Do you use a mixing template?

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wuff_miggler
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Do you use a mixing template?

Post by wuff_miggler » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:03 pm

I've had the idea of creating a master mixing template for myself over the years.
The time finally has come for me to do it and see how i think it improved my work flow.

Now - the question i have - to those who swear by - or do - use mix templates:

A) do you find it boxes you in - in anway?

B) do you create a mix template for every genre you work in?

C) how far do you go when it comes to the splits - for example - would you combine DRUMS and PERCUSSION into 1 submix? Would you combine PADS + ATMOSPHERIC/FIELD RECORDING elements?

i guess the reason i'd like to do this is to remove some friction in the production process - it would include setting up 3 verbs as well - short, medium, long - and pre-routing each submix to them - setting up some of the commong ducking like Kick ducks bass/reese/sub.

Anyone have any advise when doing this? I guess im sick and tired of writing stuff and routing things haphazardly when im in creative mode - then getting really fucking shitty when it's mixdown o'clock and i've randomly routed the snare channel to insert 11 which i've also not labeled :doh:

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by ETP » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:46 am

I work in FL Studio. I thought, I should make some templates, but I am pretty fast with routing and bus them together.
Layers, drums, and so on I always bus together. I also make separate send channels for room fx. Reverb and delays need eq.
Labeling and color coding and set separators is a must for me.

I changed my workflow. So mixing is on a separate day and session, but arranging has to be finished at this stage.

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by wuff_miggler » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:50 pm

nice ETP :)

What do you mean by 'set separators?'

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by ETP » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:15 pm

The drums for example have all the same color and the bus has a slightly different lighter or darker color. If you right click on the mixer channel, you can set a separator. It is just to keep it organized. In FLStudio... Don´t know other DAWs

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by wuff_miggler » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:28 pm

i use FL - thats a good tip for the colours! Thanks ETP :)

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:16 am

There is for sure some sort of order in my mixes but each track has its own logic and personality :roll:

I don't have a template for Ableton - only reason is that I like that it randomize the colour scheme when you open a new project (which gives the new song its own character!) - but I did have a simple template for Logic when I used that DAW. It was very simple, one track for each input with a dedicated output.

I work very similar today: my audio interface has 12 outputs so I group my tracks into 12 groups. They change for each track but somethings are rock solid. Channel 11/12 is FX, 7/8 is drums. The other groups are a bit more free, but the bass is almost always on channel 2 or 3 as mono. You get the idea. Depending on the song, similar textures goes into one group.

I like to make groups in the DAW as well. As soon as I make a track I label it and send it to a group. The group might be "Electric guitar - Funkey" which is a funk guitar, sent to channel 5, hard panned left for example :)

For me it has always worked to be strickt before the creative session start. I have a nice routine when I start up my system and label each track, check the levels, tune everything, making sure that it is clean and neat. I even clean the studio if I start a new project, or if I feel a bit stuck. It works great for me: everything is ready. Then I can get lost in the moment and just go about.

Many of my friends, on the other hand, have a completely different approach hehe
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ETP
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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by ETP » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:35 am

wuff_miggler wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:28 pm
i use FL - thats a good tip for the colours! Thanks ETP :)
Good to know, that there are more FL users here :tu:

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by Michael O. » Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:30 pm

I tried it years ago, but for some time now I’ve not used any sort of templates, and I’ve learned that my job would, maybe counterintuitively, be significantly more difficult and less efficient if I did. The time consuming part of mixing is the creative part, finding the right/appropriate sound via minute tweaks rather than the logistical/setup part.

Organization is everything- when necessary, things like labeling, color coding, note taking, and grouping take almost no time either itb or otb and can go a very long way in preventing frustration and confusion.

As far as how to group/split tracks- it is completely subjective and project/arrangement dependent, so a template would likely only hinder progress in that regard. In other words, you’re more like to run into situations wherein the project at hand does not correspond 1:1 with any sort of preconceived template.

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by Tim_mop1 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:29 am

I def use a template in Logic for everything. But it's mostly routing things. I don't have plugins or individual tracks ready to go, just buses with occasional go-to plugs, my basic mix bus, and a bunch of my standard FX sends. I've recently added the Lindell 80 bus plugin to my instrument buses too - we'll see if they stay there!

Other than that I just have a Battery instance ready for drum replacement

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by IEC » Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:27 pm

have been thinking about doing this, so let us know how you get on with it? for now I just try keep things vaguely in the same spot and tend to use similar fx chains for the tracks anyway... like the bass tends to always have eq>saturation>compressor>compressor>delay>verb so having a template seems like a logical thing. then again sometimes its easier to start with a blank canvas when doing something creative... i guess the templates already inside my brain? and wonder if the time saved by not having to pull all those plugins out of a menu would be worth it...

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by XXXEsq » Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:11 pm

Lots of "big time" producers and engineers swear by mix templates. Some have published lessons where they take you though their set-ups. Back in the 70s, when I was a studio engineer, one of the tasks assigned to our seconds was to "buss the board" for tracking and mixing sessions based on the producer's and/or engineer's requests. For example, send one out to a particular reverb set a certain way back into an effects return labeled a certain way. After the session, everything got stripped off and the next time, we'd just repeat the process. Now, we all just set up things the way we like them once, and hit "save."

