List of Free Multitracks to Practice Mixing
The only way to get good at anything is by practicing. In the days of yore, to learn mixing (I’m told) your best chance was to become an assistant at a studio and slowly absorb information by seeing and learning from how everything was done. Until one day when you finally got your lucky break would you be able to finally set your hands on the console and have a go.
Thankfully these days It’s become a lot easier to practice your mixing and mastering skills. This is a list of free resources that I’ve used to get multitracks and have personally found very helpful. In no particular order.
I’m guessing creator Bryan Mctear is a big fan of R.E.M. Anyone get the reference? Is it even a reference? Shaking through is a video series. Each episode they take artists, record a song and produce a small documentary around all the work that goes into making that song. It’s very well made and beautifully shot. You get a good insight on how an artist and a producer work out a song and make decisions. They work with different genres, and mostly with bands. With a free account you get to download the low resolution (16 bit/44.1 kbps) multitracks from the latest episode that was released.
Weathervane is a great resource. You get to familiarise your ears with how well arranged, good recordings should sound.
This is the most extensive one on the list with over 300 sets of multitracks. There’s something here for everyone. From Pop to Rock to Jazz and Orchestral. And the collection keeps getting frequently updated. The tracks are usually accompanied with some information about the recordings and a few tips from mixer, author and curator of the library Mike senior.
Amongst these free multitracks you can find some of the songs Mike has used for his Sound on Sound column Mix rescue in which he takes a song sent in by one of the readers and reworks it and remixes it. These are very detailed articles explaining what he did and his reasoning behind it. You can find a list of the articles here and then go search for the song in the multitrack library. The quality of the tracks is varied, which is great because you get some real life practice. Mike’s book on mixing Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio is also a great resource.
This is a video series of live recordings that Telefunken records at their Elektroakustik’s facility in in South Windsor, CT. An official service center for microphones, which you can see in the background in most of the videos. These tracks are very well recorded and although they are live recordings, you won’t get any major issues with microphone bleed when mixing. There’s a lot of tracks here, they’re on the third season and every season has about 50 songs.
Joe Gilders’ Mix together is a youtube series. He provides you with the multitracks and you get to see him mix them from start to finish. Joe goes into detail explaining his decision making process and It’s very educational. Unfortunately it’s not very long with just 3 songs for now. The first and the last one are rock songs and season two is an acoustic folky song.
The band has made a small part of their catalogue available online for free for people to remix and play around with. Unfortunately you don’t get every single track separated, you get stems that already have a little processing on them. But it’s still great practice to try to make the tracks sound like the final released versions. Or maybe even better.
David Glenn offers 6 free multitracks as a sample for the mix academy. These are mostly pop tracks except for this one. You also get the chance to try The Mix Academy for 1$ and have access to the videos where he mixes the songs in detail.