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Mixing Contest!!!

Update: The contest is now ended. We are now going through the submissions and picking a winner. There were lots of submissions and we want to make sure each one gets a fair listen, so hang tight. When we choose a winner we will announce it through our email list and facebook, and contact the winner directly.

In the meantime, the tracks will remain available to download for those who missed the contest but still want to mix the tracks for practice.

Boz Digital Labs and David Bendeth are holding a mixing contest with awesome prizes. Contest Ends Aug 21, so get your mixes in early.



summer Mixing banner 2

1st Place: All Boz Digital Labs plugins for life! This means that you get all BDL plugins that have been made or ever will be made.  That means there will be one less person in the world who wants me dead.

And a PRS SE 245 signed by Paul Reed Smith.

2nd Place: You take home +10db Bundle and Hoser XT.

3rd Place: Your choice of either +10db Bundle or Hoser XT.

Random Contestant: One random contestant will win their choice of either +10db Bundle or Hoser XT.  This person will be chosen randomly.

The Song

I’d describe this song as a modern rock ballad, but I don’t want my opinion of the song swaying your mixing decisions, so listen to it yourself and judge how you want the final mix to sound.

You can listen to the song mixed by Greg Johnson. Keep in mind that this is a contest to see how you can do mixing it, so don’t use this as any sort of a golden reference or anything. Use your own creative judgement.

Title: Believe

Written By: Josh Paschke and Greg Johnson

Performed By: I Am Cassettes – Josh Paschke (Vocals), Jon Levario (Guitar), Darren Garcia (Drums), Greg Johnson (Keyboards) and Kevin Garcia (Bass)

Tracked By: Greg Johnson

BPM: 74 at 6/8

How to Enter

– Step 1 –

Download the stems. There are 4 separate zip files. They are big, so be patient. Choose either Mirror1 or Mirror2 (not both) for each section. The files are the same.

Drums: Mirror1, Mirror2

Vocals: Mirror1, Mirror2

Orchestra: Mirror1, Mirror2

Guitars: Mirror1, Mirror2

Note: These stems are tracked at 48kHz. Most DAWs should be able to handle the sample rate conversion just fine if you want to mix in 44.1kHz, but I wanted to let you know in case it throws anybody off.

– Step 2 –

Mix your song. Duh.

– Step 3 –

PAY ATTENTION!! THIS IS IMPORTANT. Upload your song to  and tag it with #bdl2015mix. If you don’t do this, we will not see nor hear your song. Make sure that your track is downloadable so that we can hear the original version without Soundcloud’s compression. It’s in your best interest to use high bit rate mp3s when uploading.

If you don’t have an account, you can make one quickly for free.

– Step 4 –

Just wait. We will go through and listen to all the songs once the deadline is here and we will announce the winner.


1) One Entry Per Person. You can enter one song. You are free to post your mix for feedback on other forums or Facebook or whatever, but once you submit it, you have submitted it.

2) Submit your mix by August 21. Any submissions entered after this date will be ignored. There doesn’t exist a single excuse in the world that will make us change our mind on this, so don’t procrastinate.

3) No whining. This is supposed to be fun. Not everybody will agree with the winner. Just accept that fact now so we can all move on and have a good time.

4) Give Feedback to Other Contestants. This isn’t really a rule, but just some advice. The whole point of this is so we can all get better. By giving feedback on other people’s mixes, not only will they learn, but so will you. Be nice about it. I shouldn’t have to say that.

5) Have Fun. If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. The whole point of this contest is to learn and get better. Any emails I received telling me that I should die or my house should be burned down will be ignored and forwarded directly to your mom.

Other Thoughts

This is not a loudness contest. Smashing your mix into oblivion is not the purpose. That said, keep in mind that the people judging the mixes are actual humans and subject to the laws of psychoacoustics.

Be creative.  This is your chance to try new things without consequences. Get out of your comfort zone a bit and have fun with it.

310 thoughts on “Mixing Contest!!!”

  1. Came across this way late. I aspired to be an audio engineer two decades ago. My last attempt to mix was on an analog board using a Tascam DA-88. I’m getting the bug again, so I decided to challenge myself by mixing this song. This is my first attempt to mix on a PC. I downloaded Audacity for free and used just the plugins that came installed, except for a free noise gate and guitar amp plugin. My monitor is a $30 pair of ear buds. I’m actually quite happy with the the way this came out, although the mix is bright as hell. I had the same tendancy 20 years ago 🙂

  2. Congrats to the winners!!!

    Not that I stood a chance, but if my soundcloud submission still shows that it has never been downloaded, does that mean it may not have had a listen?

  3. Just noticed that as of today I have 0 downloads on my SoundCloud submission. Looks like the judges have their hands full. This may take some time. Can anyone confirm when all of the pre-deadline submissions have been downloaded?

  4. Very late to the party as usual but I stil grabbed the files last night and did what I call a ‘quick mix’ (last night on headphones then again on the monitors today). As I’m not trying to win I can’t spare too much time to go in and nuance the mix (more FX and tricks, vocal level automation etc as I would usually) but I got a basic mix down which I’d be happy to get critiques on (good and bad/constructive) cheers << Only a snippet as competition is closed but if anyone wants the full song I can upload it.

    1. Hi Pro5,
      A good mix! More balanced than many of our mixes in this contest. We can hear all the instruments in that passage. If you are interested in a few points with some room for improvement, I’d say:
      – A tad bright, more mids would sound nice,
      – The voice could be a bit louder as it gets slightly buried in the music; only here and there though,
      – The solo guitar would gain from being more prominent.
      I hope this help somewhat.

    1. Unfortunately, no. The deadline was August 21st. But it’s great to be able to grab some fresh tracks to mix, if only for the pleasure of it. Great song!

