I’m sure you’ve been here before – whether sending mixes off to clients or listening back to your own music back on different systems.
“It sounded great in the studio, but the vocals are just way too hot in this mix!”
Maybe your vocals are too hot, maybe too soft. Maybe your overall bass is just too much. Whatever the problem is, there’s an easy way to solve it – and still save time in the process.
All you have to do is mix through stems and print multiple mixes.
Part 1: Mixing through stems.
When you set up your mix, create aux tracks and title them “Drum Stem”, “Bass Stem”, “Guitar Stem”, etc. Then, send all of your drum tracks to your “Drum Stem” track. Depending on the DAW you’re using, you may simply change the output to go to that track. You may create a bus and set the output of your drums tracks to “Bus 1” and the input of “Drum Stem” to “Bus 1”. Whatever the method, creating stems is pretty fast and can save a lot of time. Here’s why.
Part 2: Printing multiple mixes.
That’s right – even though you have the ability to instantly pull up and recall an entire mix in the box (which wasn’t always the case on large-format consoles), it still takes time to do it. It’s much easier to already have printed the mix several different ways and be able to say “that’s the one!”
Here’s the mixes I like to print:
MIX (a normal mix – the one I think will be the best option.)
VOCAL UP (a mix with the vocal 1 – 3 dB louder)
VOCAL DOWN (a mix with the vocal 1 – 3 dB softer)
BASS UP (a mix with the bass 1 – 3 dB louder)
BASS DOWN (a mix with the bass 1 – 3 dB softer)
This usually covers all of the problems you might encounter when listening to your mix on other systems. After you listen on several different sets of speakers, the choice should be pretty clear as to which mix you like the best.
When sending to clients, it’s a good idea to just send your MIX and wait for a reply. If they like it, you’re golden. If they say the vocal is too soft, you can almost instantly reply with a new mix – which will earn you some brownie points. Always a good thing when working for your “employers!”