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  Chart of Recommended Separations  

Here are some Separations guidelines using a contemporary song format:

1. Drums in stereo with any drum verbs and effects (be sure no other reverbs or effects - other than drums - are on this separation).  Remember, if your project is a loud rock CD, we highly recommend that you separate the drums from the overhead/cymbals/room sound. 
2. Bass in stereo with verbs and effects (be sure no other reverbs or effects - other than bass - are on this separation)
3. Remaining instruments in stereo with verbs and effects (be sure no other reverbs or effects - other than these instruments - are on this separation)
4. Vocals in stereo with verbs and effects (be sure no other reverbs or effects - other than vocals - are on this separation)
5. Your full, final approved stereo mix

Name each song like this (for example the song title is "Good Vibrations":
Good Vib Drums.aif
Good Vib Bass. aif
Good Vib Instr.aif
Good Vib Vocals.aif
Good Vib Full Mix.aif

If there are particular issues you are concerned about, then separate those elements. For instance if you're not sure about the blend between the backup and lead vocals, then separate those two musical elements in the same manor as the others:

Good Vib LdVoc.aif
Good Vib BGVS.aif

If you're not sure the brass tracks are blending right with the piano/strings/synths, then separate out the brass from the other instruments.

Good Vib Brass.aif
Good Vib Instr.aif

But don't go wild and send 24 Separations! Don't send stems (which may or may not have effects/verbs on them)! Keep to these guidelines and the resulting quality will amaze you. You should be able to load the full mix and the Separations into a new mix project and toggle between the 2-track mix and the Separations, and be able to hear everything in the mix, except that the Separations will sound wider and more open than the 2-track version by itself. Remember to use excellent cables and a revealing monitoring system. Once we load your project into our system, the results will be even more dramatic! Remember, evven the simplest Separations (• all instruments • all vocals) make a differnce.

Recommended Mix Separation Files Chart


Note: Generally we don't recommend more than a total of 8 stereo Separations (or a total combined total of 16 tracks of stereo and mono separations). While extremely flexible, this is to retain a mastering approach and achieve ideal results for you.

Questions? Email us!

Back to the Mastering with Separations article
Illustrated History of Separations
How to record

Here's a response from a client who used both Separations and traditional stereo mixes in their project: 
"Those songs which focused more on strength of vocals to propel the song benefitted most from Separations. You were able to add a level of musicality to the vocals I could not touch normally. Otherwise the traditional method was very good for the songs we kept in stereo." - Eric

Created 03/12/05 * Modified 5/03/06
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DAW information
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