You Have Questions, I Have Answers
Below are the answers to some common questions people have regarding the mix process, and what to expect. If you don’t see an answer to your question, please feel free to ask using the form at the bottom of the page.
This is a common problem when sending sessions, because Pro Tools has the ability to references files outside of the session folder. For example, if you imported audio from another session, Pro Tools might be referencing the original files, instead of copying them into your session folder.
Please note that even if the session loads correctly on your computer, it might be missing files when you send it to me. Obviously, if you send a session to be mixed but it is missing some or all of the audio files, it will cause the mix session to grind to a halt.
The following is a fool-proof method for making sure all files are included before you send me your session for mixing.
- In Pro Tools, under the File menu, select “Save Copy In…”
- In the next window, in the bottom section labeled “Items To Copy”, check the box next to “Audio Files.” Click OK.
- In the next window, select a location for Pro Tools to save the new session folder. It doesn’t matter where you put it, just make sure it’s somewhere that will be easy to find (the Desktop is fine, if you want).
- Click Save, and Pro Tools will copy all the session files and create a copy of the session at the new location.
- Close the session and/or quit Pro Tools.
- Send this new folder, which should contain a new Pro Tools session and Audio Files folder, using whatever file transfer method you prefer.
Essentially what this does is copy all the audio files, no matter where they are, into a brand new session folder.
Digital audio requires relatively large file sizes for high quality audio. But there is one trick built into Pro Tools to allow you to remove all unused media and make sure your session is as small as possible, before transferring.
If you are using Pro Tools, follow these steps before attempting to send the session.
- In the Clips bin (or Regions bin for older versions of Pro tools) on the right of the edit window, select the downward arrow to open the Clips menu.
- Highlight “Select” and then click on “Unused.” This will highlight all the clips that are in your session, but are not being used. This would include all additional vocal takes, or anything you recorded or imported, but decided not to use in your final session. Obviously these clips are not needed for the mix, so it’s ok for us to exclude them.
- Open the Clips menu again, and click on “Clear…”
- In the window that opens, click on “Remove.” (Do not click on Delete, because that will permanently delete these files from your hard drive).
Now that you have done this, go to the section in the FAQ, entitled How can I make sure all my audio will be included when I send my Pro tools session? This will explain the process of sending the session properly so that there is no missing audio.
I use Pro Tools HDX to mix. If you are using Pro Tools, in any version or format, you can simply send me your session and I will be able to load it without further changes.
If you are using another DAW, such as Logic, Cubase, etc. then you will need to bounce out your individual tracks as WAV or AIFF files. I prefer 24 bit WAV, but if you are already using another format, that’s fine. Consult the user documentation for your DAW for explicit instructions for bouncing tracks.
When you bounce your tracks, please bring the faders to unity gain (0). If your faders are very low, the resulting bounced files will also have a very low volume. Also, please remove any effects such as reverbs or delays. The only exception to this is if it is an effect that is an integral part of the sound (for example a sweeping filter on a synth). When in question, just bounce two copies of the sound, one with the effect and one without.
Most importantly, make sure each audio file is bounced from the beginning of the session, even if that means there is blank space. This way, everything will line up correctly when I import the files into Pro Tools.
If you bounce your WAV files from Logic, Cubase, or any other DAW, you might want to convert stereo files to mono whenever they contain mono sounds. I recommend using StereoMonoizer before sending the files. This will save time and bandwidth in the transfer, and make sure all the files are in the correct format.
You can send me your files using this UPLOAD LINK. You can use this to easily send me your project files via web browser. I recommend compressing the files into a single zip file. Or if you prefer, you can use any other file transfer service that you are comfortable with.
I certainly hope so! And sometimes, that does happen. But I’ll be up front and tell you that sometimes it requires several revisions before it is everything you want it to be. That’s one of the reasons that I offer unlimited revisions, because I want you to be comfortable knowing that I will make sure you are 100% happy with your mix before we consider it finished.
In reality, it usually takes 1 or 2 revisions before everything is exactly the way it needs to be. Sometimes, we might do several revisions, only to find out that one of the earlier mixes is preferable. The great Bruce Swedien famously tells a story about mixing Billie Jean for Michael Jackson. He says that he did 91 mixes of the song, and finally Quincy Jones asked to listen to the earliest mixes. They ended up using mix number 2 on the album, because it was more spontaneous, had more energy, and blew away the later mixes.
