Top Mixing Engineers for hire
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Specializing in Electronic Music of all genres, Gosteffects is available to bring your productions to the next level whether it is mixing, mastering, or taking your midi and running it through classic analog synths to bring music alive. Analog/Digital Mastering available. Read the reviews below to see what artists on SoundBetter are saying.
Eight #1 RADIO SINGLES + combined over hundreds of millions of streams. GRAMMY WINNING MIXING QUALITY. I have songwriting, mixing and production credits with artists such as Monsta X, Armin Van Buuren, Mat Kearney, Colbie Caillat, Danny Gokey, For King and Country and I am currently signed to Capitol CMG.
Grammy-nominated Mixer/Producer/Engineer that has worked on records ranging from The Killers and U2 to Taylor Swift and One Direction. With every project I take on I give my full attention and expertise until the client is completely satisfied. I won't take on any project unless I have full confidence I will achieve the results you are looking for.
237 million Spotify streams 2021, 100% 5-star reviews. 5,8 million monthly listeners on my main profile "KLAAS" on Spotify. Reached #1 Billboard Club Charts in July 2019. Collaborations with Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. Style: Combination of powerful and emotional productions/mixdowns/masterings.
150,000,000+ Streams, DOLBY ATMOS MIXING, 20+ Yrs Experience, Unlimited Revisions Sefi Carmel is an award winning London-based composer, mixing / mastering engineer, producer and sound designer. He has been working with 'A-List' music artists and film productions for many years.
Projects: Maxim from The Prodigy, Planet Funk, Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gorillaz, Swedish House Mafia, Sugababes, Ms Dynamite, Katy B, Kelis, Nadia Rose. Trained and worked in top London studios for 20 years (Miloco, StrongRoom, Townhouse) / Advanced Mixing Course tutor for 10 years at The London School of Sound.
François Michaud is a French producer, mixer, mastering engineer, songwriter, composer, session and live musician (guitar and guitar bass) since 1990. "when I'm working on an album or a song (recording / mixing), I always try to have the best and the right feelings. For me, it's the most important thing... That's what gives me ideas and thrills !"
Steve Kolakowsky is a freelance engineer & producer based out of northern New Jersey. He is an AES fellow, a BMI songwriter & Voting Member of the Grammys (Recording Academy, Producers & Engineers Wing).
Based in Los Angeles for the past decade I got my start at the historic Sound Factory & Sunset Sound recording studios. Since then I have worked as a recording engineer to Producer & Mixer Tony Hoffer, as well as independently producing, engineering and mixing.
Starting at the legendary Westlake, Jeff has worked on projects by Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, No Doubt, Sting, Randy Jackson, Liz Phair, Staind and more, spent time in the studio with amazing producers like Don Was, Josh Abraham, Rick Rubin, Glen Ballard, Ric Ocasek and learned the art of mixing from Spike Stent, Tim Palmer and Humberto Gatica.
Mixer/producer/engineer for St. Vincent (Grammy-winning, "Daddy's Home"), Parquet Courts, Matt Berninger/Ronboy/Resynator, Jane., Julia Stone, others! Always song-focused and endlessly dedicated to creating great records. I have my own studio in LA where I mix.
#1 Most Hired on Soundbetter. Unlimited Free Revisions. Millions of Streams. I’ve collaborated with Avicii & have Tracks on Spinnin, Ultra, Sony, & Warner. I mix, master, produce, & remix in all genres & have over 4600 5 star reviews. My music has been played by Tiesto, Prydz, Armin, Guetta, & Avicii!
I've worked with many nationally and internationally successful multi-platinum artists as well as countless local and independent talent, in a variety of genres. Worked on multiple #1's at radio. I'm a multi-instrumentalist with a solid understanding of music theory and approach all projects with a balance of technical proficiency and musicality.
Nico is a French sound engineer based in Los Angeles. He has been working with some of the best. His credits Include Daft Punk, Paul Mc Cartney, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Post Malone, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Martin Garrix, Madonna… Many Projects have been nominated and won Grammys.
100% five stars reviewed..‼️ My goal is the client satisfaction...❗️ I am a Sound Engineer with 25 years experience. I worked with many artists from America Europe Asia Australia and Africa.
