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I have been using Ableton Live for a long time now and already produced two albums. In order to have the same settings on all songs, I have created one file and recorded/mixed/mastered all songs in this file. I am ok with this approach, but what about other sequencers ?

I recently started working on Logic. Do I have to follow the same direction (one file for all the album tracks) ?

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You might consider a final "stems mix" of all your tracks in a single session. Dealing with all of the production of all of your songs in one session seems obtuse, but once you are done with production and have working mixes for each song in their own session you can print out stems and pull them all into one stem mixing session where you can more easily make the types of consistent mix decisions you mention (moving vocals .5db) across all album tracks.

  • You mean bounce all tracks to separate channels/audio files and then import them in one mix. Actually this could be done in Ableton by consolidating the parts of the audio and freezing it, there's no reason to do more work than necessary. But that's the way I am doing it more or less. – Radolino Jun 17 '14 at 6:51
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Hey RobDel now I understood your answer!

So here is it how my Sound engineer teacher told it to me:

The most important thing when creating a full album with a cohesive sound is to record the songs in the same room with the same instruments played by the same players trough the same microphones into the same mixing desc into the same converters...

The mix has only very, very little part on how everything sounds. So if you want a coherent sound -> Make sure it sounds coherent at recoding/sound design stage.

Then you have a lot more options at the mix. For example you can pump harder songs by compressing the hell out of the room mics and you can have softer songs more intimate by making very dry and near drums.

My teacher told me, that he starts with "weak" "filler tracks" of the album to get a basic understanding of the recording and instruments used in the arrangement. For each track he will start with the settings of the last one and then adjusts them to the theme of the individual track. Then after 3-4 tracks he will have great settings on his mixing gear for most instruments so he then mixes the 1-2 feature tracks of the album to make them stand out. After that he uses the build settings of the mixing gear to very fast mix the lower priority tracks (at that point you typically get bored of the sound/album so its good to have finished the important ones). If the first 1-2 tracks then sound totally different he might go back to those to adjust them to the overall sound. So to say he refines the eq and compressor setting of each instrument as he progresses with the tracks, but he also does always adjust those to the theme of the individual song if he needs the effect -> e.g. rock vs ballad. Send FX can be a good way of giving more of a coherent sound, but it is better to choose send FX that fit the tempo and overall feel of the individual track to create diversity. On rock songs you want dry guitars in your face, on a ballad you want reverb drowned guitar arpeggios maybe. Or on a ballad you want a huge reverb on the singer to fill out the space vs some delays in crowded rock songs that leave no place for reverb tails.

I would always mix the stuff in 1-2 great master chain fx like a pull tech eq or ssl compressor. This will glue the whole album together. But always adjust the time parameters and gain-reduction on your master compressor -> pumping rock vs transparent ballad. And add slight boost on 3kHz for e.g. on your master eq can make a hard song jump out and be a little bit more in your face compered to the "softer" songs.

Then send that stuff to a mastering guy and let him do his magic to give a final cohesive touch.

-> So in a daw environment try to save the channels trips of every track and instrument and test if they work for the other tracks.

Good Day!

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There isn't a right or wrong way to do it. Do it however works well for you. You could do a different timeline per track or do them all in the same for the album. It really doesn't matter as long as the workflow works for you. If you are going to be sharing it with others, I'd probably suggest putting each song in a different asset within the project, just for organization, but it isn't going to be a show stopper to find stuff either way.

  • The problem is that I do not know If there is a function to have several separate files with settings that will be updated on all of them. I won't share it with others, it's just too foolish to change the vocals levels by +0.5db and then open 9 files and do the same. Too old-school and non-productive. – Radolino Jun 16 '14 at 6:57
  • @RobDel - sounds like a fair reason to keep them together. I might personally consider mastering them in the same project but recording them in separate ones when I'm more concerned about the sound of that particular track than the sound of the entire album, but I still wouldn't say either is a "correct" way. (I just like granularity personally.) You want something that works for you and gives good results, that's all that really matters if you aren't working with others. – AJ Henderson Jun 16 '14 at 13:32
  • So many professionals around the world, so many albums, they must be using a specific procedure. This is what I am curious to discover. I am happy to keep all tracks in a single file - that way I can add an effect in guitar and listen to how the change affects all songs in no time. – Radolino Jun 17 '14 at 6:47
  • @RobDel does every person drive the same or eat the same or follow the same workouts? Different people work best in different ways. Precise work flows aren't how things work. Understanding what you need to do and why is what is relatively consistent but workforce vary. Song per timberline and project per album is probably the most common but certainly not the only our the "correct" way. – AJ Henderson Jun 17 '14 at 12:28
  • "So many professionals around the world, so many albums, they must be using a specific procedure. " Nope. Some might have procedures in common, but when there's more than one way to do a thing, and in this case there is, every possible variation will turn up in practice. – sxa Jun 18 '14 at 9:24

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