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What to give to a Pro Mixing Engineer to best utilize their time and abilites? DAW Software
Old 11th November 2009
  #1
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What to give to a Pro Mixing Engineer to best utilize their time and abilites?

Working on a project and would like to get a top notch pro to finish the mix with top notch gear. The question is what to give them to maximize their expertise with limited time on a limited budget? How much pre-mixing to do?

1) Editing - Gonna finish all the edits/comps. What about fades?

2) Volume Automation - Should I do any at all and bounce down to a stem or just tell the guy verbally? For example the "guitars should come down during the verse then swell into the chorus."

3) Tone Blending - For example if 2 guitar mics are used should I pre-blend the levels into 1 stem or just tell the guy "use mostly 57 tone"?

Never really tried this hybrid approach before so am curious what to expect and if there is a general consensus.
Old 11th November 2009
  #2
MJL
Gear Head
 

Do a rough mix and make it as good as possible if you have time to do that.
if you've got time do stems of your rough mix. once in a blue moon a stem will get used and save the day.

Don't bother printing automation on the individual tracks that they're gonna use, he or she will be able to get to where you got pretty quickly if that's the general balance you want just by listening to the rough mix/stems


Do bother editing everything until you feel it's where you like, then give whole consolidated files of any comps/edits etc. Bring your multitrack drive with every file on it to the session in case you need to fish for other takes and re-do an edit.

If there's some effect that you really like then print it. I like to get printed delays from clients too, saves wasting time emulating something that they've spent ages crafting. they can always be deleted if they aren't useful.

try not to blend anything together unless you are absolutely convinced it's the one.

also... don't give a million options or variations on things, sometimes that can be very time consuming sifting through stuff.

i'm sure other guys will chime in with more soon.


M
Old 11th November 2009
  #3
MJL
Gear Head
 

...everything should be dry too.

if you are going to print delays and reverbs make sure they're printed from an FX Return so that the source is totally dry, without EQ and without compression unless it's some special effect that's really key to the vibe - in which case give a dry and an effected version clearly labeled.

make sure mono tracks are mono files and clearly label all files.
Old 11th November 2009
  #4
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Empire Prod's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
1) Editing - Gonna finish all the edits/comps. What about fades?
I like all the editing to be done and all quick fades that are technical in nature
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
2) Volume Automation - Should I do any at all and bounce down to a stem or just tell the guy verbally? For example the "guitars should come down during the verse then swell into the chorus."
Leave all automation to me
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
3) Tone Blending - For example if 2 guitar mics are used should I pre-blend the levels into 1 stem or just tell the guy "use mostly 57 tone"?
There are advantages to either approach. I like to have them separate, but if you have a specific vision then go for it. Just don't process it if you can help it.
Old 11th November 2009
  #5
As other have stated, I love nothing more than when the following is completed before I get the files:

1. All the editing, vocal tuning, arrangements, etc. are completed (although I also want the edited but non vocal tuned track(s) because sometimes I can make things sound a lot better than less experienced engineers

2. All the tracks starting at the same time, no matter if the part doesn't start playing until later in the song. This way there's no worry that everything is where it needs to be

3. I don't really care about getting a "session" file from a client. In fact, I more prefer to just receive the audio files themselves so that I can create a new session with my routing setup and begin to work.

4. Make sure to notate things such as Song Name, BPM, etc. so that all pertinent details are present when the song is delivered.

5. I really like to have the raw MIDI files along with the printed audio tracks. This way I can try some different sounds (i.e. maybe my sampled piano sounds better than your does because I have better tools)

6. I usually ask for a rough mix (even if you aren't experienced at mixing) so that I can know where the artist is going with the song. It more serves as a template so I can get a feel for everything. Whether I stick to that or go in a little different direction is neither here nor there, but it's always nice to have that template

Other than that I really can't think of anything else that's required. Just make sure you tracked properly, don't print the audio tracks with any compression, eq, etc. on them. Don't worry about FX unless there is a very specific effect that you have dialed in and can't live without (in that case, print the track with the effect and provide the track without the effect).

Good luck!
Old 11th November 2009
  #6
Lives for gear
Everything you need to know to make your mix engineer very very happy is located right here on this info page: Chris 'Von Pimpenstein' Carter | producer * mixer * engineer | Millrace Entertainment
Old 11th November 2009
  #7
Gear Nut
 

I agree with what Kittonian said.

Vocals already being tuned is a ++ I dont like having to take the time to pitch fix a messy vocal, or even if its not messy, still takes time. I just want to focus on the mix.
Track prep is sometimes longer than the actual mix session.

Sometimes I'll have my assistant prep the session the way I like it, that way I can just go in and rock the mix.

A rough mix is good too, everyone agrees on that. It gives the Mix Engineer a sense of direction for what the artist wants.
Old 12th November 2009
  #8
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mu6gr8's Avatar
Lots of good guidance in this thread... Make sure you crossfade your audio regions before consolidating them, or else you'll get nasty clicks & pops at your edit points in the files.

Re: printing with FX, EQ, dynamics, etc., I guess I'm in the minority here--I care much more about the vibe and artistic intent than signal purity, so I prefer you print it the way you like it. If I need more control, I'll ask you to upload the raw file.
Old 12th November 2009
  #9
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
As other have stated, I love nothing more than when the following is completed before I get the files:

1. All the editing, vocal tuning, arrangements, etc. are completed (although I also want the edited but non vocal tuned track(s) because sometimes I can make things sound a lot better than less experienced engineers

2. All the tracks starting at the same time, no matter if the part doesn't start playing until later in the song. This way there's no worry that everything is where it needs to be

3. I don't really care about getting a "session" file from a client. In fact, I more prefer to just receive the audio files themselves so that I can create a new session with my routing setup and begin to work.

