How to prep your Pro Tools sessions for mixing.

  1. Open your session and immediately save it as something else like “My Song EXPORT”. This is merely an added layer of protection from screwing up your original session if you make a mistake and have to start over.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to bounce down a rough mix so I have something to reference while I’m mixing. Label it as “My Song, ROUGH” or whatever is appropriate and place it along with all of your other rough mixes inside a folder called “Rough Mixes”. Be sure to include this folder on the drive or discs that gets shipped to me.
  3. Organize your session so that you avoid using the same track for different instruments. If you must due to track limitations, then be smart, put guitars with guitars, keys with keys, percussion with percussion. Do NOT put a tambourine on a backing vocal track or a vocal track on the guitar solo track. Label these tracks appropriately and type a note in the track comments window so I know what’s what. Feel free to use bar/beat numbers or time indexes too.
  4. PLEASE LABEL YOUR TRACKS. Use names like “Bass DI”, “BVX 3” and/or “Joe Guitar 2”. DON’T use names like “Audio 03.12”, “verse 2” and/or “new heavy shit double 2.03”. It’s confusing and I have a tiny brain.
  5. Now, double check that you just did that last step correctly. Finished? Great, now let’s go ahead and TRIPLE CHECK that.
  6. If you are using any effects, plugins, pitch correction, virtual instruments, automation and/or tricks that are uncommon, specific, unique and/or essential to your song and/or system, please print them to a separate audio track(s). Be sure to label them appropriately.
  7. Remove all overall common processing like eq, dynamics, reverbs, delays, pans and volume automation.
  8. If you are using any outboard MIDI devices and/or unique audio processors, please print them to a separate audio track(s). Be sure to label them appropriately.
  9. Spend as much time as you possible can carefully and thoroughly cleaning up your session. Look for things like clicks, pops, noises, buzz, headphone bleed, weird edits, unwanted parts, etc and remove or delete them as necessary. Double check every fade in your session. This can bite us in the ass so please triple check it too! Please feel free to use the track comments window for track descriptions and comments. The more informed I am about your session the better I can mix it. Please include the session tempo, time signature and key signature for every song.
  10. Now, CONSOLIDATE ALL AUDIO TRACKS FROM ZERO. This IS the ballgame folks. Track consolidation will ensure what I receive from you stays in perfect sync.
  11. After track consolidation is complete, please go to the playlist menu on any track in the edit window and choose “Delete Unused”. When the Delete Unused Playlist dialog opens, select all of the playlists in that list and click delete.
  12. Now, in the region bin menu, choose “SELECT UNUSED” and with those regions still selected, go back to the region bin menu and choose “CLEAR”.
  13. Once the Clear Regions window opens click the “REMOVE” button. DO NOT CLICK “DELETE”. That will permanently delete the files from your disk. We just want to remove the unused files from this specific session.
  14. Under the file menu, choose “SAVE COPY IN”. Name it something like “My Song MIX”. Select PT9 for your session format and make sure that “All Audio Files” is selected in the “Items to Copy” box. Also make sure that the “Enforce Mac/PC Compatibility” button is selected. If it is grey’d out don’t worry, continue on.
  15. While still in this dialog, navigate to your desktop and create or choose a folder to save this and the other sessions to and click save.
  16. After Pro Tools finishes saving your copy, double check the audio files folder of that newly copied session to make sure nothing is missing.
  17. Repeat this process for every song on your album.