Dirty Snake Mouth Mixing Challenge Voting Thread

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poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
edited November 2020 in Making Music
Time to vote.

All the entries are are in the playlist below:

https://soundcloud.com/thefretboard/sets/dirtysnakemouth-mixing

vote for your favs (and maybe an explanation as to why)

1st place gets 5pts,
2nd place 3pts
and
3rd place 1pt...

you cant vote for your own entry...

voting closes midnight on the 8th Nov. The winner will be announced shortly afterwards where they will receive the adulation of everyone on the forum....
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Comments

  • Just going to fix that link there:


    Great competition everyone, really enjoyed hearing all of the entries. This was a tough call but here are my top 3:

    Oaf (5 points) - Great mix, not too much reliance on reverb (I could learn a thing or two from this!), well compressed and loud without sacrificing dynamics, good EQ'ing on the vocals, punchy drums and overall very listenable

    Poopot (3 points) - After hearing your original mix I was questioning why we needed this challenge! A decent mix, really, really good energy in the drums, my only feedback would be that one of the guitars was a little high in the mix and could do with some HP filter to get them out of the space of the vocals. I think the solo could be EQ'd and boosted to cut through the mix a little more. Great dynamic range and it never felt excessively overcompressed or pumpy.

    Dainty (1 point) - A nice mix, particularly the vocals. Good levels all around and nice use of space but to my ear could use a litte more high end. Specifically the snare sounds a little muted and the horn mids are buried with only the highs cutting through. Other than that great job!


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  • oafoaf Frets: 271
    Perc a little high
    Nice energetic drums
    Vocals a touch low (but I felt they were quite hard to work with)
    One guitar a little too loud?
    Backing vocals quite low/not so distinct
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else (think everyone suffered from this)
    Good balance overall, decent glue, "clean"
    Maybe a bit reverby?

    @StephenB
    Nice upfront vocal
    A little mud at the bottom end?
    Guitar solo and guitars were a bit crowded (arrangement as much as anything though I think)
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else
    A little bit overpushed dynamically?
    Too reverby for me, went a bit blurry at times
    Sounded finished, commercial and energetic, good

    Loud percussion
    Bass drum sounds like a bomb :)
    A lot of treble and bass energy, rather scooped?
    Good width in the overall presentation
    Liked the vocal delay around 2:40 but it needed more variation/to stop when band came in
    Too pushed overall, found it quite a heavy listen despite good ideas
    Rather too delay-y and reverby for my taste

    @Dainty
    Very mono
    Liked the overall balance of instruments, worked well
    Vocal (and other elements) needs a bit of a treble boost, a little lofi
    Energetic but sounded like it needed a final master (not much "sparkle" somehow)

    @Guitartango
    Liked the "mashup" start, very nice idea
    Drums/perc prominent, perc got a bit fatiguing by end
    Not sure what was happening with horns and stereo effect/placement
    Vocal slightly lost at times (though I think the level and delivery was quite variable so it was hard)
    Guitars were low in the mix, limited width overall

    All very close... I think I'd say

    5 points StephenB
    3 points poopot
    1 point Dainty

    I liked listening to them all.
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  • oaf said:
    Perc a little high
    Nice energetic drums
    Vocals a touch low (but I felt they were quite hard to work with)
    One guitar a little too loud?
    Backing vocals quite low/not so distinct
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else (think everyone suffered from this)
    Good balance overall, decent glue, "clean"
    Maybe a bit reverby?

    @StephenB
    Nice upfront vocal
    A little mud at the bottom end?
    Guitar solo and guitars were a bit crowded (arrangement as much as anything though I think)
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else
    A little bit overpushed dynamically?
    Too reverby for me, went a bit blurry at times
    Sounded finished, commercial and energetic, good

    Loud percussion
    Bass drum sounds like a bomb :)
    A lot of treble and bass energy, rather scooped?
    Good width in the overall presentation
    Liked the vocal delay around 2:40 but it needed more variation/to stop when band came in
    Too pushed overall, found it quite a heavy listen despite good ideas
    Rather too delay-y and reverby for my taste

    @Dainty
    Very mono
    Liked the overall balance of instruments, worked well
    Vocal (and other elements) needs a bit of a treble boost, a little lofi
    Energetic but sounded like it needed a final master (not much "sparkle" somehow)

    @Guitartango
    Liked the "mashup" start, very nice idea
    Drums/perc prominent, perc got a bit fatiguing by end
    Not sure what was happening with horns and stereo effect/placement
    Vocal slightly lost at times (though I think the level and delivery was quite variable so it was hard)
    Guitars were low in the mix, limited width overall

    All very close... I think I'd say

    5 points StephenB
    3 points poopot
    1 point Dainty

    I liked listening to them all.

    oaf said:
    Perc a little high
    Nice energetic drums
    Vocals a touch low (but I felt they were quite hard to work with)
    One guitar a little too loud?
    Backing vocals quite low/not so distinct
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else (think everyone suffered from this)
    Good balance overall, decent glue, "clean"
    Maybe a bit reverby?

    @StephenB
    Nice upfront vocal
    A little mud at the bottom end?
    Guitar solo and guitars were a bit crowded (arrangement as much as anything though I think)
    Horns felt a bit wide compared to everything else
    A little bit overpushed dynamically?
    Too reverby for me, went a bit blurry at times
    Sounded finished, commercial and energetic, good

    Loud percussion
    Bass drum sounds like a bomb :)
    A lot of treble and bass energy, rather scooped?
    Good width in the overall presentation
    Liked the vocal delay around 2:40 but it needed more variation/to stop when band came in
    Too pushed overall, found it quite a heavy listen despite good ideas
    Rather too delay-y and reverby for my taste

    @Dainty
    Very mono
    Liked the overall balance of instruments, worked well
    Vocal (and other elements) needs a bit of a treble boost, a little lofi
    Energetic but sounded like it needed a final master (not much "sparkle" somehow)

    @Guitartango
    Liked the "mashup" start, very nice idea
    Drums/perc prominent, perc got a bit fatiguing by end
    Not sure what was happening with horns and stereo effect/placement
    Vocal slightly lost at times (though I think the level and delivery was quite variable so it was hard)
    Guitars were low in the mix, limited width overall

    All very close... I think I'd say

    5 points StephenB
    3 points poopot
    1 point Dainty

    I liked listening to them all.

    Yeah think i spent more time on the startup than anything else..the first guitar was suppose to sound like the beginning of Wish you were here, could not get the drums to sound good.

    PS the backwood vocals at the end were my nod to the John Lennon/Beatles

    So i wanted  Start to sound like the beach boys....
                        Guitars to sound like WYWH radio
                        And the ending to sound like .....

    But good fun
    “Ken sent me.”
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    ok... my tuppence worth.

    StephenB:
    Guitars were a bit to wet for my taste but sounded decent.
    horns were a tuch low in the mix.
    Drums got slightly lost during the chorus.
    Cant hear the BV's clearly
    But overall had a fair bit of energy.

    andyK;
    way too much reverb all over. made it painful to listen to in the car not as bad through the monitors.
    Liked the dirt on the vocal but again too much reverb for me
    BV's got totally lost at times

    dainty:
    tight drums... punch through well throughout
    vocal a little wet with reverb but not bad.
    nicely widened through the chorus and solo
    good balance volume wise but needs some sparkle

    Oaf:
    Kick a little high in the mix
    nice and wide in the chorus
    solo a touch quiet
    the whole mix sounds a bit scooped in the mids

    Guitartango:
    like the mashup at the begining
    guitar solo? where is it?
    no bottom end at all... bass not there or very very low?
    very narrow mix apart from the horns dancing left and right
    the chuckachuckachuka on the percusion track could have been eq'd out.

    But... Its all subjective innit? and to be fair Im sick of this track now :)

    points wise

    5pts @Dainty ;
    3pts @oaf ;
    1pt @StephenB ;


    will have another one soon... with lots of tracks for you to play with


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  • One thing I was thinking for this would be that we should include what we are mixing on when we make the submission, just so we can have a frame of reference on what other people are using, it could be a bit of fun!