4. Make sure to notate things such as Song Name, BPM, etc. so that all pertinent details are present when the song is delivered.

5. I really like to have the raw MIDI files along with the printed audio tracks. This way I can try some different sounds (i.e. maybe my sampled piano sounds better than your does because I have better tools)

6. I usually ask for a rough mix (even if you aren't experienced at mixing) so that I can know where the artist is going with the song. It more serves as a template so I can get a feel for everything. Whether I stick to that or go in a little different direction is neither here nor there, but it's always nice to have that template

Other than that I really can't think of anything else that's required. Just make sure you tracked properly, don't print the audio tracks with any compression, eq, etc. on them. Don't worry about FX unless there is a very specific effect that you have dialed in and can't live without (in that case, print the track with the effect and provide the track without the effect).

Good luck!
thumbsup\\and Name the tracks audio1_10_01 doesn't cut it
Old 12th November 2009
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
thumbsup\\and Name the tracks audio1_10_01 doesn't cut it
thumbsup Amen!! Or make a note of what it is in the comments box. I hate when tracks are abbreviated like GTDB01FFD
Old 12th November 2009
  #11
I thought for sure with the title, there'd be some hooker and blow comments in here. You guys need to get back to basics.
Old 12th November 2009
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Adda Audio's Avatar
 

Find it fractionally interesting no one has mentioned levels - are we not bothered by that because of trims?
Old 12th November 2009
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Mix Master's Avatar
 

Clean up every edit. Delete tracks you don't want, don't mute them. Tune all of the vocals. Label every track appropriately. Arrange tracks of similar instruments together (ALL guitars next to each other, all keyboards etc...) but it doesn't matter which group comes first. If there is a plug-in effect that you are married to, print it. Otherwise it will without a doubt change. If the efx is an idea, leave it be. Don't blend anything together, ever. Take specific notes. Make sure the session is as idiot proof as possible. If there a lot of inactive tracks, delete 'em. If you need them later, you can always email the track. A rough mix is helpful, but not necessary. There is nothing more frustrating to a mixer than soloing tracks to figure out what audio_.01.001.2 is and spending hours tuning vocals a cleaning up sloppy edits. All of that brainpower should be used for mixing. Oh yeah: DELETE ALL AUTOMATION DATA. Unless there is a very specific reason for it, delete all of it, especially all of the "breakpoints" that magically appear(protools) while editing that do nothing. Again, take notes. The 5th rhythm guitar needs to fade out into the 3rd verse? Write it down.
Old 12th November 2009
  #14
yea my first instinct to to say make sure they're not clipping anywhere, and maybe normalize...but the problem with asking for normalization is that people will normalize 20 different clips individually and then you have to go back and ride levels all the way through. easier just to say avoid clipping and keep them all the same sample rate + 24bit
Old 12th November 2009
  #15
Gear Head
 

This thread should be a sticky.
Old 12th November 2009
  #16
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Sigma's Avatar
if i remember correctly doesn't the NARAS P&E wing have a paper on this?
Old 12th November 2009
  #17
Gear Addict
 
brethes's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RockManDan View Post
yea my first instinct to to say make sure they're not clipping anywhere, and maybe normalize...but the problem with asking for normalization is that people will normalize 20 different clips individually and then you have to go back and ride levels all the way through. easier just to say avoid clipping and keep them all the same sample rate + 24bit
The best way to overload channels, plug-ins and the master fader is to have all the individual tracks "normalized". There is absolutely no need to do this and far too often I files where the tracks are all close to Odb or even worse, clipping! Why? 24 bit has a huge headroom and tracks should be recorded closer to -10db than -0,1db and exported at the same level (beware of bouncing each individual track through then same master-bus compressor and/or limiter. They should be by-passed! Last pet peeve: when you are creating export tracks for the mix engineer, please leave mono tracks as mono files, rather than sending everything as stereo files, as it saves a lot of guesswork and wasted time working out what is actually only mono. This seems to happen mainly with Logic users, probably due to the work-flow...
Old 12th November 2009
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
There's a good video out there on this...

Everything said so far is on-the-mark.

For a quick-and-easy demonstration of much of what's been said (and then some), go over to the Groove 3 web site. Among their freebie, teaser ProTools tutorials is one by Kenny Gioia on precisely this topic.

It's quite good.

Best of luck.
Old 13th November 2009
  #19
Lives for gear
 

what about band names and song names on files? i usually keep each song in a separate folder but it might help just in case. say bandname_songname_kick.wav as opposed to just kick.wav

plus side you know exactly what each file is for
negative side is files can get pretty lengthy
Old 23rd November 2009
  #20
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mu6gr8's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyc View Post
what about band names and song names on files? i usually keep each song in a separate folder but it might help just in case. say bandname_songname_kick.wav as opposed to just kick.wav

plus side you know exactly what each file is for
negative side is files can get pretty lengthy
That would be overkill. Just make sure that each song has its own unique Audio Files folder.

Plus, it would be cumbersome, considering that importing files into the audio bin in Pro Tools would cause the newly created auto-named tracks to be named "Band-Song-Kick" instead of "Kick." The scribble strip on a control surface would be easier to read if it simply said Kick.
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