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). 

 

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!!

My Best Mixing & Mastering Articles

Learning And Calibrating Your Speakers For Your DAW In Audio Mastering

3 calibrate speakers audio mastering daw

Learning and calibrating your speakers for your DAW in audio mastering is a very important step in the audio mastering process.  When I first start out with NEW speakers (though I never change them now), I listen to my favorite hit songs in every genre and style.  Songs that I know from my years of experience have X amount of bass, X amount of brightness, etc.  I know how these songs are "supposed" to sound.

 

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 ...
Monitor Speaker Placement For Your Home Recording Studio And DAW Setup

4 speaker placemnt daw home recording studio

Here's the monitor speaker setup I use for my DAW, and the setup I recommend for your home recording studio.

 

Read more ...
Stereo Widening Techniques | How To Use Stereo Widening In Mastering Music

Here are a few great stereo widening techniques and how to use them in music.  When you listen to music on a car radio, you want that wide stereo sound that extends from the left door to the right. Not just two feet wide right above the stereo!

 

Read more ...
Mastering Hardware Equipment You Need For Your DAW Home Recording Studio

7 mastering hardware equipment daw recording studio

Here's the basic hardware you need to master music:

 

Read more ...
What Is Headroom In Mastering?

15 what is headroom in mastering

In order to produce a good master, a mix needs proper headroom and dynamic range.

 

Read more ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Audio Engineer Hearing Loss And Tinnitus

5 sound engineer prevent tinnitus

Millions of people suffer from tinnitus.  A new study shows around 10% of the U.S. population suffers from it in some form, but many have never even heard of it until they get it!  Unfortunately, I was one of those people.  It can happen quickly and it lasts a lifetime... 

 

Read more ...
A/B Comparison In Mastering
In this video I do a quick A/B comparison of a few songs.  In my audio mastering secrets video series, I get a lot more in-depth into exactly what you are trying to achieve sonically for your genre/style of music.
 
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 ...
Cheaply Soundproofing Your Room For Audio Mastering

1 cheaply soundproofing room studio

I had to write a quick note on this, as I was reminded about it while thumbing through a popular mixing book that had a 15 page section on speaker resonance and room sound proofing.  I must say, a very exciting 15 pages!  Ha!

 

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 ...
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 ...
What Software Do You Need For Audio Mastering?

2 software for audio mastering

If you've mixed songs in the past, you more than likely can use that same software for audio mastering. As long as you can add effects to the stereo/main out bus, you're good to go.  Read more....

 

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 ...
John Rogers - Danceur Magazine Interview (July 2018)

Since the begining of his solo career in 2008, I mastered over 80 songs with the top French recording artist NYLS.  Great pop dance music with a lot of remixes.  During his entire career (as of now), I mastered most of if not all the song he released.  It was a great pleasure working with NYLS and Nico at Icon Records!

Read more ...
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 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!

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 ...
Can You Master A Song That's Already Been Mastered?
Can I master a song that's already been mastered?  Yes!  Every month I master songs that have already been mastered.  Read more....
 
Read more ...
What Does Mastering Do To A Song?

10 what is audio mastering

What does mastering do to a song?  Your main goal in audio mastering is to replicate the sonic qualities of a well professionally mastered commercial song, in the same genre and style as the song mix you are working on.

 

Read more ...
Why Does A Mix Need Headroom And Dynamic Range?

16 why do songs need mastering

Why does a mix need headroom and dynamic range?  In one sentence, it gives the mastering engineer more room to work with.
 

Read more ...
What Does Channel Mean In Music And Mixing?

It's the most basic of all questions, but someone asks it at least once a week.  In this article, I will explain what channel means in music and mixing

 

Read more ...
Go to top