    For me it's Audio Technica M50x and MAudio BX5s (need to upgrade. Badly)
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    edited November 2020
    StephenB said:
    One thing I was thinking for this would be that we should include what we are mixing on when we make the submission, just so we can have a frame of reference on what other people are using, it could be a bit of fun!

    For me it's Audio Technica M50x and MAudio BX5s (need to upgrade. Badly)
    True... mine was done on akg k702’s and I used the abbey road studio plugin for spread...

    however, that was last month

    i’ve been a busy boy since then and now have this:



    It really has made a difference... can hear the mistakes on my rocks mix with clarity!...

    mixed my cover challenge entry since and it’s night and day I think (or at least that’s what I’m telling the mrs to justify the spend :) )
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  • oafoaf Frets: 271
    I'm using a pair of Genelec 8340 APM monitors with GLM room correction. For headphones I have Beyerdynamic DT-1990 Pros. Both fed by RME interface.
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  • poopot said:
    StephenB said:
    One thing I was thinking for this would be that we should include what we are mixing on when we make the submission, just so we can have a frame of reference on what other people are using, it could be a bit of fun!

    For me it's Audio Technica M50x and MAudio BX5s (need to upgrade. Badly)
    True... mine was done on akg k702’s and I used the abbey road studio plugin for spread...

    however, that was last month

    i’ve been a busy boy since then and now have this:



    It really has made a difference... can hear the mistakes on my rocks mix with clarity!...

    mixed my cover challenge entry since and it’s night and day I think (or at least that’s what I’m telling the mrs to justify the spend :) )

    That is wild! Where did you buy the acoustic panels? I'm moving into a new place soon and will have a room for a studio :)
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    StephenB said:

    That is wild! Where did you buy the acoustic panels? I'm moving into a new place soon and will have a room for a studio :)
    https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/192149/acoustic-panels#latest :)

    Thread about the room:

    https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/191934/music-room-help/p1

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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 604

    It's definitely harder to judge, than it was to mix,

    I’m going to be controversial with my points.


    5 points-@stephenb

    3 points-@Guitartango

    1 point- equally to @poopot, @Dainty, @Oaf


    @poopot

    Benchmark, hard to compete with.

    @stephenB

    Top job, I hear details can’t hear in others, 

    @me- mixed on i-louds, tweaked on Sennheiser HD650s, (badly ) mastered from 320mp3 with first attempt in Isotope, regretted it as soon as I heard it through Soundcloud.

    @Dainty

    De-ess?. Snare annoys (maybe pokes out too much)( drums were a bit difficult generally)

    @Oaf

    Good guitar balance,drum balance, 

    @Guitartango

    Brave re-mix, focus on horns, just wanted it to be more competitive in volume.


    My voting reflects the fact that they are all great mixes in subtly different ways, but I did appreciate the changes made by @guitartango, because it gets hard to critique equally good mixes.

    I made my own mix decisions based on the ‘vibe’ of the band name, and the subject of the song, and put most of my efforts in getting the vocals to sound a bit more aggressive-they just seemed too ‘nice’ for a rock band called ’Dirty Snake Mouth’

    It was fun to work on, but I have a suggestion for the next one.

    Can we do it blind? Ie, all tracks get uploaded to Soundcloud at the same time- with time to judge, and maybe we could all have access to each other's mastered track, I couldn’t help have my decisions based on mixes I had already heard, which led to me trying something different based on previous mixes.

    I chose to make my judging based on the Soundcloud stream, which we all know is not a great way to listen, so I listened either on laptop speakers, my phone, or headphones, but it is hard to compare after hearing the previous 2 or 3.

    Look forward to the next one.


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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 1422
    I know it'd be more work, but for future mix competitions it would be great if the tracks could be loudness normalised before uploading to Soundcloud. It's hard to make fair comparisons when one mix is 10dB louder or quieter than the next.

    Anyway, my two pennies' worth:

    Poopot -- 5 points. Good basic balance and plenty of rock & roll energy. Vocal is mixed a bit too low in places. All the mixes have a problem in the bass, and this one is no exception, it's very boomy in the low mid-range.

