Everyone has a different approach when producing a song and how it is organized in their session, but when you prepare a song for mixing to be sent to a mixing engineer it should have some organization so that he can get straight to work on your song.
Here is a short list of things that are often overlooked or just plain neglected when sending files to an online mixing engineer that will put you on your mixing engineer’s “Nice List”.
1. What to keep in the session and what to remove.
First, you need to make sure you remove any sort of standard mixing plugins such as EQ and Compression from the tracks when you bounce/export them out. The mixing engineer can usually do a better job in this department and shouldn’t be crippled from already processed tracks.
However, if you have some look effects that you like and would be hard to recreate then, by all means, keep it in the session and export that out for your mix engineer. For example, if you made a cool phone vocal or auto-tune effect, keep it and sent it to the mixing engineer.
You also need to make sure your files are cleaned up with fades and good edits. Also, when you bounce out your files you need to make sure everything has the same start and ending time. This is so when the mixing engineer imports your files, everything is properly lined up.
Cleaning also involves getting rid of anything that you know you are not going to use. Make some commitments on your tracks and send only what the mixing engineer needs.
3. Pitch Correction and Editing
This is something the mixing engineer can probably do in a pinch, but this should be done before the mixing process by the recording engineer or the producer of the track. The mixing engineer is also probably going to charge you extra to have to do pitch correction or editing. So before you send your tracks to an online mixing service make sure your tracks are tight and in tune. This will save you and your engineer a lot of headaches.
4. Labeling / Organization
This is a big one. If you send the mixing engineer “audio 1”, “audio 2”, “audio 3” he is going to KILL YOU! Joking aside, this will really annoy anyone else that has to work on your project. Before you send off your audio make sure you have everything clearly named and organized.
I usually ask for tracks divided out into different folder for instrumentation. For example, a drum folder for all drum audio, guitar for guitar, etc.
I have a link to a template that I send to my clients. Download it HERE and get your mixing engineer to fall in love with you. Here is an example of it.
5. Rough Mix / Reference mix
When sending your audio to an online mixing service or any mixing engineer in general, it can be good to also send a rough mix with it. This will help the mixing engineer get a general idea of the vision that you have for the track. Especially, if you have any unique ideas that will add interest to the track.
Also, you should send a commercially released song that can serve as reference mix for the mix engineer. You probably have a song in your head that served as inspiration for you. It would be good to use that song to help the mixing engineer get an idea about the sound and direction that you want to achieve in your song.
7. File Format
You should send the audio at whatever sample rate and bit-depth that it was recorded at. You don’t want to do any sample rate or bit-depth conversion before you even get it to the mixing or mastering stage.
The audio should be a 24-bit and 44.1khz or higher .WAV file for the mixing engineer. Whatever you do, don’t send your mixing engineer a bunch MP3 files.
I hope these tips will help you prepare a song for mixing. The most important thing is to just make sure your session or audio is well organized and that someone who is opening it for the first time will have a clear understanding of what is going on in your audio with just a quick review.
Are you looking to get professional mixing services for you music?
Curious how to get started with our professional mixing services? Check out our process page to learn more our online mixing services.