Preparing Tracks to Mix

  It seems that every recording software company is making it increasingly easy for anyone to track their songs at home.    It also seems that many who record at home feel that no matter how poorly the tracks turn out, whether because of lack of technique, lack of quality gear or lack of preparation, it can be “fixed in the mix.”

 Here at 3 Leaf Recording we are getting more calls every day from home recordists who want to bring in their tracks to mix in a professional studio.  This can definitely take your songs to a level that otherwise would be out of reach for so many.  Rarely, though, are the tracks prepared the correct way.

  Here are some pointers to correct mistakes we commonly see.  Keeping in mind that each DAW has its proprietary functions, we’ll keep it generic.

* Label all tracks clearly, (Audio 1, Audio 2, etc.) does not cut it. Take the time to rename if need be. Be as detailed as possible. Identify snare top from snare bottom, for example. If your program does not have a NOTES section, you can also send along a separate list for your track comments.

* Make sure all tracks have the same start markers.

* Check that all your tracks are one continuous file.  In Pro Tools, you would consolidate regions, in      Nuendo/Cubase, you can use the glue tool, and so on.

* Keep a handle on your levels, we cannot undo digitally clipped files.

* Avoid sending stereo files that are actually mono.

* Disable all plugins, especially dynamics. If it is really important, export a rendered version separately.  This also goes for any auto-tuning plugs.

* If you concerns, ask your mix engineer before you send tracks and keep the lines of communication open.

This is only a generalized list of suggestions but it will help you save some time and money when getting a professional mix of your songs.

 Happy tracking,

Sean Cooney



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