The most creative mixing, production and mastering team for urban music genres. Highly collaborative, we'll put your vision alive using all our magic tricks, making your music unique, original and full of movement. We'll involve you in all the stages of our work, without stress or limits with a positive workflow. Challenge us! www.esofrecords.com
Benny Steele is a grammy-nominated, multi-platinum mix engineer. He engineered on Justin Bieber’s single, “Boyfriend" and received a grammy-nomination for his production and mixing work on Frankie J’s new album Hope, Faith y Amor on Universal, including the single, “Impossible.” He has worked with: Jason Derulo, David Guetta, and Pitbull.
Online Mixing Engineer working for Artists, Records companies, Film companies, Producers, and any other music-based audio/media companies. Max’s mixing style is dynamic and musical. Over the years, he has developed and become known for his mixing services and his warm sound. Moreover, Max is an expert composer, guitarist, and arranger.
The black Mike Dean! I take your sound serious! R&B/Pop/Trap/Rap specialist• 50Cent•PartyNextDoor•JLO•Jason Derulo•Jesse Boykins•Fergie•Jim Jones•Cassie•Luke James•Travis McCoy & more. Mentored by Ryan Leslie. Available for your projects now!
300,000,000+ Streams, 30 #1 singles and 50 top ten albums. World class mix engineer will give your music big sonic impact. Dolby Atmos and immersive audio specialist. Designer of Waves Surround Tools and Waves NX. Apple Mastered For iTunes Certified engineer
**CURRENT MIX DEAL** $299 Mix+Master (Up to 8 revisions included) Welcome! I am a Multi-platinum, Billboard #1 Producer, Engineer, Remixer & Beatmaker with credits on Beyonce, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake & more. Let's make great music together!- Mig
Offering free revisions (except for adding or replacing stems). We will work on your song(s) until you're 100% satisfied with the end result. Feel free to check out my 1,500+ SoundBetter client reviews down below. I've had the pleasure of working with some of your favorite artists such as Future, Gucci Mane, Kevin Gates and many others. Lets Work
Hit Songwriter, producer, mix engineer and vocal recording specialist. Winner of Modern Mixing 'Oxygen' Mix Contest. Available for co-writing, production and mixing work. Happy to program your tracks from scratch, even if you don't play an instrument.
Grammy and Oscar-winning Engineer. Credits with NIN, Foo Fighters, Billy Idol, Steven Wilson, Moby, Danzig, Marylin Manson, Muse, Neil Young, Michael Bublé, and Keith Urban among others. Over 20 years experience with industry greats in coveted studios.
Well seasoned Engineer with credits on projects that have charted top 10 on radio and albums that have gone multi-platinum. Open minded approach to all projects and willing to give an outside opinion to help deliver a quality final product. Lover of harmonic distortion!!!!!
You’re passionate about your music. You've poured your heart and soul into your project to realize your vision. Let’s bring your vision to life and give your final mixes the same attention and pro-quality as platinum-selling records.
Multi-Platinum Engineer, I mixed and mastered Jake Miller's SILVER LINING (Album), engineered Sofia Reyes, Rita Ora, and Anitta’s Hit record "R.I.P." (amongst other records in "MAL DE AMORES" (Album) which also feature Jhay Cortez), and I also work with TikTok phenom "Vaultboy". Los Angeles based, I specialize in Mixing.
I maximize the emotional impact of the song, whether that emotion is a sneering punk rock attitude, playing it cool with a funky jazz instrumental, or a heartfelt folk ballad. Whatever the emotion, I elevate it.
I am a record producer and recording engineer, mastering engineer, and also a musician, composer, journalist and teacher working mainly at my own studio. I'm also good with string arrangements and vocal tuning. Credits include Delirious?, Soup Dragons, Steve Winwood, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Blur, The Corrs, Gabrielle, Bernard Butler.
Professional music and re-recording mixing engineer with major label credits! Sponsored Fluid Audio Artist. No revision limit pre-approval! Recent mixes: "Heartbeat" by California Gold (Heard on "Big Shots" by Disney+)
I am a MPG Award nominated sound engineer & producer specialising in mixing and mastering and am certified to supply Apple Digital Masters. Coming from a Hip-Hop & electronic music background I now work mainly in alternative rock, folk & Jazz. I am working out of my Electronic Memory Studio in Frankfurt and The Cowshed in London.
