Project preparation

This is a short step-by-step guide for preparing your project before mixing and mastering. The key to successful and timely completion of our work lies in the preparation stage. The mixing/mastering engineer needs to quickly get into your project and familiarize himself with its structure. Good prior communication and clear understanding on your part of what you want to achieve in regards to the sound of your music is crucial.

  1. Mixing preparations

    1. Finish production

    Be sure you’re happy (as much as reasonably possible) with the performances, the arrangement and the quality of the recording. Any changes to the structure of the project after the mixing work is started will set us back, will require extra time and effort and thus will be billed additionally.

    Some people believe you can’t ever finish the song, only stop working on it. This may be true in many cases, but the point is, either way it needs to be done before mixing.

    • Timing correction, Vocal tuning, Take comping

    We do all of these things, but as separate services, because it usually takes much more time to edit the tracks and perform all those manipulations than mix a song. However, we do it on a regular basis. Contact us for details.

    Disable the effects, which are not integral in forming the sound of a track. Typically, choruses, distortions, filter sweeps and such can be printed with the track, but compression, dynamics, delays, reverbs and most of equalization must be left out. If you think some effect is crucial to your track, print it as a separate ‘send’ track (good candidates here are rhythmic delays, spring reverbs of the instruments). ‘Send’ tracks won’t be counted in price estimation.

    After disabling effects, don’t forget to check the tracks for clipping (hint: there shouldn’t be any).

    1. Label your tracks

    Label your tracks in a clear and neat way. To distinguish groups of instruments we suggest prefixing tracks such as parts of a drum set with some concise prefix: dr_ or DR- will do. You can do it before printing the files, or rename them after printing.

    All tracks must be consolidated from time 0 (i.e. the start of the song). There should be only one file per track.
    Please, double check the files in a new project after consolidating, make sure everything is there and no clipping is occurring.

  2. Mastering preparations

    1. Commit to your mix

    Be sure you’re happy (as much as reasonably possible) with the mix. Mastering makes everything sound better, but there is a limit to the magic. Some things are much easier to fix during the mixing, so we may have suggestions for slight corrections, let us know if it’s feasible beforehand.

    1. Disable master bus processing

    Turn off everything which is not integral to the sonic characteristics of your mix. Definitely disable any limiting and clipping. Ensure the mix has enough dynamic range and peaks no higher than -3dB.

    1. Render (bounce) the mix

    We request the mixes to be 32 bit files, so turn off dithering.

  3. Files and codecs

    We accept WAV, FLAC or AIFF files at:
    44.1, 48, 88.2 or 96 kHz;
    16, 24 or 32 bits for mixing,
    32 or 64 bits for mastering.

    We do not accept DAW sessions.

  4. Rough Mixes & Reference tracks

    If you have an idea of how you’d like your music to sound like, include the names (and links, if applicable) of a couple of reference tracks. Please, make notes of particular characteristics of the sonic palette that draw your attention in those tracks (i.e.: “The sense of space”, “Clarity of the parts”, “The sound of the snare drum”, etc.).

    If you have previously released music which was mixed to your satisfaction, it can be a perfect reference!

    We usually do not require rough mixes, unless there’s some unusual sound characteristic that was achieved at this stage.

  5. Send us the files

    Put the printed tracks in a folder and pack it in a zip archive if possible. Upload it on a file sharing service of your choice.
    We suggest:

Remember: The final mix is only as good as the quality of the recorded performances.