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  #1  
Old 07-11-2014, 11:23 AM
jurld jurld is offline
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Default how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

I'd like to start using reference tracks to compare against the session I am mixing, and I'm looking for advice about how other people do this in Pro Tools 11.

My initial thought is to import the reference material into my session and mute it until I want to compare. Then I'd solo and un-mute the reference material. That seems fairly straightforward but I suspect there may be more elegant solutions or workflow.

What other things should I consider, from a technique or approach perspective to get the most from this practice?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 07-11-2014, 12:53 PM
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DonaldM DonaldM is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

You probably don't want to just listen to the reference vs your mix in your studio. Compare your mix to the reference in other places...your home stereo, your car, your iPod, etc. Assuming the reference mix is top notch, the closer your mix comes to the reference in places beyond your studio, the better.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:18 PM
propower propower is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Besides the good advice above - in PT11 - Magic A/B

Ridiculously useful

http://www.samplemagic.com/details/184/magic-ab
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:33 PM
DC-Choppah DC-Choppah is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Don't forget that references from released material have been mastered and often highly compressed. You have to adjust the RMS level of the reference to the RMS of the work in progress (not the peak!). Otherwise the reference will always sound better due to the loudness bias.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:42 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Jurld, according to your signature, you have an Mbox Pro. That means you have Spidf digital inputs. To save yourself having to import the track of every reference song into the session, you can just use a simple CD player with digital out.

You don't need to buy a fancy rackmount one. You can just use any consumer DVD player, even the cheap $20-30 ones from Walmart. They all have digital outs and they all play CD's. Just get a digital cable, hook it up to the Mbox digital ins.

Then in your Protools session, simply create a stereo aux track, and set the inputs of that track to match the Spidf inputs. Now the CD's will play right in your session. No need to record arm tracks or anything else. Another nice thing about the DVD players is that they all come with a remote control as well.


If you're not using CD's, but instead want to use Itunes on your computer, you can do the same thing, assuming your computer's sound card has a digital out (Macs have this automatically, for Windows, you may need to get one). You would hook it up the same way.


Note that you can use any audio source into the analog inputs of your interface as well, but it's going to be more accurate by keeping things digital. That way both the reference CD (or whatever) as well as your own mix, are both going through the same Digital to Analog converters of your interface.
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Old 07-11-2014, 10:25 PM
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YYR123 YYR123 is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nst7 View Post
Jurld, according to your signature, you have an Mbox Pro. That means you have Spidf digital inputs. To save yourself having to import the track of every reference song into the session, you can just use a simple CD player with digital out.



You don't need to buy a fancy rackmount one. You can just use any consumer DVD player, even the cheap $20-30 ones from Walmart. They all have digital outs and they all play CD's. Just get a digital cable, hook it up to the Mbox digital ins.



Then in your Protools session, simply create a stereo aux track, and set the inputs of that track to match the Spidf inputs. Now the CD's will play right in your session. No need to record arm tracks or anything else. Another nice thing about the DVD players is that they all come with a remote control as well.





If you're not using CD's, but instead want to use Itunes on your computer, you can do the same thing, assuming your computer's sound card has a digital out (Macs have this automatically, for Windows, you may need to get one). You would hook it up the same way.





Note that you can use any audio source into the analog inputs of your interface as well, but it's going to be more accurate by keeping things digital. That way both the reference CD (or whatever) as well as your own mix, are both going through the same Digital to Analog converters of your interface.

Great way spidif
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2014, 05:25 AM
jurld jurld is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Thanks for all the tips, particularly the one about just playing the CD using the spdif. I think I've got a cheap player in a closet somewhere.

I saw a reference to Magic A/B elsewhere, it looks very useful.

I have been comparing my work to reference recordings in other places already. It would be great if there was an easy way to do quick a/b type comparisons in my truck on the way to work. I don't see a practical way to do that.

As far as getting RMS levels of a commercially mastered recording to match my mixing level, is there an objective way to do this? Or do I just turn down the fader on the reference until it sounds "close enough".
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:32 AM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Insert a metering plugin that shows RMS, it should match on both tracks. You can do this without listening too. Or if you have PT11HD, you can change the mixer meters to your liking
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Old 07-12-2014, 05:57 AM
VRW VRW is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by propower View Post
Besides the good advice above - in PT11 - Magic A/B

Ridiculously useful

http://www.samplemagic.com/details/184/magic-ab
+100
After years of doing it several ways I decided to try Magic AB and guess what?
It´s so cool, so easy, just brilliant.

Doesn´t alter your sound at all, so you can leave it on your Masterbus from the beginning,
you super easily can adjust the volume of the reference section
and comparing is a pleasure as it only needs 1 push to the reference track, 1 push back.
You can choose any point of the reference track to start from and you can load
up to 9 several reference tracks into the plug-in to choose from.

It´s a really great piece of software which is insanely affordable for the amount
it makes your life easier . It´s about $50-60.-
Highly recommended stuff IMO.

Best of success everybody.


P.S. if you insert an analyzer and a metering plug-in after the Magic AB plug-in
on the Masterbus you additionally can compare easily your work visually to the
reference tracks.

P.S.2 what Magic AB makes really useful is that you can load WAVE and AIFF (up to 24bit/96KHz) files,
not only MP3s (you can use MP3s too but that´s definitely not recommended actually).
Comes as AAX 64bit/32bit, RTAS, AU, VST from Mac OS Leopard 10.5. upwards to Mavericks
and also for Windows, from XP upwards to W8.
http://www.samplemagic.com/details/184/magic-ab



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  #10  
Old 07-14-2014, 07:48 AM
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dr_daw dr_daw is offline
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Default Re: how to compare your mix vs. a reference?

Wow, I had never heard of this pluggin! Seems amazing, I've been closing PT's then listening to iTunes, then opening PT's back up like a sucker!

I guess the biggest problem is when the vast majority of your reference material is AAC or Mp3's. Damn you iTunes, damn you!
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