Latin Grammy Awarded Winner Audio Engineer. Mixed tracks for #1 Billboard record. Mixed a song for Oscar Winning Disney's Soundtrack. +100,000,000 streams. Fast turn-arounds, world class quality. Credits with: Carlos Vives, Rubén Blades, Paul Van Dykk, Alejandro Sanz, Camilo, Fito Paez. Modern sounding hits. Hit me up and let's get started!
Award-winning Stereo and Spatial mixing at a reasonable price. Hundreds of millions of streams, top playlist positions in Pop, Indie, and Rock as well as many #1's around the world. Unlimited free revisions on mixes.
Credits include Snoog Dogg, Usher, Sean Paul, Macy Gray and more.16 year veteran RIAA certified engineer specializing in urban, pop, and electronic genres. Mixtape and Album mixes for both major label & indy release in multiple countries and genres. Let me bring that experience and expertise to your project.
Jason Richmond is a Grammy nominated producer, engineer and mixer who has worked with such artists as The Avett Brothers, Joe Henry, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Kate McGarry, The Bad Plus, and The Foreign Exchange. Jason is grateful to work with talented musicians in beautiful spaces and be a part of the creative alchemy that brings forth a record.
Grammy nominated engineer & mixer with over a billion streams and more than a decade of experience. Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Ariana Grande, Shoshana Bean, Lo-Fang. Multiple #1's and multiplatinum records.
350,000,000 + Combined Streams! Mix Engineer / Vocal Editor / Mastering Engineer. I've worked with ZAYN, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, J.Lo, Ryan Tedder, One Republic, Little Mix, Lil Mosey, Zendaya, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hailee Steinfeld, Jason Derulo, Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, JoJo, Chelsea Collins, Why Don't We, Sofia Carson, and many more! Let's Work!!
With experiences working with A$AP, Kelly Clarkson, Lil Huddy, Cuco, Cousin Stizz and more I know what it takes to get your song across the finish line. Let’s work and make your song the best it can be!!
Credits with David Gray, Rufus Wainwright, Josh Groban and more, I am a Mercury Music Awards and MPG nominated producer and mixer specialising in the alt and indie genres. Alt-pop, rock and folk. With my team of world class session musicians I combine the best live performances with synths, programmed drums and creative layering.
Matt Sim is a Grammy-nominated and award winning mixer, ATMOS mixer & mastering engineer. Former staff mixer at The Hit Factory NYC. He is a highly accomplished mixer with numerous chart topping hits globally. He is currently the leading Dolby Atmos mixer in Asia, signed to Warner Music Asia in 2021.
Rob Rox's fresh mixing talents have helped a huge and diverse array of musicians achieve household name and status. Awards: Kungs – Layers // 3 times diamond worldwide + Gold in France, Kungs – Dont You Know // Gold in France, Banks – Beggin For Thread // Gold + Platinum in USA, Klingande - Pumped Up Kicks // Gold in 7 countries
Sean, a producer/engineer with a wide variety of technical and artistic skills, owns Blue Grotto Sound, a recording studio in Nashville. His experience of 19 years ranges from music recording, production and arrangement to television post production, film sound design and live music engineering.
Hello Everyone. My name is Shawn Carter and I am a freelance music producer, engineer, mixing and mastering musical artists. I also sing and am a songwriter, plus DJ on occasion when I feel like it hah. There's not much I don't do in regards to music and audio for film so I'm always looking to meet awesome artists and make amazing art!
**Specializing in Mixing: Top 40 / Pop / R&B / HipHop / EDM Major Label Radio and Playlist ready! Producer and Mixer for group Keys N Krates. RIAA Certified gold record "Dum Dee Dum" Worked with Universal, Mad Decent, Dim Mak Records Juno Award Winner for Dance recording of the year and also Classical Album of the year
Commercial Pop | Indie | Country mixing engineer helping artists and producers around the world finish the music they are most excited about . I want to be a part of your team for the long hall. Lets make something you love! GET A FREE SAMPLE MIX
World-class mixing and production tips to make your writing/creative work shine. You know your song needs a special mix. Maybe you aren't sure if the production is quite done, or the timing and tuning need tightening. That's where I can help, honest feedback and advice, additional production tricks and a perfect mix to bring it all together
The Insider's guide to hiring a mixing engineer
Choosing a mixing engineer is a key part of producing a song. A good mix can help a good recording shine, while a mediocre mix might make it sound flat. Since it's not common practice or recommended to re-record parts after a song has been mixed (although in rare cases it happens), mixing is undeniably a milestone in the production process. It is a moment where musicians and producers have to 'let go' and put their faith in a specialist to do their recording justice. Let's start from the beginning.