The important thing is, if you get your first mix back and it’s not exactly what you want, fear not. While I love it when a client tells me that the first mix is perfect and exactly what they wanted, I understand that sometimes there are things that need to be changed. It’s all a part of the process, and it is all included in my mix package.
I am not a mastering engineer. I feel strongly that mixing and mastering are each specialties that are separate from each other, and should be performed by different professionals. Anyone who offers to “mix and master” is doing you and your music a disservice. In order to do each to the highest level of expertise, you need specialized equipment and technology, know-how, and abilities. Mix engineers have one set of equipment and expertise, and mastering engineers have another.
Once we get into the process of mixing your records, I can refer an extremely talented mastering engineer that can give your music the attention to detail that it deserves.
The short answer to this is, I do anything and everything that the mix requires in order to make it the best it can be. Many online mixing studios have different “mix packages” that range from simple level and panning all the way up to a full-service “professional mix.” With me, the only thing I offer is a top-of-the-line, full mix package that includes any technique that is required to make your mix sound the best it can be.
If the vocals need tuning, I’ll tune them. If the drums need timing fixes, I’ll fix them. At no extra charge, because it’s all part of the mix.
The only exception to this is if musical parts need to be added. That is really more of a production job, rather than mixing. So if you want an additional guitar part, or a keyboard line, etc., then please work that out and have it done before you send it to me.
The short answer is yes, I do offer unlimited revisions. To a point.
Unlimited revisions are included until you approve the mix and we print the final mix package. Once the final mixes are printed and the session is backed up, the project is completed. After that, if you discover anything that you want to change or revise, this is charged at a nominal hourly rate. I keep backups of all sessions indefinitely.
Because of this, please review your mixes carefully and make sure everything is perfect before you sign off and approve the mixes.
Obviously every project has a lot of variables, such as number of songs, complexity of each mix, and many others. Also, my schedule varies greatly, depending on my workload. So I can’t give a definite deadline. But I will say that people are usually surprised at how quickly they receive their first draft of the mix. For one song, sometimes you are looking at a 2 to 3 day turnaround time, at other times it might take 7-10 days due to backlog of other work.
We will discuss your deadline when you book the mix, and if you need it quicker, I can most likely accommodate you, but please let me know up front.
As I said in the question above, I am not a mastering engineer. I understand, however, that budgets can sometimes be tight these days. So as an alternative, if your budget simply does not allow for the added expense of mastering, I can include a “mastered” reference along with the mix. Please discuss this with me before the mix process begins, since my mix packages do not include a mastered version.
Also, I need to be clear that I do not pretend to be able to master at the same level as a dedicated mastering engineer. I simply offer this as a courtesy to those who have no other alternative. I still strongly recommend that you use the first option, and have a mastering professional master your music.
The standard mix package consists of the following:
Main mix, Instrumental, A capella, and Performance track (mix minus lead vocals)
Of course every song is different, some mixes might not be necessary, or you may have other requirements. Feel free to discuss these needs with me when booking your mix, so we can arrange to deliver any additional mixes you may need.
People are generally nervous about sending money over the internet to someone they don’t know, and this is perfectly understandable. While I have many clients who know that I am trustworthy, and gladly pay at the same time they send the session files, I can’t expect everyone to be comfortable doing this on the first session. So I have a very simple procedure to make sure everyone is ok with the transaction.
If you prefer, you can pay half up front, at the time the files are transferred. If you choose this method, then when I send your reference mix, it will simply have a few short dropouts throughout the song. This simply ensures that the mix is not suitable for distribution, and can’t be used for any purpose other than referencing the mix. The dropouts will be short enough that you will still get a sense of the quality of the mix, and be able to make any suggestions for adjustments to the mix.
Once you are satisfied that the mix is 100% perfect, simply make the remaining payment. I will then bounce full 24 bit mixes without the dropouts, which will be ready for mastering.
Ok, I know this isn’t really an answer, but I can’t actually advertise my prices online. I will say this: my rates are what would be considered “mid-range” for professional mixes. Although I have mixed for major label artists with major label budgets, I have created this website in order to bring that same quality and experience to artists who are working with a more realistic budget.
When we begin your project, I will generate an invoice and email it to you. The email will have a “Pay Now” button that will allow you to pay securely with any major credit card, bank checking account, PayPal, or Apple Pay. I also now accept Venmo!