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How is mixing and mastering done at a professional level?
Most pro-level producers do not mix and master their own music. There are professionals who have audio engineering degrees who do mixing and mastering for them in million-dollar studios. When such an artist finishes a beat and after the rapper raps on it, the beat is sent to a mixing engineer to mix it. How does he receive the file you ask? no, it’s not a fruity loops project file or an Ableton project file.
Mixing engineers use specialized DAWS built specifically for mixing and mastering. When they work on mixing, they receive the project in the form of wav stems, which means every element in the beat is exported separately.
For example, if a beat consists of an 808, melody, kick, and snare, there would be 4 wav stems, 1 for each element.(wav exported with all elements except the one muted). If you are familiar with the beat selling website called Beatstars, you’ll remember that one of the packages every producer offers in their product catalog is “Track-Outs”.
Track-outs are just another name for wav stems and most big-name artists will buy this package as they get it mixed from a pro, whereas a small artist might not be able to afford the 100-150$ fees of a trained professional, and would prefer to buy just a wav lease and use the mix as done by the producer.
So for small artists, knowing how to mix is the single most important thing separating you from an amateur. There is no need for you to export every element (a huge time loss if you haven’t upgraded to fl 20.6 yet), and it is only ever needed when you want to send the project over to a pro for mixing/mastering.
If you are interested check out this full course on Mixing and Mastering.