What is mixing?
Music mixing is the process of taking a multi track recording and 'mixing' it down to one single stereo track (left and right). Before mixing you have a multi track session – for example 12 individual drum tracks, 6 vocal tracks, a bass track, 2 guitar tracks, 4 keyboard tracks totaling more than a dozen tracks. After mixing you would have one stereo file. This audio file is almost the final product for distribution. A song is truly 'done' once the mix is mastered. So why is mixing so important? Because during the mixing process, the mixing engineer does much more than just 'combine' the tracks. Mixing is all about context, the way individual elements of the arrangement behave, sound and feel relative to each other, and how that affects the overall experience of the listener. The mixing process can be divided into the following main parts. An easy way to understand them is through the tools the mixer uses for each. The combination of these things the mixer does hugely affects the sound and feel of the recorded song, which is why good mixing is so important.
Balance and panning
One of the most important components of mixing is balancing the levels of the individual instruments relative to each other. Should the guitar be loud or soft? Which instrument takes center stage at which section in the song? Balancing the levels of the individual recorded instruments might sound easy, but it's an art form. It's also dynamic. The level (volume) of a track (such as an instrument or voice track) does not stay level throughout the song. Different instruments typically take center stage at different moments otherwise the song would be boring. And because most instruments are dynamic themselves, some leveling is necessary to ensure that they are heard even if they sound too soft or loud in certain parts relative to other instruments. Sometimes an engineer will also 'mute' (silence) specific instruments in different sections of the song, but typically this is done as part of the arrangement by an arranger or producer before the tracks are given to the mixing engineer.
Panning involves choosing where on the stereo spectrum tracks play. Since most music today is listened to in stereo, individual instruments can be placed on the far left, smack in the middle, far right, or somewhere in between. Panning is used creatively, to create a feeling of width and sometimes motion. It's also used surgically, to help the listener understand which instrument is taking 'center stage' (literally). In recent years immersive audio and Dolby Atmos are becoming more popular, especially after Apple introduced Spatial Audio. With Dolby Atmos or Immersive, you have more than a stereo field, and the specialized engineers might mix your song for an output file that has seven or more channels.
Equalizing and compression
After level and panning, two important tools in a mixer's toolbox (and on most mixing console channels) are equalization and compression. If you are not familiar with what equalization does, just think of the 'treble or bass' knobs on old stereos or the EQ tab in iTunes. EQ is used to manipulate (raise or lower) certain frequencies. Sometimes EQs are used to manipulate groups of instruments or even the whole mix. The frequency curve an instrument was recorded depends on how and where it was recorded and with what microphone (if it's a live instrument), and it doesn't necessarily sound the best it can in raw form, especially in context of all the other instruments around it. Engineers can make instruments brighter or darker, more bass heavy or thinner in very particular ways to make them sit better with other instruments, and make sure they all have room in the mix. Equalization is used to treat instruments that fight each other for 'space' in the frequency spectrum. For example, bass and kick drums sometimes share low frequencies that compete. They both may sound great on their own, but together sound muddy. EQing can be used to bring out the best of a track or hide problem frequencies in specific tracks. To make instruments poke out of the mix or to feel softer, to get more clarity or increase or decrease the perceived warmth or weight of a track.
