E14 - Mix Prep
Now before we dive into mixing, I want to share with you guys the steps I take before mixing to help me work more fluidly when mixing begins.
Minimise Session Content
The first step I like to take is minimise the session content. I do this by first saving the session with a different name, then delete any tracks that are surplus to requirements. I find this helps me minimise time lost navigating a session. It can also free up tracks that I may need later for FX, or other sends.
The next step is to go through and remove any black space between tracks. This leaves me with small blocks anywhere there is audio. This greatly enhances the speed at which I can move around the session. With the small blocks of audio, and colour coded content, I can quickly establish where I am in the session and the changes I need to make.
After I have minimised the session content, I import my mix template. This comes pre colour coded, with buses that allow me to sum channels to busses, and in turn route them to buses further down the line. My template is takes influence from the one that Adam Nolly Getgood introduced on his Nail the Mix episode. Any multi mic instrument has its own bus, and each instrument feeds to its own bus. Each of these buses feed to a backing bus. All vocals and the backing bus then feed to the mix bus, which routes to the master bus. For example, all kick mics feed the kick bus, this feeds the drum bus, which feeds the backing bus, which feeds the mix bus, which feeds the master bus. Each rhythm guitar track feeds the rhythm guitar bus, which feeds the backing bus etc. The lead vocal tracks feed the lead vocal bus, which feeds the mix bus, then the master.
Although complicated, this means I can create stems of any instrument, the mix, or master channels with ease! It also allows me to apply some top down processing to instrument groups leading to less channel processing, saving on CPU, and reducing the likelihood of “overmixing”.
Save New Copy
Next up I save this session as a new session, taking only the lead playlist on any one track, greatly reducing dead weight inside of the session. If I need to get into any of the tracks from the previous sessions, I can always import them later.
Now I’m ready to mix!