jrmasteringsmall

prepare songs for mixing

In this article, I'll show you how to prepare your songs for mixing.

 

Surprisingly, many clients don't know what mixing is.  I will address that first. 

Mixing is individual tracks (vocals, bass, guitar, etc.) mixed together to make a complete song (single stereo interleaved file).   Mastering involves working with a complete song (single stereo interleaved file).  

 

{article 253}[layout]{/article}

 

Here are a few tips on how to prepare your songs for mixing:

1. We do not work with pro tools or cubase sx session files, only .wav or .aiff files.

2. You have to export each channel as a .wav file or .aiff, 44.1 or 48kHz and preferably 24bit, starting at the beginning of the song all the way to the end.

3. Do not go over 0 level and clip any of your tracks.

 

Your stereo tracks should look something like this.

wav3

 

NOT like this, over level and DISTORTED.

wav5

 

4. When recording vocals, use minimal compression, and bass roll off (Hi pass @ 100hz).  We don't want them smashed or super bright.

5. Vocal control is probably more important than compression.  If the vocalist mumbles through the verses and then screams +10db louder in the choruses, with their mouth 1/2 inch from the mic, no compressor can fix that.

6. If your vocal tracks are all over the map from a volume level standpoint, they need to be smoothed out.  Do a visual of the vocal tracks, highlight the offending areas, and then gain (or cut) as necessary.  Compression will also help.

7. Should you export your tracks with effects?  If you have a favorite guitar distortion effect, a unique flange or chorus you really like that you KNOW you must have in the song, export the track with the effect on it.  These effects don't take up that much space in the mix.  If it's a huge reverb or delay, leave that to us.  Once you put these space eating effects in, we're stuck with them and it limits what we can do. 

8.  EQing and hi-low pass filtering tracks are fine, but not to extremes.  If you were to high pass filter your vocals @500hz, they'll all be too bright and useless.  Also, you eliminate the bass so it can't be boosted if needed.

9. Stereo tracks, like synths, should be uploaded as stereo interleaved files, not L & R mono files.  We can split them if needed.  Note: If we split the track, it still counts as one track when it comes to pricing.

10. Listen closely to every track for noise.  If there's a hiss, something could be boosted too high.

11. If any tracks are too noisy and you can't eliminate it, noise gate the track.  Make sure to add a little extra release time so you don't cut off the audio tails.

12. You do not need to fade out each track.  We will fade the entire song at the end.

13. Limit your instrumentation with space in mind.  If your song has five guitars and three synths, all playing different melodies at the same time, its not going to work.  It may be correct melodically, but it will sound like a train-wreck when all playing together, leaving no room for the vocals either.  This is why no one ever does this!  

14. Most important, make sure when your tracks are exported and start at 0:00, they're all in sync.  If even one track is early or late, its a time consuming process moving it up and back.

15. Make sure you check out my low mastering prices and AMAZING results!!
{article 162}[layout]{/article}

The Music Production Secrets Series
by John Rogers

  

My Best Mixing & Mastering Articles

What's The Vibrato And Tremolo Definition In Music | Differences Between Tremolo And Vibrato

The vibrato and tremolo effects both have their differences.  But the vibrato and tremolo effects also sound very similar; both slightly wave and pulsate the pitch of an audio track. You have to hear it for yourself to understand the sound.

 

Read more ...
How To Master Movie Soundtracks, Classical, and Jazz
 In this article I will discuss how to master movie soundtracks, classical, and jazz songs.  Every genre (style) of music has its own set of sonic qualities that are unique to the genre.  These sonic qualities are a "must to know" if you want to audio mastering your own movie soundtracks, classical, and jazz music. Read more ...
Top 17 Common Music Mixing Mistakes And How To Fix Them!
audio music mixing mistakes
 
These are the Top 17 most common music mixing mistakes I see daily.  Correcting them could will improve your audio mastering results and make your mixes sound more professional.
 
 
Read more ...
How To Mix And Master Songs

If you're into "do it yourself projects" my mastering book will show you EXACTLY how I mastered every style of music on this website.  Get it here Audio Mastering Secrets!

Set Mixing Levels For Each Instrument

How to set mixing levels for each instrument is a question I see all over the Internet.  I'm going to explain exactly how to set mixing levels in this article.

 

Read more ...
How To Master EDM, Pop Dance, Synth
 In this article I will discuss how to master EDM, pop dance and synth songs.  Every genre (style) of music has its own set of sonic qualities that are unique to the genre.  These sonic qualities are a "must to know" if you want to audio mastering your own EDM, pop dance and synth music. Read more ...
How Long Does It Take To Master A Song?

