How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song?

If you are an artist, a band, or setting up your own home recording studio you may be wondering, “How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song?” Let’s take a look at the mixing process and ways you can improve your mix and save money.

How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song?

The time it takes to mix a song will depend on two main things. First, how well recorded are the tracks that will be mixed? Do the tracks contain clipping, phase issues, poor vocals or poor musicianship? This will all have to be edited and possibly rerecorded. Second, it will depend on the experience of the engineer doing the mixing. A seasoned engineer will be able to mix a song quicker and do a better job. On average it takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to mix one song depending on the number of tracks and how much editing has to be done. Most engineers like to mix a song and then step away from the mix to let their ears rest. They will then revisit the mix the next day and make final adjustments.

What Is Mixing

Once you have all your different instrument and vocal tracks recorded it’s time to put the mix together.

So mixing is the art of blending all the different instrument and vocal tracks together to make a single stereo track.

The single stereo track is then sent to be mastered into a radio ready track for consumers. This is called mastering.

The 3 Step Process

1. Tracking

Tracking is the process of recording all the different instruments and vocal parts.

You will have a track for the guitar, tracks for the drums, a track for the bass, a track for the keyboard, tracks for the different vocals, etc.

Recording each instrument and placing it on its own track in your DAW is the first and most important step to creating a good mix.

Make sure your levels are good, make sure there are no phase issues, and make sure you play and sing in tune.

If your tracks are not recorded right, then your mix will never sound good.

2. Mixing

Mixing happens after everything is recorded and tracked.

The mix engineer will set the levels of each track so that you can hear each instrument.

The mix engineer will eq each track to get rid of unnecessary frequencies so that the instruments and vocals can blend together better.

Panning is a great way to move instruments around in the mix to help things sit better and fit into the mix.

Often times the mix engineer will add effects like compression, reverb, and delay to enhance rhythm patterns, add punch to the mix, enhance vocal performance and guitar or solo instrument performance, and make sure every track sounds it’s best.

Once the mix engineer is satisfied with the way the mix sounds, they will bounce or combine all the tracks together into a stereo track.

The stereo track is then sent to be mastered.

3. Mastering

Mastering is the final stage of audio production and makes sure your song sounds it’s very best on different formats like radio, vinyl, MP3, and online streaming services.

Mastering is the process of putting the finishing touches on a song by enhancing the overall sound by elevating certain sonic characteristics.

This can involve things like adjusting levels, applying stereo enhancement, and monitoring for clicks and pops or anything that could distract the listener from the music.

The end result is a polished, clean sound that is optimized for consistent playback across different formats and systems.

If you have more than one song, mastering creates consistency across the album.

Video Credit: In The Mix

Things That Affect The Time It Takes To Mix A Song

The amount of time it takes to mix a song will depend on several different factors.

Let’s take a look at some things that affect the time it takes to mix a song.

1. The Amount Of Experience The Engineer Has

The amount of experience the engineer has will affect the amount of time it takes to mix your song.

An experienced engineer has proven process in place to help them mix your song.

This helps them shape the overall parameters of the song to create a successful mix.

An experienced engineer will be much quicker at dialing the tracks in to create a great sounding mix.

An unexperienced engineer may not have the same process in place and will simply try to figure out what to do to make the mix sound good.

You will find the experienced engineer can work much quicker and make the mix sound much better.

2. Track Count

The number of tracks will affect how much time it takes to mix your song.

A song with 25 tracks will mix much quicker than a song with 65 tracks.

Each track must be examined and placed properly within the mix.

This takes time.

The more tracks the more time the mix will take.

3. The Amount Of Editing Required

A good engineer will notice things like timing and tuning of each track.

Let’s say a guitar track is slightly out of time. This affects the mix.

The mix engineer will have to spend extra time to see if they can edit the track to get the guitar in time.

Maybe a vocal track has some tuning and timing issues.

The engineer will have to spend time to see if the vocal performance can be tuned and timed properly.