      1. Error on my part. I read too fast. Yes, the contest is still being judged as far as we know. “Like” the Facebook account to get fresh updates from Boz.

    1. Thanks 1176 – that’s kind of you to post. I was thinking of making it into an intro at one point, but it would have taken too long to get to the vocals, I guess.

  5. It looks like there are 500 entries – this is not going to be an easy mix contest to judge! I believe mine was entry #480, so the judges ears should be totally fried by the time they get to me ;-(

    About the only thing that makes my mix stand out from the rest is I did a little manipulation on the harmonies to make them a bit more interesting. There are others who added a delay to the lead vox, but I wanted to keep it as tasteful as possible without overdoing it. If you’d like to take a listen and offer some contructive criticism, the link to my mix is:

    I enjoyed doing this mix because I really like the song and it is very nicely produced. Good luck to everybody!

    1. There are over 500. soundcloud only shows up to 500 search results, so anymore than 500, they truncate at 500. searching bdl2015mix (without the #) resulted in way more than with the # symbol. on wednesday the search hit the 500 max with #bdl2015mix. thurs and friday had about 150 or so each day so my guess is just under 1000 entries with #bdl2015mix and way more that match without the # symbol. hard to say.

    1. Looking at the normal user experience on Soundcloud, it doesn’t seem possible to be able to manage ~1000 uploaded entries. I am wondering if soundcloud gave the judges a different interface and way to manage the entries. for example a way to easily download a days worth of submissions. also an automatic renaming of the file names to include the user’s soundcloud username… just speculating. I just don’t see how it would be possible to manage this contest using the normal front end tools.

  6. I uploaded the song yesterday here on the blog, because when I uploaded it on Soundcloud using the tag, there are such number of tracks that I couldnt find mine, there should be at least more than 1000 tracks!!!, I hope he listen the tracks here on the blog.

  7. Hi Guys,

    Several of us have listed the defects of the tracks we received for this tune. Here is a list of what I have found. As mixers it’s our duty to solve every one of those issues before delivering the final mix–that’s typically done before mixing.

    – The Kick had plenty of bottom end but was lacking some snap and needed to be reinforced with a sample.

    – The two Overhead tracks were out of phase (as said many times).

    – The two Drum Room tracks didn’t sound like stereo tracks but like two completely different drum set tracks.

    – The Drums tracks, as they were, didn’t allow to recreate a panned position of the cymbals (they ended up in the center) and we had to create it artificially (choosing the drummer or the audience positioning of the drums), while still ensuring the drums would sound as natural as possible.

    – The Bass’ melodic fills in the higher notes had to be pitch-corrected.

    – The Acoustic Guitar tracks were too bright and needed to be re-EQ’d to sound natural.

    – The same Acoustic Guitar tracks had in them the noise of a pick hitting the guitar case, which got masked after a few bars by the other instruments but was clearly heard in the first bars when fewer instruments played.

    – The Electric Guitar, playing solo at some point in the song, needed then to be almost as strong as the main voice, since it replaced it during that passage, and needed to be either EQ’d/compressed skillfully or re-amped, in order to give it the strength and clarity necessary.

    – The Harmony Voice tracks had a number of breaths to be cleaned up and the syllables needed to be realigned onto the main voice. The voices also had a tendency in a few instances to start at a lower note and slide up to the note they were to sing.

    – Finally it sounded like the voices had been pitch-corrected and an artificial sound resulted from it, which lead us to use them only as a texture, in order to avoid exposing them.

    – The Main Voices had to be EQ’d–no more than usual–in order to sound not too muffled, not too shrill and to cut sufficiently through the mix.

    – Beyond that, it was the usual placement of the elements in the frequency spectrum and in the stereo field, using compressors only when necessary and without ever squashing the tracks, finding the right volume for each track, thickening/thinning out some tracks, applying volume automation, etc., and of course mastering the tune correctly.

    – A study of the tune’s emotional content told us that a logical progression of the intensity started with low energy at the beginning, and a confidential tone in the voice, to grow gradually and steadily until reaching its maximum in the tutti of the voices and instruments, in the final part before the outro. Then in the outro, the intensity dropped suddenly. Our work on the textures and the levels of each track had to reinforce that movement.

    Let’s not forget that when we mix a tune for a label, the number of tracks we receive can vary between a handful and…150 or more, among which we must find the best takes (or portions of takes) and bring it down to a manageable number of tracks. We should consider ourselves lucky that, in a contest, that work is already done for us.

    Best of luck to all!

    Max Cidon
    STUDIO Maks Productions, LLC

    1. – the kick already was a sample, and easily bright enough

      – nothing had to be pitch-corrected or cleaned. In fact I liked it much more than all the boring, artificial robot tunes out there. Btw, I love true live concert recordings

      1. Hey man, You are right, your kick sounds excellent! I found too that the authenticity of the tracks sounded very refreshing. That’s probably one of the main reasons why everyone here loved the song so much. Best, MC

  8. well i was told that boz was gonna use pacific time so i pulled the first and did some more work… so the link up top is not correct. here is the new revised one. this was my first attempt at automating volumes to swell and playing around i almost missed the getting it up. lol anyways even if i don’t get in… hope you guys enjoy my attempt. (that’s what ADDHD is all about) cheers


  9. well i don’t know if i got it in. started the download at 11:58 EST and by the time it was ‘saved’ and processed… the clock said 00:01 EST so it was officially 8/22 🙁

    i had a computer go out and i lost all the work i had done. i had to rebuild my computer a little over a week ago. so i been having a spell of bad luck it seems but it is what it is.

    not real happy with the final mix but it’s done and maybe they were using the Pacific Date Line and not the Eastern. anyways here is a link and i hope you enjoy it.

    thanks to Boz, David and Greg for the contest and the chance to win a new guitar (not to mention the plugins)


  10. Good comp and a great learning curve. A genuine deadline is about the only thing that ensures my finishing anything! I’ve been able to at least pretend I’m a pro for a while (which I am absolutely not!) – as evidenced by this:

    All (constructive) criticism welcome/needed by the way. I’ve heard a few on soundcloud and there’s some very good mixers out there.

