Why artists shouldn’t give mixing engineers pre-mixed material

I’ve been away from the blog a bit because of mixing and mastering business but I’m back to share a big tip for music artists! I have experienced clients sending me stems that were supposedly “pre-mixed”. One in particular sent stems this week that were very heavy in the low-mids as well as the upper high frequencies where the sibilance exists. I really doubt the raw vocal file had problems but I believe that the mixing that was done created the problem. Your hands are sort of tied in this situation because when you fix the low mids, the voice is now harsh in the high mids and when you fix the high mids sibilance, your low mids are out of control. It can be a real task to fix this problem if you are able to at all.

As you may know this makes the job for the mixing engineer challenging and can hinder the results. It is better to use reference tracks than to pre-mix. Mixing engineers are artists too, you never want to tell an artist how to paint a picture, then it’s not true art. I am fully accepting of getting sent a mix to be mastered, that is a different service. As for mixing, it is my advice to let the mixing engineer do what he does best….and that is to take your raw files and turn them into something great.

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