So if you have already recorded, I do hope you have followed the recommendations on the right column. So the next steps before sending your
songs to mix are the following:
Edit your tracks: your tracks must be edited (for example if the drummer's performance needs tightening) before sending them to mixing. If
vocal tuning is needed, I can do that here as an additional service.
Clean up your tracks: remove unwanted noises, and send me the right takes. If it shouldn't be heard on the record, then you shouldn't be sending it to me without a very clear explanation of why it's been included.
If you used Virtual Instruments, bounce them to audio files.
Consolidate regions, items, clips or whatever your DAW of choice calls them, so that all files start at bar 1. That way, I'll just have to import the files and everything will be aligned perfectly at this end. This is the simplest way to transfer your material, even if some of the time it might mean that a guitar solo has 3 minutes of silence before it. You can use wav or aiff format.
Rename the files using a convention that makes sense and keep this format consistent throughout all your songs.
If you are on a Mac, label your files with colours, using a different colour for each category (drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, orchestra, vocals, misc).
If you can do me the favour of using the system I'm about to explain that would be awesome. Figuring out poorly named files takes up a lot of time. If you stick to my system, I'll be able to spend less time figuring out what's what and more time mixing for you.
I can't stress this enough: please make sure that you've included only the correct files and that nothing is missing. You should test each song by importing the files into a DAW and checking that everything's present and aligned.
If you recorded to a click, export the tempo map and any time signature changes as MIDI files for each song, and include those files. If
there's just one tempo for one song and it's all 4/4 then just make a note of the tempo value.
Create one folder per song, then place any audio files you want me to use in a folder called "Audio" (remember that unused files must not be included). Create another folder called "DI" and put the guitars DI files there if applicable. On bass, the DI sound is widely used, so you can leave that in the main "Audio" folder.
If possible, include a rough mix of each song. I'll refer to it to figure out what's the main line, the lead instrument, where the emphasis
should be, etc. If you don't have rough mixes but you know what you want sound-wise, make notes for me in a text file. If you're not sure what you want, but you are certain about things that you don't want, do the same. Of course, you can just leave all that up to my interpretation of the music. If I guess wrong, don't worry, nothing is undoable. Feel free to include an extra folder containing some songs from other bands that you like sound-wise. I'll keep that vibe in mind as I mix, but I'll always stop short of making you sound like a clone.
If your songs contain very complex choir parts, intricate 200+ tracks of samples, or heavily orchestrated sections, my
advice is to premix those and send me stereo stems. Use whichever DAW you're familiar with to mix those parts in a separate folder called "Slave", include the original slave audio files in this folder with your DAW project file (in case I need to modify something in your premix), then put the stereo stem files in the main "Audio" folder. For instance, providing me with stems of "woodwinds", "strings", "brass", "percussion" is usually good for orchestral sections. Use the letter "s" at the beginning of those stem filenames as described above, so s1 Strings.wav , s2 Brass.wav etc are what makes it in to the main "Audio" folder.
And finally, tell me which song you want me to mix first. Choose one that's representative of your music, one that sets the tone for the whole collection of songs that I'll be mixing for you.
When you're ready, put all of those files on an external hard drive or a flash memory key (USB or Firewire). This is much faster and more reliable than burning to CD or DVD at both ends of the equation. Send the drive by mail. No matter what, always keep your own copy of those files in a safe place. Keep in mind that I will not send your drives back.
Once I receive the files, I'll work on the first song and upload a mix to my secure private FTP server. It will then be up to you to tell me what you like, what you don't like, and what I should change. Some mixes can take a few trials and errors before they'll meet your expectations (especially if you know exactly what you want), so don't be afraid to give me your honest opinion. The advantage of this unattended mixing process is that you will be able to hear the mixes in listening environments that you know well (your home studio, your car, on your buddy's hi-fi...). We'll systematically work through and hone each song to perfection in turn.
If you want to have your material mastered somewhere else, I will provide the unmastered mixes. Exported stems (separated mixdowns of your drums, bass, guitars, etc) will cost a small additional fee.