A/B REFERENCING PLUGINS
Perfect your mixes using today’s comparison tools
If there’s one tactic guaranteed to fasttrack your mixing and mastering skills, it’s comparing your work-in-progress to great-sounding reference tracks. When done correctly, you’ll be able to identify deficiencies in your mix compared to those pro songs; evaluate areas of improvement in terms of frequency, dynamics and stereo balance; and formulate processing strategies that will not only improve your current song in line with world-class records, but also elevate your long-term mixing abilities.
Referencing (or ‘A/Bing’) can be done directly in your DAW. We’ll look at this universal method in the tutorial below. However, this process can become frustrating as you battle with multiple song setups, level inconsistencies, file formats, playback positions, fiddly routings and so on.
Thankfully, a handful of dedicated referencing plugins have cropped up in recent years, with features ranging from simple backand-forth switching to more extensive analysis, complex signal tapping, and even blind testing. So fire up your latest mix or mastering session and get ready to reference!