An album or demo or track cannot do wonders until you mix it to sound perfect. To stand out of the rest, a track needs to be skillfully mixed and blended to sound amazing. No matter you do it on your own or hire someone else, preparing the session and files before you start mixing, is a job that demands knowledge, efforts and time.
Like any other aspect of music, mixing in itself is an art. Until and unless you hone your passion for sound recording and mixing and educate yourself, you cannot do it perfectly. Today, technology has completely changed the process of Music Production; every composer wants to create their own tracks on their DAW. As time passes on they realize that there mix does not sound as good as it should have. Lot of these Music Composers & Music Producers, are self-taught. When they realize that to take there Carrier serious they need to educate themselves professionally they choose A diploma in sound engineering kind of a course. This would help them understand the technical aspect of recording and preparing the track for mixing. The first building block for a good mix is a good session file; this process starts right from the very beginning; recording the track with a discipline, naming all the files and maintaining a spic & span session is what session management is all about. When a budding composer or a music producer realizes that his mix is not sounding as expected they directly wish to enroll for the advanced mixing & mastering course. But they don’t realize that the fundamental is what is missing.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind while preparing the session for mixing:
Session Management an important aspect:
- Level your preparation with the mixing engineer’s expectations:
If you have hired a mixing engineer, the first thing to take care of is the expectation of your mixing engineer. In fact, you must align your expectations with the expectations of your mixing Engineer. You must have a conversation with the engineer discussing what you expect from the track; file formats, sample rate, type of mixes, max dB peak, bit depth and many other things you would need to discuss beforehand. It is better to talk in detail “what you want” right at the beginning.
- A cleanup session:
Delete everything that you do not need to use. The mix engineer must get a clean session with useful tracks and plugins. This means no muted or bypassed files and plugins.
- Consolidating is important:
It is always better to pass on a consolidated file to the mixing engineer. However, if you have separately recorded the session because of some specific reason, you must pass it to the mix engineer as it is. But, make sure you zero level the panning before passing it on.
- Be logical naming your tracks:
Naming your tracks logically helps the mixing engineer have a better sense of the session. So, before you start exporting your tracks as stems, it is important to give them logical names. Some good names to use entail HH, Bass, Kick, Tom 1, Moog Synth, Back Vox, Floor Tom, etc.
- Be quick in editing and clean up:
You must edit and align the drums and adjust the vocals to their best. Also, must consolidate all the guitar bits to have a clean session. There might be discrepancies in the session like glitches, pops & noise which should be cleaned beforehand. A quick editing session ensures you get the best outcome from your mixing engineer as he gets a clear picture to focus on.
- Organize your files and other information:
Proper placing of the file with clear names is a must. The mix engineer must understand them well and without wasting time start right away. You can carry all the info in a hard drive and hand it over to the mixing engineer.
Session Management is indeed an imperative part of audio mixing. You must know the technicality of the task and there is no better way to become a pro than educating yourself by doing than enrolling in a Certificate course in audio mixing. Once you understand the art & science of session management, you are one step closer to a good sounding track.