file guideline

This is a short guide on how to send the files to any engineer. This is a valuable skill that as a recording artist, you should know.

The format we best work with is WAV (called ‘lossless’), but if it isn’t available, MP3 (called ‘lossy’) might work as long as it’s not below 192kbps.
We have to be careful if you are ripping your instrumental from YouTube. Things have changed and now you’re able to upload max quality MP3 (320kps) to YouTube videos, but beat makers might upload in a lower quality to protect rappers from using without permission. Working with a beat in a very lossy format like the standard YouTube 128kbps MP3 is more difficult so please avoid that.
None of the files should distort or have “red volumes”. I don’t work with distorted stems and I’m sure 95% of engineers won’t: every effect you add will only make the distortion more present.

There is something called ‘headroom’ which is the “distance” between the maximum volume possible and the maximum volume of the track. Volume is measured in decibels, but it is not an absolute measure like meters. It is a relative unit, it expresses a ratio. Every file you send needs to be at least 3dB away from the zero, to make sure there is no distortion. If it was recorded at 0dB and the mic caught distortion, there is no point in decreasing the volume. You must record at a lower volume too, check my recording tips for reference.

All the files you send (except for MASTERING) should have the same length, that is, the length of the whole track. When I place them in my workstation it should look something like this:

 

 

The parts where I doodled in blue are necessary to know where the files are placed, where each voice should sound.

 

 

MASTERING
The track needs to be decently mixed. If it isn’t, I’m not going to be able to do a lot. It will sound better but don’t expect it to become a radio hit.



VOCAL MIX & MASTER
Refer to my home recording tips if you need help recording. When exporting, make sure none of the vocals overlap in the same file.
Send the vocals raw, no effects except autotune if you want to use yours.
Don’t know how to export the vocals? Choose your software and you’ll be redirected to a YouTube tutorial.
And of course, contact me if you need any help.



FULL MIX & MASTER

That is, if the beat is in tracked out format and needs mixing as well.
For the beat, it shouldn’t be more than 10 files. More or less it should look like this: Kick, Snare, Hats, Ride/Cym, Melody, Bass, 2nd Melody, FX.
Same rule applies to this: leave headroom to avoid distortion.
For vocals, see previous point.



CO PRODUCTION MIX & MASTER

If you need help on the production of the beat. It can be either an instrumental that you really like but it was sold, an instrumental from a famous track that you’d rather not use, or a beat that you made but you don’t like the samples you used or the arrangement. In the latter case I’d rather get the beat trackouts so I can experiment with the melody and use my own instruments. Any requests are welcome. I have a huge library so feel free to ask for unusual instruments like Marimbas or a Jewish Harp.
For vocals, see previous point.



CUSTOM BEATS

I will need around 3 beats that you like, they can be from either a famous song or it could be a type beat from another producer. It’s important that they have something in common; I won’t be able to do much if you mix De la Soul, Lil Pump and Tyler the Creator in the same request.
Any requests are welcome. I have a huge library so feel free to ask for unusual instruments like a Hotchiku or an Egyptian Fiddle.



For all orders I need to check the files and confirm before you send the payment.