How to prepare your songs

and deliver them to me to mix:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When preparing songs for mix I recommend you to follow these guidelines in order to allow me to focus on making a great sounding mix, expanding your vision and take your song to the next level while avoiding additional studio time, costs and unnecessary delays:

 

In order to help ensure there will be no delays on the scheduled mix day, it is essential that the Pro Tools files \ Audio files are received at least 24 hours prior to the mixing session. If they are not @ TanTan Studios 24 hours in advance, my assistants will not have enough time to prepare the files to my mixing specs, and the song or songs might not be mixed on time.

 

If you’re sending an entire CD to mix, please indicate the order in which the songs

are to be mixed (this will allow my assistants to prepare the files and get each song

ready to be mixed on time).

 

It is very important to include a rough mix, either by WAV or mp3, this way I can

hear and understand your vision of the song. If the "Rough Mix" and the Pro Tools files don’t match exactly, a brief note should be sent along explaining the differences (i.e. "The vocals was re-sung" or "We redid the drums”), If this is the case, please make a new "Rough Mix". The reason for this is if the arrangement is different and no explanation is given, I’m starting to question whether or not I have the correct tracks..

 

1. Managing a session:

Only one session\folder should be sent for each title. It should be labeled as: "(Song title)” For Aran. No other sessions should be included. It should be notated clearly and correctly so there is no misunderstanding what a part is. PARTS THAT ARE NOT TO BE USED SHOULD BE DELETED. Hidden tracks in Pro-Tools will be deleted By my assistants before I get to mix the song unless noted otherwise. This also includes playlists not being used, please delete them prior to sending. When sending a Pro-Tools session make sure that you "Delete Unused Regions" from the session first so they don’t take up disk space in the new mixing session.

2. Check all edits:

Make sure that all edits are good, take the time before you consolidate the files to really listen to the edit points to check for clicks, weird transitions, anything that might cause attention to be drawn to the edit.

3. Remove all plugins and automation:

Record any effects and automation that are part of the songs integrity. For example, a guitar going through “Guitar Rig” or a "Telephone Vox" effect. Label it then save the original and make sure you clearly label that it was unaffected sound in the notes page. Once this has been done, remove all plugins and automation before exporting.

 

4. Consolidate all tracks from zero:

Consolidate each track so that all of the audio files start at the same point (i.e. Bar zero...). This will allow them to be imported in the proper time relationship. Make sure that there is at least one bar before the song begins, do not trim the export to the first beat. I can accept files in any combination of WAV, AIFF, or SDII format (although not recommended), and any combination of bit depths (also not recommended) but all tracks need to be at the same sample rate.

5. Rename and clearly label all tracks:

Please make sure that each track is clearly labeled, Since there is no standard for this, I recommend to spend some time and label the instruments so there is no guessing what they are. If you follow these suggestions, you will get a better mix.! - I need to know at a glance if “Tom Intro" is a vocal, guitar or a Tambourine track... - Please remove all unintentional track name suffixes. For example: "Lead Guitar_03_01.wav" should be renamed "Lead Guitar.wav".

  • Do not add the song title to the beginning of each file name, but be certain to place

  • the tracks in a folder which is named for the song, as described in item #7.

  • Please make sure that all stereo files are named identically with a "dot R" and "dot L" designation. For example: "OH.L.wav " and "OH.R.wav" NOT "OH.L.wav and "OH_01.R.wav" Count the spaces.

  • If you are creating files on a Mac using OSX, make sure that the file permission are set to "read/write"

Vocals: Please make sure that the lead vocal is comped and CLEARLY labeled, Lead vocal should be marked as such: "Ld Vox", Not “John Vocal 5". The same for vocal doubles- "Ld Vox Dbl" or “Br Vox”.

Instruments: Notate the main instruments as such: i.e. "Main Gtr", not “Singolda SG6" (add the suffix "L" or "R" if there are a pair of them). Including the section that instruments play is also helpful, i.e. “Bridge Pad", not "Virus" (This is the pad that ONLY plays in the bridge).

Drums: Unless there are more than one mic on any drum or room, I don’t need to know what the mic is, rather what the sound is like “Close Ambience” or “Far Ambience” (If you must leave the mic info, put it on the note page).

Bass Drum: “Kick” or “BD” Snare Drum- “Snr” or “SD” add the suffix “Top” or “Bttm” if applicable. Etc……

6. Alternate Instrumentation:

I know that it is sometimes impossible to make ALL the decisions before the mix process, so if there are questionable parts that you may or may not want to use, these should have "?" in front of them i.e. "?Br Gtr Line". I will use my discretion on whether these will be used. With all instruments, any note in the comment boxes is helpful.

