Steps to Prepare Your Song for Professional Mixing

Preparing your song for professional mixing is a crucial step in the music production process. A well-prepared track ensures that the mixing engineer can work efficiently and effectively to bring out the best in your music. In this article, we will guide you through the essential steps to prepare your song for professional mixing, ensuring a polished and high-quality final product.


Creating a song is an artistic journey that involves creativity, dedication, and technical expertise. Once you have recorded your tracks, the next critical phase is mixing. Professional mixing can transform your raw recordings into a cohesive and polished masterpiece. However, before handing over your tracks to a mixing engineer, it is essential to prepare them meticulously. This preparation process not only saves time and money but also ensures that the mixing engineer can focus on enhancing your music’s sonic qualities. Let’s explore the steps to prepare your song for professional mixing.

Understanding the Importance of Preparation

The preparation stage is often overlooked, but it is vital for a successful mixing session. Properly prepared tracks allow the mixing engineer to concentrate on creative decisions rather than technical issues. This section will delve into why preparation is essential and how it impacts the final mix.

Step 1: Organize Your Session

Organization is the foundation of a smooth mixing process. Before sending your tracks to a mixing engineer, ensure that your session is well-organized. This includes naming your tracks clearly, grouping similar instruments, and color-coding tracks for easy identification. A well-organized session allows the mixing engineer to navigate your project effortlessly.

Step 2: Clean Up Your Tracks

Cleaning up your tracks involves removing any unwanted noise, clicks, pops, or background sounds. This step is crucial to ensure that the mixing engineer can work with clean audio, free from distractions. Use tools like noise gates, de-clickers, and spectral repair to achieve a pristine audio quality. Izotope’s RX software is great for that.

Step 3: Edit for Timing and Tuning

Steps to prepare your song for professional mixing

Ensure that your tracks are in time and in tune. This involves tightening up the timing of your performances using tools like quantization and aligning vocal harmonies. Additionally, use pitch correction tools like Autotune to ensure that all vocal and instrumental tracks are in tune. Accurate timing and tuning are essential for a polished final mix. Or you can have a professional mixing service like ours do the tuning.

Step 4: Consolidate and Export Tracks

Once your tracks are edited and cleaned, consolidate them into continuous audio files. This step prevents any potential issues with missing or misplaced audio during the mixing session. Export each track as a separate audio file, ensuring they all start from the same point in the timeline to maintain synchronization.

Step 5: Label and Provide Session Notes

Label each exported track clearly with its name and instrument. Providing session notes, including the song’s tempo, key, and any specific mixing instructions, can greatly assist the mixing engineer. Detailed session notes help communicate your artistic vision and any particular elements you want to emphasize in the mix.

Step 6: Choose Reference Tracks

Selecting reference tracks that exemplify the sound you are aiming for can be incredibly helpful for the mixing engineer. These tracks provide a benchmark for the desired tonal balance, dynamics, and overall vibe of your song. Reference tracks guide the mixing process and ensure alignment with your sonic goals.

Step 7: Check for Phase Issues

Phase issues can cause problems in the final mix, such as a thin or hollow sound. Use a phase correlation meter to check for any phase problems between your tracks, especially when dealing with multi-mic recordings. Correct any phase issues before sending your tracks for mixing.

Step 8: Create and Organize Stems

Stems are submixes of your tracks, such as drums, bass, guitars, and vocals. Creating stems can simplify the mixing process and give the mixing engineer more flexibility. Organize your stems logically and ensure they are properly labeled.

Step 9: Ensure Proper Gain Staging

Gain staging is the process of setting the optimal levels for each track to avoid distortion and maintain headroom. Ensure that your tracks are not peaking and have enough headroom for the mixing engineer to work with. Proper gain staging is crucial for a clean and dynamic mix.

Step 10: Backup Your Session

Before sending your session to a mixing engineer, create multiple backups of your project. Store these backups in different locations, such as external hard drives and cloud storage, to prevent data loss. A well-documented and backed-up session ensures a smooth and stress-free mixing process.

Step 11: Communicate Your Vision

Effective communication with your mixing engineer is key to achieving your desired sound. Share your artistic vision, any specific references, and the overall mood you want for your song. Clear communication helps the mixing engineer understand your expectations and deliver a mix that aligns with your vision.

Step 12: Review and Finalize

Before finalizing your preparation, review all the steps to ensure nothing is overlooked. Double-check the organization, cleaning, editing, and exporting of your tracks. A thorough review guarantees that your session is ready for a professional mixing engineer.


What is the purpose of cleaning up tracks before mixing? Cleaning up tracks removes unwanted noise, clicks, and pops, ensuring a clean audio quality for the mixing engineer to work with.

How can reference tracks help in the mixing process? Reference tracks provide a benchmark for the desired sound, helping the mixing engineer achieve the tonal balance, dynamics, and vibe you aim for.

Why is gain staging important in mixing preparation? Gain staging ensures optimal levels for each track, preventing distortion and maintaining headroom for a clean and dynamic mix.

What should be included in session notes for the mixing engineer? Session notes should include the song’s tempo, key, specific mixing instructions, and any particular elements you want to emphasize.

How do phase issues affect the final mix? Phase issues can cause a thin or hollow sound. Correcting phase problems ensures a fuller and more cohesive mix.

Why is communication with the mixing engineer important? Clear communication helps the mixing engineer understand your artistic vision and expectations, leading to a final mix that aligns with your goals.


Preparing your song for professional mixing is a meticulous process that involves organization, cleaning, editing, and effective communication. By following these steps, you can ensure that your tracks are ready for a mixing engineer to transform them into a polished and cohesive final product. A well-prepared session not only saves time and money but also enhances the overall quality of your music. Embrace these steps to achieve the best possible mix for your song, and watch your music shine with professional clarity and impact.