Welcome to the MixLessons.com Mix Challenge!

MixLessons.com - Mix Challenge - TechMuze AcademyWe’re all here to become better audio engineers, right? Well, practice makes perfect. The point of the MixLessons.com Mix Challenge is to give you a reason to practice and also to provide you with fresh material to practice on.

Most of the time the prize for being voted best mix is simply bragging rights. However, for members of the MixLessons.com community, I will occasionally have a sweet prize to honor the winner with.

This Challenge is closed! However, I’ll leave the files up if you want something to practice on.

…And The Winner Is:


Damian Jacobs

http://soundcloud.com/damster/damian-jacobs-dont-go-slow


   

For those of you who need some guidance, Here’s a link to my rough mix for reference.

This session was was written and produced by Michael Arthur Trembly (a student here at MixLessons.com) in his home studio using Logic Studio on a Mac. It is a perfect example of a typical home recording and I thank Michael for allowing us to mess with it!

Get as creative as you can when you mix this. Think outside the box… or not! When your finished, please share a link with us here.

Leave A Reply (60 comments so far)

  • techmuze

    @Collin
    You can still download this challenge session at the top of the page. (the huge download button!)
    If you’re serious about learning the craft, let me know and I’ll send a link to where you can enroll into the membership course and forums.

  • Collin Simpson

    hey this is an amazing site!!! but have a question well acctually two, first is it possible to get tracks of a song to practice mixing.. and where can you get them… Secondly how can you tell how much EQ or compression or any other FX you use while mixing.. I know there is not rule book and lots of people say do it untill it sounds right.. but how do you know what right is?
    Thanks!
    Collin

  • BOB DEDES

    Hey Zgembo, congratulations man, you are the best!

    Is someone in charge going to brief us about the voting?
    Actually all i want to know is if you are going to inform the non members. Thanx in advance!

  • Damian Jacobs

    Hey Michael Trembly. Thanks for the info on the recording. I really like the lyrics of this tune. Good job my friend! It takes a guy like Dezz to bring us all together. Anyway, thats enough butt kissing for one afternoon lol. Cheers!

  • Damian Jacobs

    I noticed that Carter is not on the voting bill. Not sure why. Good mix there. Cheers

  • MichaelTremblay

    [I’d love to get some details on how it was recorded, would you mind sharing?]

    Thanks Andrei,
    I recorded everything in Logic 9 with an apogee duet (new model) and I played everything myself except the drums which are EZ drummer with the Nashville expansion pack to get the trainbeats and groove tracks that I needed. Who knew that after years of trying to record drums and spending untold thousands on V drums and other options that it would be a $99 program that solved my issue for great demos (and maybe more with the humanize function that ez drummer has)

    I ended up playing the piano part with midi so that I could take advantage of Logic’s piano sounds and it was played out of my old Roland XP30 keyboard. My Fender Precision 5 string was the bass, Music Man Silhouette Special for electric (traded to L&M for a full on Tele is the update there) Mic was a Shure SM7B (me singing all the vocals) and the Acoustic was my Taylor 710CE. The Acoustic was played in an open DADGAD tuning which is the strength of the song imo and I’m grateful to those who picked up on that and emphasized it, as it’s very challenging to play at that temp with the slide work. SO, having said that, if I were playing this tune for a Nashville record I would likely have lemon oiled the strings lightly and my fingertips and then wiped it all lightly to minimize fret string noise while leaving a little. I know it can be dealt with after the fact but it’s a little trick I’ve used for myself. (haven’t seen or heard anyone else do that…maybe there’s a reason lol)

    Of course the song is solely written by myself, both lyrics and music. And I have a dozen more (and another 18 or so in the hopper) for my CD which I’m trying to work out $$ for to record (aren’t we all) I’ll be happy to answer any other questions anyone has.
    Happy New Year once again,
    Michael

  • BOB DEDES

    http://soundcloud.com/bob-dedes/michael-arthur-trembly-dont-go

    I guess i’m late but i saw it yesterday.

  • http://www.lonelylamprecords.com AndreiLopukhin

    Miachael, thanks so much for chiming in! Yes, it’s a great song and it is the rest of us who are grateful that you let us play with it! Keep up the good work! I’d love to get some details on how it was recorded, would you mind sharing?

  • MichaelTremblay

    Hi everyone and Happy New Year. I wanted to send out a big thank you to all who participated in this challenge. I wanted to say on a personal note that I’m very appreciative of everyone’s work on this. I’m also truly happy for the comments of those who enjoyed my song. I didn’t end up giving any real direction at all because I didn’t really want to flavour anyone’s approach. I just think that would have defeated the point of the exercise. I’ve really happy with the results and so amazed by the breadth of production ideas and styles. All in all a very cool experience. Something I would definitely do again. Thanks Dezz, wow, so much to consider and think about.

