Popular Topics in this Blog:

Friday, June 15, 2018

#Musicproduction: Reference Mixing - Compare Your Production To Others

It's easy to have stuck in your little world when you've been mixing for an extended time. Reference tracks can dig you out. If you don't step outside to have perspective, you could lose the big picture and go too much in the wrong direction. When you're approaching the finish of a task, it's critical to have informed notion of the entire characteristics of your mix. And more to the point, how your mix stands around other commercial releases. But how will you find the correct perspective after hours of dealing with the same sounds?
The easy solution is mix referencing.

What's referencing of a mix?

Mix referencing is the process of comparing your nearly finished mix to previous mixes you've made, other versions of your mix in the same project or commercial recordings to determine the quality of your mix.

Employing a reference track

It sounds simple, but there are always a few crucial what to consider to create your referencing as effective as possible. Before we start, it's important to consider that there's no ‘correct'method for your mix to sound. There are a wide variety of opinions on the subject that no-one approach should really be taken as gospel and a similar thing goes for referencing. The best rule of thumb: If you prefer it, then it's good. In this article, I'll break up a few of the very useful mix referencing habits and demonstrate how exactly to use them to have nearer to release-ready tracks on the first try.

Let's get going on finishing!

Level match

The cardinal rule of referencing is to complement the level of the reference material to your track as closely as you can. Small differences in loudness might have a surprisingly massive effect on your perception of sound. You are able to only make insightful comparisons if you're confident that the differences you're hearing come from the mixes themselves and not from any psychoacoustic effects or changes in the listening chain.

Metered matching

To ensure you match the levels perfectly, you have to get serious about your metering. The channel meter in your DAW is okay for most metering tasks, like ensuring you're keeping ample headroom. But dedicated meter plugins offer some benefits that are particularly helpful when you're mix referencing. Sienda FreeG is really a nice free option if you're looking to upgrade your metering.

Before and after

Before we get too much, the greatest difference you will end up dealing with between your mixes and a finished professional recording could be the effectation of the mastering process.

Use LANDR to quickly master rough tracks. The rough master can provide a more even playing field for comparison in certain circumstances. Your mastered tracks will surely get you nearer to a finished feel, but doing your references before and after mastering them with LANDR will even help.

If you're close to finishing your mix and wish to compare it to a version from exactly the same project, bounce them both and create quick masters to compare. Your mastered version will help you decide where to go with those final decisions. What things to listen and watch for while you reference Ok, back again to it. Once your levels are properly matched, it's time for you to identify the parts of one's mix making it distinctive from the reference material.

EQ Contour

The entire frequency content of one's track is the absolute most apparent feature you ought to compare between your tracks. Pay specific awareness of the extreme ends of the frequency spectrum. Amateur mixes are often plagued by boomy, uncontrolled lows and harsh highs that don't extend past the upper midrange. Amateur mixes are often plagued by boomy, uncontrolled lows and harsh highs that don't extend past the upper midrange. Use your ears first, but when you have an EQ or meter plugin that may display the frequency content visually, use it the master bus and watch how your mix stacks against the reference material.

TDR Nova is a superb free plugin for visualizing the frequency content your tracks cover.


Your track's overall dynamics are the consequence of the compression you applied through the mix. The dynamic range of different recordings may vary wildly, so it's important to check in with references which can be befitting your genre and style. For example, a naturalistic recording of a jazz combo will more than likely have far more dynamic range than a pop radio single meant to deliver maximum punch to small speakers.

If you learn that the reference track is considerably pretty much dynamic than your own personal, it might be a good idea to revisit the processing all on your own track and think about if you're obtaining the sound you set out to create in the initial place.

Level and frequency range of each of your elements

As you focus in, attempt to figure out how the individual elements should sit in your mix. Consulting reference material can offer you clues about what should go where. You'll observe that the instruments may be positioned quite differently from mix to mix as you begin to analyze pro recordings.

Try your absolute best to identify the frequency ranges occupied by each instrument. You should also create a point of knowing which component of each mix may be the loudest. You are able to do this by slowly attenuating your monitors until every little thing is now inaudible. The last audible sound before the sound disappears altogether may be the loudest overall element.

Other referencing tips

Once you've started picking on the factors that set mixes apart, there are some other conditions to keep yourself informed of to make sure you're referencing such as for instance a pro.

What material should I reference?

With so much music out there, what reference material will probably supply you with the most insight on your own mixes?

You can make almost anything, but commercial mixes by respected pros should make up the bulk of what you reference. Pick something stylistically consistent that parallels just how you've been working. It would be the most informative. Additionally you need to utilize your referencing techniques to compare revisions of the same mix as you focus on it.

If you do not directly compare new versions together with your previous attempts, you could find yourself moving sideways as opposed to forwards or repeating the same mistakes twice.

Reference everywhere on anything

Your fans tune in to your music in 1000s of different listening environments. To simply help your mix translate across the board, make sure to reference on as numerous systems as you can. Your LANDR mastered tracks make this step easy. Since you obviously can't make use of a meter plugin to level match on an automobile stereo or home HI-FI.

A difficult version of one's track mastered with LANDR is likely to be much nearer to the amount of a professional recording quickly the bat. Hearing the difference between your mixes and the reference track on many different different systems will give you plenty of useful information. Along with your monitors, check your tracks on a house or car stereo, headphones, earbuds, laptop speakers, your phone and any playback system you have access to—Everything matters!