From time to time I get asked about my mixing set up and if I use mixing templates or if I can share my mixing templates. Well the truth is I don’t really use mixing templates which may be a surprise.
So do I just start everything from scratch?
The short answer is yes but it’s a little more complicated than that because I have been using templates in my session which I will discuss later.
I’m going to try and help you understand why I do what I do when it comes to using mixing templates and then hopefully you can make a decision that works with your workflow. Ultimately everyone is different and therefore we all work differently so we need to find something that makes sense to us.
I use absolutely ZERO templates when it comes to individual tracks – i.e. Kick, Snare, Piano, Bass etc.
Some might argue that if you are mixing a Rock record than you can use a Rock template for each individual track and they will help get closer to a finished product.
My issue with that school of thought is that you are assuming that the current Rock record is going to sound like the last one – Each mix should to be tailored to the song.
To me I feel like this ruins my workflow and ultimately I have to back pedal to undo certain things, just to get the track to sound right.
Another thing to mention is that you are adding processing to each sound even before the track is balanced. Maybe the kick drum doesn’t need a heap of EQ in the low end but your mixing template says otherwise.
I prefer to start from scratch, organize all my tracks and label them appropriately. I just don’t know what needs to be done to a sound until I start listening to it in the mix.
So to sum it up I would import all of the tracks into the session, color code them accordingly, label or re label them, route them and begin balancing.
If you are like me and don’t want to load a template for your tracks but still want to minimize your set up time, there are some options that you could try to help with that.
Well I would say that since everything is so conveniently laid out it almost gives you an excuse to use it. If you have absolutely no self control than that may be a disaster waiting to happen.
The better option might be to not have an effects template and only bring out an effect if it’s really calling for it.
If you do have self control and think you can make good effects decision than an effects template may be just thing you need to help improve your workflow.
All-in-all this is really the only template that I will load up into a session because I usually find myself going after certain effects all the time (1/8th note, 1/4 note) and it’s much easier to just create a send and blend than to have to set them up all the time. The only thing that might change from mix to mix is how those effects are treated.
So I just gave 3 different scenarios you might want to use for a mixing template but if they all seem to resonate with you then it’s probably not a bad idea to do all 3.
Like I mentioned before I’m only using effects templates at this point but if I had to add something else it would probably be a basic mixing template for my tracks. It’s the only other thing that I think is logical and could potentially work with my workflow.
Remember there are no short cuts in mixing. Every mix is a custom job and should be treated as such. My opinion is to use mixing templates to help your workflow and get you moving faster but don’t use them thinking they are going to create your mix for you. After all that is your job as the engineer.