a track you used as a reference for other people to hear?

I was feeling pretty confident about this track, but now I've listened to some references, I feel... very humbled.

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Well, I think even an affordable Focusrite Solo would be a better solution when traveling, to the cheap components of any laptop soundcard.
I really don't think so. The difference should not really be all that noticeable. You probably have a realtek card in there, and that's what I have on my Acer, and had in another pc before that, and the sound is good enough. I think there must be something else giving you problems. Maybe the connector, or maybe check to see if there is any kind of audio software running which is designed to give you a "better experience". That might be messing things up, especially if you hear it always on the kicks.

Usually digitial is digital, just 1s and 0s, on or off. The difference in quality can come when audio is converted from and to digital, so the DACs could be different, but the difference should not be enough to make mixing perceptively difficult for you. It would be pretty subtle, and only the discerning audiophiles would be able to detect a difference.

What you got going on sounds more major than that.

For analog equipment the components can make a big difference, but for digital, it's all solid state, and basically, either it performs the calculations or it doesn't. It wouldn't behave the way you are describing. But some software kind of low level might. I'd look for something like that, and look for everything you could switch off about it. But the soundcard should be fine. You should even be able to cope fine with a soundblaster 16 from the 90s. I mean, I haven't heard one in a while, but it should be good enough. What you are experiencing, I believe is either some analog issue, which has very few places to go wrong, between the plug and it directly fitting into the soundcard, or some kind of software getting in the way. I think you should be able to solve it. It's too late now for this contest of course, but I think you should be able to get it to a really workable state.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:21 PM   #53
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Hello all, my 1st time here!

Sent my entry almost two hours ago, was a bit of a hard mix to do especially cause I'm fairly new to Reaper and I got used to working with 3rd party plugs... was familiar with a few that came with Reaper, such as ReaComp which I used fairly often before..

Almost 2 months into Reaper and love it so far! will be my new mixing and editing DAW
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:32 PM   #54
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Just submitted my mix. For this one, I think the main vocals were the most tough. The backups were really off key which is not fun either, and the guitar gave me trouble as well. I don't really like the reverb That's on it already, and I find that made it tough, as well as the scratchiness tone it had with the muted pick strokes. I don't know how well I'm supposed to be able to tame those, but I haven't figure that one out yet, if there is a good way. I actually found the bass a little tough as well. ... I guess mixing in general just isn't easy lol. I did really like the drums though, and I guess that's one that I usually find really difficult. The drummer was great as well.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:19 PM   #55
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I guess mixing in general just isn't easy lol.
I think the opposite-mixing is the easy bit here..it's all the fixing and trixing that's like working magic,and changing pre-recorded tracks.
I guess some artists like to be left 'un-treated' raw as performed--1 take,without a mix engineer changing what was recorded=audio illusions are the game here in a lot of "mixes".
Mixers are either polishing something already beautiful,or doing some major frankenstyle audio surgeries=brain fart time!
The fun never endzzzz.

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Old 04-20-2017, 08:28 AM   #56
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I think the opposite-mixing is the easy bit here..it's all the fixing and trixing that's like working magic,and changing pre-recorded tracks.
I guess some artists like to be left 'un-treated' raw as performed--1 take,without a mix engineer changing what was recorded=audio illusions are the game here in a lot of "mixes".
Mixers are either polishing something already beautiful,or doing some major frankenstyle audio surgeries=brain fart time!
The fun never endzzzz.
Ya, what you start with really makes a big difference. What we've been getting for these contests was not incredible, from that point of view. I thought this one sounded pretty non-fixy when I heard the rough mix while I was auditioning the options for this month. But it turned out more rough than I thought.

I think this was just a live recording in a venue, and the performers aren't really experts at mic control. It wasn't really a choice to be more "real" or "organic" in the studio, but just like "Alicia keys live album" sort of thing.

