It’s Never Perfect
Some times you need to step away from the mixer (or Digital Audio Workstation) and take a breath. If you have lost perspective on how your track sounds, it is likely time for a second opinion.
I have fallen prey to the same cycle, where you feel like just “one more plug in” will make it better. It gets to the point where you don’t even realize you are making it worse. In generally, we suggest that our clients get their tracks as close to what they feel represents their work, and send over your current version. The version should have about 3 to 6 db of head room, have no limiters, equalizers, compressors or saturator effects on the master, and sent as 24 bit WAV or AIFF at the projects sample rate (44.1K to 96K).
We would be happy to listen to your current mix and provide feedback as to how we could (or could not) help. We often find smearing in the stereo signal, poor mono placement and over hyped lows and highs in mixes done in home studios. We are here to help. Send us your stereo mix, and let us know what DAW you are working in. Many mix engineers will ask that you bounce to stems, which is the safest route. We prefer this if you know how to properly bounce tracks to stems (each track on its own bounced with all “important” effects printed. It may also be safe to remove your EQ on tracks). We also offer collaborative mixing where we can review your project as-is if it is in Pro Tools, Logic and even Ableton Live.
We can give you our honest opinion as to whether we think mastering will get you where you want to be. We listen to the track on 3 sources via two different Analog to Digital (A/D) converters to get a sense of how your music will translate to a variety of listening situations.
Step away from the mixer if you have cob webs in your ears.