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Mixing music can be a very creative process.  It is my belief that it is best to get all of the organizational work out of the way to help facilitate a far more creative and exciting mixing experience.  Use these steps as a guide, make them your own, and I promise you that your final mix will be far more productive.

1. Organize Your Tracks
It is helpful to group your tracks on the multitrack by instrument.  I typically have drums, percussion, bass, guitars, keys and other samples or instruments, and vocals.  When I worked on the latest Moneen album, we ended up with a crazy amount of guitar tracks.  I love to blend guitar amps with several mics on each amp for huge guitar sounds.  It was common for us to have 40-50 guitar tracks per songs.  Organization was key to a successful mix.  In the end I ended up grouping the guitar tracks into four unique groups, rhythm and lead tracks for Kenny and Hippy.

2. Edit Before Mixing Music
Make sure all of your tracks are properly edited before you mix.  In today’s digital world, we are constantly utilizing playlists and comping the best performances together.  Make sure that every edit point has a crossfade, this will help to avoid any unwanted clicks and pops.

3. Consolidate
Once you have edited all of your tracks it is important to consolidate them to your session start time.  This will ensure that all of your regions will have the same start time which will be a huge benefit if you are going to hire a mixer to work on your music.  It will also minimize your computer’s processing time.  Processing hundreds of crossfades and edits is very hard on a computer.  By consolidating your tracks, you are taking away all of the edits and crossfades, by doing so you will free up processing power that can be used for effect processing during your mix.  Plus, your computer will run faster during the mix.

4. Clear Unused Regions
Once you’ve consolidated your tracks it is a good idea to remove any unneeded regions or tracks from your session.  Keep only what you want to have mixed into your song.  This will be helpful if you are hiring a mix engineer or a service like eMixEngine.com.  It will ensure that no unwanted sounds end up in your mix.

5. Print Effects
Something I’ve learned over the years is to record any cool effects that you are using to their own tracks.  You will end up with your original, dry track, plus a new, wet track.  Often times it is hard to recreate effects during a mix, especially if you use plug ins that your mix engineer doesn’t have.  I was working with a band called A/Collision and they had given me demos of their entire record that they had recorded in cubase.  I loved the sound of some of their vocal treatments, so when we were  finished recording the vocals, I gave them the consolidated lead vocal track which I had them run through the same cubase plug ins they used on their original demos.  I was then able to use those effect tracks during the mix.

Brian Moncarz is a producer/engineer and creator of eMixEngine.com, an online mixing service developed for artists to have their music professionally mixed and mastered at a great price.  Brian has spent over a decade in the music industry working with the likes of legendary music producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss, Jane’s Addiction), and three time Grammy Award winning producer David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Tool, Silverchair), along with countless labels, Universal, EMI, Vagrant, Dine Alone, Fearless, EMI Publishing, Victory, Maple Music to name a few.
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