How long does is take to master a song?  There are several extra song mastering procedures I offer that other mastering engineers will not do. 

 

Read more ...
How Much Headroom Before Mastering Should I Leave?

mastering headroom

How much headroom before mastering should you leave in your mix?  Here's the correct amount of headroom you should leave, using detailed graphic examples.

Read more ...
How To Prepare Your Songs For Mixing
prepare songs for mixing

In this article, I'll show you how to prepare your songs for mixing.

 

Read more ...
My First Music Video!

Here's the first music video I directed, Mahalin Muli by JAI, released on July 10th, 2018.  I also wrote more than half of the script. 

Read more ...
How Much Should I Charge For Mastering?

I've mastered over 40,000 songs since 1999.  I've charged $10 a song, $20, $30, $50 even $100!  Some prices worked better than others.  Here are a few facts to consider when deciding on what prices to charge.  Read more....

Read more ...
#1 Best Website Hosting For Musicians, And Music Recording Studios

If you're looking for the best website hosting for musicians, bands, and music recording studios, here's my own personal experience with website hosting companies.

 

Read more ...
Should Your Mix Sound Close To A Mastered Song?

13 mix sound like master

Note - This section is basically a tip for those of you working with clients or if you plan on submitting your mixes to a mastering engineer.

 

Read more ...
Best Room Size For Audio Mastering DAW Home Recording Studio

6 best room size for audio mastering

So, what is the best room size for audio mastering in your DAW home recording studio?  Technically, you can properly mix or master in any room size.  But, I believe a smaller room is better than a very large one for someone who's just starting out. And when I say smaller I mean closer to 12'x15' than to 20'x30'.  I've mixed and mastered songs for a number of years in a 20'x30' room.  It took me a few days to get used to it, but after that I could do it.

 

Read more ...
What's The Difference Between Mixing And Mastering

8 difference between mixing mastering

What's the difference between mixing and mastering?  A lot of people new to music don't know the answer to this.

 

Read more ...
What Is Chorus Effect In Music | How To Use Chorus

This article discusses what is the chorus effect in music and how to use it?  The chorus effect makes a single audio track sound like a group. It achieves this by taking a single instrument or vocal track, multiplying it, and then slightly detunes each newly created track. The result is a fuller lush sounding audio track.

 

Read more ...
What Is Audio Mastering?

9 what is audio mastering

What is audio mastering?  I've seen a lot of different answers on the Internet to this simple question.  Some were pretty technical and confusing.

 

Read more ...
Which Is Better For Audio Mastering Analog Gear Or Digital Software Plugins?

18 analog digital equipment

I started my career using the old analog stuff, since that was the only option.  I incorporated digital software plugins as soon as they became available, but it took many years before computers were fast enough to run them in realtime.  And also before they started making very high quality plugins. 

 

Read more ...
Mastering Compression Techniques

This video shows one of the more imptotant compression techniques I use in audio mastering.  In my audio Mastering Secrets Video Series, I explain everything you need to know about audio mastering.

 

Read more ...
Can Anyone Become A Great Sound Engineer?

11 become great sound engineer

I would say YES, most people can become a great mastering engineer. I say this because most of the mixes I receive from clients are pretty good and I know the audio engineer (the band member with a computer) has only minimal training.  He could easily be great if he put a little more study and practice time into it.  And if he had this book to teach him what took me over 17 years to learn!  Ha!

 

Read more ...
The Sound Engineer SCAM! Does More Expensive Mean Better?


The sound engineer scam, the online recording studio ripoff, whatever you want to call it.  I hear about it 3-4 times a month from my clients, since 1999.  It never changes!

 

Read more ...
How To Master A Song In Only 5 Minutes!

Would you like to know how to master a song or how to master your own music?  So many people think just making the volumes the same level for every song is "mastering" their CD.  Well, mastering is a lot more than just that! 

 

Read more ...
Mastering A Song For Radio

14 song ready for radio

Here's another popular question I see online, always with the wrong answer! "There's no such thing as radio ready mastering!"  REALLY?  Read more....

 

Read more ...
Best Free Redbook CD Burning Software
Yes, burning your own redbook master CDs is very easy!  Here's how to make your own redbook CD masters for free! 
 
Read more ...
How To Master Classic Rock
 In this article I will discuss how to master classic rock songs.  Every genre (style) of music has its own set of sonic qualities that are unique to the genre.  These sonic qualities are a "must to know" if you want to audio mastering your classic rock music. Read more ...
Go to top