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Mix Contest! Win $1000 in Prizes.

Contest closed! Thanks again to everyone who entered, and to our featured sponsors: iZotope, Sonarworks and FabFilter.


Update (May 1):

About 250 engineers took a shot at mixing “In the Middle of the Night” by SIGNALS, a song that I co-wrote and produced along with my collaborator Brendan Byrnes, and was sung by the incredible Clay Agnew. A most sincere thank you for taking the time to get to know the song, and offering your own unique interpretations of it. We hope it was a fun and educational experience. Choosing the top three was nearly impossible, as the amount of high-quality submissions was astounding. After listening to each and every submission, and judging based on the provided criteria, we have determined that the winners of the contest are:

3rd place: Jeremy Cimino

What stood out to us about Jeremy’s mix was the size and punch. The drums are huge, and as we hit the choruses, the mix grows in exactly the way it needs to. The chorus hits hard, which embellishes the emotion of the song. All of the elements sit in their own space, but the mix sounds cohesive. He had a vision for what he wanted to accomplish, and executed it almost perfectly.

2nd place: Tony Moment

Tony absolutely nailed the tone and vibe in this mix. The snare is thick and sits in just the right space throughout. He used creative effects in a way that served the song, and never felt distracting. The bass is huge but sits comfortably beneath the rest of the arrangement. All of the parts cut through without ever feeling harsh. His mix is well-balanced and does a fantastic job of capturing the emotion of the song.

1st place: Brian Ceely

So many of the mixes we received were incredibly creative. People added instrumentation, re-arranged the structure of the song, added wild effects, and explored with different genres of music. Brian’s vision was among the most creative, and he followed through with a nearly flawless mix. His idea to begin the song with a stripped down version of the chorus with a saturated lead vocal, dramatic reverb, and percussive piano had our attention from the moment we pressed play. The mix grows in size throughout, highlights the individual parts when they needed to be, and the sense of space and vibe are spot on. The filtered drum breakdown after the guitar solo is perfectly done. Brian had an ambitious take on our song, and executed it to perfection.

Congrats to Jeremy, Tony, and Brian. We had about a dozen more mixes that we were considering as finalists including the excellent submissions by Adam Bruns, Magnus Eriksson, and several others. We assure you that each and every mix was listened to critically and will receive feedback, which we are looking forward to providing after the past 72 hours of intense critical listening. We hope this has been a positive experience for everyone that participated, and are so grateful for your submissions.


Update (April 22): Submissions are closed! Please check back on May 1 for the winner announcements. In the mean time, please enjoy this Soundcloud playlist featuring mixes from those who opted-in to have their mix featured publicly. If you’d like to be added to it, please email signalsmixing@gmail.com.


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.

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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.

Prizes:

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 signalsmixing@gmail.com
  • Naming: FirstName LastName In the Middle of the Night Mix.wav (or mp3)
  • Submission Deadline: April 22, 2019 at 11:59pm EST
  • 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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