Today I want to share my daily routine as a mixing engineer. I work from home, specifically from my garage studio. It’s double-walled and sound-isolated so that the sound quality is great, and it doesn’t disturb anyone in my house or outside.
I’ve been working here for around seven years now. I used to work at some of the bigger studios in LA, but I wasn’t around my family as much as I wanted to be, especially with the little ones wanting my attention. So, I decided to build this studio and work from home, which allows me to work a regular 9-to-5 schedule.
Mixing Engineer Schedule
I usually wake up super early and get in the studio around 9 A.M. I like to get everything set up, so I’m just creative for the day. I try to plan everything the night before, but it doesn’t always happen. So, as soon as I get in the studio, I take all the sessions I’m working on and load them up in Pro Tools. I usually work on one or two songs a day, or I might master a few singles or even an album, depending on what’s coming in and what’s on the schedule for the week.
I start by loading the first song up in Pro Tools or Studio One, putting it in my template, color-coding it, and doing all that stuff that needs to be done so that it’s ready to be mixed. If I have a second song, I’ll do that too. I like to get all the grunt work done so that all I’m focused on for the rest of the day is just the creative part and making the song have impact and sound better.
I usually start with the drums and bass, getting the groove sounding good. Then, I’ll bring in the music and the vocals. The vocals tend to be where a lot of the work needs to be done, where I have to clean up lip noise and mouth pops and make the vocals sound good, adding reverbs, delays, and all that stuff. I’ll usually spend an hour or two on this and get to a point where it’s sounding pretty good, but I’m getting kind of tired of the song or not hearing it with a fresh perspective, which I think is the most important thing.
As soon as I get to that point of not feeling fresh anymore with a song, I immediately close it and open the second song and do the same thing. I get through the first three-quarters of the mix, and by that time, it’s usually around lunch. I’ll go eat some lunch, take a half-hour break, watch some TV, and clear my head. If I’ve banged through the first two songs fast and have a little time before noon, I’ll do a couple of revisions.
Revisions are from songs that I’ve already mixed the previous days, and a client has sent an email with a couple of notes, like “Can you turn the vocal up a little bit?” or whatever it is. Those can usually take about 20 minutes per song to bang out, and I’ll do that and send those back to the clients, so they can move on to version two or three or wherever we’re at.
After lunch, I return to the studio and usually spend some time checking emails and watching YouTube, looking at anything that might be interesting. Then, I immediately open mix one again, so it’ a fresh thing. I’m starting there again. I try to finish the song and get through the rest of everything I’m hearing. The cool thing about opening the song again the second time is I’ve already pretty much mixed the song, but there are going to be a lot of levels and creative stuff that I can do to. After that I will do the samething with the second song to finish off the day.
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