7 Dos and Don'ts While Preparing Your Mixes For Mastering

You've finally made it to the last step in your record making process: mastering. Although mastering is an incredibly creative craft, there are some technical things to keep in mind as a producer/mixer when getting your songs ready to send off.

Here are 7 surefire ways to make sure your record goes through mastering smoothly.


  1. Print WAV or AIF files at 24bit and original sample rate
  2. Clearly label them and put in album order
  3. Keep all peaks under -3dBFS
  4. Export with no limiting
  5. Leave space at the beginning and end of tracks for fades
  6. Send a list of notes and reference mixes
  7. Communicate all needed delivery formats


  1. Print using lossy codecs (mp3, m4a) or do your own sample rate conversion
  2. Assume I will know what order the album will be in
  3. Clip your mix bus
  4. Use heavy compression and/or limiting on your mixes
  5. Export with the downbeat starting at 00:00
  6. Leave your ME in the dark about your influences
  7. Assume one file type will work for every platform

What other ways have you found to make sure your mixes sound great?

Michael Curtis

A mastering engineer and composer who loves helping you sound awesome.