Creating the Perfect Mixing Template

When we ask engineers how long it takes to mix a song, the most common answer is, ‘It depends.’ That’s because every mix is different. Some might take days to finish, while others just a couple of hours. The real question is, how long does it take to get a mix going? 

Starting from an empty DAW session can be daunting, overwhelming and time-consuming. Adding plugins, creating aux tracks, buses, folders… All that work can take you out of the mixing mindset. Thus, making you feel exhausted before you’ve moved a single knob or fader. 

What if there was a way to keep you focused on the mixing and speed up your workflow? In the third stage of our four-part ‘Mixing Guide 101’ series, alumnus and guest writer Carlos Bricio explores ‘Creating the Perfect Mixing Template’. It is a cornerstone in the arsenal of every seasoned audio engineer and music producer.

In case you missed it, check out our previous article from this series, ‘5 Essential Mixing Techniques,’ where we guide you through routing, filtering and using aux tracks for effects.

What is a Mixing Template?

Mixing templates are pre-configured DAW setups containing tracks, effects, routing, and settings tailored for specific projects, genres or soundscapes. They serve as a starting point for your mix, allowing you to streamline your workflow and focus on creative decision-making rather than technical setup. In the words of Andrew Scheps:


“Mixing templates are a collection of things that work and serve as a good starting point for your mixes.”

Andrew Scheps


The following questions are commonly raised: how do I create a template, and how do I know what to add to it?

Building a Mixing Template

Creating a mixing template is easier than you might think. The key is to think about your routines when you start a mix. You route tracks similarly, create the same auxes, add the same plugins, and even process elements in the song the same way in each project. The key is to take it step-by-step.

  1. Create a blank session in your DAW
  2. Add everything as usual
  3. Save the project as YourName_MixingTemplate_V1. 
  4. You are all set to go!

Most DAWs allow you to create templates within the software, but you can also save the template as a regular DAW project and store it in a couple of places for backup purposes. It will also help you track the changes you make over time.

The next time you start a mix, import everything from your template into the session and place your audio files where they should be. From thereon, you can get into the mixing vibe. 

Look at the Bigger Picture

A well-crafted mixing template is more than just a collection of tracks and plugins. It’s a blueprint for your sonic signature. It combines everything that made your mixes great in the past, creating a unique workflow that enhances your creativity. That’s why it’s important to always look towards the bigger picture. 

In our last article in this series, we gave you 5 Essential Mixing Techniques’ to help improve the overall sound of your mixes. When building your template, it’s important to consider the following: your track layout, plugin selection, signal routing, colour coding, and even stem creation. Focusing on this can be a great starting point for creating your template.

Ultimately, it’s all about your workflow and what helps you focus on the creative side of mixing.

Don’t be Afraid to Experiment 

Whether you’re working on a rock ballad, a hip-hop anthem or even a podcast, having custom mixing templates at your disposal will significantly enhance your efficiency in the studio.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and use different templates depending on the project, music style, or even virtual console configuration. It’s about enhancing and speeding up your workflow, allowing you to allocate more gigs. 

It’s Evolution Baby

Creating the template is not the end… It’s just the beginning.

A mixing template, like your mixing technique, is not static. It will evolve and change throughout your life as an engineer. Tracks, plugins, and signal routing will be created and deleted throughout your mixing experience to improve and adapt to your workflow. 

For example, in 2020, Andrew Scheps’ template was in version 39. In our recent Song Production masterclass with Andrew, we saw his updated version 91 in action.

Template like a Pro

Watching how other engineers work and approach their mixing templates will also give you ideas for improvement. We have already named Andrew Scheps, but many other engineers, like Michael Brauer, Marc Urselli, and Sylvia Massy (to name a few), have their ever-evolving mixing templates.

In past masterclasses at ARI, Marc Urselli has shown how his template allocates his favourite plugins and how efficiently he can print his different mixes and stems for delivery to the client in just one pass. Sylvia Massy built her template in a hybrid setup to get the digital world’s flexibility and the analogue’s depth and character. Michael Brauer is well known for his Brauerize mixing setup. In recent years, thanks to modern digital audio, he has moved his analogue setup to a full in-the-box ProTools template, including his renowned multibus compression workflow.

Tweak, Refine, and Personalise

As you embark on your journey into mixing templates, remember that experimentation and customisation are essential. The beauty of mixing templates lies in the flexibility and adaptability of your unique workflow and creative vision. So, feel free to tweak, refine, and personalise your templates until they become an extension of your artistic identity. With dedication and practice, mastering mixing templates will undoubtedly elevate your audio engineering and music production skills to new heights.

As part of our Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering, we guide our students towards building reliable and meaningful templates. With these tools, they can speed up their workflow and learn how to work in the fast-paced environment of the music industry.

Stay tuned for the next article in our ‘Mixing Guide 101’ series for in-depth insights on improving your mixing mindset and techniques.