    Best of luck everyone


    1. I found you mix with your link. its a really cool mix! i really liked it. however… there was no download link. they need to see a download link to get your mix. so enable the download link asap as they may not have gotten to your mix yet. but who knows…. good luck

  11. Hey guys – I uploaded my mix last night onto Souncloud. I’m not very Soundcloud savvy, so I’m wondering if you guys got it or not. How do I tell?

    1. Oh my God, .. I thought that there was no setting to change to make the track downloadable, I thought that by making it “Public” it would be sufficient..

      I already changed it now..

      I hope I am not disqualified, ..


  12. It’s amazing. I don’t remember which mixes I’ve listened…
    How will they choose a winner…
    500 tracks, 4 minutes per track… more than 30 hours of audio…

    1. Try more than a thousand mixes. Soundcloud is only showing a max of 500 but it’s been that way for weeks with at least 50 new mixes a day coming in.

      1. I think that it hit the 500 search limit the day before yesterday (wednesday). if you search the “bdl2015mix” you will get everything that has that in the title which includes all those without a download link (eg. not submitted). but if you search #bdl2015mix (with the # symbol) you will only get those with the “proper” tag which includes most of those submitted. the latter hit the 500 mark on wednesday. there were maybe 200 submitted yesterday and maybe the same today so probably just under 1000 entries.

        I’d love to know the judging process for this – how they managed all these mixes and narrowed it down.

      1. Thank you! 🙂
        Was a bit worried before posting the mix that the low-mids might be a bit too prominent VS the rest of the freqs but I guess they are in balance.

    1. Raffaele – I enjoyed your mix – it was creative and a good arrangement. But we have a great opportunity to learn from each other here so I have to say something – don’t take this hard – but your mix wins the loudness war for me. My ears actually hurt after the middle section. I’m a newbie to mixing but I’ve been listening to great rock music for a long time and loudness does not equal to powerful in a mix – I’m certain of that. Music is waves hitting the brain. If the brain flinches from too much power in the wave in too short a time, how can the listener get anything out of the song? I think the loudness wars are about getting heard over the din of so many other artists – I understand why it’s happening but I don’t like it and serious sound engineers should refuse to kowtow to artists, producers or big wig executives who insist they must “win” the loudness war. We’re all losing because of this loudness thing. And I know those of us who do this for a living (I don’t, not yet anyway) have to get gigs but what a shame it is where things have gone to. IMHO.

      1. Raffaele Galasso

        thank you! Personally I mixed the song without thinking about loudness war, I wanted that sound so I finalized the track for my personal taste, I appreciate your pont of view. Cheers!

  13. So, I assume Boz will be using the Sound Cloud API to discover the contest entries ?

    The Sound Cloud UI looks to have some issues with showing the correct results when you search with the bdl2015mix hashtag. Looking at the API calls there’s something fishy going on with paging the results.. Sometimes it tries to repeat a request for the next page of entries with a smaller than page size limit, and then it shifts to the next offset by page size and therefore skips tracks from the next page of search results ( example : fetch from offset 60 / limit 10, fetch from offset 62 / limit 2 , fetch from offset 72 / limit 10 ).

    The Sound Cloud UI shows 455 entries ( counted with document.getElementsByClassName(“searchList__item”).length ).
    The API shows that there are actually 699 entries currently ( shows “total_results”:699 in the returned JSON).

    So basically there are currently 244 entries which are showing up in the search results in the Sound Cloud UI….
    (this count of missed entries in the UI varies as the paging bug seems to be random, but it’s in that 220-250 range currently ).

    My 2 cents. 🙂

      1. I think their algorithm is trying to show the most “popular” for a given tag or other search criteria. Does it work well? – I don’t know but the number it shows in results does change all the time.

        1. No this bug is not about their sorting algorithm where songs get sorted by popularity (amount of plays + comments + likes). The issue is that a lot of the entries will not appear at all in the search results in the soundcloud UI because of soundcloud’s paging issue. Their REST API works fine though.

    1. No downloads in the statistics so far, hope everything works out nicely. There seems to be a jungle of mixes out there, it’ll probably take a while for them to listen to everything LOL!

  14. jacek_sniecikowski

    That’s a great competition and an excellent song to work with. Thanks for setting it up!

    A few observations about the mix:
    – As others have observed, there were some phase issues with drums
    – The ‘drum room’ have kick in right channel but not left. Using a Mid/Side capable EQ is great for this, as you can do a high pass on sides and leave kick in the middle.
    – The acoustic guitar has picking noise I was not able to get rid of. Tried eq, removing transients and even spectral editing. Any ideas on how to approach this?
    – Synthesized strings are a little too obvious. This track would really shine with a real orchestra.

    Here’s my version:

    1. i removed the drum-room tracks entirely. Better go without them, than trying to get by with rubbish.

      for the A-guitar, a good multiband comp goes a long way here. Needs Lookahead and quick attack/release

  15. alright, I´m finally ready! My mix is this one:

    It felt completely wrong to add any more delays / modulations / other FX to any of the tracks, as the song is arranged beautifully and dense, in a very nice and pleasing way, and does not need anything more. No additional instruments either, that would have really overloaded the song. So I decided to do a “mix-only”, and it turned out pretty good, I´d say.

