The Roles and Workflows of Producing, Mixing and Mastering in EDM

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The Roles and Workflows of Producing, Mixing and Mastering in EDM

Hey, folks!

Matthew Weiss — weiss-sound.com, theproaudiofiles.com,
and mixingedm.com.

Welcome to the Ask Weiss series.

Today’s question comes to us via our YouTube
channel from NathanDW1000.

Nathan asks, “Hey, Matt.

My question concerns mixing in EDM.

In an interview with famous mixing engineers,
the producer David *** said that in his business,

the producer delivers ready masters.

I interpret it that you produce, mix, and
master your own track as an EDM producer.

“But, I heard another big house producer
say that now that he produces at such a high

level, he doesn’t engineer himself anymore.

“And THEN, a few days later, I saw a DVD
where a well known producer mixed the whole

track through an already setup mastering chain,
but in your mixing EDM tutorial, you mixed

just a rough, right?

“Where do all of these different approaches
come from, and can the end results be that

good?

I mean, with every part, people spend decades
to learn it.

Maybe EDM is the exception here?”

Alright, Nathan.

That’s a great question.

It’s a long question, but it’s a great question,
and it has everything to do with the word,

“workflow.”

So what I’m going to do is try and explain
each workflow, why it works, why you might

use it, why maybe it wouldn’t, and sort of
pull all of this stuff apart.

So, starting with the producer that said in
his business, the producer delivers ready

masters.

Being able to deliver a ready master, I think
particularly in EDM, but in actually pretty

much any genre, is really important because
when you deliver it, you don’t know what’s

necessarily going to happen with it next,
and that’s just a fact of the business.

So a lot of times, you’ll send something to
an A&R and there’s no more development.

It goes right to an artist, it goes right
to a label contact, it goes right to a radio

DJ, and the next thing you know, that record
is out.

And you didn’t sign off on it, it just happened.

But also, a lot of times, you want a quick
turn around.

Sometimes, you want to have a degree of expedience,
and also an ability to do it yourself without

having to tap into your own budget, because
a lot of times, you’ll find yourself working

on budgets of thousands of dollars, but sometimes
you’ll find yourself working on a budget of

nothing, and you just need to get something
out.

You need to get content out in circulation,
so being self reliant is extremely important.

And that’s really why I made the tutorial,
actually, because as an EDM producer, whether

you’re established, whether you’re unestablished,
being able to be self reliant is a very, very

important factor in where your career goes.

So, then you’ve got the opposite side of the
coin, which is this really big House producer,

who says now he produces at such a high level,
he doesn’t mix himself anymore.

Well, first of all, he did mix himself to
begin with.

That’s implicit in what he said, so even if
he’s not mixing the records, he still probably

has a certain degree of input into the mix
itself.

That said, he’s also established a really
good relationship with mix engineers that

he’s going back to, and he has the kind of
budget and output demand where he can shop

out his mixing, because it’s more profitable
for him to spend his time developing new music

and new content, rather than spending hours
mixing a record.

So, that’s a specific situation where that
workflow is conducive to him because there’s

a certain demand on his music.

Okay, then you have the guy who mixed the
whole thing through an already setup chain

for the master.

If you don’t have that budget system in place,
but you need to be very fast, setting up a

template can be really useful, and it can
also be part of somebody’s signature sound.

Now, I personally don’t do it that way, but
I’m a mix engineer, first and foremost.

But if you’re just making your own music,
then by all means, setup a template if it

works for you, but I mean, obviously take
the time to find what works for you.

Now, in my actual tutorial, you asked, “You
mixed just a rough, right?”Well, what I

would say I mixed is what I would call a first
pass, and when I’m working with an EDM producer,

a lot of times, the way my workflow goes is
I get the record in, I mix through the record

from point A to point Z, and when I’m done
and I’m happy with what’s immediately there,

I just send it to the producer for feedback
right then.

I don’t necessarily expect that to be the
final record, I just know that it’s at a point

where I can get that line of communication
open, I can get the feedback – and with

EDM in particular, I like to do it that way,
because it’s a very idiosyncratic genre.

So you know, there’s a lot of things that
can be tweaked, and a lot of nit-picky kind

of stuff that goes into the overall formula.

So in my tutorial, what I would say is, I
mixed a first pass.

It’s something where, if it went out to the
label or to the radio the next day or whatever,

I wouldn’t be mad at it.

Everybody would be happy.

Is it the absolute best it could be without
revisions?

No, probably not, but that’s okay.

The point is to get the ideas across, and
I do believe that I did that, if I do say

so myself.

Anyway, when I do a mix, I also deliver a
master.

I call it a reference master.

I deliver a reference master because A, whatever
I deliver might end up going out.

I don’t know who’s going to hear it.

It might be just the client, but it might
be the entire label behind the client.

I don’t know!

So, it’s important that I represent myself
very well, and in addition, I don’t want the

client to feel like, “Okay, well, is this
the mix or is it going to sound better in

the mastering?”

I don’t want any of those questions to occur.

I want the client to go, “This sounds fantastic,
and if it went out the door right now, I would

be totally thrilled.”

Then I contact the mastering engineer, if
there is one, and say, “Okay, now you have

to do better!”

