Just a few decades ago, putting the words “remote mixing” together would have sounded like advertising “cotton sandpaper.” For most of audio production history, mixers lived in the studio, collaborating with musicians and producers in real time.
However, as technology has advanced and our world has gone more digital, audio mixing no longer has to be confined to the studio.
Digital audio workstations were the first to lead the way in this revolution, and now remote collaboration tools are joining the party to make it possible to record, mix, and produce audio from anywhere in the world and with anyone in the world.
What is remote mixing?
Remote mixing is any audio mixing process that happens when the audio mixer is not physically present with the rest of the creative team during the production process. This has become increasingly common since early 2020 when social distancing measures shut down production studios and forced creative teams to adapt to collaborating from a distance.
Tools making remote mixing possible
Since demand for remote collaboration tools has skyrocketed, so has innovation in this space. There are more platforms and plugins geared towards making remote audio production a seamless process. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite remote mixing tools that are enabling teams to collaborate across the city or across the world.
Time to move beyond manually sending Dropbox and WeTransfer files and attempting to listen to the same clip at the same time over Skype. Here are some collaboration tools that will get you closer to feeling like you’re in the same room.
AVID Cloud Collaboration
Initially resistant to the remote collaboration movement, AVID has since embraced the shifting nature of creative work and began arming its creatives with the tools they need to collaborate from a distance.
If you mix your audio in Pro Tools, AVID Cloud Collaboration is a fantastic native solution to work with your co-collaborators anywhere in the world. It allows for multiple editors to work on the same Pro Tools project remotely, and all changes are automatically saved to the cloud.
Price: Free (with Pro Tools subscription)
Soundtrap is a collaboration platform built by streaming giant Spotify. It is a DAW (digital audio workstation) that is purpose-built to allow for remote recording collaboration via its cloud-based platform.
This is great news for mixers who work with live vocal or instrumental talent and want to be able to include them in the remote mixing process without having to teach them complex remote work software.
What really stands out about this platform is its iOS platform. Never before have we seen a remote music production platform that’s designed to be so accessible. It gives each collaborator unprecedented power to control their own recordings, and allows for effectively live collaboration from a distance without any intense technical knowledge.
Price: Access to the program is free, but to unlock all the best tools, you’ll want to shell out for a subscription, which starts at $7.99 per month.
If you want to maximize your network of potential creative partners, you need to look at Satellite Session. With most remote collaboration software, all participants need to be working inside the same DAW in order to collaborate.
But Satellite Sessions rewrites this rule, and allows anyone, on any platform, to collaborate on audio projects. This is a huge leap forward for remote audio mixing, as you can now remote all of the cross-platform compatibility barriers, and focus on the audio itself.
One thing that most remote audio collaboration software platforms seem to lack is a way to recreate the feeling of really being there with your co-collaborators. They contain a lot of bells and whistles to be able to work together, but what about being able to really communicate?
If you’re a mixer who craves the real-time collaboration of being able to sit down in the studio together and swap ideas face-to-face, Evercast is the perfect solution.
Evercast is a remote creative collaboration platform that’s compatible with any professional creative software. It allows you to stream whatever your workstation may be in full HD with ultra-low latency. While you share your editing session, you can video chat with your co-collaborators in real time. You can also use built-in annotation tools to make notes and brainstorm solutions.
Evercast also works beautifully in tandem with other collaboration software, like Satellite Session, where you can broadcast the shared session and video chat as you create changes together.
Price: Starts at $749 per room/month (plus a $350 one-time setup fee), (includes unlimited users).
Audiomovers Listento is another emerging favorite among remote sound mixers. This plugin allows you to live stream, monitor, and record on up to sixteen tracks, with latency so low it's barely perceivable.
This has become a favorite for live mixers and recording mixers alike, and is positioned to be one of the most widely used remote collaboration tools for professional audio mixers.
Like Satellite Session, Listento is cross-platform compatible, so you’ll never have to worry about what platform each of your collaborators is working on in order to let the creativity flow.
Price: Starts at $3.99 per week
Find the best fit for your remote team
While these are our favorites, ultimately the best collaboration tools are the ones that work for your team, so we highly encourage you to give each one a shot until you find one that fits your specific workflow and collaboration style.
We could not be more excited about all the possibilities that remote audio collaboration technology is opening up. The ability to work with anyone, anywhere in the world means that finding that perfect team just got a lot easier.