I’m here to help you do the best job of preparing your music so that
I can have what I need to do the best job of mixing your music.
The guide below was written by Michael Briggs exclusively for this site.
(You may link here but please do not republish without permission.)
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR SESSION FOR MIXING
I’m very excited that we’re going to work together. My goal is to make your music sound the absolute best that it possibly can and to do that I’m going to need your help to prepare all of your files for mixing. This page has a quick guide on how to do that.
PROJECT FILE OR INDIVIDUAL TRACKS?
I need all of your rendered multitrack files for mixing. Please do NOT send your project file from your DAW. I do not need that and it will only complicate and delay the process. What I need is all of your tracks rendered/bounced/printed from your DAW where they all start at exactly the same time so that the timing lines up. There should be silence in the track before the actual part starts and that is OK. More details on this below.
Files must be in a lossless format for mixing. WAV is by far the most popular file type but AIFF, FLAC and WavPack will also work. Please do not send mp3 unless that is absolutely all you have and you can’t get the WAVs.
Send your files in the same sample rate that they were recorded at. Do not convert to a different sample rate before sending. I will do any conversion that may be necessary. Acceptable sample rates include 44.1k all the way to 192k.
Render your tracks at at least 24bit. I prefer 32bit float if possible. That will give plenty of safety room in case the tracks do have any clipping to where it does not actually clip the file and distort. 32bit WAVs will be larger in size but it’s better and safer than 24bit. Please do not send your tracks at 16bit unless that is all that you have.
LEVELS / CLIPPING
Please try to make sure your tracks are not clipping (going over 0). This is not actually a problem if you’re sending 32bit WAVs as preferred but it is good practice regardless. It is preferred that peaks for each file be hitting somewhere between -3 and -10. That will give us a good healthy level without going too far.
STEREO / MONO
Please do NOT send a stereo file for mono content. Send a mono WAV for mono sound and a stereo WAV for stereo sound. You can also send stereo tracks as 2 different tracks with an L and R in the file name to indicate that it’s stereo. Some DAWs (Logic) are notorious for always exporting all files as stereo and if that happens it’s fine, I can deal with it but please don’t export as stereo when it’s really mono if you can help it.
This one is very important. Please take the time to name all files in a concise way that makes sense. Examples:
Lead Vocal Double.wav
Guitar Rhythm L.wav
Guitar Rhythm R.wav
Please do NOT send files like: v dup dup2.wav
Please send a main folder with the album name. Inside that folder should be subfolders for each song with the track number followed by the song name as the folder name. Please do NOT separate all types of instruments into their own folders within that subfolder. Just put all tracks for each song in their own folder. Example:
Album Title\01 – The Sky is Gray
Album Title\02 – Why So Grey?
Album Title\03 – The Sky is Blue Now
MAKE SURE THE TIMING WORKS
This is critical. Make sure that all tracks start at exactly the same time and are the same length. You can load all tracks into a new session on your DAW to verify and playback to make sure it lines up before sending.
I prefer tracks to be as clean and dry as possible with little to no effects applied. There are situations where you may have a rhythmic delay or other effect that is crucial to the feel of the song and if that is the case feel free to leave it on there. If there are tracks where you have built a really cool effect with reverb, delay, etc that you want to show me as an example please render two versions, one wet and one dry so I can have the flexibility in dealing with those. Example:
Cool Guitar Part (without FX).wav
Cool Guitar Part (with FX)
It is very very important to send all DIs along with the rendered mic tracks (either from a real amp or from an amp sim) to give me the most flexibility as well as allow potential reamping and make editing more efficient. This is crucial for both guitar and bass.
Please send MIDI (as .mid files) along with any key/synth parts in addition to the rendered audio files.
If you are using programmed drums please send the MIDI for those as well.
This is not required but please send the tempo map (as .mid) if you have one.
TEMPO AND KEY
It is very helpful for you to include a text file in the main folder that has the full tracklist and lists the tempo and song key if you have those. It is not required if you don’t know them.
PREPARE ALL FILES FOR SENDING
Once you have everything ready and have checked to make sure all file names are concise and make sense please compress the entire album folder into either a .ZIP or .RAR file for easy and safe transfer. If you have a poor internet connection and you’re not able to send very large files it is also acceptable to .ZIP each song individually (instead of the whole album or group of songs) and upload those. That may give you a better result with less dropped connections. If all else fails or you cannot get to a good connection you can mail me a USB drive with the files (ask for the address).
Once we have agreed on the quote, you may upload your files to my secure file transfer service here.