Individual Track Mixdown (Mastering Plugs on or Off)

I’ve done a mix-down (with mastering plugs on) for a live CD I recorded for a client. That part is complete, but now the film crew wants the individual tracks so they can boost a few levels when they do close ups on some of the instruments. So my question is this: Because I did the mix with the mastering plugs originally (I tend to mix and master at the same time straight from the Cubase project), should I also mix-down the individual tracks with the mastering plugs on? I’ve never thought of this before, but would that lead to problems once they take all the individual tracks mastered and put them together. Or would this come out essentially the same as using the mastering on the whole song at the same time?

The alternative is to give them the individual tracks unmastered, but it would have to be later mastered.

Thanks for any ideas.


I think you may have a problem!

certainly the mastering plugins especially using dynamic or other program dependent stuff will not act the same when just passing stems through them.

Are they just wanting the mix and then some primary instruments and vocals so they can bump the level or do they want the mix broken down to stem mixes?

If the first then it would be feasible to just provide the individual tracks or stems without any mastering plugs.

They did ask for everything individually. I could give them an overall mix with most stuff and then just a couple key instruments, but I think they want control over everything. To be honest, I think the CD mix was great for the video as well, but that’s just me.

I’ll just tell them they’ll have to send it back to me (or someone else) for mastering later. I was assuming that mastering individual tracks wouldn’t work the same. I’ve just never come across this situation before.


Everything individual!!!

Then they want to do their own mix then? That goes well beyond bumping up a few levels here and there.If thats the case just give them the raw waves.

I’ve run into this situation a few times. I don’t think there are any right answers, but I avoid giving my individual tracks to anyone if it’s at all possible.

My thought would be-talk to the sound people, explain the problem, and suggest that they give you a QT of the film, and you’ll do boosts of individual instruments where they direct. It makes more work for you, but you have control of the final product, which they may mess up horribly otherwise.

Short of that, I’d give them the mastered tracks rather than having them put their own eq, reverb, echo etc on your tracks. That’s too painful to contemplate (for me, anyway). Lesser of two evils.

Yeah, giving them the raw tracks may just shock them into reality though.

All they most probably require is the original mix and the selected individual tracks or groups (drums) with all FX but not through any mastering plugs. but may not know that?

Thanks for the thoughts guys. If giving the individual tracks, I was planning on keeping all the volume, effects and panning on, just turning off the mastering plugs. So the blend would have been similar to my mix. But in the end, it sounds like they might go with my mix anyway. I think they started to realize how complicated it might get.

I’m very picky and I always get a bit nervous when someone else will have too much control over my hard work :smiley:


I think it depends on what the mastering plugs are doing, and how radically they are affecting the sound.
But I personally would leave on EQ, widening and harmonic sweetening anyway…

If the separate instrument track has a different colour to the version of it that went into the mix, it might sound weird, or muddy when they add it in afterwards…