prepare songs for mixing

In this article, I'll show you how to prepare your songs for mixing.


Surprisingly, many clients don't know what mixing is.  I will address that first. 

Mixing is individual tracks (vocals, bass, guitar, etc.) mixed together to make a complete song (single stereo interleaved file).   Mastering involves working with a complete song (single stereo interleaved file). 

Here are a few tips on how to prepare your songs for mixing:

1. I do not work with pro tools or cubase sx session files, only .wav or .aiff files.

2. You have to export each stem/channel as a .wav file or .aiff, 44.1 or 48kHz and preferably 24bit, starting at the beginning of the song all the way to the end.

3. Do not go over 0 level and clip any of your tracks.

Your stereo tracks should look something like this.


NOT like this, over level and DISTORTED.


4. When recording vocals, use minimal compression (just enough so you don't distort), and minimal bass roll.  We don't want them smashed or too thin/bright.  I will roll off the bass and compress as needed.

5. Vocal control is probably more important than compression.  If the vocalist mumbles through the verses and then screams +10db louder in the choruses, with their mouth 1/2 inch from the mic, no compressor can fix that.  Nor can this be fixed in mixing.

6. Should you export your tracks with effects?  If you have a favorite guitar distortion effect, a unique flange or chorus you really like that you KNOW you must have in the song, export the track with the effect on it.  These effects don't take up that much space in the mix.  If it's a huge reverb or delay, leave that to us.  Unless you're 100% you want this.  But remember, once you put these space eating effects in, we're stuck with them and it limits what I can do. 

7.  Slight EQing and Hi-low pass filtering tracks are fine, but not recommended.  I'd rather be given full frequency tracks than tracks that are missing needed frequency elements.

8. Listen closely to every track for noise.  If there's a hiss, something could be boosted too high.

9. You do not need to fade out each track.  We will fade the entire song at the end.

10. Limit your instrumentation with space in mind.  If your song has five guitars and three synths, all playing different melodies at the same time, its not going to work.  It may be correct melodically, but it will sound like a train-wreck when all playing together, leaving no room for the vocals either.  This is why no one ever does this!

11. Most important, make sure when your tracks are exported and start at 0:00, they're all in sync.  Thanks!

12. Be sure you check out my low mastering prices and AMAZING results!!


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