How to export audio tracks from your DAW for mixing
Everybody is creating and recording music using different programs, sequencers, and recorders. We will identify the program as Digital Audio Workstation or DAW. Each DAW has its own unique session or project format; however, the audio files they consist of are typically the same. It can be WAV, AIFF, BWF, or any other popular format. This article will give you an idea of how to export audio files from your DAW to be transferred for further mixing.
First and foremost, all files have to start at the same time. In most DAWs you can have audio regions or clips in your project. If you just export them, only a few audio formats save a timestamp within a file, but in most of the cases, the position of the region will be lost during import to another DAW. Therefore, it must be ensured that all audio files have the same starting point.
If your tracking consists of samples or it was heavily edited, then you need to make sure that your crossfades are in place. You must also avoid any clicks or glitches between parts.
Audio consolidation and Bouncing
There are two ways of getting the export done properly: audio consolidation and bouncing the tracks. The steps may be identified differently in different DAWs. The two approaches differ in the processing.
When you consolidate audio you are working with the pre-fader audio material without any effects, pan, or volume information. In most of the cases, this is ideal for further mixing.
If your DAW does not have this option, you may go through bouncing tracks. Make sure that you bypass all plug-ins on your channel, mix bus, and master fader.
The tracks have to be bounced with plug-ins off unless some of the tracks have the plug-in as an essential character of the instrument. Same is the case with the effect, produced by plugin has to be preserved in the final mix.
The pan control has to be in the middle and the level channel fader) has to be at 0 dB but there shouldn’t be any clipping. Ideally, the track level must be maintained at about -6dB on each channel to have some headroom for further mixing.
Naming the files
Naming the files is important. Don’t save them as Audio01-033-45, better use prefixes like GUITAR1_, DRUMS_, VOICE_ or something similar. If you have multi-track recorded material like drums, you may name it like this:
If your tempo doesn’t change during the song, you may just indicate the bpm when you name the song folder for instance “My-first-song-audio-export-for-mixing-122bpm”. However, if you have tempo changes then it is better to have a tempo map. To export a tempo map you can just save an empty MIDI file from your session, usually, it will include this data.
Saving audio files
When saving your files, make sure you keep the file format the same with your session. Do not convert bit depth or sample rate. If your project is 48 kHz 24 bit you have to send us audio files with the same resolution.
If you did a demo mix with the balance you like, send it as well. That may help us to understand the concept of your track during mixing.
How to export audio from different DAWs
Exporting audio from AVID PRO TOOLS:
1. Check the crossfades
2. Select all audio regions and go to menu “Edit” - “Consolidate”
3. Name the files by double-clicking on regions and selecting “Name region and Disk file” option
4. To export these files, select them and press Command + Shift + “K" (on Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + “K" on Windows
5. You may use “Export Selected as Files" from the Audio Regions section on your right as well
How to export audio from Apple Logic:
1. Open the "Arrange" window
2. Go to menu “File” - “Export” - "All Tracks as Audio Files"
Exporting audio from Cubase or Nuendo:
1. Choose the “Range Tool”, and select all tracks from 0:00:00.000 through to the very end of the very last region.
2. Go to the “Audio” menu and select “Bounce and Replace Events”
3. Then go to “File” - “Save Project to New Folder”
4. “Audio Files” folder of a newly created project will contain all the consolidated files. Make sure to select “Remove Unused Media” during the save
Exporting audio from Sonar:
1. Select all clips in the first track, then right-click and choose “Bounce to Clip"
2. Do these steps for all the remaining tracks
3. After the consolidation of all audio tracks, go "File" - "Export" - "Audio"
4. Set audio to export as 24-bit RAW Broadcast Wave Files, avoid using "Fast Bounce” option
Exporting audio from REASON:
1. Put start marker to Bar 1 of your project and end marker to the end of the song
2. Turn off the effects on the mixer, and effect modules you were using. Set all levels to unity gain and check for clipping.
3. Use the sequencer to solo the first track
4. Go to "File" menu - “Export Loop as Audio File"
5. Choose WAV or AIFF (24-bit) as a file format and "Save"
6. Repeat for each track