What is Mixing?

In its purest form, mixing is the process of setting the volume of each track to create a balance between it and all of the other tracks in a song. The goals of mixing are to ensure that all of the vocals and instruments are audible, to give an overall pleasurable listening experience, and that the artist's vision and message for the song is communicated.

Mixing involves the use of equalization (EQ), dynamics processing (compressors, expanders, and gates), and the application of effects (reverb, delay, chorus, etc.) to improve the sound of each track and to create a cohesive overall mix for the song. Finally, mixing involves the rendering or "bouncing down" of all of the separate vocal and instrument tracks into a single stereo file that can be played back on a standard listening device (car stereo, cd boombox, mp3 player, tape deck, etc.).

Also included in the Mixing process is the Editing of the audio material. This involves removing any noises, cutting the silence out of tracks, compiling a single outstanding take by taking the best parts from other multiple takes ("comping"), correcting any timing irregularities, and using pitch correction ("autotune") for tuning vocal parts.

Surprisingly to some, the Mixing and Editing process can often take much longer than the recording of the raw tracks! Mixing is actually where much of the so-called “magic” of recording takes place, where the mix engineer takes plain, maybe even dull-sounding tracks, and crafts them into a completed song that is a joy to listen to.

Mixing Rates

For most material, Mixing (for one song) can be completed within 3 to 4 hours. More difficult material will obviously take longer. Prior to working on your project, we will evaluate your material to give you a firm quote in advance, and the price that you pay will NOT exceed our original quote. If it takes longer to complete the job, we will absorb the cost.

Mixing FAQ

  1. Can I hear some samples of material that you've mixed?
  2. How should I prepare my tracks for mixing?
  3. Which file format/s do you accept?
  4. Which format/s do you deliver?
  5. How do I submit my tracks?

Can I hear some samples of material that you've mixed?

Yes, you can listen to some of the material that we've mixed on our Samples page.

How should I prepare my tracks for mixing?

  • Provide each track as a separate file - mono files for mono sources, stereo files for stereo sources.
  • Assign a logical name to the file for each track (e.g., "snare drum.wav", "kick drum.wav", "lead vocals.wav", "acoustic guitar.wav", "electric guitar.wav", "guitar solo.wav", etc.)
  • Each track should have a common starting point. In other words, all of tracks should begin playing at the same time so they can be easily lined up in the timeline in our DAW software.
  • Tracks should be provided "dry" (without any EQ, effects such as reverb, compression, etc.), unless you are absolutely certain that you want to use a particular effect on the track. In those cases, you should provide both a dry version and a version with the effect/s applied (e.g., "lead vocal dry.wav", "lead vocal reverb.wav")
  • If you've recorded multiple takes of a particular track (such as the lead vocal), eliminate any obviously flawed takes, and then provide us with a few (3-5) of the better takes to choose from. Be sure to name each file so that we know we're dealing with multiple takes (e.g., "lead vocals take 1.wav", "lead vocals take 2.wav", etc.)
  • Provide us with a rough mix if you have one.
  • Provide us with a reference track (of your own or from another artist) if there's a certain overall "sound" that you're going for. Obviously, your track won't come out sounding just like the reference, but a reference can be helpful for targeting a certain vibe, or overall sound.

For more helpful tips on preparing your tracks for mixing, check out this website.

Which file format/s do you accept?

For the best possible results, we need WAV or AIFF files in resolutions of at least 16-bit/44.1 kHz or better. 24-bit resolution is preferred. Please do NOT send any kind of data-compressed files like MP3, Real, or OGG-Vorbis. These are "lossy" audio formats which destroy harmonic content irreversibly, so they cannot be used as source files for mixing.

Which format/s do you deliver?

The format that we deliver depends upon your needs, but in most cases we will provide your mixes in 24-bit/44.1 kHz Wav files. If needed, we can send the files to you in other formats (data CD or DVD), or at higher sample rates.

How do I submit my tracks?

You can upload your files to our secure FTP server, use an online service such as Yousendit, send a data CD or DVD in the mail, or deliver them to us in person (if you are a local customer). Contact us for more details.