Today we have the amazing possibility to work together with musicians and producers anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer and a internet connection. But when you have all those options, you also need to take responsibility to help your collaborators. So now it is more important then ever to send clean and understandable sessions to your clients. First of all, nobody likes to start a mix session by cleaning up after your mess. It is time consuming, unproductive and unprofessional. So here are some tips to help you to become a studio-gentleman.
Give All Your Tracks A Name
To send someone a kickdrum-track named Audio 1 is not okay. Make sure you name every track in your session clearly. If you send a full session it is also kind of nice to have markers where the song starts, where the chorus is etc. Try to make the session so clear that even a monkey could understand it.
Aligning Your Tracks
If the mix engineer is mixing in a different DAW to you, then you need to align your tracks. This means that you need to consolidate all tracks and make them start at the same starting point. It doesn’t matter that the guitar solo is first starting to play three minutes in the song. The track needs to have the same start point as the others. The key command to consolidate is Option > Shift > 3. It makes it very easy to load the audio files into any DAW and get started very quickly.
You may well use some plug-ins on your tracks during the recording session. And you may find some of the sound good, and now you want the mix-engineer to use the sound you created. If you really want the mix-engineer to use a particular plug-in you cannot guarantee they will have it so you will need to bounce that effect into the specific track but then you lock the mix engineer into using that effect, and that can be very restricting and kind of stupid when you are paying him to do your mix. What you can do is to mix a premix/fader-up mix were you show how you want things to sound and where you maybe want a slap-delay etc. This gives the mix-engineer freedom to create a great mix but still be able to understand in what direction you would like it to sound.
Always bounce your MIDI tracks. Simply route your MIDI track via a send to a buss, create a new audio-track and route it to your send and start recording. Or just do a offline bounce.
Export The Right Way
If a track in your session is in stereo then you export as a stereo file, if it’s a mono track, then export to mono. I recently myself received a mix where everything was in stereo so I had to waste time and convert all the tracks before starting work. (And that was not for free). So be a gentleman and save the mix-engineer time and CPU-power.
Deliver your session and audiofiles zipped up in a folder that you name after the session name and the song's BPM. If you like you can also send a premix, some reference files and the tracksheet from the recording session. If the session is less then 2GB you can send it for free with any one of these services, with some supporting up to 20GB:
- Dropbox: 2GB for free, easy and works well. A cloud where you upload to.
- WeTransfer: 2GB for free, simple and fast.
- Google Drive: 15 GB free storage with a lot of features.
- Copy: 15 GB free storage with a lot of features. A lot of the team use Copy. You can sign up for a free 15GB account using this link and get an extra 5GB space.
I hope these tips will help you be a proper studio gentleman. Do you have any other suggestions to add to the mix? Adam Vassée.