Compression is used in two ways. The most common use for a compressor is to level individual tracks' dynamic range. Imagine a waveform that has big spikes and deep valleys representing loud and soft parts. Compressors iron these spikes out, so the soft parts become a bit louder and the loud parts become a bit softer. A good example is the human voice - a very dynamic instrument. Within sentences or even single words there are big volume changes. Since we listen to pop music on small speakers or earbuds, often in noisy environments, hearing all the nuances of soft parts compared to loud parts is difficult, especially if we hear them alongside a dozen other instruments. Compression helps. It enables the listener to understand every soft syllable of a singer's voice, while ensuring loud syllables don't poke out to be harsh. This is key for being able to enjoy a recording without having your hand on the volume knob, as well as for understanding all the lyrics, even in the context of a busy mix and a noisy environment. Compressors are used to 'squish' and flatten out the roller coaster that is the internal volume of tracks within a recording.
The second way compressors are used is as a creative effect. A really cool thing can happen when you exaggerate a compressor's effect and push it hard. It actually changes the feel of the instrument. It can make an instrument that sounded kind of wimpy feel strong or more urgent. It can literally make drums sound like they were hit harder than they actually were, or vocals sound like they have more urgency and pop than their original recording. Compressors can be also used to make certain instruments feel like they are 'pumping' if used in a certain way and to 'glue' certain instruments together if they feel disconnected. Compressors are magical sonic manipulation tools, and when used correctly, can add character. This is why engineers love them so much.
Creative effects – reverbs, delays and more
A mix engineer's arsenal includes other creative effects for making songs sound more interesting and add 'ear candy'. Reverbs, delays, distortion, filters, chorus, flangers are all popular creative effects. Reverbs and delays are probably the most popular of the bunch and are used to add space and depth to mixes. Adding reverb or delay to instruments makes them sound like they are in a physical space. Since most tracks these days are recorded with the microphone very close to the source, they end up sounding up very close and dry when played back. Reverbs and delays address this problem and psychoacoustically place that same dry recording in a lush space. There are different flavors of reverbs and some actually have names of spaces like 'small club' or 'large hall'. By adding reverb and delay, instruments or vocals sound 'farther away', providing an awesome way to give the mix a sense of depth. Keeping certain instruments 'close' (dry) and others 'far' (wet), creates an illusion of space between them. Too much or the wrong type of reverb or delay will quickly make a mix sound amateurish. When used well, they can be beautiful and moving. You can use short and minimal reverbs for an intimate sound, or big ones for a dreamy or stadium effect. Reverbs and delays are sometimes used to soften particular tracks that otherwise sound harsh and dry, and other times to glue instruments together and make them sound like they were recorded in the same room when they were not. Some popular uses for delay include slap delays (think Elvis or John Lennon vocals) or echo repeats synched to the song rhythm (as you can hear in many pop productions). These echoes can be made to sound washy or well defined.
Editing is usually done in preparation for a mix. Choosing the best takes, muting sections of tracks to make space. Vocal tuning is also usually done before the mixing engineer can get to work. Mixing engineers usually prefer to work on songs that have already been edited and tuned. Some artists and producers edit and tune the tracks themselves before sending to a mixer, while others prefer to hire a specialized vocal comping (editing) expert, or a vocal tuner.
Mixing is about skill, taste and knowing to serve the song. The same song can be mixed in many different ways. Mixing entails many creative decisions and skilled 'moves' and when done well it can truly make a song shine and be interesting.
Choosing the right Mixing Engineer
There are many mixing engineers out there with varying styles, experience, expertise and levels of customer service. Here are questions to ask and things to look for that will help you make a decision about whether a mixing engineer is the right partner for you.
There is nothing more helpful to understanding an engineer's style and skill than listening to previous songs they've mixed. A sound sample can speak a thousand words and you should trust your ears. One thing to keep in mind is the tracks they worked on might be different than yours in style or recording quality of the source material. It's fair to ask an engineer if you can expect similar results after you discuss price and send them a rough mix or your tracks. At that point they should have enough information to tell you if you can expect your mix to be in the ballpark of the samples in their reel.
Every engineer has a different mixing style, and that's natural. This is no different than musicians who are more connected with and (have more experience in) a particular genre. A mixing engineer's style will often depend on what music they like, what they work on most often and their abilities. 'Getting' the nuances of any genre is key to nailing that sound. There are engineers who are eclectic and work on a wide range of genres. Still, finding a specialist is sometimes helpful. Listen to an engineer's reel to get an idea of what their style is. If an engineer really connects with your genre of music, that will make a difference. Mixing engineers are geeks and if for example they like EDM and work on a lot of EDM, they will already know how to get that pumping sound you might be looking for and won't have to start experimenting. The approach for EQing a kick drum or bass for a Jazz track is totally different than for a Rock song. If you don't hear a track in your genre in the mixer's reel you can always ask if they have one that wasn't included.
