Mix & Mastering
Mixing is a blending of both art and science. We utilizes a high fidelity mixing room that allows every nuance of a song to be addressed. The room is professionally tuned to provide the most detail and best possible sound. After the mixing the Full Mastering service will start giving you that professional sound you are looking for!
Audio Mixing or Mixing Down as it is also referred to, is the combination of all of the recorded sounds/stems on your track, professionally mixed by an Audio Engineer. The Audio Mixing process creates one balanced and unified song that would then be presented to the Mastering Engineer. A mixdown is the combination of audio tracks and the adjusting of their position in the stereo field, whilst controlling the frequency content and dynamics of their sound through EQ and Compression. It also includes the application of effects such as reverb, which gives the audience an enhanced and more pleasurable listening experience.
Why getting your track mixed down?
Although many artists do mixdown their own music, there is a lot more to it than most producers/musicians think. It is also very difficult to achieve a balanced mix in an untreated room, with only one set of monitors for reference. Because of space limitations and cost, many artists don’t have access to the tools that really make the difference when it comes to mixing down a track. We’ve spent time and money treating our studio acoustics and investing in high end studio equipment to ensure you don’t have to.
With Housepital, you’re guaranteed your track will receive the attention to detail and professionalism you deserve. Full mastering is included in the price, meaning your tracks will be release ready when you receive them. We go beyond just making your rough mix sound better. You’re paying us to hear the things that you don’t hear. In addition to giving every instrument in your song space and definition, we take the time to make every section of your song sound interesting. You spent the time to get everything just right, now make sure your work is mixed just right.
How to bounce down the audio?
We ask that you export separate WAV or AIFF files for each audio channel (stem) (preferred: 24 bit 44.1 khz). Each instrument and vocal should have its own track. If your project has 10 channels, you will export 10 WAV or AIFF files. Please name each track appropriately (kick, snare, lead vox, etc.) to make our workflow easier.
All audio channels you prepare for exporting need to have your mix plugins (EQ, reverb or compression) removed. Other creative effects such as delays, filters etc can be kept. Our time is best spent in the mix and there’s no need for us to recreate effects you already like the sound of.
All exported audio files need to begin at the same start time. Even if you have a sound on one channel at the very end of your song, bounce the whole file, from the beginning of your song. This is essential for us to line up your song when importing the audio into our workspace. The end of the files can all be different. When the sound ends for the song, the audio file can end there. Alternatively, you can bounce all the audio files to the end of your song.
Can I add any processing to my master bus?
No, please remove all processing from your master channel. Adding processors to the master channel can make it difficult for us to make a great master. EQ, compression and limiting can all affect the dynamics, which is taken care of by us at the mastering stage.
How loud should my stems be?
During the main section of your song, the peak level should be about -6 dB. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Giving us enough headroom to work with will give you a better master. We will use EQ and compression alongside other tools which boost the peak level of your song.For example, if you send us a song that’s peaking at 0 dB, our processing will cause the audio to peak above 0 dB and distort. If you’re unsure of your levels, use a peak meter to measure the output on your master channel. Please note: the master fader must remain at 0 dB at all times, with the audio peaking through it at -6 dB.
If you’re unsure of how to measure the output levels in your DAW, there’s many great level meters that you can download for free. We favour the Sonalksis Free G; An excellent free metering vst plugin you can download from the Sonalksis website here. Put the Free G on your master channel and check the peak reading whilst playing the loudest section of your song.
The following screenshot shows two waveforms; the first is too loud and is peaking at 0db, the second is peaking at -6 dB, the correct level for mastering:
If you’re unsure whether your song is the correct level, export it, then import the bounced audio file back into your DAW and compare the waveform next to a mastered song. It should look similar to the waveforms above.
If my song is not peaking at -6 dB, how do I change it?
Do not just lower the master fader; leave the master fader at 0db and lower (or raise) every single channel together in your mix until the overall level is peaking around -6 dB on the loudest section of your song. Although we do ask for -6 dB headroom, we will accept anything between -3 dB and -6 dB.
What file format should I send?
Please submit your files as 44.100 hz, 24bit WAV files (16bit is also acceptable). We do not accept MP3s.
Rough Mix & Reference Tracks
When sending your files for audio mixing, please include your rough mix. It also helps to send us some reference songs. These would be songs that you envisage your song sounding like. This helps us understand the sound and style you’re going for.
Do I need to record my stems with dithering?
No. Dithering is the very last stage of mastering and will be added by us. We will choose the correct dithering settings for each song. If you’ve added dithering, or other plug-ins designed to “enhance” the sound, please remove them. Please also make sure that ‘normalisation’ is off when exporting.
Can I make changes to my song once I’ve received my master?
Yes. Sometimes, mastering can highlight elements in your mixdown that were previously missed. Therefore, once you have received your mastered song, we allow up to 2 revisions with no extra cost. Any more than 2 revisions will incur a (small) fee.