Mixing Process

I do all of my mixing in Pro Tools, with a hybrid digital/analogue approach.

Very often, I will work with artists who have done their recording, production, and/or programming in a different workstation. Fortunately, most DAWs make it easy to export and interface with other DAWs, so no matter where your production started, collaborating has never been easier.

To mix your song, I require all stems separated and delivered in two ways: with effects processing (Processed), and dry, with no effects processing (Unprocessed). If there are highly specific processing elements that are integral to the production, such as a sidechain compression scheme or a rhythmic delay, please note these to me.

I also request a rough mix of the song. This helps give me an impression of what you consider foreground and background elements, and lets me know if I’m either missing elements or have parts that were supposed to be muted.

Last but not least, please note to me the BPM of the song.

If you are using Pro Tools, you can just send the session folder.

I’ve made some helpful walk-throughs for exporting stems from common DAWs in my preferred formatting below:

Exporting From Logic

1) Export your rough mix, so I have an idea of the balances that you’ve been working with. This tells me what parts you consider foreground/background, and will also let me know if I’m either missing any elements or have a stem that shouldn’t be in the mix.

2) Remove all processing from your master fader.

3) Select the length of your project in the timeline, then go to File>Export>Bounce All Tracks. It’ll bring you to the export window in the screenshot below. I ask that you export both processed and unprocessed stems.

Logic Export Settings4) Create two folders for the stems to be exported to, labelled “Processed Stems” and “Unprocessed Stems”. Set the format to “WAVE”, the Bit Depth to 24, and normalize to “Off”. Set the naming convention to [Track Name]_[Custom].

5) First, export to the Processed Stems folder. Leave “Bypass Effect Plug-ins” unchecked. Under “Custom:”, write “Processed”.

6) Then export to the Unprocessed Stems folder. Check off “Bypass Effect Plug-ins” and under “Custom:” write “Unprocessed”. The resulting files should look appear, for example: “Bass_Processed.wav” and “Bass_Unprocessed.wav” respectively.

7) If you used Logic’s programmed drum engine, here is a helpful tutorial for exporting stems from that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VckCtr2QelA

8) You’re done! Please put the rough mix, Processed folder, and Unprocessed folder into a clearly labelled master folder with the song’s name, and send the whole bundle however you prefer. And let me know the BPM of the project when you send it

Exporting From Ableton Live

Make sure to compile the scenes into the arrange view so that it plays through with the timeline that you want. You can do this by recording and performing the song into the arrange view

1) Export your rough mix, so I have an idea of the balances that you’ve been working with. This tells me what parts you consider foreground/background, and will also let me know if I’m either missing any elements or have a stem that shouldn’t be in the mix.

2) Remove all processing from your master fader. If tracks are routed to multiple aux tracks or using parallel compression, remove that routing.

3) Go to File>Export Audio/Video. It’ll bring you to the export window in the screenshot below. Set the “Rendered Track” dropdown to “All Individual Tracks” I ask that you export both processed and unprocessed stems.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 12.33.10 PM

4) Create two folders for the stems to be exported to, labelled “Processed Stems” and “Unprocessed Stems”. Set the format to “WAV”, the Bit Depth to 24, Dither options to “No Dither”, and normalize to “Off”.

5) First, export to the Processed Stems folder.

6) Then export to the Unprocessed Stems folder. Unfortunately in Ableton, bypassing the processing is a manual process. Go through each track and remove all EQ, compression, and effects. Basically, any plugins after the VSTi making the sound. Once all processing is bypassed, repeat steps 3 and 4, and export to the Unprocessed Stems folder.

7) You’re done! Please put the rough mix, Processed folder, and Unprocessed folder into a clearly labelled master folder with the song’s name, and send the whole bundle however you prefer. And let me know the BPM of the project when you send it