Music Production: Mixing & Mastering | Mic Delgado
It always starts with the production's Creative process: Composing, Recording, Gain Staging
The artist/band will compose a song as a single or a part of an ep/album. They'll have a go signal from all the members of their team, and starts recording their parts in the studio — everybody will take their time to perfect their takes. It's a crucial process to make a recording perfect, and still manage to incorporate ideas throughout the creative process. A solo artist will have his track ready to spit rap verses, or sing a tune over it.
It then proceeds to the Mixing process: Gain Staging, Equalizing, Compression, Balancing individual instruments where the recording will be improved.
I'm a member of Mix With The Master, a premium provider for learning Music Production from the World's Top Engineers and Producers through seminars and online videos. I can guarantee you, mixing engineers get their projects already mixed by the recording engineer. or the artist him/herself. And it's the Mixing Engineer's job to either respect what the recording engineer's work, or change things up — 100% of the time it's the mix engineer's job to make the track sound better than before, and spend time to make it more sound professional.
After mixing we then proceed to Mastering: making the track sound better as a whole, louder to compete with commercial tracks (if necessary), make the album cohesive and prepare it for distribution.
The Mastering Engineer will listen to the mix, it could be a stem mastering or a mix-down of the song — he then checks for improvements he can make for the music to sound it's best. The mastering Engineer will use the reference tracks given by the client to match volume, and sonic value of the mixed song. He then use different speakers of devices to check if his output sounds best on consumer's daily gadgets.