    Of course, I pushed loudness quite a bit, to make it loud enough ot be played in the middle of a playlist. BUT I kept it a little below the average level of my reference tracks, and turned down the piercing and exhausting upper frequency range. It´s not a dark mix, but more easily enjoyable than most other commercial ones. Of course, loudness can be turned down a bit further, or up even more, if anyone wishes.

    Took the time and used lots of automation, to get rid of sibilance and other rubbish (HiHat in the overheads … argh! who´s responsible for THAT?), and of course to create some more movement in the entire song.

    Enjoy the mix, and have fun @ all 🙂

  16. Hello to all ya fellows out there !
    One more mix for ya : Atros’ mix
    Any comments, info recommendations or bashing, are welcome.
    Would also like to thank Boz, David and the Cassettes guys for this chance, awesome contest !
    Cheers ^^

  17. blueprintstudios

    Hello all, this’s my submission to BDL’s mixing contest.

    I simulated a situation if a band approached me to mix their track on a tight budget and a really short deadline (like, tomorrow.)
    I did not listen to Believe_GregJohnsonMix.mp3 or anyone’s mixes before mixing to make the experience more realistic.

    About the mix :
    – no additional drum replacement (kick already triggered),
    – light quantizing for obvious playing mistakes.
    – wanted to reamp the bass/guitars ,but no time and it’s already late.
    – because I didn’t know the lyrics, I thought it went
    “so download your tracks / do your best / and fix what needs fixing” (and I fixed the other “gang vocals” at this part which was a little off time..)
    while uploading, i checked out the lyrics and realised it was “So touch down your heart, To my chest , And fix what needs fixing ” lol . guess it’s time to sleep…

    Took me 5 hours. Done , #tagged and submitted.
    thanks for the experience I had fun! I would have charged this mix at approx $180 USD (after currency conversion). it’s not my “best effort” due to time constraints and personal commitment. but hope I at least win something nice! any feedbacks about my mix will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks Boz and the guys from I Am Cassettes for this mixing contest and opportunity.

    Lastly the note about “This is not a loudness contest. Smashing your mix into oblivion is not the purpose.” , I’m not sure if I’ve broken any loudness rules, I’m not audio trained, I just sorta shutupandmix so please take it easy on me if I offended anyone sonically.


    1. Hey Blueprint. very interesting approach and I will listen to your mix. I took the complete opposite approach: unlimited budget, do the best I can possibly do. push my limits. I put about 100 hours into my mix. My approach was to have a satisfied client (band, record company) and a satisfied audience while trying to satisfy myself however, the latter was the lowest priority (however I strive for all of it). In order to understand what the band may want, I did research. first, i listened to all the stem, each alone, dry. then I listened to the supplied mix. I purchased the official single mix and reviewed that. then I watched the band on youtube and read about them. then back to listening to the mixes and stems. now I could start to put this together knowing more about the band and the audience. from the stems then I could infer things about what the band might want, taking their more typical style into account. an operating assumption I made was that I was hired to bring my own sound into the project. that they wanted this and that’s why I was here. all that to me is the tricky part about production – trying to satisfy as many people as possible including yourself – this take a lack of ego, asking questions, not letting anything go that is questionable, and taking all parties into consideration (including the music they create). They are there to perform and direct. I am there to create the sound while satisfying their expectations. and the audience. and the record company. etc. etc. Part of my job is to make them sound good. so for example, you know the last note/hit after the “what I believe in….” quieter part? there is a bass guitar, kick and piano on that. do you not hear the bass? it honks! it sounds horrible. I spent an hour just on that bass note to make it blend in. that’s what makes it take 100 hours, baby. but then, it’s all subjective… who knows. i’ve listened to most of the mixes you’ve posted. many are very very good. i don’t know for sure what the band and the judges want. i even took into account the judges and used plugins for gear they might know. hoping subconsciously they could hear it. tricks. you gotta have tricks. and ear candy.

      1. Brett I love your mix it’s the most original I’ve heard so far and very well crafted. I took a different approach still, did zero research on the source of the material. I started with the rhythm tracks (the smash ’em cymbals near the end got my attention!), then brought in bass, then rest of guitars, then orchestra and finally vocals in that order. I had no idea what was coming until I heard Josh’s gritty but colorful voice. Once I heard that and thought about the words of the song I knew what it was about. The rest was all polish and I spent about 40 hours total on the mix. I leveled and eq’d most things as I went along too. Also wasn’t afraid to use fade-in/out via automation – why not?

        No matter who wins this contest, it has been a great experience for a newbie like me. I’m proud of the punch and swell of my mix and the way the opening sounds like a rain storm outside while a very intimate vocal on the inside. Also loved the orchestral arrangement (reminded me a little of an ancient album called Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues) and couldn’t resist pumping up the reverb on that so it sounds more like a live orchestra in a concert hall – why not?

        I did other things which I may reveal after this contest is over but the key mantra I went by on the whole thing was “keep it moving – don’t let it settle into a groove”. Cause I didn’t think it was a groove type song – it should be more straight rock ballad I think – subjective of course 🙂

      2. blueprintstudios

        heheh, that approach of “doing your best/push beyond limits/no money talk” is truly what passion means. that’s cool , I feel ya. of course on my end it doesn’t mean I don’t have passion, I just don’t have the time for it if it doesn’t pay my bills to fuel my passion in a reality check as I was literally timing myself with a stopwatch and quickly get it done to get my 7hr rest so i can get back to my life the next day (I have a day job, currently attending 2 sets of classes, 6 freelance jobs and married.which explains my lack of time and time is money.. and this mixing competition came at a bad time! oops shh… rule 3 no whining hehehe) I just did it like how I would usually do when I get paid doing it that’s all. 100 hours, wow, wish you’d win something since you really poured your heart into it. all the best!