  • Dirk Richter

    Some great mixes so far.
    Here’s my take on it: http://soundcloud.com/dirk-richter/mix-challenge-master
    I wish I would’ve heard a little earlier of this challenge, so I’d have had more time.
    Btw what a sad song that is, I almost cried a few times while mixing :D.
    That’s why I probably don’t listen to country music. :)

  • JustusDolleman

    This is my mix of ‘Don’t go slow’. My first country song ever. Quite an experience. I understand now better why it’s good to mix different styles. I have tried to mix this song as acoustic as possible. So not to many effects or compression. Thanks for listening.

    http://soundcloud.com/juistjust/dont-go-slow

  • techmuze

    We’re gonna crown a champ sometime in the next week.
    But don’t let that stop you! I’ll keep this page up for a while and you can post a link whenever you like.

  • Dirk Richter

    When is the closing date?

  • KathleenGustar

    Yes, Some very cool versions. I particularly like the stripped down versions where the mute button was the key tool. I had considered that route myself but opted for something more aggressive since it was the less likely route for others to take.

  • techmuze

    Great job on the mixes! Mad props to all those who have been brave enough to play.
    Damien…Seriously!? Awesome remix! I was hoping someone would take the whole thing apart and put it back together different. Nice work. Any last challengers?

  • Damian Jacobs

    Great job everyone on the mixes! Looks like this thing is winding down a bit which is too bad :( Hope everyone had fun and learned something. Cheers!

    P.S. I am not a member ( yet ) so I guess I can’t officially vote for my fav but I will say that after listening to ALL of the mixes I can say I have chosen my top 3. Perhaps after the final result is in we can share our “unofficial” choices for those who have’nt yet become members of this great site.

  • Zgembo

    Hello once again,

    this is my second version of Don’t go slow mix. I hope that you’ll like it.
    This should be a little bit cleaner then the first one.

    http://soundcloud.com/zgembont/dont-go-slow-mix-by-zgembo

  • Carter

    Hey Dezz,
    Here’s my finished mix of (Don’t Go Slow). Don’t know if I’m past the deadline, but there’s been lot on my plate.
    I wanted to submit it strictly for the challenge to see where I’m at.

    http://soundcloud.com/jesusfreakz/dont-go-slow

    - Peace

  • Damian Jacobs

    Hi Lads. Here ya go. I changed the instrumentation once I heard the acoustic and vocal on its own. Nice lyrics. Almost makes me want to get married………..Almost! lol

    Hope you like it.

    Cheers

    http://soundcloud.com/damster/damian-jacobs-dont-go-slow

  • Jeff Crownover

    Hey Dezz
    This is my mix of Don’t Go Slow by Michael Trembly. Added a little twist to the original guitar tracks.

    http://soundcloud.com/jcrownover07/dont-go-slow/s-ATxNO

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com MichaelWagner

    Yeah, maybe. Sometimes emulators trim off the brightness. Tube things normally add a little sizzle though. What’s the plug?

  • AndreiLopukhin

    Thanks Michael! No, I didn’t do any EQ on the master bus, but I wonder if the perceived loss in highs might be a by-product of the tube-leveler plugin on it…

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com MichaelWagner

    p.s. Glad you like the contrast, Andrei. That’s probably more production than mixing, but I wanted to go the extra yard because it’s such a great song.

    Re your mix (which I’ve only just heard), it’s nicely balanced and very smooth. My only thoughts would be that the snare could use a touch more crack just so it pops out of the mix a bit more – maybe adding a bit more urgency. Actually, the higher frequencies generally feel a touch too smoothed off, like it’s missing some of the upper harmonics across the whole mix. Have you rolled off the high frequencies on the master bus? Nice job overall though.

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com MichaelWagner

    Hey Andrei,

    “@MichalWagner – is it me, or did you increase the tempo if the song? Your mix seems faster to me…I dig the contrast you create in the bridge”

    No, I didn’t change the tempo. Funny that it should feel faster. I wonder why? Maybe thinning it out slightly makes it feel more bouncy? Or maybe it’s because I’ve tightened up the performances a fair bit, so there’s less stuff sitting behind the beat. Hmm?

  • AndreiLopukhin

    It’s really great to hear other interpretations and results from the same source, great job everyone!

    Here are my “nitpicks”:

    @MichalWagner – is it me, or did you increase the tempo if the song? Your mix seems faster to me…I dig the contrast you create in the bridge

    @ReedStevens – vocals seem weak to me, to far “back” in the mix; for my taste the guitar squeek is to prominent; I suggest you automate snare up in the break to fill things up..