For these contests, we are not charged with recording the content, so that might benefit us in some instances, and in others hurt us. For me, anyway. I was using the term, "mixing", pretty loosely there, I actually meant more sort of the entire profession kind of thing, from tracking to what we are doing now. I mean, that's part of the job. Obviously if you only do in the box stuff, or are very good at tracking, and take the time to do multiple takes and all that, then this stage will be that much easier, but if someone shows up with something like this, then that's the job. Mixing is partially turd polishing. Unless nobody makes any turds, but I think turdless, unless you're in the box, is hard to come by for mere mortals, and only really good pros are turdless.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:51 AM   #57
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Amen. Turd polishing indeed. Not saying this was a complete turn by any stretch, but every track has something that is a challenge. The most Troublesome tracks I experienced for me were the kick drum and the backing vocals, and the bass a little bit too I just couldn't get it to pop the way I wanted. You can only work with what you're given comma and the fact is it was a live recording and it sounds like a live recording in the mix as well. Mine sure does anyway. I certainly don't expect to win or even being the top 3 but hopefully I'll learn something. Good luck everyone.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:57 AM   #58
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Ha! Certainly can't polish a turd - best you can do is sprinkle some glitter on it to make it more attractive.
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:43 AM   #59
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Hey guys, sorry for the little delay but everything will be online by tonight/tomorrow. I didn't have time to do anything and just got a flu...
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Old 04-21-2017, 06:49 AM   #60
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April's not over yet Dave.. get well soon
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:04 AM   #61
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No worries man, whenever you get it up, that's cool. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:42 PM   #62
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Submissions are online. Thanks DaveKeehl... and get well soon!
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:37 PM   #63
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yep, everything is now online you can also vote
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Old 04-21-2017, 02:46 PM   #64
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Great job as always Dave. Feel better soon. Break out the chicken soup...
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:14 PM   #65
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Great job as always Dave. Feel better soon. Break out the chicken soup...
Chicken has arsenic due to the type of antibiotic. No so good for the immune system.

The real cause of the Flu is lifestyle....

Too much sugar can also cause flu-like symptoms.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-...b_3267334.html

http://www.progressivehealth.com/doe...-influenza.htm

http://www.balancedconcepts.net/Real..._Colds_Flu.pdf
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:29 PM   #66
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Yes, thanks Dave,, this was fun to mix.. I just voted and upon hearing my mix, ugh--- sounds muddy to me. I had a hard time getting then kick to have bunch and clarity.. I'm usually pretty good at tweaking drums, but I didnt feel satisfied... My mix wasnt bright enough overall.. BUT, I definitely learned a few things about reaper while mixing it, so either way, I win.

Good luck all.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:05 AM   #67
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Great job as always Dave. Feel better soon. Break out the chicken soup...
I'm vegetarian
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:30 PM   #68
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From the next month expect some major updates about these contests
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:45 PM   #69
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Learning a lot from hearing all those mixes , nice
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:50 PM   #70
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A question, how does the winner chooses a new song? Is it from a pool, or does he have to send a multitrack of his own?
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Old 04-22-2017, 12:59 PM   #71
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A question, how does the winner chooses a new song? Is it from a pool, or does he have to send a multitrack of his own?
As far as I understand, they get to choose from this site - a valuable resource for anyone wanting to practice mixing..
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Old 04-22-2017, 01:47 PM   #72
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Yeah, as trevlyns says until now we've always used that website, but actually any multitrack session is ok...
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:42 PM   #73
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Just finished listening to all the submissions.

Got my votes in!

Very interesting so hear the different variations. It certainly adds perspective on my mix; I guess I would change a thing or two...

I must say a few submissions were very close in rank in my headphones, close on my monitors, but separated themselves when listening in cheap laptop speakers. And, because a good mix should be well balanced everywhere, this helped me choose between the various mixes.

This got me thinking about the voting process. It's probably unrealistic, but if we had a judging protocol with a few minor obligations I think it could help the overall contest. Perhaps a checklist of items to listen/judge? We could fill out this checklist in SurveyMonkey and once the voting period is over publish the results to the group.

For example, each question in the survey checklist could be ranked ranked 1-10 (10 being excellent), or any other weighting according to importance of the question, and then the values all the questions summed up to give a total number representing the song value. The song with the highest value wins the number 1 spot, 2nd the 2 and 3rd = 3.

I've done surveys like this with survey monkey and they are not difficult to set up. Once you have a template it would be good for every contest, and surverymonkey tallies the results automatically and produces results automatically.

I'm thinking of questions like (perhaps make better wording):

1) Is the frequency spectrum of the song well balanced (1-10)
2) Can you hear each instrument clearly (1-10)
3) Do the vocals cut through the mix (1-10)
4) Does the song contain a good dynamic range (1-5)
5) Are the effects (e.g. reverb, delay) used judiciously according to the style/genre of the song (1-5)
6) Does the song contain any perceivable artifacts (e.g. clicks, pops, compression pumping, etc) or noticeable irregularities 0=yes; 5=no)
7) Does the song sound equally good on various playback sources (e.g. earbuds, monitors, mono speaker, etc) 0=no 5=yes).
8) Has the stereo field been well utilized 1-10

MAX TOTAL POINTS: 60



______

Ok, I'm just making these up on the fly, but together we could come up with a meaningful judging protocol.

