I wrote this post before I released Modern Life but I forgot to post it. It is a little late but here it is:
I just sent off my EP to a mastering engineer a couple weeks ago. I mixed the whole thing except one song in Ableton Live. Honestly, I was nervous. I wanted to make sure everything was right. This is going to be my first EP release on 11-15-2016 Modern Life.
Here is what my mastering engineer wish I did . . . actually I did a lot of things on this list, and some things are my recommendations, but I thought it was a funny title:
- Mix my song between -10 DB to -4 DBs. This gives the mastering engineer enough room to use their super expensive hardware compressors and limiters.
- Try not to leave too much if any compression or limiting on my master bus (unless it really makes up the art of the song). The truth is that most mastering engineers have way better hardware compressors and limiters that will rip mine to shreds.
- Have one limiter on the master bus at one 10th DB below zero(ya just a 10th not -10DBs) just in case a peak slipped through. My mix should still sit between -10 DB to -4 DBs. This limiter is just in case of a spike. Mick Guzauski mentions this in his interview.
- Render my stereo mix at 32 bit. This is the bit depth Ableton uses for all of its processing including effects.
- Don’t reduce your bit depth and don’t dither. Dithering should only be done once on an audio file and should be done by the mastering engineer.
- Make sure there are no audio clicks in my mix out. Mastering seems to really make these clicks more apparent.
- Proof listen to my final stereo mix out. Make sure all the tracks are there. (one of the mixes I sent was missing the kick drum front beater track. I didn’t realize this until I got the master back and had to get it remastered.)
- If I really like a squashed limited mix that I am mixing, render it out and send it as a reference along with a non-limited non-compressed master bus version to the mastering engineer.
- For my album, I had to send my ISRCs and UPCs for the DDP along with artist name, album title, and song titles.
- Leave a little room in front and at the end of the track so they can cut it right.
- When I get the first reference back for review, wait before I decide if I like it or not. Give it some time to listen on different stereos and let it breath. The fact is that I am so accustomed to hearing my mix one way. Any change from what I am accustomed to will probably won’t like. Once I give it a little time I will probably realize it is way better than my mixdown.
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Here is a link for more info about Ableton fidelity, dithering, sample rate and rendering. Bounce Song Stems In Ableton
My first EP release under The Second Spirit named Modern Life is out. I mixed and recorded all but one song in Ableton Live. Click here if you want to learn more.