We have touched on the idea of templates a couple of times recently. Our good friend Marc Daniel Nelson actually put out a video talking about the templates that he uses when he mixes in the box and with analog gear.
Templates are a big discussion! I am going to talk about the principles of templates, demonstrate the kind of things I do to create them, and why they can be a useful thing. Obviously, I am working in one DAW, and you might be using another, so your templates may not look exactly the same, but what is most important here is the principles of using mixing templates!
One example of when it is helpful to use templates is when you are mixing an album. I often get multiple songs to mix. Maybe there are 3, or 5, or a whole album. When working on multiple songs, sometimes that first one can take a considerable amount of time before you get a sound you are happy with. But then, when you move on to the second song, chances are that song will have similar issues to the first one, which is where templates come in! Simply import the settings from the first song to the second one, and you will have an amazing starting point. The settings may need to be tweaked a little bit, but it gets you up to speed quickly and means you don’t have to start from scratch each time.
You can also save template for things like kick or bass settings that you use all the time, so you can import them to any song and give yourself somewhere to start. Keep a folder on your desktop where you can save templates like “Rock Settings” or “Live Kick”. The settings may not be exactly right as soon as you import them, but having this starting point will save you tons of mixing time!
Some people think that templates may hinder them because it forces them to use old ideas, but as long as you are using your ears, you will hear where things need to be tweaked from song to song. The template really is just a starting point so that you can spend less time fiddling and more time being creative!
Watch the video below to learn more about mixing templates!