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How To Export Your Song to Send to a Mixing Engineer

If you're about to work with a mixing engineer (or producer for that matter) it's good to know the best way to send your files so that their job is easier. As a disclaimer, the tips I'm about to tell you below are just my opinion and how I like to be sent files - they might differ from one mix engineer to another.


I'm a mixing engineer and producer from Perth, Western Australia. I do a lot of work with international and national artists (aka they send me files from far away), so I deal with this a lot. I'm going to break down the way to export your song into the various types of processing.





Volume

Personally, I like to be sent tracks at fader zero (where they are initially when you create them in your DAW). Just make sure that when you export the tracks they're not clipping (going above 0).


Panning

Put all of your tracks to center, unless you've got some cool panning automation that is critical to the song/sound.


Automation

I would personally prefer to be sent files without volume automation, but I'm happy for panning automation and effect automation. If you're going to turn it off, you should just change the 'read' 'write' 'touch' 'latch' button to off.


EQ & Compression

This is the big one - if you're using EQ and/or compression on various tracks, turn it off if it's only doing things like cleaning up the audio or trying to mix the sound. If the EQ and compression is adding vibe and making the track sound different (if you remove it, it sounds bad or different from what you want) keep it. I like to EQ and compress tracks myself, and so do a lot of mixing engineers.


Effects (chorus, flanger, distortion, saturation etc)

Keep these on if they're critical to the sound. It's not critical if you turn it off and don't miss it.


Spacial Effects (delay, reverb)

Turn these off if they're an attempt to mix the sound - keep them if they add vibe/colour/ flavour/deliciousness. I'll create my own spacial effects to fit the sounds in the mix if I need to.


Naming

Be clear with what each track (stem) is. If it's a kick, call it a kick. If it's a synth lead line, call it such. I'll quickly list below common track names to give you an idea:

  • Drums: Kick, snare, hat, cymbal, ride, crash, percussion (perc), toms, bell

  • Guitars: Guitar, GTR, Acoustic, Guitar Lead, Acoustic Lead, Guitar Ambient

  • Synth: Synth Pad, Synth Lead, Synth Melody, Synth Ambience

  • Bass: Bass, Bass Guitar, Bass Synth

  • Vocals: Vox, Main Vox, Lead Vox, BV 1, BV 1L / BV 1R, Dbl L, Db R

  • Strings, Brass, Choir

  • FX: Riser, Hit, Synth Riser, Percussive Hit


Obviously there are a lot more things to be named, but these are the type of naming conventions I generally follow. For things like guitar, call it guitar or GTR - either works. Also, if possible avoid calling it songname_kick - just call it kick and have the songname as the folder. Once you've finished exporting the stems, compress the folder into a zip file and title it Songname - BPM - Key if you can. These just help us work faster!


It tends to be called 'Export Stems' in your DAW - but google how to export stems in your DAW of choice and you should easily find a good tutorial on it. Stems and tracks are usually used to mean the same thing.


I hope you found this helpful! If you need a mixing engineer or producer you can check out some of my work here.

Good luck!

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