How to mix your song if you are
planning on having it professionally mastered.
First, do you
really need your song professionally mastered? Some artists
feel that they would like all of their songs mastered even if
they are only demo's or recordings no one else will ever hear.
This is great, except, unless you have the money there is no
reason to master everything you record. A good rule of thumb
is that if it will be released to the public, either by CD,
internet or on the radio, then you should have it
So now that
we have determined that only songs made for the public are to
be mastered, how do we make sure we are giving the mastering
engineer the best product? Here is a list you can follow to
make sure you have done everything needed to have your songs
mastered and sound their best...
- When you
feel your song is mixed the way it should be, step back for
a day and listen again. You will be amazed at how different
things sound after you take some time off.
- Listen to
your mix on at least 3 different stereo systems; your main
mix system, your car and a cheap boom box or MP3 player.
Your goal is to have the song sound as good as possible on
all these type systems. You will inevitably find that it
sounds good on your main system, but hollow or boomy in the
car. Keep working until it is close, not perfect, but close.
When I am done mastering the song it will play perfectly on
all systems without being compromised. That is the goal!
- Instruments should be well balanced with the kick and snare
having prominence in the mix. We will use compression to
control these elements so make sure they are loud enough to
work with. Make sure the crash cymbals are kept down and not
- Make sure
the vocal is sitting in front of the other instruments. Use
of a 4:1 compression ratio will help the vocal "sit in the
should be de-essed if you hear any sibilance at all.
your mixes to a commercially mixed CD of the same genre.
Listen to how the vocal sounds. How the kick, bass and snare
interact. Listen to the spacing and panning of the
instruments. Your goal is to try to mimic this to the best
of your ability.
- DO NOT try
to make your mixes as loud as a commercially released CD.
That is the mastering engineers job. We will use a
combination of analog and digital gear that will make your
songs sound the way you intend them to sound. Mastering will
make your songs not only as loud as the professionally
released CD but also the tone and sonic signature will be
correct for the genre and time.
NOT try to make your songs as loud as a commercially
released CD. That is our job!!!
- Never use
a compressor or limiter on the MASTER channel to boost the
volume. You could end up with clipping or deteriorated
waveforms. Again, we will get it loud.
check the meters on the Master fader. Never go into the red.
In the red means it has already clipped and will be
distorted. Keep your mixes at -3 to -6 db. This will ensure
us maximum headroom to get you a quality finished product.
- Record or
render your mix to 24 bit .wav or .aiff files. On ProTools
this would be the "bounce to disc" option. Select 24 bit
stereo interleave option. Use a sample rate of 44.1 or 88.2
KHZ. This is best for songs that will eventually be released
your stereo .wav or .aiff files on a good quality CD or DVD.
Keep it protected in a plastic sleeve.
just a few of the things that will help your mixes and also
help you assemble your song for mastering. Please do not
hesitate to call us at any time. We will always take the time
to help you any way that we can.
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