Editing can eat up a lot of time.

If the engineer can’t edit the mistakes in the tracks, then the tracks will have to be rerecorded.

This is why it’s so important to get your recordings right before you try to mix your song.

4. Revisions

It’s not uncommon for artist and composers to ask for revisions.

The engineer turns in the mixed song, but the artist or composer may want to make some changes.

There is nothing wrong with revisions, but they take extra time.

Relevant Article: Can You Release Music Without A Label?

Tips To Mix Faster

How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song

There are some things you can do to mix faster.

  • Have A Plan

After listening to the song for the first time, the mix engineer should put together a plan for how the song should sound and how they are going to get the mix there.

The mix engineer may have notes from the client expressing what they want the song to sound like as well.

  • Create A Check List For Common Issues

Every great mix engineer has a check list of common issues to check each track for.

This check list may include things like levels, eq, compression, timing, tuning, phase, etc.

Working with a proven checklist will dramatically increase productivity and reduce the mix time.

  • Use Presets And Templates

Another great way to help you mix faster is by using presets and templates.

Mix engineers with experience already know what compressors, eq’s, effects, and bus routing works for them.

They will build a mixing template in their DAW and save the template to use on the majority of their projects.

This way when they start a new mix, they can load their template and it’s already set up with the effects they want, the effects will be ready set for the intended tracks, the bus routing is set, and they can focus on the mixing and make easy adjustments as they go along.

  • Use A Reference Mix

A reference track is a great way to make sure your mix is headed in the right direction.

We talked earlier about having a plan for the mix.

A reference track can be a song that the artist or composer likes the sound of and would like their mix to be similar in the way that it sounds.

Mix engineers can use a reference track to refer back to occasionally to see how their mix compares to the reference mix.

How Much Does It Cost To Mix A Song?

How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song

There are several factors that will determine how much it cost to mix a song.

1. Who Is Doing The Mix

There are mix engineers who are just starting out that may charge you $20.00 per hour to mix your song.

There are also very experienced world class mix engineers that will charge you $10,000.00 or more to mix one song.

Most of us will probably work with an engineer somewhere in the middle and will depend on your budget.

2. The Market You Are In

Where you live will affect the cost of getting a song mixed.

If you live in Los Angeles, California it will cost you more to get a song mixed than if you live in St Paul, Minnesota.

The market you are in will affect the cost of doing business.

If you are sending your songs to a studio to get mixed, you will be paying that studio markets cost.

3. The Quality Of Your Recordings

The quality of your recordings on each track will affect the amount of time it takes to mix the song.

If you have great quality tracks the mix will go much faster and cost you less.

How Much It Cost To Mix A Song

As I mentioned above there are several factors that will determine how much it cost to mix a song.

The market you are in and the way the studio or engineer prices their mixing packages may affect the cost of getting your mixes done more than anything.

Some engineers will give different pricing specials depending on how many songs you want mixed, some engineers only work by hourly rates, and some engineers will charge you by the day.

Again, depending on what market you are in you will find the prices can vary quite a bit.

$200 – $1,000 per song is not unusual.

You may find a beginner who will mix your songs for $50-$100 per song.

Often times you will get what you pay for but, there are some up and coming mix engineers who can do a great job for a good price.

Relevant Article: How To Get People To Listen To Your Music

What Others Are Saying

The “What Others Are Saying” section of my articles allow you to have a look at what other websites and professionals have to say about the topic we are discussing.

I think it’s only fair that you have a look at other people’s opinions, and what others have to say to get a good understanding of what we are talking about today.

I have provided a table below with others’ opinions via “Direct Quotes” from their websites.

Feel free to check out other different points of views. Some may agree and some may disagree.

