Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in BreweryPost, Homepage, tutorials | 0 comments

How Long Does A Mix Take?

So, you just wrapped up the recording session for your new single. You’re almost ready to release the track, but you still need an engineer to clean up the “rough edges”. It’s established that your song will need to be mixed, but how long will that take?

The time a proper mix requires is greatly dependent on several variables, including:

-The number of tracks in the session – The genre of music

-The type of instrumentation involved in the song (i.e. are there several live instruments to mix or just a stereo beat track)

If your session is basic, for example, a hip hop session with less than 12 tracks, you can expect the mix to take at least a couple of hours. If you’re a pop artist with several vocal elements and a complicated instrumental, add a few extra hours. Something along the lines of a rock band or any session containing recorded drums, guitars, piano, vocals, etc. can possibly take a full work day to mix. Sessions larger than that, like an orchestral song featuring upwards of 30-50 recorded instruments can take a significant amount of time, possibly several session or weeks of work.

Basic Hip Hop

0-4 hrs

Complex Hip Hop (12+ tracks)

2-6 hrs

Pop/R&B

8 hrs

Full Band (Rock, Country, Jazz, etc)

Up to 1-2 days

Full Orchestra

Up to several weeks

It’s important to have an idea of how much work a song will need in a mix session to help you determine the approximate cost to have a proper mix (i.e. how many hours of work you will have to pay for).

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Example of Very Basic Session (<12 tracks)

 

 

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Example of a very complex session (> 20 tracks)

 

 

What You Can Do

There are also things that an artist can do to make the mixing process more efficient (and hopefully, save you a little cash!)

  • -  Hopefully, your engineer would have given you a “rough mix” at the end of your session, which is usually somewhere between 50-75% mixed. It is in your best interest to listen to this rough draft and familiarize yourself with the parts you like and what you hope to have changed in a final mix.
  • -  If possible, have the session already edited (i.e. clean up breaths & background noise, have all verses and choruses in place, remove unwanted audio, etc.) This will be a MAJOR TIME SAVER in the final process.
  • -  Prepare a concise and straightforward set of mix notes for the engineer. This will let the engineer know what’s important to you in a final product, eliminating the possibility of creative differences.
  • -  Have all tracks within the session clearly labeled, any important audio files noted (and labeled with dates if possible), and a copy of a rough mix of the song, if available.

    Keep In Mind

    It’s important to remember that the goal of every session is different. Some mixes may only take thirty minutes or so to clean up to the desired result, while others can take a significant amount of time if unknown issues are discovered or if the goal of the song takes a different shape throughout the mix. There is no exact science to determine how long a mix will take, and it largely depends on the engineer and the state of the song upon arrival to the mix session.

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