Per­fect your mixes us­ing to­day’s com­par­i­son tools

Computer Music - - Contents -

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!

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