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Guidelines For Preparing Your Files

It is essential that you prepare your songs according to these guidelines so that we can properly import them.

GOLDEN RULE: Make backups!!

Please DO NOT send your only copies of the files

Here’s the list of our 6 guidelines before you send anything.

Guideline #1

Each track must contain ONE continuous audio file.
All tracks must start on the same bar or SMPTE location.
All tracks AND all audio files must be clearly named.  "Audio 1" or "Audio 27" are unacceptable; "Bass DI" or "Bass Amp" are good.

Guideline #2

We want your raw unprocessed tracks.  Remove plugins from the individual audio tracks.  *Exception: If one of your tracks uses plugins that are very unique and essential to that sound--and that's exactly the way you want it--print it that way.  Examples of this include special FX and guitar amp modelers like Amp Farm or Eleven.  If you think you love your sound, but you're not totally convinced, you can send both the unprocessed and the processed tracks, clearly labelled to indicated that they are from the same source, i.e. "Nile Guitar 3.raw" vs. "Nile Guitar 3.eleven" or "Nile Guitar 3.fx".

Bear in mind that we have very high quality digital and analog effects so, only print a track with your effects if it is completely unique and difficult to recreate, or if you are 100% confident that you love the effect exactly as it is.

Guideline #3


There is a Session Form that you should complete so we know what you are sending us. If you don’t write it down, then it's harder and more time consuming to know what’s going on with your project and mistakes may happen.  The more info we have, the better!

Guideline #4

If you have accompanying MIDI tracks for drum machines, synths or virtual instruments that trigger sounds along with the song, they need to be converted and printed as continuous audio files.  If the sound has stereo imaging, you can print it stereo; if there's no special panning, print it mono.

Guideline #5

Clean up, edit and crossfade your tracks.  Composite and consolidate your tracks into continuous audio tracks.

For example if you have recorded multiple lead vocal takes (that will ultimately be edited and combined into the final lead vocal performance) on separate tracks or playlists, please combine these takes into a single composite, final lead vocal track, check your crossfades to ensure there are no clicks or pops, then consolidate it into a single, continuous audio track that starts at the beginning of the song, where all the other tracks start.

Guideline #6

Each track and every audio file must be labeled correctly.  Your hard drive, CD or DVD must also be clearly labeled.

In general, the performance on each track should be the way you want it in the mix.
If there is a section you don't want in the song (i.e someone talking before the vocal take or a bass player noodling around after the end of his part), edit it out before creating the single file for that track.  If you don’t, we will think you want it in the mix, and will have to do something creative with it!!

Before sending any material, check these points:

• All the tracks that are sent need to be clearly labeled.

For instance, if the track is a vocal then it should be labeled such as, Whitney ad-libs or Whitney Lead vocal.  If the sound is stereo then send it to us in stereo, if it's mono, then the file should just be a mono file.

• Location Markers of the song structure are helpful, but not required.  So when you all say, “Whitney’s lead vocal on the bridge," we can go right to it.

• Tempo of the song.

• If you have any special delays or settings that you are married to, we need to know that before we begin mixing.

• Include an MP3 of the current or last mix of the song that you liked or wanted to improve upon.

• Are you involved with a record label, and if so, which one?

• Let us know if you need us to do any vocal tuning.  An additional fee will be charged, so we prefer to have you save some money by taking care of it before sending us your tracks.

• Copy your song session and audio files ("Save Copy In..." in Pro Tools--see note below*) to a backup medium, then open the backup session, making sure that all the audio files are present.

How to Send Us Your Files

Depending on how many songs and which of our engineers will be mixing your music, you will deliver your files to us in one of several ways.  We will discuss the best way for your project.  Options include:

• electronic delivery via FTP or

• firewire drive formatted so that both Mac & PC can read it

• CD or DVD

In any case, we encourage you to include a text file with as much info as you can give us so that we can make your dream mix become reality!

* Re: "Save Copy In..."

It is critical that you read the Pro Tools User Guide or have a thorough understanding of how this works.  We have received sessions with no audio files from users who were uninformed or careless with their session preparation.  After you master the concept of how "Save Copy In..." works, try it using a separate drive as your destination, and pay close attention to the following points.

• Before doing "Save Copy In...", "Save" your session.  Then make sure that you have carefully followed our Guidelines # 1, 2, 4 & 5.  Next, "Save As" your session as "(YourSongTitle) for IPM" and then "remove" (not "delete" from disk) all unused tracks, playlists, regions and audio from the session.  The session should now contain only the tracks that you want us to include in your mix, each with a single, continuous audio file, all starting at the same beat, same measure.  The regions bin should appear much more tidy, with only boldface regions remaining.  Click "Save" again.

• From the File menu, choose "Save Copy In..."  In the dialog window, select one of your backup drives as the destination for your copy, check Copy All Audio Files, make sure that you have selected the correct sample and bit rates, and check Enforce Mac & PC Compatibility.  Click OK.

• After the copy is complete, close this session.  This is not the copy.  Navigate to the backup drive, and open "Copy of (YourSongTitle) for IPM" to make sure that it plays correctly.  Then expand the regions bin and select Show Full Path Name.  The audio regions should be referencing the new Copy Of session folder on the backup drive, rather than the original folder on your audio work drives.  If everything is fine, close the session and click Don't Save changes.  Next, open the Finder to view the "Copy of (YourSongTitle) for IPM" folder, and make sure that the Audio Files folder actually contains audio files.  If so, we're good to go! 

• The lean, cleaned-up Copy Of session folder will typically range in size from 500MB to 1 or 2GB for a complex pop or rock session, down from the 4-8GB original session with all of the alternate takes, drop-ins, and unused audio.  Our computers and servers are happy about the streamlined copy.
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