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Preparing a Mix for Mastering

April 28, 2022
2 min read
Music keyboard

I'd like to share some ideas and preparation tips with you to help you get the most out of your time recording and mixing your song or album of songs in preparation for mastering and publication.

There are many things to consider - "am I recording this material for audio-only distribution or for use in video?" "What distribution platforms are going to be utilized?" "What is the size of the band?" "In what genre are we going to be classified?" "What are some other similar releases that can be used as reference tracks?"

All of these considerations should part of your decision-making process before you even hit "Record", as well as things like... "Where am I recording?" "In the studio?" "In a living room?" "At an outdoor venue?" "In a night club?" "What equipment do I need?" "What microphones will I needs?" "What preamps and interface?" "What is my channel count?" "What DAW will I be using?" Will I need multiple sets of headphones, etc?"

Organization from the start of the process will ultimately help things go much smoother all the way through to your final mix! I tend to bring more than I know I'll need - just in case...

I have done a fair amount of location recording, not knowing what I was walking into as far as the space is concerned....will there be ample electrical outlets? Is the space a 'live' space (lots of reflective surfaces) or a 'dead' space (few reflective surfaces, lots of absorbing elements - carpets, drapes cushions, etc.)? Do I close mic each instrument? Do I take advantage of the natural room reverb?

In the posts on "Recording" (posts 1 & 2) I'll cover things such as;

Once you are confident you have a good recording, it's time to mix! It's easy to just start throwing plugins at each track and try to get "that sound", however, more often than not, the more plugins you put on a track, the further you get from your desired result! In the 'Mixing" posts I'll cover things to consider and steps to take (and why) to get you closer to "that sound" than you thought possible with very few plugins. If you captured the source well in recording, it shouldn't take much to get a great mix!

I'll cover the following in the "Mixing" posts (posts 3 & 4);

Following certain protocols during the recording and mixing phases will result in a cleaner, better mix to hand off to the mastering engineer. Having a track to run on has helped make me more efficient in the studio and on location for recording stronger, punchier tracks that compete with the best even before mastering. You've worked hard to get to this point... Your music deserves the best you can give it!

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