Music Mixing and Mastering – What To Bring To Your Studio Session
Are you a musician, artist or in a band that is working on a new music project? This article is part of a series designed to help you have the best experience every time you’re in the recording studio. The topic for this article is what do I need to bring to a mixing session at a professional studio. I’m going to assume you’ve recorded your own song and are going to the studio to work with a professional mix engineer. This is an important question because there is a lot of confusion around this subject.
If you’ve recorded your own song you’re likely using a mixing service digital audio workstation (Pro-Tools, Logic, Cubase, Reaper, etc.) to make your multi-track recording. So you’ll have several different tracks with different instruments (bass, guitars, kick drum, snare drum, etc.) Your mix engineer will need each of those tracks individually. There’s a couple of ways this can occur. One way is to bring the entire studio session project to your mix engineer and have him or her export the audio files they need.
However, if you are using software that is different from your engineer then you will have to export or render each track individually to a separate stereo/mono audio file (.WAV, etc.). You would do this by soloing each individual track and rendering out only that track as a high-resolution audio file. It’s important to render every track to the exact length of your full song so everything syncs up properly when your mix engineer opens it up. So even if you have a vocal track that only plays incidentally through the song, the render of that track should still be the entire length of time of your song.
Another important consideration is the digital resolution you render your files out to. This refers to the sample rate and bit depth (most commonly 44.1khz and 16-bits). It’s important to render out at the native resolution, or the resolution at which you recorded your audio/MIDI. Finally it’s important that none of your individual tracks or your master track is clipping or “going into the red” and that you have no effects on the master bus (compression, limiting, etc.) of your renders. Having a clean render ensures your mix engineer can do the best possible job for you. Simply copy all your tracks to a CD/DVD, USB stick or external drive and bring them to your mix engineer.