Logic Pro X: Prepping Stems for a Mix or Remix

Today, any creative person with a relatively fast Mac or PC can release their own music. Everything from the first chord that inspired the song, to the final mastering can be done on your computer. Should you mix your own music just because you can? The problem with this is when you’ve spent a month—or more—composing, arranging, and producing a track, it’s hard to step away and see the big picture… this is what a good mixing engineer can do for you. In this article I’ll be showing you how to prepare stems in Logic Pro X so they can be sent to a mixing/re-mixing engineer without losing anything in the process.

Mixing Consultation

The first step should really be the consultation with the mixing engineer. This is where you have your chance to express how you’d like the mix to sound, and talk about what effects on each of the tracks should stay or go. Reverb is notoriously difficult to remove so this topic is a common consideration. If you’ve been using creative effects on your tracks, most of the time these should stay. In today’s dance and electronic music for example, using effects is part of the whole creative process and can often define a musical part. Once you’ve consulted with the mixing engineer, you’ll be ready to start preparing your stems.

The Importance of Audio Branding

Branding your business is one of the most important initiatives that is part of your overall marketing strategy. Audio branding involves the audio quality, the script, the tone and delivery style. Effective audio branding will send a consistent message to your audience, establishing your auditory image with purpose.

Identifying Your Audio Ad Campaign Theme

The theme of your audio advertising is the core of your campaign and should conjure up some familiar imagery and inspire listeners to take action. Writing your campaign goals is a necessary step in the branding process. When you are drafting your audio ad script, make sure that it explains the value proposition of your product or service.

Creating Visual Appeal in Audio Ads

While audio ads are being played, an image is displayed within the Internet radio player of the listener. Consider the colors to represent your company. Select complimentary colors, that is, colors that go well together and are consistent with the look and feel of your company logo and website. Colors often have certain emotions or connotations associated with them, for instance, the color yellow is often associated with the sun, cheerfulness, and innovation, whereas blue may be associated with the sea, tranquility, and freedom. If your company already has a official colors, you may wish to incorporate those same colors into your branding scheme for the audio ads banner.

Creating an Audio Logo

An audio logo or sound logo is the most readily available representative of your podcast. Your logo can accompany press releases, be used as a link to your site, for advertising purposes, and give potential audiences a glimpse at what you and your podcast are all about even before listening to your show. If your company already has a sound logo, you could further brand your image by incorporating your sound logo to strengthen and reinforce your established brand.

How To Set Up The Perfect Monitor Mix

There are certainties in life: everyone is mortal and the vocalist will ask for reverb in the headphones.

Unfortunately, only one of these has a solution.

Vocalists, more then anyone need to have a good headphone mix. Mind you, everyone benefits from a great mix. But, nobody is more exposed than a vocalist for the sheer reason that the voice is a direct expression of emotion.

Headphone mixes are amongst the most neglected parts of a session. Far too many engineers have never been on the other side of the glass. And even if they have, it’s easy to lose perspective over time.

It’s good to square away some time to create your own headphone mix. Lay down some vocals on a dummy track. Go through the process. See what it feels like and what you need to make it better. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a great singer. It just matters that you feel what it’s like and become more sensitive to the situation.

The Setup

Here’s a setup I use in Logic:

  1. Create a track and set the input for the vocal mic.
  2. Create 2 mono Aux Channel Strips
  3. Set the output of the vocal track to a bus you’re not using (for me right now it’s bus 2)
  4. Set the input for the Aux Channels to Bus 2.
  5. Set the Output of each channel to different outputs. One output goes to your studio monitors. The other output goes to you monitor sub-mix station.
  6. Label Aux Channel 1 Vox Cntl (for control room)
  7. Label Aux Channel 2 Vocal Mix

Now you can adjust your own mix on each bus. They’re independent. Always make sure to leave the signal alone on the Vocal track itself. You don’t want to mess with signals downstream. Subtle changes in monitor mixes don’t inspire performers. It frustrates them.