        1. Yes, I hear you completely – life is very busy. I am lucky that I had the time to put into this – frankly the tune was worth the effort. But your approach is real-world in that we often do not have the time to devote to things even if we want to. and in a working studio situation the less time you spend the better it is for everyone. Speaking of saving time: as we talked about on soundcloud, one way to save time is to consider a final buss EQ to smooth out the mix. with your permission, I took your mix and ran it through an RS56 and buss compressor. I was able to eek out another 2-3dB of dynamic range – its something you can do to quickly gussy-up a mix. ideally you want to go in and fix the problems at the track/stem level, even re-record where necessary. but a buss EQ can sometimes do wonders.

          1. blueprintstudios

            hey brett, yeah real world. getting married , family and mortgage bills sure bursted my dream bubble and forged into a steel wrecking ball..heh. anyway thanks for taking the time to help improve my mix’s flaws (the loudness dynamics and the bass) . really appreciate the sharing of details. I do have an EQ/limiter on my master faders etc. while rushing i forgot to load the TT Dynamic Range meter (i have the old free version i think, not the brainworx’s) and just went by ear… I guess that’s where I need to “fix what needs fixing” omg that line rings in my head. I don’t use RS56 but will try replicate with what I got.

            thanks again for the advice!

  18. Good morning Guys,

    Given that in a competition we can’t get input from the band, the producer, or the record label, it seems best to create a clean and balanced mix similar to the commercial songs we hear every day on the radio. A mix that will serve the song and let every track be heard clearly, while still heightening the energy in the tune, and that will respect the work of all the vocalists, instrumentalists, and arrangers on the track.

    Thank you again Boz, David, the band members, and everyone for this great song and all the work behind this contest.


    Max Cidon
    STUDIO Maks Productions, LLC

  19. Guys!
    I’ve found that not all the mixes on SoundCloud are downloadable. So was mine. Some permissions must be checked while uploading file. Rivise this in your uploads. The tracks must be downloadable – it’s one of the rules in bold for the contest.

    1. This might help:
      To make your track downloadable after uploading, click the pencil icon under the track’s waveform to go to the edit page. From there, go to the ‘Permissions’ tab and click the circle that says ‘Downloads disabled’ to make it display ‘Downloads enabled’ and click save.

    2. It’s not a big deal. Boz has already said that if he needs to download your track and they can’t, they will contact you requesting to make it downloadable.

  20. Hi there!!!
    I’ m about to submmit my mix but I’m new to soundcloud, does any one knows if there’s any advantage in upload the song in MP3 vrs Wav file? I tested uploading my mix MP3 and sounds weird!
    Great song by the way and Love the band!
    Does any one knows where can I listen more I Am Cassettes?

    1. MP3 uses a compression technique (to reduce file size) by compromising the audio quality in order to crunch the file size down – it is a lossy format meaning that data/quality is lost and can NOT be recovered. a WAV is uncompressed audio and is the highest quality – there is no data/quality loss however the file size is larger. The judges will presumably be using the downloaded version in their judging so you’d be best to post the WAV to preserve as much quality as possible.

      1. I thought about this. My goal was to turn out a decent mp3 and win based on that, which is what most listeners would be hearing these days. A mix that doesn’t transfer well to compressed, reduced fidelity formats isn’t as useful anymore because the CD format, despite it’s 90db dynamic range and storage capacity, appears to be fading out as the go-to medium.

  21. Hello guys,
    A simple request.. many users have made changes during the contest and with the option “replace” it’s possible to change new better mixes.

    When you do the downloads? Past 21th?

    Many thanks!

  22. Stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. Haven’t mixed vocals in sometime. Definitely enjoyed the experience. Thank you for the opportunity. Best of luck to everyone that entered.

    Will we be notified when our submissions are received? Also, not sure why Soundcloud has my song length for 6:58 but I tried to fix it, and couldn’t find anything help site or forums explaining. Never had that happen with my other songs on Soundcloud. Hope it’s not a problem.

    Here’s my entry link:

      1. Hi Gunnar,

        Yeah, i’m not sure why it did that. Soundcloud is adding the extra time onto the track. i’ve been searching for a fix. Thanks for downloading.

  23. Hello guys.

    I would say that I am not a professional audio. I’m studying a lot about the subject two years because I am passionate about music. I’m from Recife – Pernambuco – Brazil. I found fantastic music with various instruments.
    I had a great mixing this sound. Congratulations to the organizers for this initiative.
    Good luck to the competitors and also the judges.

    Please forgive my English, because I can not speak or write very well. I used the GOOGLE translator.

  24. Hey Boz,
    great idea this contest, really cool opportunity and nice song as well!

    got one question tho (and sorry if it’s been asked): can you give us an exact date&time on when the contest finishes (hh, time zone)? Don’t wanna miss out because I’m a few hours late, haven’t started my mix yet =)


    1. Hey Carlos,

      The info is at the top of the page under “Rules”:
      2) Submit your mix by August 21. That’s this coming Friday.
      That would be at midnight. To be safe I would consider midnight Eastern Standard Time (New York time) even though, if I am not mistaken, the company is in California.
      Maybe someone will add more precise info to this.

      I hope this helps. Good luck.

  25. Hi, pls kindly make it clear for all Contestants

    “After the 100th download, the download button on your sound will be disabled.”

    Do we need to upgrade to SC “Pro Plan”?
    Will our mix be disqualified if we don’t wanna upgrade to SC “Pro Plan”?

    received an email from SC…

    “Nice! Looks like your sound Believe – Mixed by HYD #bdl2015mix is getting very popular.

    That means your sound will soon be reaching the 100 downloads per sound limit.

    After the 100th download, the download button on your sound will be disabled.

    If you’d like your sound to be available for more downloads, upgrade to the next Pro plan. Get a Pro Unlimited plan for unlimited downloads per sound. If you need less, a Pro plan offers 1000 downloads per sound.

