December 19th 2018: Preparing for site redesign... Following the recent unwelcome hacker attack, I'm making good progress with a full site redesign which I'm hoping to launch shortly. In the interim, though, I'll still be continuing my monthly multitrack uploads and gradually adding new video content to the Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio resource pages in support of the newly released second edition. If you'd like to assist my ongoing development of this site, please consider joining the Cambridge-MT Patrons. Thanks for your understanding. Mike S.
Cambridge-MT Patrons 3-in-1 Mixing Contest -- With Mixerman!
It's time for the second Cambridge-MT mix contest! Yay! This time we'll all be celebrating the launch of singer-songwriter Hannes Keseberg's fantastic debut album 'Sentient Fool' by mixing its lead single, 'You Know Better'.
And what's more, I'm delighted to announce that we're also welcoming an extra-special guest: the one and only Mixerman! So you lucky people will effectively be getting three competitions in one, because Hannes, Mixerman, and I will all be choosing our favourite mixes independently and providing separate feedback from our own very different perspectives. And on top of that (you want more?!), there'll be prizes for the best mixes, including album CDs from Hannes, copies of Mixerman's cool new book 'The Musician's Survival Guide To A Killer Record, copies of the second edition of my own book 'Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio', and other goodies besides...
Who can enter?
The competition is open to all Cambridge-MT Patrons. Simple as that.
How do I enter?
Download the song's raw multitrack files and create your own mix of them. Then register for the Discussion Zone (if you haven't already) and upload an MP3/M4A file of your mix via your own thread in the Hannes Keseberg 'You Know Better' sub-forum before the end of Sunday February 17th.
What help and feedback can I get?
What's the mixing brief?
Fundamentally, you'll be working to the same broad brief I received when mixing the CD release: take the raw multitrack recordings and use them to present the artist and the song in the most engaging way you can. The result should be an ear-catching and feel-good summer single, with a vibe somewhere along the lines of Ben L'Oncle Soul's 'I Don't Wanna Waste' or Jack Johnson's sunnier numbers. (For a wider perspective, other artists mentioned by Hannes in relation to the whole album project included John Mayer, Jamie Cullum, John Legend, Mayer Hawthorne, Leon Bridges, and Gregory Porter.) The band also provided this basic rough mix .
There are no restrictions on what technical means you use to get your final mix, so feel free to edit, replace, rearrange, and process the multitracks as you see fit -- just as long as you bear in mind that the ultimate goal is to do justice to the musical material, maximise its appeal for mainstream listeners, and ultimately please the artist! And, just to clarify, this contest is not an exercise in copying my CD release version! On the contrary, you'd do better to imagine that you're pitching your mix as a competitor to mine (and all the others) and then seek to convince the listener and the artist that your own unique vision is superior to everyone else's. One of the great benefits of a competition such as this is that it opens up fresh new perspectives on the same multitrack, and that's something to be celebrated!
From a technical perspective, your MP3/M4A mix can be encoded at up to 320kbps (if you wish), and I'd recommend at least 192kbps. The loudness of the mix will not be a contributing factor in the competition adjudication, but the way in which the mix responds to market-appropriate loudness processing may be taken into consideration.
Hannes Keseberg will personally choose the overall competition winner (with assistance from Mixerman and I if requested), and Hannes, Mixerman, and I will also each choose a runner-up. The results of the adjudication will appear in February's Cambridge-MT Patrons Podcast, where Hannes, Mixerman, and I will all chew over our impressions of the competition as a whole, as well as highlighting any overall lessons we feel could be learned.
What prizes are there?
Well, the first thing to say is that the primary reason to take part in this contest is to develop your listening and mixing skills, so I expect everyone to take away something valuable from the experience in that respect! However, there are a few more concrete prizes to foster some good-natured competition too...
Many thanks to Hannes Keseberg for allowing us to use his song as the basis of this competition. Please support him and his music by visiting his website and following him on Facebook. You'll find his debut album, 'Sentient Fool', on Amazon Music and iTunes. And I'm also extremely grateful to Mixerman for generously agreeing to get involved -- I've read all his books, and am a big fan, so I'd heartily encourage you to support his splendid work by checking out all the great titles on his site.
Any Small Print?
The only condition of entry is that you agree to me using your mixes and Discussion Zone comments to build a collated 'competition report' page at some point in the future (along the lines of my The Cambridge-MT Patrons 'Colour Me Red' Mix Contest page), because I reckon that'll end up being a cool educational resource for mixing students in the future. Oh, and I should probably also say that I'm reserving the right to alter the competition timeline if necessary -- after all, I don't yet know exactly how many mixes I'm committing to critiquing here!
If any of the above isn't clear, do please let me know and I'll try to clarify the wording on this page as necessary.
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