I get asked a lot by my clients about the best ways for them to forward their music to me online for mixing. Online music mixing services are becoming a very popular service trade within the music industry.
If you are looking to have your music mixed online then understanding how to collaborate with an online mix engineer or music producer will benefit your project, music and professional relationship with the mixer. Mix engineers strive to bring out the most creative and emotive element within the music. This is generally accomplished when projects have been prepared to their very best before mixing.
Below are my most important mix preparation steps I recommend to clients before they send me their projects for mixing.
Brief & Reference Tracks
Briefs give both parties the opportunity to agree upon the process and outcome of the mix. Reference tracks can be useful for demonstrating ideas that want to be achieved.
A rough mix will provide the mixer with an insight and representation to your brief. Always provide a mix that has creative ideas rather than technical ones.
Sending Your Music
Naming Stems, Folders & Mix Notes
When sharing your projects ensure the tracks or audio stems are named correctly in clear language. Mixers do not want to sort through 24+ tracks all named “audio xx” or “track xx”.
If you are forwarding audio stems then organise the stems into folders on the computer. This makes it very easy for the mixer to organise and prepare the session for mixing.
Always write mix notes that include bpm, file formats, sample rates, bit depths.
Cleaning Spaces & Tidying Audio
This can be a tedious process but is a fundamental stage prior to the mix process. Be sure to trim, delete and fade any parts of audio that do not add anything to the song.
- Spaces where a singer is waiting behind the microphone to come in on a verse
- Sections where an electric guitar is buzzing waiting for a solo.
Don’t leave this to a mix engineer to complete, as they will most likely charge extra for the service.
Wet/Dry Effects, Compression & EQ
If you are sending audio stems and unsure whether or not to send your files dry (without effects) then think about your choices and expectations.
For instance, if you have a tremolo effect on a guitar track then ask yourself "Is that effect integral to the song & production?" If yes, ensure the audio has that printed/embedded to the file. If no, send it clean. I find it useful when a client provides me with both the wet (effected) and dry (clean) versions of such tracks. It gives me the creative freedom and choice to use it, leave it or recreate it giving me the chance to develop the creative idea further, if need be.
Ensure none of the audio has any digital clipping or distortion. This is a vital part of the tracking and recording stage. Try to avoid sending audio that is distorted, as very little can be done to rectify it.
It is also very good practise to leave 5 to 10db of space (headroom) between the loudest part of a track and 0db (unity). Headroom is your friend in recording and your lover in mixing.
Format Of Project
We all know that the art of music production doesn’t occur in one universal software or digital audio workstation such as Pro Tools, Logic, Sonar and so on. The first thing you need to establish with your online music mixer is can he/she open the project in their system? If so then also check if the mixer has access to the same third party plug-ins you use.
The most efficient way for an online mixer to receive your files is with the tried and true method of exporting and sharing audio stems in either .WAV or .AIFF format.
Sharing Large Files Online
Ensure that your project folders or stem folders are compressed (.ZIP) so that time can be saved uploading and downloading. There are a lot of free services available for sharing large files and folders. Some online music mixing services, like mine, have an integrated uploader.
Other services that are widely used are:
Need Your Music Mixed?
Check out Rodel Sound's Online Music Mixing Service Below. Upload your music today.