Mix Delivery Instructions

By Don | September 29, 2020

Category: Instructional | Tags: mastering, mixing

Thanks for asking me to mix your music. It’s going to sound great.

Prepping your sessions according to these instructions will save a shocking amount of time in the mixing process—especially the editing tasks outlined in the first section. (The less time I have to spend sorting through audio files or fixing bad edits, the more time I can focus on making things sound good.)

Before you send me your recordings, please consolidated them into raw, full-length WAV files. These can then be put into a folder and data compressed (zipped). Additional mix notes, reference songs, or rough mixes are welcome, but not necessary.

Before consolidating, please do the following:

  • Check to make sure that all edits are free of clicks, double hits, or any other general nastiness. This is especially important if you’ve used any sort of automatic editing tool such as Beat Detective, or heavily comped or edited a given track.
  • Check all tracks for proper crossfades, fade-ins, and fade-outs.
  • Remove all plug-ins and automation. If a plug-in is critical to the sound of a given part, please provide two versions: one with the effect and one without, and label them accordingly.
  • Feel free to sub-mix massively layered parts, such as string layers or thick background vocals. I can always ask for individual tracks if I need them. If you're uncomfortable submixing or there’s a reason why you’d rather not, ignore this step.
  • Please label all of your tracks as follows if possible:
  • Use short abbreviations (GTR, ACU, VOX, BGV, TPT, BD, SD, etc).
  • If tracks are doubled, harmonized, or otherwise multed, please follow the track name with a number (BV 1, BV 2, BV 3).
  • If tracks were recorded with multiple mics, please follow the track name with a letter (E GTR 1A, E GTR 1B). Label direct tracks as such (bass DI).
  • If you’d like to include specifics regarding signal chains or microphones, please do so either in an included text file or in your DAW’s track comment field, not in the track name or audio file name. That said, I generally don’t need to know what you used to record something.

There are two ways to consolidate audio:

  1. Set all levels to 0 dB, then solo and render/bounce each track, one at a time, with the exact same start/stop range selected each time. Please bounce mono tracks as mono files and stereo tracks as stereo files.
  2. Freeze, commit, consolidate, bounce-in-place, and export clips as audio files (ask Google if you’re unsure about how to do this in your particular DAW

While consolidating:

  • Make sure all audio files begin at the exact same time (usually bar one or zero seconds—all that matters is that you’re consistent).
  • Make sure all the files are of the same uncompressed format (WAV), and the same bit depth (24- or 32-bit preferred) and sample rate (whatever rate they were recorded at).
  • Don’t normalize or otherwise change the gain of any of the tracks.
  • Comp and clearly label the lead vocal. If any vocal tracks have been tuned, please provide both the tuned and untuned versions if possible.
  • After consolidating, please verify everything’s in order by taking a quick listen back to all multitracks at once, checking for missing parts or misalignment.

Lastly:

  • Place all multi-tracks for a given song in a folder of the same name plus the BPM of the song if recorded to a click (“Mary Had a Little Lamb 106 BPM”), then compress/zip that folder.

Thanks and let me know if you have any questions!

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