Quick A/Bing tips
LIKE FOR LIKE
As soon as you load a pro song into your session, line up and overlay relevant sections – for example, both drops. This way, when you listen back and forth, the tracks will be at roughly equal ‘density’ at that moment. Comparing a reference track’s uber-loud chorus against your quiet breakdown is pointless, after all.
Referencing isn’t about copying a song stylistically – it’s the process of using better mixes to guide your technical decisions. Yes, a famous producer’s latest record probably sounds incredible, and you want your mix to sound that way, but you should still maintain an analytical mindset throughout. Don’t alter your creative choices, as those give you your sound as an artist. Try flipping between several reference tracks, then take an ‘average’ and sit between them.
What genre are you producing? What style or ‘flavour’ of mixdown are you aiming for? Which of your favourite commercial releases sound consistently good every time? Your choice of reference track is vital, you see, and answering these questions will help you curate your own batch. This is why pro engineers rely on their own collection of proven mixes.