mixing and mastering preperation
Mastering Articles, Mixing Articles

How to prepare your tracks for online mixing and mastering

Don’t skip the mix prep work!

Tidying your tracks up is crucial in getting the best results from your online mixing and mastering service.

Think of it like a chef prepping ingredients before cooking a meal. Without any organization or communication with your engineer, your tracks may not be ready for mixing. Take the time to prep your stems for the best outcome!

Let’s dive into the detail of preparing your tracks for online mixing and mastering.

Organize your sessions & files

There is plenty of room for error when it comes to organization. Whether it’s folder names, session files, stem names or tracking, accurate labeling needs to be present.

It’s easy for things to get confusing when working with stems or session files. By making clear labels, it’s easy to identify stems, which will omit potential errors down the line.

E.g. Instead of “track1.wav” or “audiofile2.mp3”, take the time to give your tracks and stems descriptive names.


Let’s say you have a project in which a song is called: “I love your hair”

The project should follow the naming conventions below or similar:

Folder name: “I love your hair”
Bounce name: “I love your hair rough mix”
Session file: “I love your hair session”
Stem/tracking names:
“Guitar rhythm”
“Vocal lead”
“Drum loop”

session files

Accurate labeling makes things cleaner and simpler to communicate. This will make it easy for you and your engineer to quickly find and identify the tracks you need.

Color coding can make tracks more visually organized, ensuring they are easily distinguishable. E.g. use a red label on your lead vocal track or a green label on your backup vocal tracks. This way, you and your engineer can identify important tracks, saving time.

Include relevant information where appropriate, like the date of recording, and the microphone used.

Minor audio editing

Cleaning up your tracks can cut out issues that could be costly to fix during the mixing process.

The goal of this step is to remove any unwanted noise or clicks that may have ended up on your tracks during recording. These can be things like background noise, hums, or even a sneeze. This step ensures that your pre-mix tracks are as clean as possible. As a mix and master service, we will always conduct this stage as a starting point in our mix process.

Next, you’ll want to check for any timing or pitch issues that may have occurred during recording. Your musicians often may not be in perfect timing, or a singer’s pitch may be slightly off. By editing these aspects, your tracks will be in sync and in tune, which is crucial for a polished final product. In your MixButton order form, you can request us to fix these timing or tuning issues during our mix service.

Editing your tracks ensures they’re in the best shape possible as they’re sent to your mixing and mastering service. This saves time and money long term and increases the chances of an amazing final sound.

Bounce a rough mix

Bouncing a rough mix to send with your files is a great way to communicate your vision to the engineer. This ensures everyone is on the same page. A rough mix is a simple balance of your stems that gives the engineer an idea of the direction you want for your sound.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better if it’s not, it’s just a guide. You can use panning, EQ, and compression to give your tracks a rough balance so that the mix direction is easily understood.

This is especially helpful when working with an online service, as it allows the engineer to get a feel for your preferences and goals.

Include notes to go with your rough mix. Such as which tracks are most important to you and which elements you wish to be highlighted in the final mix. This gives the engineer a clear understanding of the desired sound you’re looking for.

A rough mix is designed to be a guide. Our engineers work based on their own experience and decision-making. Yet the rough mix is a great starting point. It saves a lot of back and forth and increases the likelihood that the final mix reflects your vision.

Creating a rough mix is a great way to communicate your direction and make certain everyone is on the same page. It’s a simple step that can save you time and money and ensure that your final product sounds exactly how you want it to.

Exporting your stems

If you’re planning on sending the project in stems, you’ll want to export them in the right format and bit depth. A common format for audio files is WAV or AIFF, which are lossless formats. Lossless refers to a format that doesn’t lose audio quality whilst processed.

Bit depth is the number of bits used to represent the amplitude of a sound wave. The larger the bit depth, the more dynamic range and the higher the audio quality. A common bit depth is 24-bit, but you can also use 32-bit float, which is higher quality.

Make sure that your stems are bounced with no effects or plug-ins applied. This is so your mix engineer can have the cleanest material to work from. You should also check that your stems all start and end at the same point. This is so that they can be imported into our DAW software and reconstructed without any errors.

It’s always a good idea to listen to the exported tracks or stems before sending them. To make sure that they bounced as expected. This can avoid any unwanted surprises later on in the mix and master process.

Our engineers provide crisp audio perfection.

We listen to your musical vision and deliver the sound you want to hear.

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Adopt these habits!

Follow these steps to ensure your tracks are in the best shape before our mix engineers work on them. Even if you’re not sending your tracks off for mixing, it’s always a good idea to keep them organized!

We are aware these are laborious tasks but they’re absolutely worth it. Investing time into prep can help our engineers get the best possible sound for your track.

Adopt these habits and start organizing, and prepping your tracks today. Your music, and your ears, will thank you.