Friday, March 25, 2011

Recording Tip 15: Make sure each track has only one instrument or part of a kind on it.

I realize a lot of my comments are based around preparing your sessions for an outside mixer. That’s because as a mixer these are things I see a lot. But even if you’re mixing your own projects these suggestions will help you as well.

What I’m talking about with this tip is track management. I think its much better to have individual tracks for each part. With most DAWs these days there are plenty of tracks you can create. And when you have separate tracks for each kind of sound you can more easily mix them instead of having to write automated pans and eq. It’s also helpful in that you can eq, compress or whatever specifically for that sound.

If you’re on a PT LE system and have run out of tracks, then you may need to put more than one thing per track. If you do, then manually rename the region so it’s clear that the sound has changed. Your mixer can then opt for creating a new track if they desire. But at least they know that track does have more than one kind of sound when they begin.


  1. studio artist reads this one. This ain't sargent peppers folks so use that trackcount! (Albeit wisely please..)

  2. I usually send all my different drum parts (kick, snare etc) to a another channel where i apply compression, FX and EQ etc if needed. Do you think it's necessary or is it ok just to mix the different stems seperately?

  3. I can agree and disagree.

    I personally have an easier time wrapping my head around a mix that contains less than 24 tracks total. It frees up my visual mind, keeps all my tracks in one window without needing to scroll, and allows me to remain focused on automating elements within a mix.

    Having an overwhelming amount of tracks forces me into left brain rather than staying focused inside my right brain. ...but that's just me. :)

  4. Can't agree with you more...I know with LE it becomes a challenge especially if you have quite a few harmonies, etc. You could mix the the harmonies offline to a possible stereo tracks then add efx in the main mix.

  5. The ultimate archive is to save all tracks as audio files. It is definitely right that if anyone has separate tracks for each kind of sound, then he/she can more easily mix them instead of having to write automated pans. Resources like the one you mentioned here is very useful to me.
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