Preparing and Submitting Files For Mixing
Firstly, thank you so much for choosing me to mix your music. Entrusting someone to work on your music is a huge decision, and I hope together we can make something that we will both be proud of forever.
So that I can best serve your music and you can get the best out of my services I have a specific set of requirements for the files you send me for mixing. Adhering to this format will mean not only do you get your mix back faster, but I will have more time to spend making your music feel and sound great.
Before submitting your multitrack files for mixing, you should be able to answer “yes” to all of the following questions. If you have to answer no, or are unsure email me on email@example.com to discuss further.
Are your files free of unwanted artefacts such as background noise, hum and hiss, or are you at least OK with living with these artefacts?
Are you sure the recording is of a quality that is appropriate to your style of music and your expectations for the final product?
Have your files been edited appropriately? Vocals ‘comped’ and tuned if need be? Drums time aligned if need be? Silence before and after performances begin and end removed?
Are you confident that all of the recording is finished and that you won’t want to add more layers later?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions then it’s time to prepare and submit your files!
I can accept multitrack music recordings in the following two ways:
A ‘Pro Tools’ session with an accompanying audio files folder
A collection of ‘rendered’ / ‘consolidated’ / ’bounced’ .WAV or .AIFF files that line up appropriately when placed at the same start time.
I can not accept Logic, Ableton Live, Garage Band, Reaper sessions, or sessions from any DAW other than Pro Tools. Music that was recorded and produced in these DAWs should be prepared as individual .WAV or .AIFF files. Below are some links to further information about how to do this in some of the more popular DAWs.
Submitting a ‘Pro Tools’ Session
If submitting a ‘Pro Tools’ session and the accompanying audio files folder, please use the below checklist to ensure your session is in order for me to mix it.
Each song submitted for mixing should be a separate ‘Pro Tools’ session with it’s own audio files folder. Do not submit more than one song in a ‘Pro Tools’ session.
Please ensure that every track in the ‘Pro Tools’ session is named appropriately. There is a table at the end of this document of my preferred ‘nomenclature’. You do not have adhere to this naming convention strictly, but at the very least each track must have a name that describes the audio it contains.
Place tracks in groups of similar instruments and arrange in the following order: Drums, percusion, bass guitar or bass synth, keyboard instruments, strings and horns, guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals.
Colour code the instrument groups using the track colour function. I will change these during the mix but it will be easier for me to see where each instrument group begins and ends if you can colour the tracks for me.
If there are tracks in ‘hidden and inactive’ state that are not to be used in the mix, please delete them.
If tracks have more than one playlist, ensure the active playlist is the one you would like in the final mix
If you have used volume automation that is integral to the way an instrument behaves in the mix (i.e a tempo synced panning or volume move on a synth) leave it on. If automation is more general, you may wish to remove it.
At the bottom of this document you will find a list of the plugins I own. If you have been using any of these plugins you may leave them on the track. If you are using plugins that I do not own you can either remove them, or commit the sound based on the information I will provide toward the end of this document.
Commit all software instruments to audio. Do not provide midi or instrument tracks.
If you have used the mute function to take some sounds out of the mix that you are unsure about, instead make the track inactive and detail your intents for the sound in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitting .WAV or .AIFF Files from another DAW for Mixing
Ensure that all audio files have the same start time, preferably on the start of a beat/bar if the song is performed to a click. You can test this by importing your audio files into a new session in your DAW and making sure the song plays correctly and everything is in time.
All audio files must have an appropriate name. There is a table at the end of this document of my preferred ‘nomenclature’. You do not have adhere to this naming convention strictly, but at the very least each audio file must have a name that describes the audio it contains.
Divide audio files into folders based on instrument types, i.e drums, percussion, bass instruments, keyboard instruments, strings and horns, guitars, vocals. These instrument folders should be contained within a ‘mother’ folder labelled clearly with the name of the song
Question: Should I leave my effects on, or take them off?
Answer: Well, it depends! But here is my rule of thumb:
If the effect or processor you have been using during recording and production is integral to the sound then leave it on and commit it to the audio file. Here are some examples of what I mean
A very specific sounding delay that is tempo sync’d to the song and creating a rhythm that is integral to the way the song sounds
An amp simulator you have used on a direct recorded guitar
A very specific distortion sound that you like and would be hard to recreate with other software
Moving filter and or panning effects that have been set up to work in a certain way for the song
If the effect or processor is generic and non-specific, and you think I will be able to better it with my tools and skills, take it off. Here are some examples of what I mean
Distortion and overdrive
If you really are unsure, give me a dry version and wet version but label them very clearly, and do not do this for every track. Only double up on the ones you are really unsure about.
Question: Do you want the bass and guitar DI signals or just the amp
Answer: Generally yes, provide the DI. If I think the sound of the amp or amp simulator is unsatisfactory we may use the DI signal to ‘reamp’ through some of our high-end vintage amplifiers.
Question: I have used a drum software instrument for the drum kit, is that OK
Answer: Yes, absolutely but I need you to ‘stem out’ the elements of the drum kit so that I have individual tracks for ‘kick’, ‘snare’, ‘hi hat’ etc. Google how to do this for your particular software instrument.
Please download the following documents: