Pro Audio Files

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Mix Contest! Win $1000 in Prizes.

Most of the content I create for The Pro Audio Files involves discussing tools and sharing techniques that I use when engineering other peoples’ music, so I’m really excited to hear what happens when other people take a shot at engineering mine.

I co-wrote, produced, and engineered the 4 songs on the self-titled EP by SIGNALS, along with my collaborator Brendan Byrnes. The vocals were performed by the incredible Clay Agnew.

Now, in a contest, sponsored by our friends at iZotope, FabFilter and Sonarworks, you’ll have the chance to remix the first single off the EP, win some great prizes and have your mix featured on The Pro Audio Files.

The song you’ll be mixing, “In the Middle of the Night” can be heard here. SIGNALS is available on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify and other major streaming services.


Brendan and I are going to listen to each and every submission, and rate them according to the following criteria:

Balance and Tone: Are the relative levels of the tracks creating a unique and engaging listening experience? Did the mixer manage the frequency-based content of the different elements of the song to ensure that the final mix isn’t fatiguing? Did the mixer create a mix that has character and clarity without becoming muddy or harsh?

Dynamics: Do the drums punch just right? Does the song feel like it changes in size as it transitions between parts? Is the overall mix competitive with modern releases without sounding over-compressed and compromised?

Sense of Space: This is a dense arrangement. Does the mixer allow the individual elements to exist in their own space? Does the mixer appropriately use panning, reverb and delay for the benefit of the song?


Creativity: No two people mix the same, and we embrace that. We are hoping for this contest to be fun, and want you to unleash your creativity. If that means using triggers to augment or replace the drums, adding your own melodic or rhythmic elements, or removing parts entirely, have at it. We encourage anything that creates a unique and engaging listening experience.

Advice: This track was written and produced in such a way that it pays homage to popular music from the 1980s, while still feeling modern. Don’t be afraid to tastefully apply some non-linear reverb. Additionally, we are big fans of “vibe”. The use of processing that imparts harmonic coloration is encouraged but not required. Lastly, this is an emotional song. Do your best to create an emotional and evocative listening experience. In regards to keeping your mix competitive with modern releases, we recommend an LUFS value of somewhere between -9 to -14. Note: The tempo of this song is 82 BPM.

Entry Instructions

  • Send mix to
  • Naming: FirstName LastName In the Middle of the Night Mix.wav (or mp3)
  • Submission Deadline: April 22, 2019
  • Winner Announcement: May 1, 2019
  • Let us know in your email if you’d like your mix submission to be featured publicly on a Soundcloud playlist on this page or remain private.

Brendan and Ian will provide written feedback for each and every submission. You may not receive a novel in return, but we will do our best to fairly critique your mix and tell you what we like, and what we feel could be improved.

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Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch on his website or learn more from him in Mastering in the Box and Mixing Pop.
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