    A Pro plan also helps you better share your sounds and learn more about who’s listening to them across the web.”

  26. Mix what needs mixing… I reached the final cut today. This has been a lot of fun and I’ve learned a bunch of things too. Boz and David – thanks for putting this out for us. I pushed my setup to the limit with this mix but it came out in one piece. Here is the result:

  27. Hi,

    Just a little note about Soundcloud Search. Searching by tag #bdl2015mix gives 500 tracks, but probably there are
    more mixes uploaded. Anyone here, who knows how to get unlimited result list in Soundcloud?

  28. Well, I’m seeing about 305 mixes entered so far! And still about 10 days to go. I’ve hear a lot of “Good” mixes too, so I’m glad I’m not a judge!

    1. Henrik Hjortnaes

      Just for your info, Boz wrote this some days ago:

      “We are going through and listening to them as they are tagged, so if you upload, tag, and then later change it, we will not hear the changes. So just wait until you are sure you are ready to submit it to tag us.”

    1. Hi Luc. when you say “out of the box” do you mean with tape and analogue console + outboard procesors? that’s what “out of the box” means to me… would be cool to know! i liked your mix. i felt the drums were calling a little too much attention to themselves. the mix had good dynamics and power.

      1. Luc van der Stap

        Hi Brett,
        Think I’ve been not clear about “out of the box”, I rather mean that I used unconventional ways to get voices out of the mid and let them ‘walk around’ the mid.
        I don’t like “conventional” in this song, and its how i felt when I made the mix.
        I am uploading a better mix to Soundcloud but i found they have server problems right at this moment 🙁
        Its impossible to upload anything to Soundcloud now.
        I’ll keep on trying 😉

  29. I like the song and I’m enjoying mixing it. I would make a correction though. Yes you can use 6/8 as the time signature but since the song has a 4/4 feel, it is actually 12/8. 6/8 is a 2/4 feel almost like a march. I know this is nit picking but there you go.

    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s mixes!

    1. I took this song as 6/4 148 bpm. It has a lot of forward energy and definitely not blues style so that’s what I heard. Ha ha I didn’t see the text above that said what the time and bpm was – I just scoped out the time from following the kick drum in the intro.

  30. Oh rats – just noticed/been told that I didn’t enable DOWNLOADS – something to do with my age I suspect 🙂

    So, hey BOZ – I have now enabled the download. Hope you can still get at it …

    Cheers, and thanks for the opportunity to mix – great fun and enjoyable – mixed this style before with a group who played many gigs at Glastonbury.


      1. The rules state “but once you submit it, you have submitted it.” What if I want to post it to Soundcloud to get people’s feedback? Is that post considered the final submission? what if I post it and then re-upload and updated version? Can you clarify this? I’d like to post it to get feedback but I don’t want my post to be considered my submission. but I do want to use the tag so people can find it. If you can clarify that would be helpful. thanks!

        1. If you upload it to soundcloud and don’t tag us, we will not see it, so you are fine uploading it for feedback before submitting. We are going through and listening to them as they are tagged, so if you upload, tag, and then later change it, we will not hear the changes. So just wait until you are sure you are ready to submit it to tag us.

          1. Dammit then – I have made a few changes and replaced my file – does that mean then that my latest and greatest entry (haha!) won’t get considered at all then? If so, that makes me quite sad 🙁

            Trouble is the changes were not subtle, so the latest version is much more what I would call my “definitive” mix …

            I could set up another a/c and re-submit under an alias – but that would be a bit like cheating eh?

            Any chance of listening again – and then binning the mix or putting it into the “maybe” pot???


            If you could I would be so grateful – so much hard work gone into this.

            Cheers from a rather chilly (for summer) York in the UK.

            dB (aka doctorobob)

          2. Luc van der Stap

            Hi Bozmillar,
            Didn’t know that, first uploaded the wrong file. You can find the right file on

            I hope I can still be in this contest? Took me 4 days, however I am not a professional sound engineer so I suppose I have no chance at all (I am 52 and just started 1.5 years ago) However I had a lot of joy to produce this. I hope you like it too.
            Kind Regards,

          3. Hello bozmillar,
            I uploaded a test version and tagged it, but without making it downloadable. I thought that would hold off the download. I listened to the streaming version, found it way too harsh, so re-tweaked the next day, uploaded it and then made it downloadable.
            From your comment, I understand you downloaded the first version. I didn’t know you could download without us allowing it. If that’s the case, I think it should have been clearly mentioned.
            I also see that most tracks have not been downloaded, where the stats are visible.
            In any case, I would sincerely like that my actual version that’s been up for days now be the one that the judges will hear. Is that at all possible ??
            Thanks for reading, and answering.
            PS – I found the contest quite challenging, and learnt a lot from it.

  31. the.brad.thomas

    I’m wondering if anybody could help out with the cymbals in the overhead and room mics? They’re very very garish!

    Otherwise this is turning out to be a fun track!

    1. sure. and I agree. first, as has been pointed out, one of the overheads is out of phase with the other. so you have to correct that. also, the tracks labelled HH1 and Ride1 are not, to my ears, a hihat and ride mike per-se. they appear to be a close-kit stereo pair. so pan them equally and treat them like a stereo pair. make sure you align, in the soundstage, the hihat in that stereo pair with where you hear it from the over-heads. then, mix the drum without the over-heads, room and HH/Ride (so just kick, snare, toms). then, bring up the room pair to taste. be conservative. EQ to taste. then, bring up the HH/Ride pair, EQ to taste – EQ is your friend here. you will hear in this pair a lot of drum bleed. you will have to deal with that (dont just leave it there). the HH/Ride pair are critical to EQ to get that harshness out. then bring up the over-heads to taste. again make sure to use EQ on these to get rid of spectra that doesn’t sound good and to make room for all the other instruments. get a good drum mix first and mix in the bass and then the rest. finally, for these stereo pairs make sure to use a good quality linear phase EQ because you dont want phase shifts across stereo mics.

