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 File Prep

1. Preparing files for tracking musicians.
2. Preparing files for Mixing
3. Preparing files for Songwriting collaboration
4. Preparing files for Critique sessions

 1.Preparing files for tracking musicians.


The simplest and easiest file to send us is a stereo mp3 of the track. Try to imagine what the musician you are hiring will need to hear.  For example – if you are hiring a percussionist they will want to focus on the bass and drums more than the vocals so it may be in your best interest to mix it that way. If you are worried at all about the mix please send it to us and we can give you feedback.

It would be very advantageous if you also send us an mp3 of the click track as well separate from the mix. Mp3s put a tiny amount of space at the beginning of the file. The click track will help us line up the mp3s you send with the grid of the host program.


Send separate mp3s for each instrument or groups of instruments such as:
Drums & bass
Keyboards & guitar
Lead instruments (sax, vocals, etc)
Click track

Try to imagine what the musician may want to have level control over. For example – if you are hiring a vocalist they will want to focus on the guitar and keyboards more than the drums and percussion. By sending separate tracks it will make it easier for the musician to hear what they want and thusly give you the best performance. With these separate groups it will enable the engineer to create a mix more beneficial to the musician.


If you can send us Session Files (if you have the same format as the studio you are using) with the audio files already in place that would be great.

Set up aux tracks and busses like this:

1) Add tracks for all the instruments you want added.
2) Send groups of instruments (drums, guitars, vocals, etc.) to their own stereo bus and add Stereo Aux channels for each instrument group. You do not need to do this for single instrument groups such as if there is only one sax or guitar track. Set the outputs of all the non-bussing tracks, aux tracks and master tracks to output 1-2.

For example.

Click track – output 1-2
Vocal sub (aux track) input bus 1-2, output 1-2
Guitar sub (aux track) input bus 3-4, output 1-2
Bass – output 1-2
Sax – output 1-2
Keyboard sub (aux track) input bus 5-6, output 1-2
Drums sub (aux track) input 7-8, output 1-2
Lead vocal – output bus 1-2
Background vocal 1 – output bus 1-2
Background vocal 2 – output bus 1-2
Lead guitar – output bus 3-4
rhythm guitar – output bus 3-4
solo guitar – output bus 3-4
Piano – output sub 5-6
pad – output sub 5-6
kick drum – output sub 7-8
snare drum – output sub 7-8
hi-hat – output sub 7-8
tom high – output sub 7-8
tom medium – output sub 7-8
tom low – output sub 7-8
drum overheads – output sub 7-8

If you want to go the extra mile add three Stereo aux channels and a master channel. Set the inputs of the aux channels to buses 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14.

Set up the first three effects sends on all the channels to these three busses. Set them all to pre fader.

 2. Preparing your files for mixing:

MP3s will not work for mixing. You will need to get us the uncompressed files (WAV, SDII, etc).


You can put all of the audio files in one folder. All files must start at the beginning of the session file. Even if your background vocals don’t come in until the bridge the file must start at the beginning along with all the other files. This ensures all the tracks will line up. If your tracks are segmented you will need to make them each complete files. Each track must be one file only. In Pro Tools you will need to “consolidate” your “regions.” In Digital Performer they are called “soundbites” and you will need to “merge” them. Make sure they are clearly marked (Tenor Sax, Background Vocal 1, snare drum, etc.)


Since mixing engineers have their own way of setting up their busses and routing all you need to do is send us the file (Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Logic, etc) with all of the tracks in place. Please make sure each track is named correctly. For each mixing project you will be given file setup information requested by the engineer.


Set up the tracks the way your engineer wants them. For each mixing project you will be given file setup information requested by the engineer.

 3. Preparing files for Songwriting collaboration

This will be worked out for each songwriting partner. It may be a good idea to have one stereo mp3 of the song with no vocals on it and one with whatever vocals you have finished on it. Please mark them accordingly.

songwriter files example

 4. Preparing files for Critique sessions

Send us a stereo MP3. If you want a critique of your mixing or mastering you can send us a WAV or aiff file via snail mail if you are concerned an mp3 may not represent yourself properly due to it’s compression scheme.

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