Since I am currently living in a place where I use only headphones to monitor my sound, I am having a great problem with listening to my productions properly. Moreover, I must admit that I am not the best sound engineer, even though I try to produce reasonably good sound. I am more interested in the creative part of the process. The fact that I have no access to a studio and that my budget is always limited made me think about trying an online mixing service. I chose In The Box Online Mixing. According to their website, for $99 they provide optimized sound by brilliant craftsmanship for up to 32 tracks. On top of that, there is an option for clients to hear a 40 second sample before paying for the full high resolution mix. Below is the online mixing review.
My project consists of 18 different tracks – kicks, snares, hihats, drumrolls, breaks, crashes, chords, strings, dubby chords, keys, and return tracks seperately. Unfortunately, this summed up as more than 1GB and as suggested at the upload page, I contacted the staff to see how I can get an FTP access in order to upload the seperate track files. They responded quite fast, asking if I do have an FTP client to use for uploading my project and swiftly provided me with the host name, username and password. Luckily, I am experienced in creating websites, uploading files, etc. and I regularly use FTP clients, so I was already familiar with the process and soon my tracks were uploading. Early on the next day my mix was ready and I received a notification via e-mail to download it from WeTransfer.com
The work was archived in a .zip file and it included TWO mixes of my track, together with an explanatory readme file. One of the tracks was “ready to master” .wav file which afterwards I sent to a mastering engineer. The other one was a louder “ready to rock” .mp3 file with reasonable loudness to enjoy listening before the final master. The quality of the sound is quite satisfying for the price of $99. If it can be described in words, I would use smooth, balanced, warm and thick. There is no doubt that the overall sound was improved from what I initially sent to the mixing engineer. For reference, you can listen to a before/after sample of my track at the ITB Online Mixing website here. A much easier task is to describe the technical parameters of the files, and I will concentrate on the .wav file which is to be sent for mastering. It is a 24bit, 48kHz file with a lot of headroom left for the mastering engineers. In fact, the final mix is done by K-12 standard, which is a way for measuring loudness and was invented by Bob Katz. This is the moment where it should be noted that the work of a mixing engineer is not to make a track loud, but rather to make it balanced and to preserve the quality and the dynamic range. This is something which I think was achieved quite well by ITB Online Mixing. In general, I am happy with the service, having in mind the price, the service, the quality, and the time it took to complete the final mix. Hence, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend In The Box Online Mixing.