The Quest for Reference Tracks
Tue Jan 15, 2019
Last week I decided to finish up a group of songs I’ve been working on for quite a long time.A couple songs need finishing touches on lyrics and recording of vocals but the rest are ready for a final mixing.
The first thing I did was to find some reference tracks. Reference tracks are usually commercially recorded pieces of music a mixer would listen to, to compare against the track your working with. The goal is to make it ‘sound as good’ as the commercial track. After all, the song was recorded in the finest studio with the best instruments by the best people in the industry.
I’m really only talking about the sonic quality like the how much or little bass, mid-range, treble does a guitar, or vocal, or bass have. One can also get a sense of how much the track is compressed or how much reverb or room sound is in the track. Even with this, it’s only a starting point I’ve got listen carefully to my track and eventually make adjustment with all the instruments playing in the mix later. I also have to remember I’m probably listing to a track that a was mixing to fit within the context of song it’s a part of. My song is different.
I got on-line to see what other people suggest for great recorded songs or albums. I settled on Nirvana - In Utero. It’s considered a very good recording by many. There’s a number of things I can use. Again, I’m not looking to make a Nirvana record. I’m interested in how the instruments sound in comparison to mine so I can make decisions.