Besides for clarity and less subjectivity in the voting process this would be of GREAT VALUE to each contestant, because they would get to see how their mix ranked according the various judging criteria. A really good learning tool!!!

Ok Ok... I know this seems like a great deal of additional work, but it's probably not as bad as it seems. Or at least, it begs the questions: is having a judging protocol worth the additional effort?

That's all I got.

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Old 04-24-2017, 12:19 AM   #74
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Add to that list:
1) are the rules broken well? (10 points), if you want to stand out, you'll have to break the rules
2) how good is the song in total? (30 points), cause this is what it's all about

We got 100 points now ��

For me making a top 3 is good enough, although a system with 'winners' in every category might give us some stuff to discuss.
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Old 04-24-2017, 02:16 AM   #75
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Good idea RDBOIS. I will keep in mind for the next month. Lots of new things are currently underway for the contests, so I will see but it's definitely a good idea!
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Old 04-24-2017, 03:16 AM   #76
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Recently I was watching a video on how they recorded and mixed music in the 50's. It was amazing to see how they achieved a great sound with a limited amount of tools. Maybe it's nice to have some limitations for the contests too. Like one month you use only 10 plugin instances. Another month you're not allowed to put something on the mastertrack, or use just one compressor, ... This should result in being more creative with your tools/routing/....
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:17 AM   #77
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Definitely a neat idea that would give great feedback.. one potential problem I see is that it would make it a more time-consuming chore to vote... making it less likely that folks who aren't participating would bother voting. I definitely can see where everyone would benefit from more detailed info, but a questionnaire that included 10 questions for EVERY entry, would be too much. Maybe a basic dropdown for 2nd and 3rd place with multiple choice response options for WHY they weren't #1, might be a good starting point?
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:22 AM   #78
karbomusic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunganar View Post
Recently I was watching a video on how they recorded and mixed music in the 50's. It was amazing to see how they achieved a great sound with a limited amount of tools. Maybe it's nice to have some limitations for the contests too. Like one month you use only 10 plugin instances. Another month you're not allowed to put something on the mastertrack, or use just one compressor, ... This should result in being more creative with your tools/routing/....
That's how I learned to mix... 8 tracks, 1 compressor, 1 reverb, 1 delay. Too many options can make mixing hard because when you commit (due to lack of options), everything else builds on every previous committal. If you can always go back and undo that committal, you are constantly redoing things to compensate. Vision, it's all about vision - IOW, one really shouldn't have 'no idea' where they are going or what is going to sound like what 1/2 way into the mix.
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Old 04-24-2017, 10:39 AM   #79
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I like the idea of a checklist. I don't think it is more work really, but the key is in its construction, which is really the hard part of the idea, I guess.

I think once we have a checklist, that could make judging a lot easier, and even faster, for those top 3. But I would say that the checklist sheets should only really be submitted for the top 3, otherwise, then it would be more work. This way, you only need to do them for the top contenders in your mind, and that way it helps you. Otherwise, every person that gets added, will create significantly more work for everyone, which is not that fun, and would make people that didn't participate but might vote, not want to vote, as well.

For those reasons, I also think the checklist should be pretty short.

I'm having a bit of trouble finding what I think would be the ideal checklist, but I think it would be something like this:






Quote:
1) Overall frequency distribution.

2) Levels and depth of field.

3) Clarity

4) Stereo field/balance

5) Usage of reverb/General audible effects.
That would be 5 categories, and you could score each out of 5.


I think for me, that would just about cover it, something pretty quick and easy, and objective.
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Old 04-24-2017, 11:21 AM   #80
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I did suggest a more primitive version of this idea a few months back (December, January time?) but it got little support at the time - I think people thought it would add too much work to the voting process, and take away the subjective element involved in judging a mix. But maybe times have changed?
I'd certainly be in favour of achieving a level of consistency in the voting process, but which criteria would we use? I'm not sure it would be helpful to jump into weeks of debate trying to decide how to structure things, but I think I asked originally if any of our more experienced hands had any knowledge of how other mix competitions are/were judged. So, anyone know? Might avoid reinventing that round thing on the corners of cars, eh?
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