LISTEN TO AND APPROVE A MIX LIVE ONLINE FROM ANYWHERE
LISTEN LIVE - During a mix session, I'll make a private internet broadcast available from the digital output of my ProToolsHD sytem. The artist can click a link in his browser and this will launch his streaming audio client of choice, iTunes or Winamp and your reference monitor chain should be hooked up to the computer.
Depending on one's internet connection, one should be hearing decent fidelity for reference, in stereo, in near real time (There actually is a small buffer delay of about 10 seconds). It is certainly to the quality level to offer a perspective on where the mix is going. Most DSL cable internet connections will work fine.
ASSET PREP AND EARLY TRACK EXPLORATION - EMAIL before and during this phase is most effective. After checking the files and importing into Pro Tools HD, I will work intensely with the mix for a few hours, getting to know the song and the sound space. I will read messages but won't want to talk much yet. Later, we can work together while connected live and make corrections in real time. One can certainly listen in the whole time but it won't be very interesting in the early stages.
It's almost as if you are in the same room with me! It should be noted that I currently use a transmission method that uses the MP3 compression at 192kbs. This is the average rate of many MP3s sold online, and guarantees that it can be heard in most places with DSL or better speed. Full quality versions will be available to the artist by FTP or other means at the end or during the session.
Communication about the mixes can be handled in several ways and depends on the distance and latency of the transmission path. We can communicate by telephone, Skype, iChat or google Chat.
The best way, unless one is overdubbing, seems to be using live google chat. Google's chat can be opened in several windows with multiple clients and is very universal. I've found through experimentation that once one gets going with this process by chat window, it becomes second nature, and has the benefit of being easier to handle language, time, and delay differences. We can always keep Skype running for occasional real-time conferencing, but headsets are recommended for both sides of the conversation.
On longer projects with more songs or more involved singles projects, I offer a password-protected online player for each song with a playlist of versions, with download (or not) and blog (or not) to talk about the mixes, and an enclosing directory for all the songs and material in the project.
These pages are not only players, they also are the documentation and notes of changes. The MP3s are shown by date/version listed in reverse chronological order. There are links to allow the creation of zip packaged versions of the MP3s to allow download on PCs.
100% DIGITAL HIGH QUALITY AUDIO FEED TO YOU - My MP3 server is on a dedicated MacBook Pro, streaming at a constant 192kbits (or faster) to high speed cable. It is directly fed by a SPDIF connection and word clock sync directly out of the Pro Tools HD 192 SPDIF interface, split from my digital mix bus.
This ensures an exact representation of volume levels sent as intended and no re-conversion artifacts are introduced by using extra conversion hardware. As it is the exact same feed as heard by me, we have some level of signal assurance.
Yes, I'd like to send "PURE" uncompressed PCM stream out there - my network feed can handle it but according to my recent experience, most potential client networks are not able to keep up yet, especially those using wifi as opposed to a hard connection. I will be considering streaming the superior AAC stream and other formats soon.