    StephenB -- To my ears the balance isn't quite right here, the vocal is too loud and the drums are too quiet. There's too much low end on the bass and drums so everything sounds quite woolly.

    AndyK -- 1 point. Lots of energy but the whole thing is too bright and has been pushed too far in pursuit of loudness! Brass is buried and the bass sounds indistinct. I quite like the delay effect on the drums.

    Dainty -- The mix as a whole is muffled and lacks energy in the upper mids. Slightly odd panning decisions, especially the vocal. I can barely hear the brass!

    oaf -- 3 points. The balance of instruments is excellent but again it's let down by the low end. The low mids are overcooked and it all sounds very muddy.

    Guitartango -- I like the fact that this one has the brass more prominent. Unfortunately the bass is completely inaudible and the drums sound weirdly hollow, as though all the low end has been EQed out of them. So this mix goes the other way on low end, there's not enough of it!

    Nice work everyone who played on this, it's quite an achievement to get that rock & roll feel remotely but this definitely has it.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 604
    I like the idea of this kind of mix competition, but there are a few things involved in a mix, including choice of loudness / dynamics, and this is an important part of the process.
    If the idea of the competition is to match an existing mix, that is one challenge.
    If however, as I understood it, the challenge was to create a mix from a multitrack, there is a lot of potential for creativity.
    It was my first entry to one of the forums competitions, and I enjoyed the challenge, and interpreted it as the second option.
    All comments are welcome, but I think it is not really fair to be normalising things for comparison, getting the right balance here is an important part of the process- maybe one of the most important these days.
    If the brief is to create a mix from the available tracks, without re-recording, which is how I interpreted it this time, there is no surprise that elements will be missing, if they do not suit the desired outcome, I think that is the creative part of production and mixing coming out.
    The final mix has to be competitive on all the streaming services, which is why we have to work within some boundaries, but it can be useful to push those boundaries sometimes-to generate further excitement in the track, which may be missing.
    It is hard to treat a mix as a blank slate, if that track is a well known standard, and if the object of the competition is to try and recreate an existing mix, that is a very different challenge.
    The changes to the rules I suggested above are just things that I feel would make the challenge a bit simpler, without being influenced by previous mixes, and allowing the true mixes to be compared outside the Soundcloud platform, do we even know what they do to the track once it is up there?
    All our mixes will be listened to on a wide variety of platforms (if they were real mixes) and that is a big consideration on the final mix.
    Personally, I check my stuff through 'loudness penalty' website, and make loudness choices based on those results.
    We don't all work on the same equipment, and we don't all listen in the same way, I can't do a car test for example, so there is a massive range of choices to be made with a mix, which is why I like the chance to put my own mix against others- but there is really no competition here-its all just rock n roll.

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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    Agree it would be a bonus if all tracks were uploaded at once. But... it does encourage a few more entries if there is a playlist up and running... that said, you don’t have to listen to what’s already been submitted...

    We all use different gear, have different ways of monitoring etc, the idea is that you take the tracks supplied and get the best mix you can from your set up... how you perceive the final mix is totally up to you... agree that there are limitations with not being able to re record parts... but that’s the challenge... I could supply tracks that have been recorded and eq’d to sound perfect but where’s the fun in that :) plenty of classic releases have been recorded badly!

    the mastering to the same level thing? That’s an entirely different challenge tbh... and a challenge we did do a while back. https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/149216/mastering-challenge-no-1#latest

    As for soundcloud!!!! Yep it’s shockingly bad sometimes... what I can do for the next one is get you to send wav files and make them downloadable from soundcloud so you can compare submissions with the soundcloud algorithm applied, but... it’s a bit more work my end and may slow things up a little...

    For the next one I’m happy to give up the tracks for my cover entry

    https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/RJ6bMCz8GrqZ4ays7  a bit of reamping going on with that one ;)

    or my comp challenge entry:

    https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/ZFXDhVD6J4fh58vs6

    Or we can wait a week or two and I may have something with a lot of tracks involved...