And I like that.

[laughs]

But sometimes, there isn’t even a mastering
engineer.

Sometimes, I am the mastering engineer, along
with the mixing engineer, so being able to

deliver that reference master is an important
part of it.

Now, yeah, it does take years and years and
years to master any one of these things, and

yeah, I think that you’re on average better
served, as a producer, really digging into

production, and digging into mixing enough
where you can be self reliant.

This is really what the tutorial is about,
actually.

It’s being able to be self reliant.

Get those mixes to where they need to be so
that they can go out and you can be proud.

Is it going to get you to where I am after
what, 13 years?

14 years of mixing?

No, probably not.

Maybe five years down the line, six years
down the line, you catch up, but you know,

it will give you the structure and fundamentals
that you need to do a good job, and some projects

call for that.

Other projects call for hiring on a dedicated
mixing engineer.

It really just depends on if the workflow
makes sense for the task at hand.

Okay, so I hope that answered your question.

I think it’s a bit of an open ended question.

It’s very much up to interpretation, but that’s
my take on it.

Anyway, if you or anyone you know has a question
for me, feel free to leave it in the comments

section below, or on The Pro Audio Files’
Facebook page.

Don’t forget to like this video and subscribe
to the YouTube channel.

Thanks guys, until next time.

The Roles and Workflows of Producing, Mixing and Mastering in EDM

Learn how to mix EDM: http://mixingedm.com

A new video in the Ask Weiss series on the roles and workflows of producing, mixing and mastering in EDM.

More Ask Weiss videos on mixing, producing, recording and more: http://bit.ly/askweiss

Transcript Excerpt:

Nathan asks, “Hey, Matt. My question concerns mixing in EDM. In an interview with famous mixing engineers, the producer David *** said that in his business, the producer delivers ready masters. I interpret it that you produce, mix, and master your own track as an EDM producer.

“But, I heard another big house producer say that now that he produces at such a high level, he doesn’t engineer himself anymore.

“And THEN, a few days later, I saw a DVD where a well known producer mixed the whole track through an already setup mastering chain, but in your mixing EDM tutorial, you mixed just a rough, right?

“Where do all of these different approaches come from, and can the end results be that good? I mean, with every part, people spend decades to learn it. Maybe EDM is the exception here?”
Alright, Nathan. That’s a great question. It’s a long question, but it’s a great question, and it has everything to do with the word, “workflow.” So what I’m going to do is try and explain each workflow, why it works, why you might use it, why maybe it wouldn’t, and sort of pull all of this stuff apart.

So, starting with the producer that said in his business, the producer delivers ready masters. Being able to deliver a ready master, I think particularly in EDM, but in actually pretty much any genre, is really important because when you deliver it, you don’t know what’s necessarily going to happen with it next, and that’s just a fact of the business.

So a lot of times, you’ll send something to an A&R and there’s no more development. It goes right to an artist, it goes right to a label contact, it goes right to a radio DJ, and the next thing you know, that record is out. And you didn’t sign off on it, it just happened.

But also, a lot of times, you want a quick turn around. Sometimes, you want to have a degree of expedience, and also an ability to do it yourself without having to tap into your own budget, because a lot of times, you’ll find yourself working on budgets of thousands of dollars, but sometimes you’ll find yourself working on a budget of nothing, and you just need to get something out. You need to get content out in circulation, so being self reliant is extremely important.

And that’s really why I made the tutorial, actually, because as an EDM producer, whether you’re established, whether you’re unestablished, being able to be self reliant is a very, very important factor in where your career goes.

So, then you’ve got the opposite side of the coin, which is this really big House producer, who says now he produces at such a high level, he doesn’t mix himself anymore.

Well, first of all, he did mix himself to begin with. That’s implicit in what he said, so even if he’s not mixing the records, he still probably has a certain degree of input into the mix itself.

That said, he’s also established a really good relationship with mix engineers that he’s going back to, and he has the kind of budget and output demand where he can shop out his mixing, because it’s more profitable for him to spend his time developing new music and new content, rather than spending hours mixing a record.

So, that’s a specific situation where that workflow is conducive to him because there’s a certain demand on his music.

Okay, then you have the guy who mixed the whole thing through an already setup chain for the master. If you don’t have that budget system in place, but you need to be very fast, setting up a template can be really useful, and it can also be part of somebody’s signature sound.

Now, I personally don’t do it that way, but I’m a mix engineer, first and foremost. But if you’re just making your own music, then by all means, setup a template if it works for you, but I mean, obviously take the time to find what works for you.

Now, in my actual tutorial, you asked, “You mixed just a rough, right?”Well, what I would say I mixed is what I would call a first pass, and when I’m working with an EDM producer, a lot of times, the way my workflow goes is I get the record in, I mix through the record from point A to point Z, and when I’m done and I’m happy with what’s immediately there, I just send it to the producer for feedback right then.

I don’t necessarily expect that to be the final record, I just know that it’s at a point where I can get that line of communication open, I can get the feedback – and with EDM in particular, I like to do it that way, because it’s a very idiosyncratic genre. So you know, there’s a lot of things that can be tweaked, and a lot of nit-picky kind of stuff that goes into the overall formula.

[truncated]

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