MIXING

Whether you have recorded at Ishikawa Studios or at another facility, mixing is a step of the production process that can be purely functional, or dramatically creative. At Ishikawa Studios, David takes his years of mixing experience across many genres, blending analogue circuitry with digital processing, for endless possibilities in post production.

This page will help you understand the process if you would like your pre-recorded music mixed by David. If you are already working with David as a producer, mixing will have already been discussed.


 

WHAT EXACTLY IS MIXING?

Mixing, or sound balance engineering, is the art of balancing multiple recordings in a convoluted "space" that is engaging for the listener. In very contemporary pieces of music the "space" can be extremely abstract and creative, whereas pieces of music in genres which require a more conservative mix, the art of the mix is to create a realistic and believable space in which the recordings can sit. Either way, the mix stage has the potential to make the most mediocre of recordings sound fantastic with good ears working on them, or render the most beautiful of recordings unlistenable if left in the wrong hands. Even "authentic" live recordings of orchestras require subtle and detailed mixing to make full use of the signals the microphones have picked up, in order to enhance the playback experience. Suffices to say, mixing is a very important part of any recorded music project.

 


 

THE MIXING PROCESS

This information is for projects that are to be mixed at Ishikawa Studios, but were not recorded by David Lawrie. If you are working with David on a whole production, your mixes will be included in the overall production process.

If you are local to the Nevada County area, you are more than welcome to come to the studio and supply David with the sessions/stems of the project(s) that require mixing. You can discuss your vision for how you would ideally like them to end up sounding, and David will be able to make constructive suggestions based on the material you supply. At this point you can leave the studio with a good idea and realistic expectation of what can be achieved with your project.

If you are not local, then you can supply the sessions/stems electronically, and a phone call or video call will be scheduled to discuss the project.

After the initial discussion with David, you will be given an estimate of the time required to complete the project.

From here, David will work on the mixes in the studio. A single piece of music with ten channels of audio may only take a few hours, but an album of eleven songs with fifty plus channels of audio per song could take eleven days of ten hours each.

Once the mixes are complete, you will be invited into the studio to listen (if you are able to get here). If you cannot make it to the studio, you will be sent a digital stream of the project, then you will be able to make a list of revisions you would like. The first revisions are included in the initial quote.

Once the mixes are approved you will be supplied with 24bit files, in the original source sample rate, ready for mastering.

 


 

SENDING YOUR PROJECT FILES

Ishikawa Studios predominantly runs Logic as its DAW, so how you send your files depends on which DAW you have been using for recording.

 

For Logic X 

To send your recording session, you can simply save the session as a package (including all attributes) and send it to Ishikawa Media. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Open your project.
  2. Click File -> Save As.
  3. In the dialogue box give your project a name and select to “organize my project as a:” PACKAGE.
  4. Tick all the boxes in the “Copy the following files into your project:” section.
  5. Click Save.

 

For Logic 8 and 9

The process for Logic 8 and 9 is a little different because neither version will save as a package, but Logic X can still open projects from these versions of Logic:

  1. Locate your project’s enclosing folder (it will contain the project and various sub folders such as “audio files” etc.).
  2. Create a compressed/zipped version of this folder. This will be what you send to Ishikawa.

 

For other DAWs that support OMF format (Pro Tools, DP, Cubase etc.)

OMF, or Open Media Framework, was primarily developed for effective collaboration between video editing software and audio editing software, but it can be a good way to preserve regions and tempo mapping between different DAWs as well. The process will be different for each DAW, so please refer to the relevant documentation for specific instructions, or get in touch via the contact form to get the ball rolling:

  1. Open the project you want to send to Ishikawa.
  2. Export the session in OMF format. This process will be different for each DAW, but you will need to make sure you include all audio files in the export.

 Note that OMF is rarely straightforward, and it might be easier to send audio as stems.

 

Sending Stems

To be 100% sure that there are no errors, a good way to supply audio is as individual stems of each channel. The precise process for this will depend on the DAW you are using, but it is usually simple and straightforward. There are, however, things to consider:

  • Make sure you are exporting stems from bar 0 in your timeline. Usually the best way to do this is to create a silent region at bar 0 for channels whose regions begin later in the timeline.
  • Make sure you are exporting the stems without any signal processing, volume, or pan automation. 
  • Make sure you are bouncing mono files (unless you have specific stereo channels in your session).
  • To check you have exported correctly, create a new session in your DAW and import your stems. They should all line up perfectly from start to finish.
  • Remember to make a note of the tempo so that any tempo dependent processing can be achieved in mixing. Usually the tempo mapping will be included in the metadata, but it is always good to be safe.

 

Regardless of which method you use to get your projects to Ishikawa, detailed readme notes are always welcome!

Confused? Don't worry! Send a message via the contact form, and help will be on its way! 


 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

As mentioned earlier, any mixing for a project produced by David will be included in the initial quote. If you need mixing as a standalone service, a bespoke quote will be generated according to your requirements.

It is difficult to put an blanket figure on a mixing project because there are many factors that will determine the amount of time required to complete the job. Factors that can influence the time required include:

  • The number of channels per project, and the overall length of the project.
  • Any audio restoration that may be required to improve the source recordings.
  • Timing edits for "imperfect" performances.
  • etc.

With that being said, David has worked on many different mixes in many different genres since 2003, and he is able to make very accurate time predictions once he has assessed what is needed to get your mix sounding just right. He will be able to give you an accurate quote that will take into consideration your available budget and time frame. Please get in touch via the contact form to find out more.

We know that online quote generators are what you want to see, but creative projects can never be calculated by an online algorithm. Your music deserves an individual approach!