I swear by templates, track presets and Slate Batch Commands (think of programmable macros), both for recording and mixing. Certainly there are times that I need to add and/or change specific things to a project, but certain basic repeated tasks are super convenient to build into templates or batch commands. Many times, the engineering part takes me out of my "creative headspace' - especially on the recording side. So anything I can pre-engineer that allows me to reduce complicated tasks to a single button push makes me a better producer and allows me to capture more music, be it prearranged or just a happy accident.

I work in Cubase, and I have a Slate Raven touchscreen controller which employs their Batch Command system. I've built a few master templates and dozens of track presets in Cubase for my various instruments and controllers on the recording side, and buss effects with their respective insert/VSTI plugin chains on the mix side. I then built a number of Raven Batch Command panels (some for the project window, some for the mix window) to perform certain tasks, from selecting my monitors to loading specific presets and their respective assigned routings.

By way of example, on the recording side, my Moog One comes into my audio interface (through patch bay normalling) as 2 pairs of stereo audio (main and aux outs) each of which gets assigned to stereo audio tracks in Cubase; and my SL61MkII master controller midi out gets sent to the Moog One midi in so I can play it from the desk position. Track presets are built for the audio and midi routings, and then a Batch Command loads each track preset and the corresponding audio and midi inputs, outputs and track colors. Hit one button, wait 15 seconds or so while everything loads, and play...

A more complicated example would be setting up my guitar synth. I have my Variax guitar through a Helix out into my audio interface spdif input on a stereo audio channel, 2 Helix aux mono outs (one with the modeled output and the other the magnetic pick-ups output) for reamping into a pair of mono audio channels; along with my Axon guitar to midi converter on a midi track and a folder track with each of the 6 string outs on a separate midi channel driving Omnisphere (loaded with a default 6 channel patch) with each of the 6 voices bussed out to separate audio tracks. My FCB1010 foot controller midi out is also sent to each of the Omnishpere voices. Everything is saved as individual track presets and then loaded in turn (including input and output bussing for audio and midi which isn't saved as part of the Cubase track presets) by a single Batch Command button on the Raven. I hit one button, and everything loads just like I want it including the colors for the various tracks.

On the mixing side, I use a basic mix template with half a dozen effects sends and returns (several reverbs, delays, distortions, and crush/compressor channels), my assigned groups (drums, guitars, synths, etc.), VCA faders, and a few plugins and track colors assigned by channel type. I also built some Batch Commands that do a variety of specified things - for example add a series of highlighted audio channels to a group, assign a VCA fader, load a few VSTs in specific orders with specific presets on the group channel, add sends to the effects busses, name everything accordingly and send the group out to the 2 buss. I also have certain effects chains stored as both Track Presets (for entire buss channels) and Batch Commands presets (such as a reverb on insert 1, through an EQ on insert 2 and compressor on insert 3) to add to specific channels with Batch Command buttons for them on my Raven mix page tool bars. Again, if I want to accomplish one of my usual tasks, I hit one button and everything happens automatically.

It has taken me a few years to develop my templates, presets and batch commands and I still occasionally refine them, or build new ones, as I find myself repeating new tasks. But the key for me is that when I finish a session, I go back and make sure that any new groupings that I found useful get recorded as templates. Might take an extra 1/2 hour after a session, but the next time I want to use it, I hit one button and 15 seconds later, I'm ready to go.
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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by stk » Thu Dec 10, 2020 1:32 am

I work in FLStudio (composition) and Reaper (mixing).

I have a pretty generic template set up in both - mainly track colours (green for drums, brown for guitars, blue for bass (synth and/or electric), pink for vocals, purple for synths / atmos / "other".
I also have groups (black) for bussing these tracks together into stems and applying shared processing.

This template is generic enough that it fits with any of my projects in varying styles, while still bootstrapping the composing or mixing process, and helping things stay organised.

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by Tim_mop1 » Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:54 am

I have mix and production templates in Logic that I use for everything. The mix template is super basic though, it's pretty much just routing, with a couple plugins and sends that I use regularly.

Sometimes it boxes you in, but the plugins are always a starting point, and with reasonable ears you can tell when something's not right and needs a different flavour

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by kosmische » Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:39 pm

I have a couple generic templates set up in Ableton, and they're dependent on where I'm starting from (e.g. multi tracking something in, beginning a remix, or a new ITB project from scratch). I don't use a mix template because the mixdown and arrangement process is different each time. More often than not I'm rough mixing as I go, so it's just final details and touches at the end anyway.

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by spilthyfred » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:10 pm

I have had an evergrowing template since day one. Could not imagine working without it. My template is my baby!

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Re: Do you use a mixing template?

Post by minimalist » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:08 am

I have a basic template for tracking and mixing.

22 channels from mixer into computer.
I don't bother naming the channels until tracking is completed as I might change each session's inputs via the patch bay.
Each channel in Bitwig has a spectrum analyser, oscilloscope and 5 band EQ. I'm looking for a tuner plug in. I might create groups but since I try to keep within a 22 channel limit, I don't feel I need to. If I add any extra processing in the box, I do it on an adhoc basis so the template is quite lean although I have been thinking about Softube Console 1 for a while.

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