This one is obvious. Mixing engineers work with a wide range of budgets, like everything else in life. Don't approach a Grammy winning engineer if your budget is $300 per song (hint – the top ones charge thousands per song). In the same vein, don't expect your mix to sound just like Katy Perry's if you recorded the song in your bedroom and have $200 per song for your mixing engineer. There are young passionate engineers who will work all night for you for $200 and might get you a significantly better result than what you can get yourself. Be realistic about what you're willing to spend and what you're expecting in return. In general rates for mixing start at $200/song and go up to several thousands per song. You start having access to very experienced engineers at around $400 per song. Tip - Some engineers will cut you a deal on the per song rate if you pay for multiple songs in advance. Some of the things that determine an engineer's going rate are their years in the business, their credits, their reviews, their skill, their gear,their availability, and their excitement about working on your music.
Some mix engineers want payment upfront, some half upfront and half on delivery and others are willing to receive full payment on delivery and only when you are happy as long as you fund the job to SoundBetter (so they know you won't just disappear). You can choose what you feel more comfortable with. If you really want to work with someone but you don't feel comfortable with their payment term, you can ask them to change it and they might agree. Be fair and sensitive to the engineer's time spent on your music. It’s rarely a home-run on the first pass even with the best mixers. They rely on your feedback and direction, so be patient and communicative.
Credits and Reviews
Engineers rely on their credits and reviews to speak to their skill. If you've heard songs they've mixed on the radio you know the level of skill you can expect from them. By reading what other clients have to say about working with them, you'll get an idea of whether they delivered on the clients' expectations. All musicians are emotionally attached to their music. If many musicians gave a mixing engineer a great review, you know that not only did the engineer deliver on their expectations, but they likely also gave good customer service. Finding an engineer that will take the time to realize your vision is important. An engineer might have skill, but if they aren't open to accommodating your feedback you run the risk of having an unpleasant experience or not getting a mix you are happy with. You can read reviews for engineers on SoundBetter. Verified reviews are ones whose authenticity we can vouch for. By hiring someone through a platform like SoundBetter you have some extra leverage because you will give the engineer a review at the end of the project, and they know that. This helps ensure they go the extra mile to make you happy.
The gear an engineer uses is less important than the other things above. There are awesome sounding radio mixes that were done all 'in the box' (i.e. mixed in the computer as opposed to on an analogue mixing console). A great mixer can do wonders on a laptop and a mediocre or wrong mixer for the genre can butcher a song on an analog console. Don't believe the hype. Nonetheless, it's worth looking at where an engineer works and what gear they use. It's just one additional factor in understanding how serious they are about their trade. Are they in an acoustically un-treated bedroom with a laptop and mediocre speakers, or are they going to mix your music on a professional console in an acoustically treated control room? Most engineers these days fall somewhere in the middle on that spectrum. We wouldn't make gear the deciding factor, but it’s worth looking at.
Working with a Mixing Engineer (or Help them help you)
Giving good directions
Since there's a creative element to mixing, it's important to be on the same page as your mixing engineer. When making creative decisions a mixing engineer will feed off of your production approach, rough mix and direction. This doesn't mean your rough mix needs to be great, but it means it should give a general directive of the balance, panning and style you're hearing. If you envision the piano being upfront, almost on par with the vocals for example, your rough mix is a good way to let the engineer know that. Another very helpful thing is including notes. Example of track-specific notes might be 'I'd like the kick to be huge and heavy' or 'I'd like the snare to drive the song and have a whap (or alternatively a 'thud') or 'I'd like the vocals to be dirty, maybe even a bit distorted', or 'let's go with aggressive sound on the drums, like The Killers', 'I want the synth to be soft in the verses and loud in the C-part' or 'lets keep it very organic and dynamic' or 'the strings should feel in the background except for the ending' or 'I like a lot of delay or reverb on my vocals like U2', or 'The background vocal should be way lower than the main vocal'. Insider Lingo – sonic adjectives used often are 'clarity', 'warmth', 'urgency', 'tight', 'wet' (which often translates to a lot of reverb), 'wide', 'dirty', 'clean'.
