One-on-one Mix Training
Take your mix to my studio in Munich, Germany, and work with me to improve all aspects of the production. Two main options are available: either you can bring your computer system with you, and use your own software while listening over my monitoring system; or you can provide your project’s raw multitrack files for me to mix in my own Cockos Reaper-based DAW system. If travelling to Munich is not practical, then training can also be carried out remotely via online file-exchange, email, phone, and/or Skype/Zoom (in conjunction with 24-bit WAV audio streaming).
Option 1: Bringing Your Own DAW System - Guidelines
If you decide to work on your own software system, then please ensure that you bring all the necessary cables, dongles, and audio interfaces so that your software will operate correctly and you can easily feed a stereo audio stream into my studio’s monitor controller. If you’re planning to use a laptop, please bring an appropriate mouse with you, because operating via the computer’s built-in trackpad typically slows down the workflow. If you’re travelling far, then it’s advisable to export raw multitrack files to a separate storage device too, so that the session can be transferred to my system in the event of any problem with your own DAW software or computer.
Although I have long-term operating experience of Steinberg Cubase, Apple Logic, and Cockos Reaper (and a familiarity with most other DAW software too), you will ultimately be relied on to operate any DAW system you bring. The speed at which the mix progresses will inevitably be linked to the speed at which you can navigate the software’s functions, especially where audio/automation editing is concerned, so anything you can do to streamline your own working methods prior to the session will help you get the most out of the available time.
Option 2: Delivering Multitracks - Guidelines
All of the production’s individual tracks should be supplied as audio files in WAV or AIFF format at a minimum resolution of 24-bit/44.1kHz. (Data-compressed files such as MP3/AAC aren’t suitable for mixing purposes.) All the WAV/AIFF files should start at the same time so that they line up correctly when imported. Any combination of stereo and mono files is fine, as long as it’s clear what each track is (especially if any mono tracks are the two sides of a split stereo pair). It saves time if you can indicate the exact tempo of the project as well, or supply a MIDI tempo map if tempo variations are used. The audio files should be free from digital clipping and any effects or processing. However, if there are any tracks where an effect is very much part of the character of the raw sound itself (such as an amp simulation on a guitar/bass part, or a resonant filter on a synth), you can provide a version of the track with this effect in place, but an unprocessed/DI track may also be useful too, so please also include that if you have it. If you’ve used any pitch-correction processing, especially on lead vocals, then please supply separate files with/without the correction if at all possible.
If any parts are running live from external sound modules or virtual instruments, they’ll need to be bounced down to audio. For programmed drum parts, please try to separate out the different drum samples onto different tracks as much as you can - it leaves a lot more room for manoeuvre in terms of getting the sound you’re after. It’s also handy in this case if you can include the MIDI trigger files you used as well, in case there’s a need to synchronise any layers/effects with your programming. In addition to the multitrack files, please provide a stereo WAV/AIFF file of your own most recent mix, as well as an indication of any specific commercial tracks which would be good benchmarks for the kind of sound you’re after. Mix sonics can vary a lot even between songs apparently in the same musical genre, so without any input from you it’s only possible to make an educated guess at the exact sound you’re aiming for.
It is advisable to submit your multitrack files at least a week in advance of the training date, so that Mike has time to check them over for any obvious problems which might waste session time. Audio files can be sent on CD-ROM or DVD-ROM by post, but it’s usually easier just to host them somewhere online for download – WeTransfer and Dropbox both work well, for instance. (Before uploading, though, please pack all the files into a ZIP archive to reduce filesize.)
The pricing for one-on-one mix training is £375 (plus 19% VAT) for a nominal 10-hour day. For longer sessions a discounted rate of £300/day is available. As a rough guide, most self-produced multitrack productions take at least 2-3 days to mix to a professional standard on my own system. If you only have limited mixing time available, then it’s advisable to work on just a single important section of your track (perhaps the final chorus) so that a good range of balancing, sweetening, and referencing techniques can still be covered during the session. Small groups (up to 3-4 people) can usually be accommodated at no extra charge. My normal working hours are Monday-Friday, 8am-3pm and then 8pm-11pm, although weekend sessions can occasionally be accommodated by special request.
Travel & Accommodation
My studio is located in Feldkirchen (postcode: 85622), an Eastern suburb of Munich. You can reach this by S-Bahn train from any of Munich’s main stations (Hauptbahnhof, Ostbahnhof, Marienplatz): the S2 train (usually destined for Erding or Markt Schwaben) stops directly at Feldkirchen station. The studio is a seven-minute walk from the S-Bahn station. For overnight stay, there are a number of affordable hotels (under €100/night) located in Feldkirchen:
- a McDreams Hotel about 15 minutes walk from the studio.
- a Hotel Ibis and a Holiday Inn Express about 25 minutes walk from the studio.
All these hotels have restaurant facilities, but there are also restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets within walking distance of the studio.
Terms & Conditions
Any training work carried out by Cambridge-MT is performed as ‘work for hire’, and as such no claim is made on the music creator’s compositional or sound-recording copyrights. Although mixes and project/master files are backed up by Cambridge-MT as a matter of course, ultimate responsibility for archiving all aspects of any mix project lies with the trainee. Cambridge-MT encourages trainees to back up important files in at least two different digital formats. Cambridge-MT reserve the right to use up to 30 seconds of any material worked on by Cambridge-MT for demonstration and/or publicity purposes. For all sessions, payment will be 30% in advance, and the remainder upon session completion.
Trainees are responsible for ensuring that no property of Cambridge-MT is damaged, lost, or stolen as a direct or indirect result of their own action or failure to act appropriately. In the event of loss, theft, or damage directly or indirectly caused by any trainee, the trainee agrees to pay all reasonable costs in full, including replacement or reparation of damaged property. Cambridge-MT accept no responsibility for loss, damage or theft of personal belongings.
Cambridge-MT reserve the right to terminate the session in the event of unacceptable conduct or attitude from any trainee. In such cases, no refund will be given. Any attempt to create unauthorised audio or video recordings of Cambridge-MT’s training sessions will be deemed unacceptable. In the event of any complaint, please contact Cambridge-MT directly in the first instance. These Terms & Conditions shall be governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any claim, dispute or difference which may arise out of them.