Today is the day. Here are the winners of our Saint Agnes mixing contest! But first, let's start by taking a look at how we found the winners.
As you can imagine, it took us a lot to find our way to the five mixes we like the most. For our jury, we had a FOH engineer, a recording engineer, a producer, and a musician.
In the first round, our diverse team of judges listened to nearly 2000 individual mixes. At least two of the judges analyzed each one.
At this stage, we were not listening to the tracks in full-length. First, we got ourselves an impression of the drum sound, and then jumped to the relevant sections to listen to the bass, keys, guitar, and vocals.
One common mistake was that some of you were using the wrong sample rate and therefore, the pitch wasn't correct. Pity.
Numerous mixes didn't make it to the next round due to over-processing with effects. And we're talking about really weird stuff here.
And then there were some participants who didn't inform themselves about the band formation; Kitty is the front vocalist – not Jon.
After the first round, we had 333 mixes left. Of those, we listened to all thoroughly and in full-length.
We examined your tonal balancing of the instruments in the song and how you handled mic bleeding. Some mixes that didn't make it to the next round were simply too dirty with a lot of noise and clicking (yes, we're aware of the hi-hat cable). The bass, for example, was very noisy, and some of you hid it brilliantly in the mix.
Your overall understanding of the band also mattered. Did the mixing style fit the song content, etc.?
Our judges could agree on 82 mixes that made it to the third and final round.
Third and final round!
In the third and final round, we level-matched the 82 mixes using external metering in our studio.
We created the full judging panel with nine categories drums, bass, keys, guitar, vocals, balance, dynamics, creativity fx (when attendants use effects creatively so that they complemented the song they could earn extra points) and the overall impression.
All judges gave points from 1 to 10 in those categories. We added the points given by our LEWITT judges and divided them by four, so we had a single final vote for LEWITT.
After Alex from Metropolis Studios and Jon from Saint Agnes sent us their points, we summarized all points and found our final winners.
Between our winning finalists, the difference in the point score was very narrow. The overall LEWITT voting results were very close to what Jon and Alex voted for too. Though they did not see our internal voting results at all and all mixes were anonymized for this final stage.
Here's the LEWITT judging panel. From left to right: Damian, Roman, Martin, Aviva (taking the picture)
Alex Robinson, studio engineer at Metropolis Studios in London.
“This was a very tricky mix. Live recording always throws up a different set of challenges to studios, where you have more time and control. The best of the mixes for me were the ones that achieved the best tonal balance, gave each instrument is own space, and who’s use of dynamics created an interesting and professional-sounding mix. Well done to all that entered.”
Jon Tufnell, guitar and vocals for Saint Agnes.
"Mixing is tough and there is no single right answer and mixing live music can be even tougher. Dealing with a lot bleed, especially in the vocal mics (and the vocals through the monitors into other mics) is a real challenge. It was incredible how well the finalists dealt with this and managed to deliver a punchy, exciting mix with upfront vocals. In my opinion, the best were the ones that embraced the fact it was a live recording and kept some rawness. Amazing work."
And the winners are...
- 1st place - Grzegorz K.
- 2nd place - Svein Erim A.
- 3rd place - J.T B.
- 4th place - Simon G.
- 5th place - Chanyoung P.
To the next mixing contest!
This was not the last mixing contest we did. Please give us feedback on what we can improve for our next mixing contest and what kind of song you would like to mix next time.
Thanks again to the team of Metropolis Studios London, especially Alex and Gavin, Saint Agnes for the badass shows, Damian for the countless hours spent on listening to the mixes, and everybody else who was involved.
But first and foremost we want to thank all of you for engaging so actively in the community.