How To Choose an Audio Engineer to Mix Your Music

How To Choose an Audio Engineer to Mix Your Music

Hiring someone to work on your art doesn't need to be tricky business. Many artists just default for the engineer they can find or a referral. The real savvy ones might check the credits of songs and reach out to those engineers. These are some of the factors you might want to consider when you're exploring new partnerships with engineers, and you might decide on your own how to weight these in your decision.


This goes without saying - Listen to the engineer's prior mix work. The songs they've mixed should make you feel something, and there should be no sonic distractions that disconnect you from that emotional experience. The music should fill your ears in the same way it does when you listen to songs you would use as references. Drums should have the right impact, instruments the right textures, and vocals should sit where you expect them to. Listen for the effects to - See if they have one way they go about applying effects or if it's clear they try different things.


Decide if you care about the mix engineer being physically close to your location or not. Being located in Brooklyn, NY, proximity is a key reason many artists choose to work with me. You might be able to pop in for a sit-in mixing session (if the engineer allows it). If you're going for a specific style of music that is popular in a particular city, you might want ot try hiring an engineer from that city as they might have more exposure to mixing that style. Think Nashville for indie rock and Americana, NYC for hip-hop and rap, LA for pop. This isn't to say that the engineer right around the corner from you can't mix in these styles just as well, but it's something to think about!


Many engineers can mix multiple styles. Personally, I've had experience with indie rock, americana, pop, hip-hop, R&B, folk, dance, and more. While I probably could mix a 75 piece orchestral recording, I don't get contacted for that very much.

a picture of vally and joy joseph


Decide how much you value communication. That is, how well the engineer can set expectations with you, communicate progress, and answer your questions. What mediums are you able to communicate through? Text? Call? In person? Feel it out and see if that engineer is very responsive in the initial stages of feeling them out for the job.


Outside of a transaction / value exchange, working with people can be much more fun if they're personable, funny, smart, etc. There's tons of engineers out there - Work with one you might actually hang out with if it wasn't all about business.


Depending on your project and what your own timeline is, you might need someone who can complete the project very quickly. Availability is different than speed - If the engineer isn't available to work on your project for 3 weeks, and then they turn it around in a few days, I would say that's still fairly quick.


There's a common story/trope I hear among engineers and studio nerds, that artists or producers ask for a qualitative revision like "Can we make it warmer?" or "Can you add a sparkle to it?". As the story goes, the engineer has no idea what the artist wants, so they turn a knob that isn't doing anything to the mix and ask the artist 'How's that?" - Here's an example of that story in action from Rick Beato's youtube channel.

The idea behind this is that, our brains play tricks on all of us. Just because we see something happeneing, our ears might tell us something is happening. Find an engineer that is going to keep it real with you and manage your expectations instead of humor you or be dodgy. 

a picture of vally and Jayson Paulino

Revision policy

Get an understanding of what the engineer's revision policy is. Chances are, no matter how good the engineer is, when you get the first mix back you will have some feedback as the artist and curator of the vision. How many revisions are included with each song? How long will they take to turn around? What is the policy after those revisions are used up? You should know all of this before proceeding so you don't end up bleeding your budget dry or getting yourself into a sticky situation at the finish line of a mix.


Clarify what exactly you get back from the engineer in terms of deliverables. Ideally, at the end of the project you get everything you would need back from the engineer so that if they got hit by a bus tomorrow (*knocks on wood*) you could take that mix to another engineer for any assistance you need. This includes the mixed multitracks, instrumental, acapella, etc as well as your final mix. Ask yourself, do you want a performance version of the track with the verses muted? Do you want radio/clean edits? Figure this out and ask for it.


"Value noun : a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged."

Price alone means nothing. The combination of all the above and the the price of the service together is the value of the service.

Don’t believe me? Ok, think about this for a second. If any of the above are important factors for you, imagine a scenario where you sacrifice one or more of them. Will you still have a good experience? What will the value be of the service to you then? For more on this concept, read 3 Reasons Why Artists Think Paying for Mixing is Expensive.

When in doubt, reach out to the engineer and just ask!

Make sure you hit us up for your mix as well!

As for what's up like, 'RIGHT NOW' right now?

sample library provider and sound designer

TikTok put me on to NEST.acoustics, an independent sound designer and Kontact instrument designer. I just signed up for access to his sample libraries, because they sound CRAZY. I highly suggest if you produce that you check out NEST.acoustics. I have no affiliation with them whatsoever, it's just an incredible value to be a part of their community

If you want to work with us or just shoot the sh*t, hit our socials, send us an email, use our contact us form, whatever works for you!

Ciao ciao.

just a screenshot of the nest.acoustics website