Reference mixtape

Discussion on new albums, developing listening skills, critical listening to others' work, as well as TOMB members' MP3 links, online recording critiques

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mjau
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Reference mixtape

Post by mjau » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:32 am

What’s on your reference mixtape for when you’re working in another studio and/or listening on different monitors?

I’ve got some new monitors coming tomorrow and want to spend some time getting acclimated to them. Curious what y’all like to put on for an occasion like this.

The Scum
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by The Scum » Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:05 pm

I've been going through this myself, with both new monitors and a new room under construction.

Some old standbys - some are single tracks, some are whole albums.

Massive Attack - Karmacoma - when the super lows are murky, the bassline is a jumbled mess. It takes a heck of a room for that line to work as distinct notes.
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales - can I tell where the guitars end and the bass begins?
Yello - Zebra - Layered arrangements with something happening in each frequency band. Also crazy panning back and forth on many tracks to test the imaging.
Inxs - Kick - Big, crisp Bob Clearmountain mixes. 'I need you tonight' is both sparse and huge.
Van Halen - I & II. Check the guitars, check the imaging.
The Who - Live At Leeds, ~2000 expanded remaster - if the system is going to be overly crisp, this reveals it.
Die Kreuzen - October File - I just know how it sounds.
Def Leppard - Hysteria - Lots of mono-incompatible stuff in there. If you switch to mono and the snare & BVs don't change a lot, something's off. Also, all that reverb just gets cloudy if the room is reverberant. Ideally, it sounds the same in headphones as in the room...that's a high bar to hit.
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digitaldrummer
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by digitaldrummer » Thu Mar 04, 2021 6:27 am

a few songs/albums I might listen to...

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue -- just because it's great
AC/DC - Back in Black -- the drums...
Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica - there are some fun stereo tricks (Pena, She's Too Much for My Mirror, Ant Man Bee)
Tom Petty - Full Moon Fever or Wildflowers - I just feel like the high end/cymbals on these is a bit (cocaine) hyped
Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy -- just a great album
Ingrid Michaelson - Incredible Love -- if you know it, then you know what I mean
Webb Wilder - Stay Out of Automobiles
Steely Dan - Aja, Two Against Nature (2 very different eras...)
Jeff Golub - Soul Sessions -- I love this one too
Jeff Beck - Because We've Ended as Lovers, Led Boots
Robert Cray - Labor of Love
Al Green - Let's Stay Together
Our Lady Peace - 4am, Clumsy
Los Lobos - Kiko
Last edited by digitaldrummer on Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:53 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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mjau
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by mjau » Thu Mar 04, 2021 8:59 am

Cool, and thanks, y’all. Some good suggestions. Just now setting up the new pair of Neumann kh120’s, and hearing all kinds of new detail in Gillian Welch’s The Harrow & the Harvest. Fun stuff, but I’m frightened to pull up my own mixes now...

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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by The Scum » Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:48 pm

You'll have to let us know if anything else from these lists is useful, or if you've got some of your own contributions to add.

It's been a quest for the last year or two to find references that
A> Sound really good or are especially revealing
B> The songs aren't too tedious to listen to
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mjau
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by mjau » Fri Mar 05, 2021 7:14 am

The Scum wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:48 pm
You'll have to let us know if anything else from these lists is useful, or if you've got some of your own contributions to add.

It's been a quest for the last year or two to find references that
A> Sound really good or are especially revealing
B> The songs aren't too tedious to listen to
Yeah, AC/DC and Halen are both great suggestions - I know that stuff backwards and forwards. Similarly, Pearl Jam's Tchad Blake record (Binaural) is great for guitar-focused critical listening.

Yesterday, I listened to a bunch of Calexico, which I always love for the depth and tonality of the drum sounds. I was hearing more separation between the kick and bass than I'd ever heard previously, along with better definition of the room reverb tails.

I also pulled up Ben Folds' Songs for Silverman album. By God, the background vocals on Jesusland have never sounded better.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:55 pm

One or two songs from most of these albums:

Miles Davis Kind Of Blue
Steely Dan Aja
Depeche Mode Exciter
Maynard Ferguson Brass Attitude
Vladimir Horowitz Horowitz Plays Chopin Vol 1
Judas Priest Screaming for Vengeance
Airto Moreira Homeless
Alanis Morrisette Jagged Little Pill
ZZ Top Rhythmeen
Yes Tales From Topographic Oceans
Johnny Winter White Hot & Blue
Whitney Houston Greatest Hits
Waylon Jennings Nashville Rebel
War The Hits & More

And many others, depending on how much time I have.
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by cgarges » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:29 pm

In general, Los Lobos' "Colossal Head" and Nina Nastasia's "The Blackened Air" both tell me different things about the bottom end. Other favorites are Suzanne Vega's "Nine Objects Of Desire," and a few specific tracks like "Secret Journey" by The Police and "Shining In The Light" by Page and Plant.

If I'm doing a jazz-oriented thing, I'll usually spend some time listening to the first T.J. Kirk album and John Scofield's "Grace Under Pressure," although anything engineered by Joe Ferla or James Farber works.

But I'll also listen to something that I've done that I know well. Usually something done sort of recently and something kind of stylistically similar to whatever I'm gonna be doing.

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mjau
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Re: Reference mixtape

Post by mjau » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:49 pm

That Nina Nastasia record - great drum sounds on there! She did a record with Jim White I really like, too.

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