View Full Version : Reference Mixes

04-08-2015, 05:29 PM
Would love to hear how you guys use reference mixes as part of your workflow. I have seen a few people that use plugins within their working session.

It would be great to hear how you guys use reference mixes in your workflow as you compare and finish your tracks. :-)


04-08-2015, 06:04 PM
put it on a stereo track and match the volume. Hit solo when I need to check. when I mix in a room I've never worked at, or not so much, I spend about a half going thru my reference mixes so I can learn the room. At my room, or regular spots, I pop one in similar to the song I'm mixing.

they have plugins now u put on the master and... I never tried them.

04-09-2015, 01:29 AM
Samplemagic Magic AB!

Fantastic plugin (does not interfere or color your own sound in any way) and makes it super easy and convient to compare your own stuff periodically
with all the reference music you need.
Works much better than having the reference tracks in your session and soloing them. Have had this for a long time and it makes so much more sense
with this plugin now because you can A/B much faster, so your ears have no time to adapt, you directly hear the difference without any interruption.
And you can adjust the level of your reference (and save all configurations as a preset) which makes a lot of sense too.

Just put it on the master bus, after your processing plugs, still before your measuring/metering/frequency analyzing plugs (so you even can compare your
music visually to your reference or you can check the difference between your music and the reference in Mono for example...if you put a plugin with
a "Mono button" after this reference plug etc. like these free guys e.g.
http://www.bozdigitallabs.com/product/panipulator/) and you are good to go.

Your reference tracks within the plugin will be loaded into the Ram and you even can save your own presets.
Works with all formats from Aiff to MP3, Wav, iTunes stuff etc., super light on the CPU (not noticeable) and offers a lot useful tweaking options (like
adapting levels for both, your tracks and the reference, looping the reference track etc.). Further itīs super stable, never have had any crash or something.
Comes as AAX, RTAS, AU and VST and itīs really affordable for what it will do for you. Highly recommended!


Mac Mini i7Quad, 16GB Ram, MBP Mid 2012 2,5GHz i5, 16GB Ram, Mac OSX 10.10.2 Yosemite, Apogee Quartet+Duet 2
Genelec Active, Yamaha NS10, Pro Tools 11.3.1, Logic 10.1.1, Waves, MCDSP, Duende Native, HOFA, IK Multimedia, NI etc.

04-09-2015, 10:41 AM
I keep a handful of songs by a few different artists on a flash drive in a "reference mixes" folder that I can send with my files, along with notes about what I like about each song/mix with references to actual events, like "delay on lead vocal at 3:28" & stuff like that. I'll note where I think that it might be cool to have in whatever song of mine, and the location in the song where I would like it. Even then, I leave it into the hands of the mix engineer. I've communicated my vision, he works towards bringing it to fruition, even if it means ignoring my idea in favor of a better one.

That's a crude, simplistic example, but it helps me communicate my vision as I don't mix my own music as a general rule. I feel like I need objective ears at that point.

Another, similarly related tip is that I have other friend engineers come in to dial in my vocal presets while I'm in the other room in front of the mic. Same reasons of objectivity. When I'm singing, I need to concentrate on putting my all into the singing, not tweaking parameters. I feel like it just helps with workflow. This is something that I need to do soon in PT as I'm new to PT and have all of this in place already in Sonar on the PC.

04-09-2015, 10:56 AM
I just started using MCompare. Instead of creating a dedicated reference track in the session, I load the reference audio into MCompare as a file.

04-09-2015, 01:50 PM
Are you guys fine with comparing your mix up against a finished master, squashed as they usually are? Often there is no other alternative and it's better to compare to something than nothing at all, right?

04-09-2015, 02:55 PM
I often use my own mixes and masters as reference material, so I'm not dealing with "for the radio" dynamic destruction.

Park Seward
04-09-2015, 06:23 PM
I've always thought BS&Ts second album was one of the finest ever made. A good lesson on how to tuck the vocal in amid horns, B3, drums and guitar.

One of the best examples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtrx012D6gQ

04-09-2015, 07:57 PM

04-09-2015, 08:06 PM
One of the best examples https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtrx012D6gQ

Excellent! Put Ray LaMontagne "You Are The Best Thing" in your folder, for the slower jams.

04-10-2015, 01:03 AM
Are you guys fine with comparing your mix up against a finished master, squashed as they usually are? Often there is no other alternative and it's better to compare to something than nothing at all, right?

This is a big deal for me--or rather the inverse; looking ahead to what my mix will sound like when it's mastered. Yes almost all final product is way over-crushed now, but some of my fave rock records also have serious dynamic processes happening at all stages, and it really helps to reference against those.

Inasmuch as mastering is about making a collection of songs hold together, it can be hard to know what direction you might go in, only from comparing your song one-to-one with various reference tracks. I use Massey's limiter sometimes and purposefully over-do it just to see how the transients in my mix are going to act. I haven't quite figured out the right method within the mix stage to address these issues--I'm afraid to give a mastering engineer something that I've multi-banded too much. I figure he can do it way better than I can. I'm curious how many mixers have the ability to just hand the mastering engineer their files and ask them to do as little as possible besides "loudening".