How to best prepare for binaural mixes

Why do we need binaural mixes?

The headphone generation is probably the most interesting socio-economic phenomenon of recent years.
There are already 34 million online audio users who use radio on the Internet via PC, laptop, WLAN radio or SmartTV.
And it is getting more and more!

What format should I be saving my single tracks in for sending them in for binaural mixing ?

  • Your final files of each track can be stereo or mono. Depending on which audio source you have.
  • But even if you send mono files in stereo, it’s better than sending stereo files in mono.
  • 32-bit floating audio files are preferred ! 16-bit files are only okay if 32-bit (or 24-bit) floating files are absolutely not available !
    In this case, do not forget to dither in any case.
  • For more more information, please have a look on this page: e-mastering.studio-tan.com/how to best prepare…..
How to best prepare my tracks for binaural mixing?

What is dithering all about?

Dither is a slight hiss that is added to your audio material to minimize errors when changing the bit depth.

This random hiss is not a bad noise and is barely noticeable. It rather adds something like a random change to the audio signal and thus improves the precision of the digital processing of the audio files.

I repeat again because this is so important: Dithering is essential.

When you render tracks internally to have the save with 32-bit floating point.
But remember: you only don’t need to dither if you save your files in 32-bit floating point format.

Before sending it out:

You can read all about the details on: e-mastering.studio-tan.com/how to best prepare……

  • Make sure that all tracks have the same starting point.
  • When rendering you single tracks, please leave all the volume automation and EQ-settings UNCHANGED! Leave them as they are.
  • There must be enough headroom for high quality and natural sounding binaural mixes. So when you render your single tracks, get rid of the limiter on your master output. If you have a master-eq on the stereo bus, please leave the EQ activated. For more about headroom, see here.
  • To obtain the richest soundscape, please export every instrument (in stereo or mono). Pads and keyboards should be stereo, guitar and bass in mono, and you can even render every tom of a drumset seperately, if you want. Leadvocals in mono but all backgroundvocals mixed together as one stereo track (not if we are talking about a choir). see examples here
  • All multiple microphone signals from one instrument were mixed to one track. So when a guitar is recorded with 3 microphones, please mix them together to a mono-file before sending it over for binaural mixing.
  • The tracks for binaural mixing must be as dry as possible. Some slight room information of the recording facility is ok, but do NOT export the tracks including artificial spatial information like reverb and delay. -> how to export a fx-track?
  • There is one exception: if an artist (here a guitar player with his effect pedals) expressly insists on leaving his effects in, because it belongs to his sound, then leave it in.
  • Listen carefully to each single track for noise and anomalies.
  • Listen to vocal tracks in solo mode to check for clicks, ticks, thumps, plosives, headphone crosstalk and other noises.
  • Look out for bad edits and unmade fade-ins and fade-outs on your tracks that cause clicks and crackles.
  • Also make sure that no plug-in or DAW error has occurred before sending to binaural mixing.
  • There must be absolutely no digital overloads and distortions. Binaural mixing reveals the slightest details.
  • Give the rendered files a name that is easy to understand and describes the instrument. I don’t recommend to name them “audio 1”, “audio 2” etc. This is much more timeconsuming and will be charged extra.
  • Please think of sending me the mastered for stereo version for reference. This will be a good starting point.
How to best prepare my tracks for binaural mixing?

Stefan Bangert

Stefan is a Audio-Engineer in France. More on e-mastering.studio-tan.com and binaural.studio-tan.com