Mixing Services

This page is for our mixing/recording clients, offering suggestions on file transfers and how to send us session data and multi-track analog tapes. For digital file transfers, you should have received the FTP address and password once our paperwork was completed. For Macintosh, Fetch or Speed Downloader are good programs for FTP transfers.

24 Track Analogue

Of course, DO NOT send the master reels! You’d think this was obvious, but it has actually happened. Use DHL or FedEx and ensure that the tape is properly packed and protected. The best protection for shipping is a minimum of 50 mm of nonmagnetic material all round. This ensures that the fields from even heavy electrical equipment will not affect tape as it’s safe with a distance from external fields greater than 50 mm (2 inches).

Make a 24 track safety, machine-to-machine. Send the safety copy. Make sure that alignment information is written on the tracksheets and the box, and make sure that SMPTE striping information and code start times is also included in the track sheets, together with song autolocator references, song start times etc. We use a JL Cooper PPS-2 box to read SMPTE and convert it to MTC, so as this is a common unit, it would be good to check that your code is readable before you send the safety master.

All tapes MUST have tones at the end of the reel (if wound head out) or at the head of the reel (if tail out), and marked on the box. Minimally, 50Hz, 100Hz, 1kHz, 10kHz, 15kHz. reference tones together with a note on which alignment standards you used.

If you have synced digital files, transfer them separately via FTP. That way, some initial set up can be done while waiting for the 2″ tape, which usually takes longer to arrive, as the shipping costs for overnight will usually be quite high and usually 3 day shipping works fine. It’s a good idea to burn these files on a DVD or CD and put it in the tape box.

Digital Files

Logic (versions 7.2+)

Send the complete Logic project, compressed in a .zip format. The project should contain all assets: samples, audio files, sampler instruments, impulse responses etc. Also, please make sure that you have used the “Export all tracks as audio files” command in Logic’s file menu, so that we have audio files without automation, and that are correctly rendered using processes and instruments that we may not have. Make sure your song’s project does not begin before bar 1 1 1 1, and preferably 3 1 1 1.

All audio files should be saved as 24 bit, 44.1kHz unless discussed with us first. All files to be saved in .wav (BWF) format.

Please properly name your tracks. Audio File#257GA47!5.wav isn’t very helpful, whereas Snare-BTM is much better!

Effects

When exporting your tracks, please send the raw audio files, without effects and processing. If a particular effect is vital to the song arrangement, feel or sound, please send both the raw file, and another version with the effect, and add (FX) at the end of the file’s name.

ProTools, Nuendo etc.

Name all tracks properly in ProTools. Then consolidate all audio files at a common start position, using (ProTools: cmd-shift-3) for the session on every track. In other words, every track should start at a common bar location

Save all plug-in parameters. Make copious notes on all settings, preferred takes etc. Hopefully, your tracks will contain a minimal amount of processing. RAW audio files are much better for our purposes.

The cleaner your tracks are, the easier it will be. Please do not include tracks or takes that you know shouldn’t be used.

OMF and AAF format files for interapplication transfer have been tried and although I’m not saying they don’t work, the hours that have been wasted don’t merit the attempt in my opinion, so don’t bother. I have no idea if it’s Logic’s problem, or the application(s) generating the original file. At this moment, we are not accepting such files. Maybe future versions of Logic and/or other software will handle these file formats more reliably.

Separations Mixing

If you have the time and budget at your mastering sessions, I’d highly recommend separations mixing. We’ll create separations for you if requested. Usually four separations are enough.

Basically, what this means is that after the completed main stereo mix, we group certain essential elements together and create a separate mix just for one group of instruments.

As an example, for a typical rock mix, everything except the drums is muted, and another mix is created of just the drums.

Then everything other than the bass is muted, and another separation is created. Next might be all other instruments, except for drums, bass and vocals. Finally, another separation is created just for vocals.

The benefits are that when you go to get your songs mastered, you and your M.E. can treat each separation slightly differently. Want the vocals slightly brighter? No problem. More compression and EQ on the bass? Fine.

Using separations at the mastering stage can give you a little more flexibility. Rather than using a multi-band compressor, you can process just the right part of your song mix.

One little trick that can help a smooth transition to your master is to insert a track header reference before the track starts to assist the M.E. to match stem levels so that you’re not trying to create a mini mix of multiple separations at the mastering studio.

(iZ) Radar

Easy! RADAR records natively in .wav (BWF) format. RADAR’s removable recording drives can be mounted on a Mac for import into any DAW. Make an exact clone disk image of your hard drive to an external drive or DVD and send us that.


Do not hesitate in calling if you have any questions.


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