How To Prep Your Tracks For The Mix
Updated: Jun 15, 2019
Welcome to the ultimate cheat sheet on how to efficiently send over your recorded tracks to the mix engineer. The more efficient you send over the tracks… the quicker the mix engineer can get your music sounding awesome.
Before You Export Checklist
Each track should be clearly labeled with the instrument that is on it.
Don’t use abbreviations or nicknames for those instruments.
Don’t use the names of the players Eg. ‘Dave guitar and Jason guitar’... it should be ‘Guitar 1 and Guitar 2’.
Number the tracks before the name Eg. 01 Kick // 02 Snare Top // 03 Snare Bottom.
Go through and check that all the fades on edits are done correctly. This is to remove any nasty edit clicks and pops that can take a mix engineer a long time to find and sort out.
Some DAW, such as Pro Tools, might require you to consolidate these fades.
3) Do A Rough Mix
No-one is expecting a grammy award winning mix from you … otherwise why are you sending it to a mix engineer? All I ask of the artists I work with is that they roughly push the volumes and pans around until they are happy.
This helps me get a rough indication of how loud or quiet you want certain instruments and where they should be in the stereo field.
Also put notes if you’re after something specific such as “huge reverb on vocals at 2:24”.
Bounce and name the file as "*song name* - rough mix". Make sure you send that over with the multi-tracks.
4) Remove All Plug-ins
Now you've bounced your rough mix, bypass all plug-ins from your session (excluding software instruments).
If you feel a plug-in is pivotal to your sound (such as amp sims or large reverbs) then send two versions; one processed version with your plug-ins and one completely ‘dry’ with all the plugins bypassed.
Pan all your mono tracks to the middle. Pan all of your stereo tracks as wide as possible. Simple as.
6) Set all volume levels at unity
All your volume levels (your faders) should be at unity (0dB) when you export.
Make sure your tracks are just going straight to the output and aren’t bussed to a separate aux.
Now You’re Ready To Export
1) Export Your Audio
Make sure you export all your audio files from the start of the project (even if the tracks don’t start at the beginning). Otherwise it becomes one giant jigsaw puzzle! If the tracks all start from the same place, they can all slot together in the right place when imported into a new session.
2) File Types
Export your audio files as high quality WAV or AIFF and at the same sample rate/bit depth as your session. If you have any questions about this, just let me know.
3) Watch Out!
It’s super important that you don’t normalize your tracks when you export your audio.
Make sure your mono tracks are exported as mono and your stereo tracks are in stereo.
Exporting mono tracks as stereo can be awkward and time consuming to work with.
4) Once You Have Your Files
Compress your audio files into a .Zip file and send them over via WeTransfer to email@example.com
Questions? Then Fire Away!
I appreciate there are countless DAWs and countless versions of each software. The above information doesn’t cover all of that so if you feel something is missing or you're just not sure… then just ask. I’ll work with you to make this process as smooth as possible.
Now let’s get your audio exported, sent over and let the mix process begin. I can’t wait to get to work.