MIXING AND MASTERING
BY MICHAEL BRIGGS
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. 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.
Mixing and mastering typically takes 3 – 7 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. Vinyl specific master WAV files and CD-R masters to send to the pressing plant are 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 chat.
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 time. This is crucial for keeping the tracks in time with each other.
- 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.
- It is helpful to embed regions or markers into the tracks for the song sections, but not required.
- Include MIDI tempo map and/or a rendered version of the click track if applicable.
- Please send mono WAV files for mono sources when possible. (Do not send stereo files for a mono sound)
- Include a tracklist of the songs in the order that you want them for the album. You may also include notes on the tracklist with your thoughts/ideas about each song and any specific effects that you want applied and any special notes about how you want the mix to sound.
- Include a list of 3-5 references for how you want the general direction of the mix to go. YouTube links are fine. This is helpful but not required.
- Include your rough mix if you have one.
- Below are some guides on how to export stems from some popular DAWs.
Logic Pro | Pro Tools | Reaper | Ableton Live | Cubase | GarageBand | Audacity
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.
- 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.
- Always record a direct input (DI) of all electric 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. It is also helpful to include rendered versions of your guitars if you are using an amp sim as a guide in addition to the clean DI signal.
- 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. Room mics are generally not needed for guitar amps.
- 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.
- I recommend tracking at a sample rate of 48k with 24 bit depth. If you recorded at another sample rate, that’s fine. Send as is and I’ll convert if necessary.
- 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.
I reserve the right to decline your project if I feel that my services are not the right fit for your music.