      1. I should add, monitoring is critical for a good cymbal mix. dont just rely on your main monitoring system. use headphones that are known to be bright so you can hear what it sounds like on a bright system. headphone, so that the cymbals are forced into your ears. 🙂 mix them conservatively otherwise they will over-whelm the mix and especially on a bright system. that’s my advice anyway. there are no hard fast rules here.

    1. the free account should be fine but you have to log into that account to see your uploads. sometimes it takes a minute or two to process the upload but is usually fast unless you upload something that needs to be converted for soundcloud to play. i am not trying to sound demeaning but it is kinda basic. the main things of note is… it has to have a (#)tag of some sort before it will allow you to save it… and of course you have to hit the save button at the bottom after it is uploaded to actually save the file to the cloud. once it is processed and ready it should show a link to go to the actual soundcloud page it is on. if you are logged in… and it is still not there… just upload it again and use the tag (bdl2015mix) it will put the # symbol there for you and of course be sure to hit that save button at the bottom. cheers

  32. All the talk on this that or the other about stems in and out of phase etc here’s my thoughts on it all The judges are looking for a Great mix period they probably don’t really care how you get three as long as you get there lol

  33. Are these drums labeled from drummers perspective or audience? Also, I noticed the drum room left and right sound completely different from each other. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but i’m going to have to either re-sample to a different kit, or world-ize a stereo mix of the kit and re-record it in a room to get a true stereo image.

  34. Hey Boz,

    I apologize for asking again but I believe the answer will help other people. Will our submissions be ignored or disqualified if we upload a CD-quality WAV file to Soundcloud (which SC supports) instead of an MP3?

    Thank you!

  35. Can we please get a clarification or a nice bold reminder at the top of this page about only submitting a mix once? Several people have resubmitted their mixes multiple times.

    Thanks for doing the contest!!!

      1. I am totally fine with that but rule number one is vague at best:

        1) One Entry Per Person. You can enter one song. You are free to post your mix for feedback on other forums or Facebook or whatever, but once you submit it, you have submitted it.

        1. If I may, I believe they want us to spend time on making our mixes sterling so we have a good chance to win, and not on looking at details and activities of other contestants. It’s arguably the best use of our time, given the number of competitors we must outdo.
          Good luck, guys!

  36. hi bozmillar,

    thanks again for this opportunity. you mentioned that mixes should sound good when level-matched. for this it is crucial to know at WHAT level. will you use itunes (-16 LUFS) to listen to the mixes? i have downloaded and listened to some of the mixes so far and some are completely smashed (-7 LUFS) while others are unmastered and very low. we cannot adjust the loudness without knowing the target – your monitors/ears. so please let us know. also, do you want a 48 khz or a 44 khz master? i want to avoid any sample rate conversion of my mix after submission.



  37. Well, there is about 37 mixes entered already and there is still about 25 days to go. Anyone want to guess how many mixes there will be on the 21 of August? Also, thought Rule #5 was very important! I guess we will have to send in our mothers email address too! lol!!!!

  38. Hello Boz, First I must say the Orchestra is awesome. Greg is a beast. Now my questions; what do the judges think about mono compatibility? Pensando says “Mono is dead”. I tend to take that fella pretty seriously. Also curious, who are the judges? If i was mixing based on what I’ve heard from Paschke, Johnson, and Bendeth I would emphasize different aspects. Last question. Is that a vibrulux?
    Thanks for your time, and all that you do, J

      1. Chris Lord-Alge also says he doesn’t worry about mono and he spreads the stereo field as far as it’ll go. Mastering engineers will often spread it even more. IMHO, we should mix in stereo (without especially trying to position mix elements out of the speakers’ field) and not worry about mono compatibility. If you want to be picky, listen to it in mono once, to make sure no instrument is missing, but I would not try to keep the same general volume as when listening in stereo. That can be a week-long nightmare and I am not sure a perfect solution even exists.

        1. I just do a check in mono to make sure its all mostly there. mono is not a high priority unless something obvious sticks out like missing vocals or something like that.

  39. Hate to sound stupid but the instructions are not very clear on were we submit our entries to? I understand the soundcloud etc if we are supposed to submit a link were?

      1. FYI: I just wanted everyone to know that if you merely type #bdl2015mix in the search box you won’t have access to all of the submitted mixes. You need to click on one of the links labeled #bdl2015mix after your initial search (located on the top right of the track bar). This will go to the page with all of the entries. I am not sure why this is but I see many more entries on this second page than I do on the first search results page.

  40. I had uploaded my mix the other day under IronOak Sound. Someone had mentioned earlier that the OVHs are out of phase, so anyone reading this should check their alignment. Other than a few alignment issues and tunings, I thought this was a very fun project. However, I gave it a bit of a “produced” feeling. Have fun, all!

  41. Will the judges be judging on the sheer epicness of it, or will a more intimate mix still be in the running? I think the song is a lot Bob Ezrin’d (overproduced).


    Does anybody else feel the pressure when he sings, “fix what needs fixing…” as though we’re being prodded to properly align and tune these backing vox?

    1. It does seem like there are anomalies purposely created in the stems however all the one’s I’ve found are not atypical of a tracking session so it might just be coincidence. I just think that it’s a true-to-nature tracking session with a band that is still learning the ins and outs of recording. that makes it more challenging for us to preen the tracks into a clean mix which is likely part of what the judges will be looking for. if you think its not musical, go in and tweek away!


