Can the Sweetwater Studios Mix Your Project?
We do a lot of mixing in the Sweetwater Studios – we mix not only projects that are recorded here, but we also work on projects that were recorded in other studios and locations. Some of these projects come from artists and musicians who record at home, but want their songs to be mixed in a better sounding room, with better gear and better speakers, or just by a fresh set of ears. Other mix projects come from professional recording studios who, for one reason or another, don’t have the time or resources to finish that project in-house.
When you reach out to the Sweetwater Studios to have us mix something for you, we start with a conversation. We want to know the scope of your project – in other words, what you’d like us to do. Are we mixing your songs using the performances you sent us as they are, or are you interested in having us polish the performances by editing drum tracks or tuning the vocals? Would you like us to enhance some of your songs with our in-house rhythm section. This is a fairly common request for some of our home studio clients. We’ll talk about the style of music you want to send us, and we welcome you sending us examples of the sound that you’d like to achieve. We’ll want to know how many songs you’d like us to work on, and how many individual tracks are on each song. We’ll talk about how you recorded your project – what format and what DAW software you use, and whether you’re planning on sending the project to your preferred mastering engineer, if you want us to master it, or if you intend to use the mixes as we send them to you.
What do we do with this wealth of information? A number of things: when we know the genre of your music, we can give your project to the engineer who has the most experience with that style. While all of the Sweetwater Studios engineers have a broad range of experience and can mix anything from orchestral productions to EDM, each of us has our favorite style – the music we listen to when we’re not working. When one of our engineers is the right choice for a mix, they’re the ones that we want mixing it.
The specific information about your project – the number of songs, the number of tracks, requests for editing, tuning, or additional/replacement musicians, will help us to estimate how long it will take us to mix the project. Once we figure out the details and can calculate how much time it’ll take, we can create a budget for you. Our experience has been that it’s better for all concerned if we can tell you, “We can mix your project (whether it’s a single song or a double CD) for X amount”, than to quote our hourly and day rate. Why? First, it lets you know how much it’s going to cost for us to finish mixing your project, rather than an open ended “That depends on how long it takes…” Second, we’ll know how much time will need to be scheduled in one of the studios.
When you send a project to the Sweetwater Studios for mixing, our engineers bring their knowledge, their years of experience and expertise to your music. When we’ve created a mix that satisfies us, we will send it to you. After you listen to it (in different environments, on different systems, including your phone), there may things that you’d like to change. For those changes that you’d like to make, we ask that you take careful and very specific notes about what you want. For example, “I don’t like the vocal on the second line of Verse 2” doesn’t clearly specify what you’d like to change. “The voice isn’t bright enough, and needs to be a little louder in the verses” is more helpful. , and “Please add 2.5dB at 1K on the lead vocal, and turn up the second and third lines in Verse 2 (at 1:12 into the song)” is more helpful still. In other words, the more detail you give us, the better we’ll be able to make the revised mixes satisfactory. Sometimes the changes may be as minor as “I wish the fade was a little faster.” It’s not uncommon for clients to give us a page (or many pages) of specific changes to their mixes, and that’s great – it means that when we go through each song and make those requested changes, you’ll be happy. The mix price that we quote you will include one round of mix revisions.
Any additional mix revisions will be charged at our normal studio rate. That’s why the more detailed you are when you ask for changes, the better it is for you and for us.
Once you’re comfortable with the budget (and we receive a deposit), the engineer and the studio are scheduled, and you’ll deliver all of the tracks for each song to us. We’ll need all of the raw tracks for each song delivered as continuous files, starting at the same time on the timeline (such as 00:00:00 or 00:05:00). All of the major recording platforms have the ability to create these continuous files, but the details of how to do it differ with each platform. If you don’t know how to do it, ask us; we’re happy to guide you through the process.
There are a couple of ways to get the tracks to us. If we’re mixing a few songs, a service like Hightail or Dropbox works great; you can upload the tracks, and we’ll download them to a hard drive and go to work. If we’re doing a whole album of songs, Hightail will work, but the uploading process can take so long that some of our clients prefer to send the entire project on a portable hard drive. In any case, once we have the tracks, we import them into Pro Tools, and mix. Once we finish mixing, we will send the songs to you for approval. Once you’ve listened to and signed off on the mixes (or sent us the list of mix revisions and we execute those), we’ll send you the final project as 24-bit/96kHz high resolution files, plus 16-bit/44.1kHz wave files (that can be burned directly to CD’s), plus MP3’s that you can listen to or share on social media. If you expect to send your project to your own a mastering engineer, we’ll also send you (or them) high resolution files without limiting, so that your mastering engineer has the greatest possible flexibility. And finally, if you’re planning on having us master your project, we can deliver the mastered versions of your songs, or send them directly to a replication facility.
As always, if you have any questions, give us a call, at 800-222-4700.