No, a song doesn’t need separate mixing and mastering engineers. The best way to mix and master a song on a small budget is to use the same engineer for both mixing and mastering.
Let’s look what mixing and mastering mean? And the advantages of using same mixing and mastering engineer.
Mixing in simple terms is nothing but putting together all the pieces of a song and adjusting the dynamics and manipulating the dynamics of the sounds in the song to obtain a desirable outcome.
Mastering is nothing but increasing the loudness of the song, making it optimum of all the digital streaming platforms and devices.
Advantages of a separate mixing and mastering engineer:
1. More Control
2. More dynamic overhead
3. Low cost
4. Better results
The following are considered to be the perks that you don’t get when you have a separate mixing and mastering engineer.
Let’s look at each one of these perks and dive right in,
1. More control
One of the main reasons that you should have a same mixing and mastering engineer is because of the flexibility they have in working with the song. They can work through the stems with ease rather than struggling to cramp the project to get desired effect.
The first time when I tried to get my songs mixed and mastered, the engineer just told me, “Give me the actual stems, not the mixed stems”. That’s when I learned about control. How much less control an engineer has while he is given an already mixed stem.
If it’s a properly mixed stem, then you wouldn’t be facing any problems.
The control is the debated topic here, is you have amazing mixing and mastering engineers to work with then absolutely go for it.
The main ideology behind this method is to be efficient and getting the desired outcome.
Sometimes it’s harder to make the choice of whether you need a separate engineer or not, if you think you have a good mix then absolutely give it to a proper mastering engineer.
There are factors that determine the actual result of your song but a portion of it belongs to mixing and mastering.
Many people don’t factor in the difference a proper mixing and mastering does to a song.
If you ask every successful artist out there they will tell you that mixing and mastering engineers are the souls of the project. They carry it to the people.
Yes, they don’t get the credit most of the time. But their value is known to every music producer.
2. More dynamic overhead
Let’s get a little technical shall we?
How much does a mixing engineer leave for a mastering engineer to work with? This is a important question to be answered if you are using a separate mixing and mastering engineer.
First let’s talk about dynamic control.
What is dynamic control?
It’s nothing but the difference between the loudest and the quietest part in the song.
Why should you be worried about dynamic control?
Let say you gave your stems to mix to a mixing engineer and he added compressors and limiters and crushed the difference between the loudest and the quietest parts, then when your song goes to a mastering engineer he will be utterly disappointed by how much control he has. He cannot do a better job because of how he is limited by the dynamic overhead.
To further explain this let’s take a look at this example,
A mixing engineer gives the song back to you after working on it and it’s already having a high rms and lufs value .then the capability of the mastering engineer to work with it is pretty low.
This is the reason why most mastering engineers ask the stems to be at -6db and with no limiters added to the mix at any point.
3. Low cost
Yes, for my fellow artists who are struggling to get your music out there but are limited by money and your financial situations. Having one engineer is the best way to save money.
The average cost for a song to be mixed is around 250$
The average cost for mastering is around 100$
If you do it together you can reduce the cost even more to be around 150.
For some of you, this doesn’t seem like much but I have seen artists overpay and struggle every single day.
Significantly reducing the cost is what we strive for when we are working on a project.
This is the reason why when I am asked to mix and master a song I always start the conversation with what’s your budget?
You don’t want them to getting stressed over the work of mixing and mastering.
I always believe providing customer support goes a long than robbing each of your clients.
I have worked with countless artists who weren’t able to pay at the first time but they came back and paid me in double.
Most people don’t value relationships nowadays. These guys are some of my best friends who give unbiased opinion on my music.
Just shoot me an email if you are struggling to get your songs mastered on a budget.
4. Better results.
When your track is in the mixing state it has a lot more potential to be manipulated to be made better when it reaches the mastering stage it’s like how can I make this 1% better.
You can achieve better results if you have one guy mixing and mastering your song.
If you have one mixing and mastering engineer you can give him demos of how you want your music to be mastered but when you have different mixing and mastering engineers you can’t do that .even if you give them a demo you will not be getting great results.
It’s all comes down to if you can afford it or not.
If you have a huge budget to work with then absolutely go for it.
Usually, you will be charged based on revisions and the number of stems in the song.
Even when you are hiring a mixing and mastering engineer don’t pay more than what you spent for making the song.
When it comes to mixing and mastering one has to take into consideration on several things before even they start to mix and master the songs.
Mixing and mastering can sometimes make or break a song.
Make sure you get a proper engineer to do it.
I hope that this article gave you a perspective on why you don’t need a separate mixing and mastering engineer for your projects.
Here in music finesse, I teach people to have empathy when working with artists.
Maslin JE is a Music Producer/Composer Who has been working in the Music Industry for over 10 years. Having an evolution from being a church keyboardist to becoming a full-time entrepreneur he has gained an abundance of experience in music production and entrepreneurship.