    @KathleenGustar – I feel the vocals could be a little more prominent, at times the enhanced piano detracts from the vocals (primarily in the verses), piano seems a bit dry, especially in the break

    @Zgembo – to me the bass is too “boomy”. I like the idea of going for the “country upright” tone, just think it should be de-muddied a bit (a bit less ~250k?)

  • KEN MCPHEE

    SORRY SENT THE WRONG LINK FOR THE MIX
    PLEASE CHECK IT OUT HERE THANKS
    http://soundcloud.com/ken-70/dont-go-slow-1

    P.S
    SORRY FOR THE MESSED UP LINK

  • KEN MCPHEE

    HEY DEZZ

    COOL IDEA FOR THE SITE
    SOME COOL MIXES POSTED ON HERE
    I HAD SOME TIME TODAY SO I THREW TOGETHER A MIX FOR THE CHALLENGE
    HOPE EVERYONE ENJOYS MY TAKE ON IT
    THIS MY MIX CHECK IT OUT http://soundcloud.com/ken-70/dont-go-slow

  • Zgembo

    This is my way of mixing…. I hope you’ll like it. Thanks Dezz for all of your help!!!

    http://soundcloud.com/user2510341/dont-go-slow-by-zgembo-2

  • KathleenGustar

    Well…….. I decided to play producer and engineer on this one. I felt that the piano part carried the signature theme of the song so I carried that over into a guitar theme . I kept most of the piano and some of the acoustic guitar .

    THEN !!!! I got out my Telacaster and my Strat and added my own guitar parts to try and emphasize the bounce that was underlying the track and to give the song more power and dynamics.

    My goal was to make the song more modern and edgy. Hope you like it.

    http://soundcloud.com/targa2/dont-go-slow-1/s-DOnke

    P.S. This is not my final mix. I have a glitch in my piano track that puts it out of time in the latter part of the song that I have to figure out. When I do I will post a final

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com Michael Wagner

    Thanks Reed. You’ve done a nice job. Nice tones on the voice and snare in particular. Lots of clarity even when it’s busy too.

    Yeah, at pretty much the last minute I added amp sims to both guitars and suddenly the mix felt much more glued together. Not sure how that works, but it did. I originally wanted a dry sound (like you did), but it seemed more alive with the souped up guitars. Well, to me anyway. :^)

  • Reed Stevens

    and also Michael! I’m not sure how I missed your post on my first time through the thread :) I really dig with the electric guitars; I love that overdriven Telecaster-type tone!

  • Reed Stevens

    I’ll bite!

    http://soundcloud.com/reedstevens/m-a-tremblay_dont-go-slow

    I was aiming for something tight-n-dry-n-mellow. Feedback is always welcome!

    PS @ John and Andrei: I dig the mixes. Props for taking The Challenge!

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com Michael Wagner

    P.S. Dezz, I couldn’t work out how to become a member of the forum. Or how to subscribe to this blog. Any suggestions?

  • http://www.grownupsmusic.com Michael Wagner

    So, here’s my mix. I worked my butt off on this, but that was only because I LOVED the song from the first listen.

    First thing I wanted to do was get more light and shade into the tune. It rocked from the first beat, but then I thought it got a little samey about halfway through. So I arranged it a little differently throughout to get more dynamics into it – and more emotional highs and lows during the changes.

    I also thought some of the playing was a touch loose. Every track was superb on its own, but when they were piled up on top of each other, things got a little messy at times. So I edited the piano (such a beautiful track on its own by the way) by converting it to MIDI using Melodyne Editor then going through it note by note – adding, subtracting, moving things around and adjusting velocities to get the right feel. It took hours, and I really needed to spend a couple more hours on it to get it perfect, but I was happy with the feel of it, so I let it go. Again, it was a great piece (I’d love to use it to make a song of my own!!), I just felt it needed to be married to the rest of the band and the song a little better.

    I edited the guitars a fair bit too, just so they weren’t clashing too much with each other, and so the best phrases were always in the spotlight.

    The vocals needed a tiny bit of tuning, but hardly anything. They were excellent as they were.

    I cut some drums and added a cymbal hit before the quiet section, just so the edit I’d made on the drums wasn’t too obvious. And then I got to mixing!

    For me, it was more about the arrangement than the mixing. And even after what must be 100 or more listens, I still dig the tune.

    All in all, heaps of fun. Thanks Dezz. And Michael Arthur Tremblay. Very generous of your both.

    Oh, and yeah, I totally cheated by putting the L1 on the mix bus!

    http://soundcloud.com/the-grownups/dont-go-slow-mix-10

    Hey, any chance of hearing or even buying the finished song?

  • AndreiLopukhin

    Sooooo….where’s everyone else? I really want to hear some other takes on this! (Dezz – thanks again for the membership, you rock!)

