Workflow - help needed

Hi everyone.
This is my first topic in this forum, so if this is not the correct section, my apologies.
I enrolled in the mixing foundation class - the offline version, and so far it looks like a game changer to me.
However, i am a bit confused when it comes to workflow.
In the class, the mixdown is done on stems, which is totally cool.
But when should i bounce everything to stems?
I am trying to produce some uplifting trance, so there’s quite some automation going on there.
Should i finish the arrangement with automation and stuff and then render each individual channel? Then start the mix?

Or should i skip the automation stuff alltogether and add the automations while mixing? Not sure how to do that with audio, since many automations are done modulating parameters within the synths for example.

Probably there is no single way to do it, so i want to know your thoughts on this.

I am using FL Studio 12 for everything at the moment.

Thank you!


Hey Eugen! Welcome to the Academy! Here’s an email I sent out this Summer…let me know if it helps.

The questions: When I mix as I produce, should I bounce out the dry stems or keep my channelstrip settings and FX? Should I keep my “production reverb”? Should I bounce my mix stems with or without side-chaining? What about the mix buss inserts? Or should I just do simple raw production and then do a proper mix?

The answers of course to these questions can be very personal and contextual, but I want to share with you what I think works the best for both the production and mixing cycles.

I think the best practice when producing is to do only very basic channelstripping of individual elements, i.e. basic saturation, reductive EQ, and compression with the idea that you can and will do more later during the mix session. While I think it’s fine to keep what I call “production reverb” (reverb is part of the sound design of a synth patch or ambience that’s already in a snare sample), I recommend that all external reverbs and delays be muted when bouncing out the mix stems.

When it comes to side-chaining, I think it’s a big time-saver to bounce out the mix stems with the “production” side-chaining. And of course, it is legal to further side-chain an element in the mix session that has already been side-chained in the production stage. Do it all the time.

Finally, I think that the mix stems should be bounced through the mix buss chain with only the console color, but NOT with the tape buss compressor or mix buss limiter. The console color is subtle and just makes nicer stems. Committing to the tape compression is more of a gamble – and it’s really hard to “un-tape” something. And we can add and adjust another instance of mix buss tape compression in the proper mix session.

Needless to say, we don’t want the mixing stems to have any mix buss limiting – so the “place-holder” limiter must be bypassed when rendering the mix stems.

In short, just mix enough while you are producing to stay excited about the production/composition, but put more emphasis on composition, orchestration, arrangement, and sound design – knowing full well that if it sounds good with your "production mix’, its going to be amazing when you make your “mixer” mix.


Thank you Danny,
Very helpful!
I will treat automation as part of production and include it in the stem generating process. Perhaps just drafting it as i go and finishing at the end.
I was wondering why delay is not covered in mixing foundation, and i think i have the answer now: it’s also part of the creative process / production.
One question though: what about volume automation? Is it “legal” to do it in either production or mixing process? Or should i find some other ways to emphasize certain elements along the track?
Thanks again for the quick reply!