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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 1422
    andy_k said:

    All comments are welcome, but I think it is not really fair to be normalising things for comparison, getting the right balance here is an important part of the process- maybe one of the most important these days.

    Ten years ago I'd probably have agreed with you. However, these days the majority of music is consumed through streaming services that impose loudness normalisation whether you like it or not! So once a track is released there is no longer much advantage to making it really loud (if there ever was) as Spotify and YouTube and so on will just turn it down again.

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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 604
    All good points,
    I'm pretty sure Soundcloud does use normalisation-just not sure how much they do it, so I think it is a fair platform for comparing mixes. All the other platforms ( at least those shown at Loudness penalty site ) vary by about 3 db, Soundcloud IS a streaming service, although they might be less fussy across tracks. They allow playlists so I would think they do some form of loudness matching-I'll have to look into it.

    Fair point about not having to listen to a mix already uploaded-but I don't have a lot of self control, if it is there-I will have a listen.
    Might I suggest some form of shared folder, such as G drive or dropbox, where the stems are placed, and then the final mixes are submitted, up to a cut off date, when all the mixes are posted to soundcloud. Then maybe a 2 week period for mixes to be reviewed.
    This would allow time for Mixes to be downloaded and compared in our DAWs, at least then we could be comparing mixes at say 320kb MP3, or even 44k 24bit WAV, whatever standard you set.
    Maybe a single rough mix is the reference on Soundcloud-as a placeholder, and the thread simply says who is in the competition, via an e-mailed link to the editable folder on Gdrive or Dropbox.
    Rules can say what the competition is about, either a mix match challenge, or a creative effort.
    I'm happy to wait for a good challenge whatever, it is all useful learning for me.
    cheers
    andy k
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    edited November 2020
    Last day to vote folks...

    before the recount and full legal action... :)
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  • BezzerBezzer Frets: 489
    OK lets chuck my oar in.

    None of you have won, the simple fact is that my mix is the best mix, even though none of you have heard it everyone agrees.  It's the biggliest, warmerest and most evenly detailinated of all the mixes.

    But if I have to comment on the rest to determine second place I will ... as long as you all concede that I won.

    poopot - clean and crisp, could do with a little more low mid on the guitars to fatten a bit.  Lead fills get a little lost against the brass.  Overally it's a really nice mix though, just those two little issues to my ears.

    StephenB - phat! Too much reverb for my tastes, feels a little like a good PA in a hall and distracts from a nice balance otherwise.  Backing vox lost, but as they are me I'm not too worried about that :)

    Andy_k - waaaaaaay too much reverb IMHO.  Stephens was in a hall, I think this was in Wookey Hole :)  Again a shame as I can hear all the instruments really well but it's so washed out.  Dial that verb back and I think you'd have a great mix here.

    Dainty - There's a verb theme here ... I don't know if it's the track or not, starting to think it is.  Think there's a smidge too much on the vocals.  Balance wise it's all there, probably guitars a little too prominant and vocals a little too far back in the big choruses.  But yeah, as others have said it feels very narrow and little flat / boxy. Not sure I can pinpoint exactly where, nothing some EQ'ing here and there couldn't fix.

    Oaf - definitely up there this one, I can hear everything really nicely, it's really well balanced.  Only thing I can pick up on really is there's something a little off on the vocals, and I'm not sure what it is.  Not sure if they are a little over-compressed.  Not wrong, just odd to MY ears ... and I really don't know why.

    Guitartango - Like the little mash up start. Really creative mix.  It's a bit low volume wise and the vocals are getting lost.  The weird brass panning I quite like oddly, it's like a super slow version of Nile's guitar on Lets Dance :)  Vocals are getting lost in there though and the drums are a bit relentless at this volume ... they are so basic they need to more "part of the whole" rather than as prominant as you may normally go.

    Good work all round though, it's small margins between not quite there and great really.

    Points wise I'm going:

    5 points - @Oaf
    3 points - @poopot
    1 point - @Dainty
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  • poopotpoopot Frets: 8177
    Voting closed 
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