        Well I was just being silly but I do agree with you, I’m sure the judges are well aware of the issues in the stems and I do think they’re mostly looking for a clean mix that fits in with industry standards for this type of tune. I’m curious to hear what the other contestants come up with, I’m certain some people will try some really creative angles and interesting ideas. Good luck to you and everybody else.


    Hay people…

    I just downloaded the files, and unzipped.

    Says .wav on all extensions, of what I looked into…But in the properties page of the wav file, I Get different KBPS…the drums seem to be 1152kbps.

    And in the Orchestra folder…the flute is 2304kbps.

    I have not checked all the files…Yet after reading in, I thought this was remedied?….No biggy …I can rerecord/render to my specs…..

    Thanks for the tips People!….

    1. My mix…I rushed it to 12:12am 21, 2015…I hope I did not miss the deadline..but it is not mastered….Just pushed and quickly eq to a mix….

      Thanks for the fun!

      Good luck to all.

  44. What a wonderful song to be working on! thanks guys. its great when the song is enjoyable. i really want to use sasquatch on the kick but the kick doesn’t need it! 🙂

  45. Hi guys.
    Something to look out for with the drums, I think the right channel of the overheads is out of phase.
    Simple fix, but something that inexperienced mixers may not notice.


    1. ah ha. i knew something was wrong there. i was pre-occupied with the guitars and planning to go back. thanks for the clue. there are many little issues with the tracking but they aren’t uncommon. but i wonder if they’ve put some little traps for young players in like that on purpose! 😉 😉 no matter. we’ll whip it into shape!

  46. Hi Boz,

    This is definitely exciting! Finally a mixing (and not a remixing) contest!

    I am wondering if we are not missing a step between Step 3 and Step 4. How will you know who is who if we don’t do more than uploading our mixes to Soundcloud all under the same tag? How will you know who uploaded what? Don’t you need us to register somehow with our email, name,…? What link/page do we use for that? I couldn’t find it.

    Thank you much!

    1. That will be simple enough to sort out when we pick the winner. If for some crazy reason, multiple people come to me saying they were the winning mix, we can sort it by just sending us a PM through the soundcloud account that won.

    2. You have to have an individual account with sound cloud just like on Facebook or twitter its unique to you based on the information and e-mail address you gave when you signed up

  47. I’m curious to know how much processing has been done to the stems? I took a quick listen through some of them and I can hear some pitch correction on the vocals. Have any of the other stems been processed and have the drums been quantized? I’d just like to know before I start working on them since it will determine on how I mess with them. Thanks!

  48. Sooo glad to got this invite in my inbox. The song is great and by reading the comments it is pretty open for everything (same same but different).

    Cool stuff…

    1. Well, that depends on if you mean actual mastering or pretend mastering (ie, making it loud). The final mix should sound good. It should be able to stand next to a fully produced song and sound good when level matched. You don’t need to make it super loud.

      1. i would appreciate if you could provide a clear target regarding loudness in LUFS so that there is no misunderstanding what “loud” means to you. this would help to have a fair, loudness-leveled judgement of the mixes! would that be possible?

        my suggestion is ITU-R BS.1770-2:
        -12 LUFS (+ – 1)

        thx & cheers.

  49. Dope, Well this is gonna be fun, I actually have no Third Party plug-ins, all Stock Pro Tools 11 plug-ins. But it’s gpnna be fun to mix. Thanks for emailing me

    1. Xalbeats, as you surely is aware of by now, you can easily do with those 11 plug-ins, of which some surely is not world class.
      But I have been doing fine with even less for years, full productions, that is. so do’nt sweat it. And btw. there are lots of free RTAS plugz out there (and by free I don’t mean cracked, just folks who know their stuff around coding plugz and want to share), like Boz’s own Bark of Dog (under their menu “plugins” and 2nd from the bottom :-). But for the most comprehensible list of free plugz, go to: and feast your eyes 😉 and then just search for free RTAS plug-plugins

  50. thnx boz and evergroove… i got it sorted. like i said… did not think and the word ‘some’ threw me off a bit so i learned somethin’ cheers

  51. but then again… maybe i started the session in the wrong sample rate… so i mite be jumpin’ the gun here. (and you know what they say… mites grow around a chicken’s patoot! ) hehe

      1. that’s cool… i am kinda new to pro tools and it says “some” of the audio files… so that threw me off. i have sessions set @ 44.1… i will either convert or change the session sample rate. cheers my bad… sorry

        1. my other DAWs auto convert like your reaper did or does. apparently PT doesn’t automatically convert. sorry again for the trouble i may have caused. cheers

          1. If you use File > Import > Audio then you’ll be able to convert any/all files to whatever sample rate you desire. So far all files have been 24/48.

    1. I’ll check that out. When I imported the stems to check them out, I brought them into reaper and it just converted it automatically, so I didn’t notice any issues. Give me a minute and I’ll check it out.

    1. well, I guess technically you can. It will be up to the judges to decide if it is worthy of winning or not. The judges focus will be on the mixing of the song. If changing up some aspects makes the mix sound better, then so be it.

  52. Great! I’m looking forward to participate in the context. Just a question. Can you get creative with your mix? Does it have to be a mix where you just do leveling, EQing, compressing… aiming just to get a loud and clear mix; or can you get creative with things like delay, reverb, filtering, doubling…? I mean, without altering the original arrangement of the song, of course, just to spice up the listening experience a little bit.
    Good luck to everyone!

        1. Hey,
          IMHO the files should be searched and downloaded by judges after the deadline. Maybe some contestants want to make corrections based on feedback for example. I think , if you delete your mix and upload new one before deadline (and tag it to #bdl2015mix also), it will be shown again in search result.

  53. Awesome contest! Quick question though: what are the rules on using elements not from the original mix? Like sample augmentation on drums, or aux percussion loops that weren’t in the original? Thanks!

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