References in mixing

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vvv
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References in mixing

Post by vvv » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:17 am

Inspired by joninc's post in the lo-fi mids thread, do you use reference tracks?

While actively mixing?

If yes, then no; when do you use reference tracks?
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Re: References in mixing

Post by digitaldrummer » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:38 am

I have a bunch of WAV files ripped from favorite CDs in various styles. I don't pull them into a session, but I will play them as a guide if I'm trying to capture a certain vibe. or as inspiration maybe... but also to better understand my monitors and space.
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Re: References in mixing

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:02 am

Yes, then no.

I have a drive that's solely for ripped cds, I have pretty much my whole collection on there, and it's nice to be able to listen to whatever with a mouse click, without having to go through the agonizing, antiquated process of actually getting up out of my chair and walking over to the cd rack. So tiring!

But i don't normally listen while mixing. I have in the past and it was super helpful, as I mentioned in that other thread. When I was getting my new room together and finalizing the acoustics, I listened to my favorite dozen refs so many times I don't think I've listened to any of them since.

I listen to refs if I feel like my ears are going crazy. I can pop in *whatever it is that I've been listening to for 25 years* and immediately say ok yeah that sounds like it always has your ears are fine get back to work. Or I listen if I just want to hear something I'm not working on. It's really fun and educational to just sit down and play demo derby, go through a whole bunch of totally different songs and see how they all relate to each other. Doing this gives you a good idea of how big a ballpark you have to work in.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by losthighway » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:21 am

When I went to a shop to try out my new Focals I brought Wilco's "Hell Is Chrome" engineered by Jim O' Rourke, from their A Ghost Is Born album. It's kind of the gold standard in hi fi for me. The dude that owns the shop said, "That's nice! Is that you?" I almost spit out the sparkling water he'd given me.

But that song's wide dynamics and hushed control doesn't match up with a lot of what I work on.

I tend to reference a few different things for genre specific purposes. For punk/louder indie etc stuff I tend to put up J Robbins mixes a lot because I find his work to be very consistent. For huge wall of down tuned guitars stuff I like to refer to Deftones stuff, even though the occasional metal band I work with might roll their eyes at me for that. I had a fun time analyzing some of Questlove's crazy drum sounds on a Roots record in producing a hip hop section for a band I was working with. Otherwise I go back to a lot of 70's stuff, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Dylan with a backing band stuff for a lot of the more middle ground singer/songwriter, folk/country/whatever rock. Steve Albini's work on less aggressive band's albums in the last 15-20 years is also pretty flawless. The sense of balance and space on Magnolia Electric Co and Nina Nastasia albums, is pretty remarkable.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by losthighway » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:23 am

*** but more to the point. I have a hard time putting up references outside of the studio. I feel like I can control the audio environment enough in the control room to glean some wisdom, but it tends to confuse me in the car, or on the home stereo.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:47 am

losthighway wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 9:21 am
Steve Albini's work on less aggressive band's albums in the last 15-20 years is also pretty flawless. The sense of balance and space on Magnolia Electric Co and Nina Nastasia albums, is pretty remarkable.
+1.

When I went to the shop to try out the B+W's I've now had for 15 years, the first song I played was Shellac's "Ghosts" off 1000 Hurts (this song probably wins my Ref of all Refs, even though it sounds totally weird and unlike anything I make or work on). So I'm sitting there thinking WOW! This sounds awesome! Song finishes and I look over at the salesguy, who has a look on his face that's a mixture of anger and total confusion, and he says "is that.....something that was professionally recorded and mixed?"

I chuckled and assured him it was.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by Burnt Ernie » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:53 pm

Beatles-Paperback Writer, Mostly And Your Bird Can sing, Then Melvins Lizzy (for 400-500 hz), 2nd Cypress Hill for Sub/Kick problems, 1st PIL album for Ambience/kick/snare balance. Anything by The Meters to gauge kick/snare and ambience. I guess these for the most part share a concern for midrange instrument/vocal/midrange perspective,focusing on what might be muddy in lo mids,or tearing your face off at top end of high midrange. I like lo midrange grind (Paperback Writer),and vocals kinda treated like another electric instrument.
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Re: References in mixing

Post by Burnt Ernie » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:57 pm

And of course I know everything's gonna get mangled/caressed in mastering,I just prefer getting as close as I can,without crushing the crap out of anything before it gets sent of to the Mangler in Charge.
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Re: References in mixing

Post by drumsound » Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:08 pm

I cannot do it mid mix like some people. It just confuses and derails me. If I go to work somewhere else I try to bring a couple of things I know well with me, so that I can hear what something I know sounds like in that space, on those speakers. Richard Thompson's Rumor and Sigh is my favorite for that, with Los Lobos' Colossal Head as a good second. Both are Tchad Blake mixes, but pretty different sounding. Rumor and Sigh doesn't have a bunch of the 'Tchadisms' but Colossal Head is rife with them. I'll usually bring something I did as well, again to see how the studio sounds.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by Nick Sevilla » Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:58 pm

Before mixing:

YES.

During mixing:

Only if needed (for a specific amount of bass, for example.)

Typically, I get references from the client if they feel it will help.
Otherwise I'll use mine.
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Re: References in mixing

Post by losthighway » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:22 pm

drumsound wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:08 pm
Los Lobos' Colossal Head as a good second.
That album blew my damn mind a few months ago. It's fun when you miss something great, and then you get it later. Great record.

Okay, but back to mixing.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:27 pm

losthighway wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:22 pm
drumsound wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:08 pm
Los Lobos' Colossal Head as a good second.
That album blew my damn mind a few months ago. It's fun when you miss something great, and then you get it later. Great record.

Okay, but back to mixing.
That record changed my life.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by digitaldrummer » Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:58 am

now that we are in the weeds... I preferred Kiko.
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Re: References in mixing

Post by drumsound » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:23 am

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:27 pm
losthighway wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:22 pm
drumsound wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:08 pm
Los Lobos' Colossal Head as a good second.
That album blew my damn mind a few months ago. It's fun when you miss something great, and then you get it later. Great record.

Okay, but back to mixing.
That record changed my life.
Mine too.

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Re: References in mixing

Post by losthighway » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:59 am

digitaldrummer wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:58 am
now that we are in the weeds... I preferred Kiko.
Also mind blowing.

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