#Musicproduction: Ozone 8: Track Referencing - What Is It And When To Use
Track Referencing is a very common practice in both mixing and mastering that helps ensure a monitor you're focusing on is headed in the proper direction. New in Ozone 8, the Track Referencing feature offers ways to compare and contrast your music to reference tracks quickly and intelligently. In this blog we'll have a look at what this feature does and how to utilize it.
What is track referencing?Oftentimes, musicians may have songs, albums, or artists they desire their music to sound like. Maybe it's as specific a directive as requesting their music seem like David Bowie's “Life On Mars?” or as general as “I'd like the bass to be clear and loud.”
Track referencing is a way for audio engineers to compare and contrast the song(s) they're mixing and mastering to songs of an identical genre and style, to be able to achieve the artist's vision of how it will sound, specifically comparing such things as frequency response and dynamic range.
Why track referencing is important in mastering? A guide track's dynamic range and sonic character can be utilized to communicate what sound you're aiming for in your master. It's very important to know how the reference's sonic profile comes even close to your personal for several reasons.
Comparing your master with a reference may help with translation issues across listening environments. If you're knowledgeable about the idea of the “car test”, you know that your final product doesn't always sound the way in which you'd want it to on different speakers, while a reference should. Understanding how a reference and your personal track differ on different listening environments can help you shape a better master.
Having a reference track to be controlled by can also allow you to avoid losing perspective while mastering: if you should be hearing your personal track for too long, your ears can adjust to unwanted frequencies (high-frequency build-up for example), but switching to your reference can quickly help expose these differences and give a much-needed reset.
How the Track Reference feature works?In both plug-in and standalone application versions of Ozone 8 Standard and Advanced, we have added a Track Referencing feature that may load, manage, and audition reference tracks without any extra setup in your DAW. Having Ozone on your own master bus (or firing up the standalone app) is all that's necessary to quickly A/B your track with as much as ten references.
By integrating Track Referencing with Ozone, you receive extra functionality not possible when setting up reference tracks in your DAW, like a unique playback position for your reference track, integration with Ozone's metering, and integration with other intelligent features of Ozone like the track segmentation algorithm and Master Assistant.And because all your reference tracks are streamed from disk rather than from Ozone itself, this feature uses much less RAM than other track referencing plug-ins.
In Ozone, the Referencing panel you can produce loop points for playback in each reference, and set a gain offset to level-match all your reference tracks. This allows you to preview your processing without having to be artificially swayed by the degree of the track. All of your loaded references, their level, and loop points get saved in your session when using the plug-in, or in your Ozone project when using the standalone application.
When you initially load a guide track into Ozone, we run a segmentation algorithm to detect segments of material to give you suggested loop points (verses, choruses, etc.) for fast usage of song sections. This permits you to obtain the most relevant section of your reference (the song section most like your own track), even faster. Each loop point is automatically given a letter of the alphabet as a default name corresponding to sections we detected in your track; similar sounding sections will all be assigned exactly the same letter so you can get going quickly. You are able to adjust loop points or section names from there.
From within the reference panel, click a loss to choose one of your loaded reference tracks to audition and set its gain. From there, you are able to press the Reference A/B button elsewhere in Ozone to monitor your reference track.
Once you start playback with a guide track loaded, you will dsicover two spectra overlaid in the spectrum meters. Personally, I like to change Ozone's spectrum meter settings to make use of three-second averaging; I also find third Octave mode invaluable when comparing the spectral range of my master with my reference.
You can also utilize the meters in the Ozone's I/O section to compare the degree of your master with the reference track. By opening the I/O options popup, you can choose "Replace input with reference" and view the reference tracks level in the left meter in the I/O section. This works in virtually any meter mode.
Integrating Track Referencing with all the metering in Ozone can assist you to produce a master that translates well, as it will help you navigate the differences between your master and a reference.
Using track references with other Ozone featuresNeed to get started on your own master quickly? Many loaded reference tracks may be used as a target for Master Assistant so you can get to a starting point in sixty seconds or less.
Reference tracks can be loaded into Tonal Balance Control to make a custom target curve that helps you balance your track to the uploaded reference.
Faster working with a reference libraryWhen importing a guide track into Ozone, you can choose multiple files in the File Open dialog. Ozone will remember the past folder you loaded a guide from, when you keep all your reference tracks in one folder, you will always be in the right spot to load when you really need when clicking the add reference button.
When setting up templates for sessions, I like to add Ozone on the master bus and bunch my favorite reference tracks. That way, when I take up a new project, my references are accessible immediately.