Mixing & Mastering FAQ
- HOW TO EXPORT/BOUNCE TRACKS FOR MIXING?
Export/bounce all audio tracks separately as WAV or AIFF files (i.e. Kick, Snare, Hi-hat, Guitar, Bass etc.) These can either be mono or stereo, as 24 bit or 32 bit at 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz or 96 kHz. Only keep plugins that are essential to the sound, such as important effects. Regular plugins (compression, eq, delay, reverb, etc.) should preferably be kept off. It is important that you export/bounce each audio track from the same starting point in your project and make sure there is no clipping.
- HOW DO I SEND TRACKS FOR MIXING?
If you are using Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic or Studio One you can send the session file (please include all audio files). The only thing you must do is convert any MIDI or virtual instrument tracks to audio because I don’t always have the same synths or sound banks.
For all other DAWs you have two options:
- If you have a rough mix that you have been working on, I would rather start mixing where you left off. So, in that case, I ask you send one set of stems ’wet’ with effects, compression, eq, etc. left on (minus any mix bus limiting) and one set ‘dry’ with no effects or eq or compression. (If you have auto-tune or any other pitch plugins you like the sound of, you can leave them on the dry stems as well.
- If you have a really basic ruff mix, and we are mixing the song from scratch you can just send the stems dry.
- HOW TO EXPORT/BOUNCE TRACKS FOR MASTERING?
First, it is best take of all the effects on the master bus i.e. limiter, compressor, eq etc before you bounce the tracks. This gives the mastering engineer more room to work with.
Second, to give the mastering engineer enough headroom, make sure the peak volume of the master bus sits at around -6db.
Lastly, export/bounce the track as WAV or AIFF at 24 or 32bit.
- WHEN DO I GET MY SONGS BACK?
Mixing takes anywhere from 7 to 10 days and mastering anywhere from 5 to 8 days. It mostly depends on the amount of work we have to put in.
- IS THE SONG READY TO AIR AFTER MIXING?
No! Mastering is the final step before any song is ready to get released. Mastering is getting the song loud enough for radio, a whole different topic from audio mixing.
- HOW TO TRANSFER FILES FOR MIXING/MASTERING?
First zip your audio files using WINRAR or WINZIP. Then upload the files to WeTransfer.com. You can also upload your files to any other online file transfer system and email me your link.
- WHAT IS A PODCAST?
The word podcast came to be by merging the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. Podcasting started as mostly an independent way for individuals to get their message out there and build a community of people with similar interests. A podcast is typically focused on a particular topic or theme.
- WHAT'S THE BEST PODCAST FORMAT?
WAV and MP3. They are different in terms of sound quality and size. The WAV format offers quality comparable with a CD. This way, you can record your podcast in a WAV format and complete all the setting and mixing steps first. After that, you can convert your file to an MP3 format. Because of the file size, it is easier to be uploaded and downloaded.
- HOW SHOULD I STRUCTURE MY PODCAST?
Every podcast should have three parts. This is the very basic structure of an episode, however you can get as creative as you want from here.
- Introduction. A good intro can hook your listeners and give them an idea of what to expect. Let them know what you’ll talk about, and how it could help them solve a problem or enhance an aspect of their life.
- Main content. This is the body of your podcast. It is also where most of the action takes place so this is where you want to deliver the bulk of your message.
- Conclusion. A good conclusion helps summarize the episode for listeners. You can include outro music and a quick tease of the next episode’s topic to keep listeners coming back.
- HOW LONG SHOULD MY PODCAST BE?
The length of a podcast episode varies, and there’s no ideal length. The length depends on many things, but the average episode should last around 20 to 40 minutes.
- HOW TO WRITE A SCRIPT?
Listeners will be able to tell if you’re reading from a pre-written script and it will sound stiff and uninspiring, so try not to depend too much on what you write. Podcasts are intimate, you’re talking directly to someone so you need to be conversational. That’s why you should have a loose structure. As each episode is different, they should have their own themes, topics, and length to distinguish themselves apart.
- HOW TO GET YOUR BEST AUDIO QUALITY
If you want your podcast to sound good, you have to make sure that:
- Each speaker is completely audible when talking.
- Each microphone is picking up an accurate vocal recording that doesn’t sound tinny or muffled.
- Audio is free from distortion (crackling, clipping, interference, handling, or wind noise).
- Audio has a low level of noise, meaning underlying hissing or other background noise.
- Volume levels are consistent throughout the whole recording.
- Vocals are free from excessive echo or reverb.
- HOW MANY EPISODES SHOULD MY PODCAST HAVE?
Using seasons is a great way for hosts to break up their shows. There are essentially nothing that says that shorter seasons perform better than longer seasons. Do as many episodes as you want until you feel like you come to a natural end of that season’s theme. You can also plan the number of episodes you do per season with your work schedule.
- WHAT SHOULD MY NOTES CONTAIN?
Your notes for the podcast should have this structure:
- Start with something to reel your viewers in with.
- Introduce the guests.
- Give a short but intriguing summary.
- Include additional resources mentioned.
- End with a call to action.
Make sure that the show notes are long enough that it looks like you put some effort into them. At the same time, don’t overwhelm the listener with every little detail of the episode. Keep it high level.
- WHAT IS A PODCAST HOST?
It’s the homebase for your podcast. After you create and record your podcast, you will then need to upload it to your podcast host. Once it is uploaded to the host, you will need to tell all the different directories (eg. Apple Podcasts/iTunes or Spotify) to your listeners.
- WHAT IS AN RSS FEED?
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Syndication means the transfer of content from one organization to another. An RSS feed brings a sound file from the media host to podcast directories (such as Apple, Spotify, The Podcast Index, and so on), where audiences can find and listen to them. When you upload your podcast to a media host, your RSS feed is the web address that you submit to directories.