“Direct Quote”Source
“Mixing one song usually lasts not less than 4 hours, and can take up to several days. The more complicated the project, the greater the time. However, for an experienced mix engineer, 1 working day should be enough to mix even a large project.”
“If I’m mixing a song from scratch I usually take a full day. Maybe 2-3 hours to get the overall “big picture” mix together and then the rest of the time automating, polishing, and referencing on other systems.”
“Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The only thing the listener cares about is whether or not they like the song. The amount of time you spend in the studio is not an indicator of how good or bad your mix will be.”
“Mixing is one of the most important parts of the music production process. If done properly, a good mix can breathe life into a track and turn a good song into an amazing one, the same way a bad mix can easily ruin the whole listening experience.”
“Depends on the project. Particularly, the budget. Sometimes you get two days to mix a song. Other times, you get two days to mix a whole record. Generally, I average about three songs a day, but usually the first day takes a bit longer, as I’m getting my bearings straight. Then, once all the tunes are done, I might book one last day for tweaks. So, a ten song record would be around three days to mix, plus a possible fourth day for revisions.”
“We all have our own ways of working but I don’t like to be expected to mix a normal track in less than 8 paid hours. This includes a session today, a check on another system and then adjustments tomorrow. This absolutely does not include editing drummers & vocalists who can’t sing in tune or time, and before any feedback from the artist. A mix engineer should (unless otherwise agreed) should be receiving tracks ready to be mixed.”
“As with the recording process, mixing time depends on several factors, including: the length of the piece of audio; the number of parts involved, and; the complexity of the material. A very basic mix of a single vocal line and backing track may only take an hour or so, but a complex mix of a multi-track recording requiring many edits and automation of track levels, panning and effect parameters can easily take eight hours or more.”
“If you’re mixing and mastering your own music then it’ll take a lifetime. I’m joking but even as a professional audio engineer, I find myself going back to my songs and making tiny tweaks and re-releasing them just because I can.”
“This is the most MIS-UNDERSTOOD process of studio recording. Many people think the day you record your song it’s finished. Some people want to track, overdub and then mix it all in the same day. Your mix may sound OK but it’s the wrong thing to do. Mixing a song could take a few days when done right.”

Final Thoughts

So, How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song?

As we discussed above, there are many different factors that will affect how long it takes to mix a song.

I hope this article gave you some insight into the mixing process and gives you a good idea of how long it takes to mix a song.

If you like writing, playing, mixing, and producing your own music you are in the right place.

Take a minute and have a look around my website.

There are many different articles that will be helpful to you and get you moving in the right direction.

If you want to learn how to do online marketing with your own website to promote your music online be sure and check out my Promote Page.

Feel free to leave your questions, stories, and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “How Many Hours Does It Take To Mix A Song?”

  1. Actually, I thought, well, the most complicated part of music production is the mixing part. I had heard it like that, but today I saw such a detailed post about mixing. Also, thank you very much for the video you have attached. And I didn’t know the amount of money from mixing. And a experienced mix engineer earns a lot of money. Keep posting like this. 

    • Mixing is definitely a learned skill and when you have a plan in place to help you mix this helps keep things moving in the right direction.  Mix engineers can make decent money and some of them make exceptional money based on their skill and the market they are working in.   

  2. It’s incredible how much time you can spend mixing a song and still end up with something that doesn’t sound well. I bet there are songs that didn’t take very long to mix and there are songs people spent days on, but in the end the listener doesn’t realize the effort that goes into making the songs. 

    • I think the average person doesn’t realize the time, work, and skill involved with creating a great mix.  Some songs mix down quick and some can take more time.  It really depends on the quality of the recordings on each track and the number of tracks involved. The skill set and experience of the engineer will also affect the amount of time it takes to complete a mix. 

  3. I didn’t realize that all the instruments were recorded in separate tracks then layered together to create a final track. This must be quite challenging, especially if some tracks are at different tempos. I think that this can greatly affect the time it takes to produce. It must take an extra special ear to get this perfect and a lot of patience. 

    • You can record each instrument or vocal into its own track or sometimes you may have several instruments, or several vocals recorded onto one track.  If one instrument or vocal is out of time or the notes are not correct, then all of these errors have to be corrected to make the mix sound good. 


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