  • techmuze

    Hey Andrei,

    Since you were the first brave challenger to post your mix (and I’m feeling the holiday spirit) I’ve just set you up with a lifetime membership to MixLessons.com! Check your email buddy. Rock on

  • John

    @ andrei, In your mix I like vocal a lot, it’s sound like “superstar”
    sorry, but I really don’t remember what I done wih acoustic…after widepan, I could eq with hi-shelf (5-6k, -4-6db) and saturation to add some harmonics.
    P.S. I’m from Noyabrsk, YANAO. Sorry for my English :)

  • Damian Jacobs

    Iv’e got something in the works. Perfect opportunity to learn some new tricks in my DAW!

  • DezzAsante

    Are we gonna hear one from you, Mr. Jacobs? I know you know your way around a mixer!

  • Andrei

    OK, once again I posted a mix online that I hadn’t fully vetted (read: listened to sober and in the car). Here’s a link to my adjusted mix (I felt my first mix had too much reverb going on):

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3203339/Don%27t%20Go%20Slow%20Mix%204.mp3

    Enjoy!

    PS – @John – nice job on your mix! Curious, the string noise seems less obvious on yours without detracting from the tonality of the acoustic, what was your approach? Also, where in Russia are you?

  • Damian Jacobs

    Sounds good boys! 2 totally different mixes that change the feel. I love to hears others work. Cheers

  • techmuze

    OK…
    24 bit files were corrupt! I’ve switched the link back to the 32bit session. Keep checking back if you need the 24bit. I’ll have them up soon!

  • http://Www.Jayesmind.com Jaye

    @ andrei, yes some comments on what he’s looking for would’ ve been nice.. I’ll crack on with it anyway..

  • Andrei

    @John – I’m from the US, but of Russian heritage…

    @Jaye – The faders at zero clip all over the place, I had to trim a lot of the vocal and guitar tracks back to get a rough mix…Dezz, would be cool if Michael could give some guidance as to what he is looking for?

    • techmuze

      This is a free for all. Just raw tracks for you to get as creative with as possible. Cut, mute, add whatever you like!

  • John

    Hello, DezzAsante, awesome challenge dude!
    This is my mix, check it. http://soundcloud.com/johnfromrussia/dont-go-slow

    P.S. Andrei, if you’re from Russia – Приветствую! :D

  • http://Www.Jayesmind.com Jaye

    I’ll bite. Not something I mix usually, but it’s cool. Question though.
    No rough mix? If I zero the faders will it give me a rough mix? Would be nice to give me an idea.

  • DezzAsante

    Andrei! Nice work, my friend. You achieved a, sort of, moody vibe on the band. Pretty cool. And instant mad props for being the first to post! That deserves a reward. E-mail me (“Contact Dezz” in the menu bar) and we’ll talk.

  • Andrei

    Hey Dezz, thanks for the challenge! While I’m not a fan of country, this song is really nice. Had some ‘fun’ taming the string squeeks on this one! Here’s a link to my mix attempt:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3203339/Don%27t%20Go%20Slow%20Mix%203.mp3

    Thanks for all the great shows, keep ‘em coming!

    Andrei

  • techmuze

    Btw, The tempo is 103bpm. I’ve included this info in the session notes that are bundled into the download.

  • Damian Jacobs

    Lets have some fun :)

  • http://www.gethatched.ca DaveChick

    Hey Dezz, Don’t know if I’ll be able to take a swing at this or not, but great idea.

    Quick question – what’s up with the 32-bit files? Were they actually recorded at 32-bit? I’ve had to down-convert them to 24-bit – Logic apparently doesn’t import 32-bit floating point AIFF’s…

    • techmuze

      You make a good point Dave. I bounced out 32bit files as a matter of habit but 24bit files will be a bit more accessible for folks. Stay tuned, I’ll upload the 24bit versions soon.

    • techmuze

      The files have been converted and re-uploaded! Nothing but 24bit now. Download away! I’d love to hear a chkn8r mix if you got the time.

  • http://metalliclounge.com Paul Schaefer

    Hi, just downloaded the files and was curious on tempo of song? Thanks!

  • alberto mauricioolivera

    Cool Idea. I´m just starting my course but I will post my mix. Uno nunca sabe / you never know.

  • Yuliy

    The only thing is, Mr. Asante, that imo YOU should tell which mix is the best, cause your perspective has much more experience on this matter : )

    • techmuze

      Oh, you’ll get my opinion but, alas, I must let the people speak!

  • MohammadKhan

    What is the last date for the result?

    • techmuze

      Well, I think we’ll keep it open for the month. That way everyone has a chance to get to it with our busy schedules and such. So, we’ll vote for the grand champion and crown them the “ruler of all things” at the beginning of January.
      That should give everyone plenty of time.