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Read This Checklist Before You Start Your Next Music Mixing Session!

Updated: Mar 14

It's not as difficult as you might think... I'll let you in on a secret, if you want your productions or recorded tracks to become professionally polished songs, it's important to prepare your project for mixing. It makes perfect sense, right?!

By following a simple checklist, you or your mix engineer can concentrate solely on the task at hand, which is to turn your hard work into amazing songs. The aim is to start the mixing process quickly and efficiently, resulting in a faster turnaround time and an end product that you'll love.

Well, you're in luck as I'm here to help you prepare your tracks for mixing and make sure you've got everything you need for a killer mixing session. Let's get started, shall we?

Mixing music with Logic Pro X

Plugins? Off. Dry Tracks? On!

Exporting for Maximum Mixing Music Success.

When exporting your tracks, disable all plugins and effects except those that are part of the sound, such as an amp simulator.

"Check for any unnecessary plugins or tracks leftover from recording or producing which are not crucial to the mix [..] Deleting these tracks before sending them to mix will save confusion for your mix engineer and help keep things tidy." - Josh Bonanno, How to Prepare Your Production For Mixing

To provide more flexibility during mixing, I suggest including both processed and dry tracks, including guitar and bass DI tracks wherever possible.

Start on the Same Beat

Seamless Alignment for Your Mixing Engineer.

Every track should start exactly at the same time. This allows you or or your mix engineer to import the tracks into a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and everything lines up perfectly, there is no guessing where certain elements of the song need to be. 

The Golden Standard for Pro Mixing.

WAV or AIFF, 16-bit/44.1kHz

All audio files must be in either .WAV or .AIFF format and have a minimum of 16-bit and 44.1kHz sample rate. Don't alter or up-sample your files before rendering. Simply keep the same bit depth and sample rate that you have been using in your project.

Headroom Hero

Avoiding Clipping and Mastering the Mix Exports.

When exporting your tracks, make sure you leave enough headroom, I suggest between -10 to -18dB. Make sure to avoid clipping at all costs! Export each mono source as a separate mono track and each stereo source as a separate stereo track. You can export drum overheads and room tracks as a stereo track, or as separate left and right mono tracks - both options are acceptable.

Logic Pro X mixer window

Name Like a Pro

Clear and Consistent Labels for Smooth Mixing.

Ensure that you give each audio file a relevant and consistent name. For example, you could name them Kick In, Kick Out, Bass Amp, Guitar 1 DI, Vocal Double etc.

"It's really easy to mistake one track for another and turn a fader or paramter knob up or down and wonder why nothing is happening, only to find that you're tweaking the wrong track" - Bobby Owsinkski, The Mix Engineers Handbook

If you have a preference for where a particular track should be placed in the stereo field, you should include this information in the name of the track. For instance, you could indicate whether you want the Rhythm Guitar to be positioned to the left or right by adding an 'L' or 'R' next to the name.

Example Logic Pro X synth track labelling


So, there you have it – think crystal-clear recordings, organised files, and gain levels on point. Following these simple steps, you'll start your project off on the right foot, ready to be transformed into a sonic masterpiece. Are you ready to impress your mixing engineer and unleash your music's full potential?

What's next?

Ready to make mixing easy? Download my free '14 Steps to Kickstart Your Mixing' checklist and kick your project prep for mixing up a notch.


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