 

7. Organise (Option, not a must):

Create sub-folders for common instrument groupings such as DRUMS, PERCUSSION, BASS, ELECTRIC GUITARS, ACOUSTIC GUITARS, KEYBOARDS, LEAD VOCALS, BGVs, etc. Organise the song by placing the tracks in their relevant folders. Place these folders in the main song folder.

8. Include full information:

Please include with each song: tempo information, time signature, key signature, and

any other applicable information. This information should be documented in a text file and placed in the song folder with the audio files.

 

9. Zip each song folder:

Please place all of the tracks and notes in a new folder for each song, clearly labeled, and include the tempo information in the folder name, then ZIP the folder (on OSX hold the "control" key while clicking the mouse pointer on the folder and select "Create Archive of.." from the drop down menu. Please do not use any other non standard archive method without checking to see if I can open the file..

10. Verify each song:

Verify each song by unzipping the archive and loading the tracks into a new session, so that you are aware of any missing tracks or misalignment issues. If audio files are missing, whether they are being used or not, I might question the validity of the entire session. Make an extra copy of the EXACT session for yourself on your DAW of choice, in case I have any questions you will be able to see EXACTLY what I have, It also may be used for record label archives afterwards.

 

11. Send your ZIP. file to me:

I recommend sending your files via www.wetransfer.com

 

Pro Tools specifics:

How to Consolidate in Pro Tools:

  • Select each track all the way from the end back to a time index of zero.

  • Consolidate this selection. This will create a new continuous track.

  • Export that track as a WAV or AIF file to a new folder named: "Consolidated (song name) for Aran

  • RENAME the consolidated tracks as described in item 5 above.

 

More thorough directions:

There are two ways to convert a single track within Pro Tools to AIF,WAV, SDll etc.. Use the CONSOLIDATE REGION function in the Edit menu. CONSOLIDATE the audio regions of each track so they are displayed as one region, without edits. Highlight all of the regions on each track and select CONSOLIDATE REGION function in the Edit menu. Once that is done and the selected track now appears as one continuous audio region, you can go to the audio region list to the right hand of the edit screen. Under this menu heading is an item called "export region as file". If the region is highlighted and you select thisitem, you will be prompted to select various audio file types (AIF,

WAV, SDll etc..). Make sure you select "multiple mono files" so you don't create a "false stereo file". Even though it says "multiple" if the file is a single mono file, it will stay single.

 

The other way to do it is to "bounce" the file as a converted file type. In this case it is not necessary to CONSOLIDATE the regions first. In this technique, you are using the Pro Tools I/O to mix the audio files into one new file. In real time.Select all the regions in that track by holding down the shift key and touching each region with the selector tool. Then go to File and select BOUNCE. In this sub menu you will see dialog that will prompt you to select the file type (.wav) also to name the file, the resolution of the file (24bit, for example) and where you wish to save the file.

This will play back the track in real time and thus create a new file

in your desired format.

Points to consider:

  1. Using the first technique is faster. The track will convert quickly.

  2. Using the first technique, the file will be named the same thing as the audio region, so you will need to rename the track as described above.

  3.  In the BOUNCE technique, you must solo the track that you are bouncing or the entire session will bounce to the new file.

  4. Make sure that all tracks that you are BOUNCING are outputting through channels 1 and 2 of the I/O. or they will not record to the new file format (unless you select different output channels)

 

Logic Pro specifics:

Exporting files from Logic Pro:

Look at the beginning of an audio region to determine if the source track is mono or stereo: mono (single circle) or stereo (linked circles). Use the button at the bottom of each mixer channel to set it's mono/stereo state to match the source track. If there is a "mono->stereo" Plug-In on a mono track, the channel output mode will show as "stereo" (linked circles), though the source track is "mono". In this case press the symbol to make the output "mono" again.

Go to the "FILE" menu and select "Export..." and then "All Tracks as Audio Files" When the export window opens, do not change the name in the "Save As" field, It should automatically read something like "48 (or however many) tracks to be bounced" The initial destination folder will be set to "Bounces" but feel free to change this to a location that you can easily find later. In the lower left corner of this window, press the "New Folder" button and create afolder for the song you are exporting, additionally you can create a sub folder for the instrument group (i.e. DRUMS) you are exporting if you like.

In the "Save Format" drop down menu, select "WAV" as the file type. In the "Bit Depth" drop down, select 24bit (unless the originating files are 16bit). Be certain that you have selected "Bypass Effect Plug-ins", but do not select "Include Volume/Pan Automation".

If a Plug-In or Automation is important to the production, please include a second pass of the selected track and include the Plug-ins and Automation. Leave the "Normalise" selection to "Overload Protection Only". Press "Save" in the lower right corner.

ZIP the resulting folder by selecting it, "ctrl-click" and select the "Compress (folder

name)" option.