MIXING AND MASTERING

BY MICHAEL BRIGGS

ABOUT
The purpose of Civil Online Mixing and Mastering is to take your recorded tracks and bring the best out of them by creating a high quality professional sounding album or song. I am a mixing and mastering engineer, not a producer. I will not stylistically change your song. My goal is to make your song sound as good as it can with the source material that you provide me. Please keep in mind when recording your material: the better quality I have to work with, the better the mix and master will be.

RATES
Mixing (includes Mastering) is $25/song or $250 for an album (up to 80 minutes, unlimited songs), whichever is less. One song only is $50.
Prices are subject to change at any time. Mastering is included with all mixing services at no extra charge.
Mixing includes a small amount of editing/tuning as needed. There may be extra charges if your drums or vocals need extensive manual tuning or editing.

I reserve the right to decline your project if I feel that my services are not the right fit for your music.
Your satisfaction is guaranteed. Online mixing and mastering services include a reasonable number of revisions.

Email or call me at 214-444-9440 to discuss your project and if my mixing and mastering services are right for you.
You can also send a Facebook message to the Civil Recording page.

Mixing and mastering typically takes 5 – 10 days from the time that your source files are received and approved, we have discussed your goals for the mix and agreed to a start date. Rush service may be available for an additional fee.

Masters are generally delivered digitally as high quality 48k 24 bit WAV files as well as 320kbps MP3 files. Red book compliant CD-R masters to send to the pressing plant are also available for an additional fee.

Please read all of the information below and follow the tracking recommendations in order to get the best results. Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help via email, phone or IM.

How To Prepare Files For Mixing

  • You will need to export/bounce/consolidate/print the “stems” of each of the tracks in your multitrack session for mixing. This will produce one .WAV (or AIFF) file for each track that all start at the same moment. This is crucial for keeping the tracks in time with each other. You can either send separate files for each song or leave all songs on the same tracks with approx 10 seconds of silence between each song.
  • Export the WAV files at their original sampling rate and bit depth. Do convert the sample rate. I will do so if needed.
  • Compress all of your .WAV files into a .ZIP or .RAR archive. If your ZIP file is greater than 2GB, please break it apart into multiple files. WinRAR is a good tool for this.
  • It is very helpful to embed regions or markers if possible into the WAV files with the track name.
  • Please send mono WAV files for mono sources when possible. (Logic is bad about exporting redundant stereo files for mono sources)
  • Include a tracklist of the songs in the order they are on the session and the time in the session that they start. If this is different than the final tracklist that you want in your master please send that as a second list. You may also include notes on the tracklist with your thoughts/ideas about each song and any effects that you want applied and any special notes about how you want the mix to sound.
  • Below are some guides on how to export stems from some popular DAWs.
    Logic Pro | Pro Tools | Reaper | Ableton Live | Cubase | GarageBand | Audacity
  • If you are not willing or able to export the stems, you may send your original session file for conversion ($50 fee).

Recommendations For Tracking To Get The Best Final Mix

  • Generally speaking, the more mics the better.
    It’s easy to get rid of a track if it’s not needed but it’s not possible to add it later.
    I don’t charge by the amount of tracks, so send me everything you’ve got.
  • Always clearly label all tracks. It is helpful to include a list of all tracks with a description of the content of each and the type of microphone that was used to record it if possible.
  • Avoid digital clipping in any individual track whenever possible. Try to keep your peaks below 0db.
  • Record a direct input (DI) of all instruments in addition to miking the amps for re-amping during mixing. This will greatly increase the flexibility of shaping the tone of the tracks and provide a much fuller, cleaner sound. This is most important for the bass guitar, but should be done for all guitars and keyboards or electronic instruments whenever possible. Put the DI box in between your effects pedals and the amp. Depending on the effects pedals you are using it may also be beneficial to record an additional DI track of the guitar clean before it goes to the pedals. The more options we have the better.
  • Whenever possible, use 2 different mics on amp cabinets. It is preferable to use both a dynamic and condenser microphone to offer the greatest flexibility in finding the perfect tone for the mix.
  • Always mic both the top and bottom of the snare drum on separate tracks. This is very important.
  • Do not apply any additional effects (EQ, Compression, Reverb) to the recorded tracks in your DAW.
  • If you do not already have a DAW for tracking that you are familiar with, I recommend Reaper. It’s very powerful and flexible and free to try.
  • I recommend tracking at a sample rate of 48k with 24 bit depth.
  • Let me know if you have any questions or need advice.
    It’s best to ask before you start tracking so that we can make sure that you end up with the best final results.