You’re deciding whether to work with an engineer in your local area or work with an online service.
We’ll explore the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision about which approach is best for you.
As you already know, mixing is the process of blending individual sounds like vocals, and instruments into a single cohesive track. It involves balancing levels, applying equalization, and refining a stereo image.
Mastering is the final step in the music production process. It refers to preparing the mixed audio for distribution channels, like CD, vinyl, or online platforms. The objective is to ensure the music sounds consistent across different playback systems.
Online services are getting more popular
Online mixing and mastering services have become increasingly popular among musicians.
There are a few reasons behind this trend:
- Working with an online mix engineer allows artists to get their music worked on from the comfort of their own home setups. This can be especially appealing for musicians who live in remote areas.
- Often, online mixing and mastering services are more affordable than in-person services. This is partly due to a difference in overhead costs, and can so offer service at a lower price point.
Advances in tech:
- In today’s broadband speeds, transferring audio files with minimal loss of quality is now standard.
In-person mixing and mastering
There are both advantages and disadvantages to working with a local engineer in a studio for mixing and mastering. Here are a few considerations:
- Face-to-face communication and collaboration, can be beneficial if you wish to be heavily involved.
Access to high-end equipment:
- Many local studios have top-quality equipment that can produce great results for the sound of the production.
- In-person services can be expensive due to the overhead costs being reliant on time. This includes both the engineer’s time and equipment hiring time.
- Working with a local engineer means that you have to fit your schedule around their availability. This can be a massive issue that can delay completing your project.
- Even if you live near a studio, factoring in travel and time costs adds budget strain to completing a project.
Using an online mixing and mastering service
- You can get your music worked on from the comfort of your own studio or home setup.
- Online mixing and mastering service fees are project-based rather than time-based. This usually results in a more affordable cost.
Access to top talent:
- Whilst online, artists can find top-tier engineers from anywhere in the world. Allowing them to get professional quality without having to leave their local area.
Lack of personal interaction:
- The only disadvantage is that leaving your songs in the hands of an online service, means you don’t get face-to-face communication. This can put you off if you prefer a heavily hands-on approach to getting the sound you want.
Comparing the costs
In-person – £400+
Online – £90+
There are several factors that affect the fees and costs of these services.
Length and complexity of the project:
- The larger your session file and track count, the higher the fee will be to have it mixed and mastered. This is true for both in-person and online services.
- Larger files affect online services due to the estimated complete time which impacts the one-time fee.
- Larger files affect in-person services as they take longer which is charged per hour or per day.
Equipment and software:
- Engineers who use high-end equipment and software may charge more for their services. This is more of a factor relating to in-person services, as many online engineers include the use of equipment in the project fee.
Travel logistical costs:
- If you are working with an in-person engineer, you may have to pay for travel costs to get to the studio. This will also take time itself which is time you can’t spend doing other productive things.
Online mixing and mastering services are less expensive and have the following benefits:
- Get your mix and master completed whilst you record or work on other tracks.
- Costs are known upfront and are not priced based on the time it takes. This could produce unknown out-of-budget surprises down the line.
If you’re struggling to get the sound you want on your own; or if you’re looking for a second pair of ears. Your best option is likely to be using an online mixing and mastering service.
Our engineers provide crisp audio perfection.
We listen to your musical vision and deliver the sound you want to hear.
- Experienced engineers
- Easy communication
- Work around your needs