A Punk band records 20 songs for an album. The drums are the same, rhythm guitars are the same, bass the same, lead vocal the same for every mix of all 20 songs. Once you mix Song #1 and the artist approves of the mix, what's the fastest way to simply copy that mix to all 19 other songs? Interesting question, and one I've found the conception is lost on many. Most suggest a template which is certainly no better than simply manually copying over all settings, sends, plug-ins, etc.
Look at this from old analog tape through an analog mixer: If you set up a basic mix on an analog desk to sound a certain way, and you playback the 24-track tape from the tape machine through the mixer, capturing the output of the mix of all songs on the tape to another 2-track tape, the same mix is applied to all songs on that tape (unless you tweak the mix during the playback/capture). They call this process printing. In digital file form, that's not exactly the case, because your entire mixing desk changes for every song. What if we could quickly synchronize all those mix-desks?
Concept 1 - Probably the most difficult to develop, but most useful to the mixing engineer
Mix Sync (MS) - When one mix is completed (to a basic level), you click on a button to bring up a new dialogue for sync'ing this mix 'state' to other Songs. The elements you can sync: fader, pan, track naming, track output destination, Sends, Inserts, Post/pre settings (maybe there's another element or two). These would be in the form of check-boxes. Select the tracks you wish to sync--not selecting tracks would default to all tracks. Now, in a file browser field, select all the other S1 songs you wish to sync the mix to (the currently open mix is the 'master' at this moment). In a title field, enter a name for this 'Mix sync' (I'll explain this shortly). Click Sync. Pop-up: "You are about to apply these changes to these songs: (list):. Click Apply.
Within seconds, S1 edits the mixes of all other files in the list, creating FX, buss, sneds, inserts, etc. etc. so that the next time you open any of the remaining 19 songs, the mixes are exactly the same! How fast was that!?
Now, the artist comes back into the studio with you and wants to change the guitar tone on the rhythm guitars on all 20 songs. ****! Ok, that's easy. simply bring up any one of the songs and adjust the guitar tones. When the artist is satisfied, simply click the Mix Sync button and select the MS group you named before. Click Sync. Pop-up: "You are about to apply these changes to these songs: (list)":. Click Apply. Only changes made to the currently opened song will be applied to the rest, since nothing else changed. You can edit the dialogue to only include tracks and elements that have since changed in some songs since the last sync. That way you can select only rhythm guitars (and maybe only the Inserts) to be sync'd at this point in the process.
- Perhaps an undo can retract the changes (record previous states in a separate settings file), but the idea is for S1 to edit these files offline, not wasting time trying to open the songs, individually.
- Copy/Paste/Sync Automation and audio/MIDI information are not addressed here.
- All settings, including settings edited by automation are copied only in the current state of the playback cursor, so, if you want to copy mix settings at the beginning of the originating/master song set the playback cursor at the time in the song where you want the settings/mix to be sourced from.
- The source/master mix is the one that's currently open or in focus.
- If there is something the process cannot sync, you will see an error pop up with a 'fail' and no changes are made, or a pop-up telling you what elements are not sync'd due to mismatch. Any elements created in the destination Songs will be listed in the verification prompt, "You are about to apply these changes to these songs: (list)"
Concept 2 - Easier to develop, but more work for the mixing engineer
Copy/Paste track settings (or group of tracks) from one song to another. Simply highlight the track(s) in Mix View you wish to copy, right-click, select Copy Track Settings, move to the other song highlight/select the first or all tracks in question, right-click and select Paste Track Settings. Voila!