I don’t do mixing contests myself but I had an idea for one:
As a community, generally we recognise the value of reference tracks. How about a mixing contest that must incorporate a specific reference track?
The track would be designated possibly by the owner of the stem recordings, and the idea would be to utilise the reference track in a positive way, in the mix, specifically in approximating the instrumentation sounds, and especially their levels.
Mixing to a reference track is a powerful tool, and I think that such a contest would help those people who are not used to using it come on in leaps and bounds. I could certainly envisage coversations such as ‘how do I get that snare sound?’ ‘Is my bass guitar at the right level?’ ‘What is that effect on the vocals? How do I get it’?
Some of the marks would be awarded for relevance to the reference track.
Just a thought.
Also track recreation:
A couple of years ago when I was doing my degree we had to recreate a track from the ground upwards. I was assigned Every Breath You Take by the Police. The end product was not too bad I suppose but the important thing is that it was a valuable experience. I’m not sure if I learned anything specific but it certainly honed my listening skills.
We could have a similar competition. Marks would be awarded simply for closeness to the original, based on A/B comparisons.
Just another thought…