If you are asking for a particular instrument to be loud, remember that the 'loudness' of an instrument in a mix is only relative to the level of other instruments. There's no such thing as an instrument being loud in a vacuum. After all, the end-listener controls the overall volume knob. There is only 'louder than something else in the mix', tricking our mind to feel it as loud. So avoid asking for all the tracks to be loud. You (or the producer) need to choose 2-3 elements you want to feel 'louder' than others in the mix and convey that to the engineer. It's important to choose what takes center stage. If everyone takes center stage, no instrument gets the spotlight and you get a bad mix. Keep in mind the price of overall loudness is less dynamics - certain sections feeling louder than others, which drives emotion. Older recordings like Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' for example are not loud overall, but are very dynamic – song climaxes are actually louder than the softer parts.
Many clients also include reference tracks. These are very helpful for mixers and producers to know what style you are aiming for. No need to figure out how to professionally describe that drum sound if you can just send the engineer several tracks and explain what you like about them. It's very important in this case to be reasonable in your expectations. If your arrangement and production is very different from the reference mix, it will be hard to take away what the similarities should be. Also, if the reference song you sent has a high quality production, with great instrumentation or samples, awesome performance recorded in a great space and your song was recorded in a weekend with less than stellar performers or gear, don't expect the mix to make-up for that. What you put in will be very close to what you get out.
Preparing a song for a mix engineer
Preparing a song for a mixing engineer is well worth your time. If you don't do this work, they will have to do it, and wouldn't you rather they spend their time mixing rather than prepping or problem fixing? You want them to be inspired when they are mixing your music, not frustrated or tired from cleaning up or making sense of your session. Most engineers want clearly labeled 'stripes', which are consolidated audio files all starting at zero that are already edited and tuned. They can import these stripes to whatever DAW they are working on and not have to worry about DAW compatibility, edits going out of sync, hidden files referenced in your session that take space but aren't being used, or having the same virtual instruments or plugins you used loading on their machine.
Getting your songs ready for mixing is actually quite easy.
- First make sure you like your performance in all the tracks.
- Fix any timing issues (very important), edit and pick the best parts for every track (or pay a professional vocal editor to do it for you), cut and mute the parts that need muting to make room in the song and keep it dynamic (rather than everything playing all the time).
- Now carefully review every single track in solo and make sure the fades are clean and there are no clicks, pops or distortion. These are things that will make things very difficult for the engineer.
- Make sure your vocals are tuned to your liking, or hire a professional vocal tuner to correct any pitch issues for you.
- Next, create audio files from your virtual instrument tracks. In some DAWs you can do this with one 'freeze' or 'consolidate' command. If you don't have this option, you can bus each of your virtual instrument tracks to another audio track and record the whole pass. The goal is to give the engineer audio files that don't rely on them having a particular plugin or virtual instrument.
- Now that all your tracks are audio files, remove plugins from all the tracks, unless they play a super important role in that track's sound and you are ready to commit to that sound.
- Make sure none of the tracks are peaking (hitting the red). If they are for any more than a split second once or twice, pull back their level.
- Finally, export or bounce all your tracks individually as audio from session start (or all from exactly the same point) at the same file format, bit rate and sample rate as your session. For example if you recorded .wav files at 24/48, you should export all the tracks as .wav files 24/48. Mono tracks should be exported mono, stereo tracks as stereo. Make sure all the tracks are clearly named and labeled. Depending on your DAW, track labels might carry through to the exported/bounced audio tracks.
That's all there is to it. Zip those babies up and send them to your mixing engineer.
As you can tell, mixing is part technical and part creative. Engineers spend part of their time problem fixing, and part of their time making a song more sonically interesting and fitting to the genre and intent of the producer.
Remember it's key to have a good song, good arrangement, good performance and good recording before getting your song mixed. Mixing is just one step in the process. It can help make a great recording shine, but it can't compensate if any of the other foundations are missing.
Clients rate SoundBetter Mixing Engineers 4.9 / 5.0
on average across 20055 reviews as of May 17, 2022