How to prepare tracks for mixing

If you want your track mixed properly then you need to prepare your files correctly before you send them to the engineer. Otherwise your making their life a nightmare and preventing them from doing their job properly. Here’s our tips for preparing your files properly before you send them to be mixed.

Send ONLY the audio that you want mixing.

Only send the engineer the material you actually want mixed. It’s not part of a mixers job to go through thousands of takes and comp together a killer final take, unless you’re also hiring them to help produce your song.

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Send everything dry

Don’t make your mixing engineer cry by sending them tracks that have already been rendered with processing or effects, unless it is an essential part of the sound. If you already did some EQ, compression, or other processing on tracks within your DAW you should turn those off or bypass them when you render the tracks for mixing. There’s nothing worse than getting tracks that have been compressed/limited to death, or have an overly harsh EQ applied. To do their job properly, they need a blank canvas.

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Label your tracks properly

There is almost nothing more frustrating than getting a project to mix that has 100 or more tracks, all with file names like audio01, audio02, etc. It’s really lazy and unacceptable! All files & tracks need to be labelled with useful and meaningful names so that the mixing engineer can quickly figure out what’s what.

mix engineering consoleExport the stems

The final step in preparing your tracks is to consolidate and export them. The most important thing here is to make sure you send them all the stems and don’t just bounce down the overall stereo file, because there’s very little they can do with that. When you are consolidating and exporting your tracks for mixing, be certain you know how your particular software functions, and whether or not any inserts or other processing will be included when the track is rendered. 

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Choose the right file type

Make sure the stems are in a lossless format. Sending a 128kbs MP3 really isn’t good enough quality for a mixing engineer and if you’re paying good money for their time then they need to have high resolution files or there’s no point them doing any work on them. For an explanation of the differences between lossy and lossless audio filetypes read the How To Geek’s guide.

If you follow all these steps your engineer will be one happy bunny and will be able to make your tracks sound awesome. If you have any questions leave them in the comments below.

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Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the Community and Marketing Manager and is currently finishing up a PhD in music at Birmingham Conservatoire and still hasn’t got over his addiction to coffee. He loves getting involved in crazy music projects and plays the bassoon, oboe, piano, recorder and guitar. He also makes lots of electronic music and loves collaborating. He sings too if you ask nicely and once shamefully sang as a backing singer for Will Young. When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.
Joe Scarffe

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Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the Community and Marketing Manager and is currently finishing up a PhD in music at Birmingham Conservatoire and still hasn’t got over his addiction to coffee.

He loves getting involved in crazy music projects and plays the bassoon, oboe, piano, recorder and guitar. He also makes lots of electronic music and loves collaborating. He sings too if you ask nicely and once shamefully sang as a backing singer for Will Young.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.