AES Section Meeting Reports

Nashville - April 22, 2010

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AES Nashville - "Spring Mixer"

The Nashville Section of the AES held its seventh annual "Spring Mixer" competition on April 22. Area schools with audio recording programs were invited to participate in the annual student mixing competition. Participating from area schools were students from Belmont University, Middle Tennessee State University, SAE Institute of Technology, The Art Institute of Tennessee — Nashville, the International Academy of Design & Technology, Nashville State Community College, and University of North Alabama.
Each team was given identical raw original studio tracks recorded in a Nashville studio, identical mixing environments, and eight hours to create a stereo mix and complete the paperwork as recommended by the AES and the Producer / Engineer Wing of NARAS. Entering the competition, the students were only informed of the judging criteria and what equipment they would be using. The mixing was done over a two day period in six identical Pro Tools HD mixing rooms at the MTV Networks Studios in Nashville, TN. The students were informed as to what version of software to expect on the Pro Tools, room monitoring equipment, and what plug-ins would be available on those systems.
Rules prohibited any materials being brought in, re-recording of any new material outside of the Pro Tools systems, or any outside assistance.
The final mix created by each team, using tracks from a recording session of "Wall" by Da Truth and was judged on nine elements, Sonic Integrity- lows to highs, Depth- front to back, Stereo Stage or Environment, Dynamic Range, Presentation of lead vocal / lead instrument, Emotional content or feel of the mix, Preparation for mastering- dynamic range available for mastering process, Creativity, and Documentation- completion of page 5 of AES/P&E Wing Session Documentation.
A panel of judges comprised of industry professionals graded the mixes and presented their critiques at the April 22 meeting at the W. O. Smith School of Music in Nashville. The judges included studio mixing engineers, Chris Stevens, Otto Price, Bret Teegarden, James Waddell, and mastering engineer Ken Love. The winner of this year's competition was the team from Belmont University comprised of Art Lindman, Jason George, and Michael Hardesty. Second place went to University of North Alabama and third place was Middle Tennessee State University. Each of the winning team members received a Miktek C5 microphone and Belmont received a Miktek C7 microphone and software plug-ins from IK Multimedia. UNA received a Pro Tools MBox and the team members received IK Multimedia plug-ins. All participants received T-Shirts from Mercenary Audio and Belmont took home the coveted "Top Mixer" perpetual trophy that will be proudly displayed with appropriate bragging rights until next year.

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