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10 Things To Do Before Mixing a Recording

10 Things Before Mixing

After reading Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio earlier this month, I created a checklist of ten things to do to prepare a recorded song for mixing. My process has always been a bit too haphazard, so I plan to use this checklist to ensure that I never miss an opportunity to make my music sound better.

  • Organize tracks
  • Divide timeline
  • Listen to tracks
  • Identify gems
  • Edit out silences
  • Do multing as needed
  • Adjust timing and tuning
  • Camouflage edits
  • Comp vocals, lead tracks
  • Arrange

As these can be tedious, time-consuming tasks, many top-tier engineers give them to assistants to perform, but that’s not an option for those of us in home studios. If you’re a home studio user, feel free to use this checklist to better prepare your recordings for mixing. For more, be sure to check out Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio.

Akai M-10 Reel-to-Reel Recorder

Akai Reel-to-Reel

My first multitrack recording machine was a used 1969 Akai M-10 reel-to-reel recorder that featured a built-in amplifier and auto-reverse capability. This machine was the only in Akai’s M-series (ca. 1960-1973) to have three motors, and it operated at tape speeds of 1-7/8, 3-¾, and 7-½ inches per second. Before the M-10, I had been using portable General Electric tape recorders to bounce tracks around, so this machine was a nice step up for me.