Advantages Of Using Reference Tracks!

by Oracle Blog
Advantages Of Using Reference Tracks!


Do you use reference tracks when you mix? They can actually be pretty useful & give you some insight.

A reference track is usually a professionally mixed song that you load into your session & 'reference" & analyze from time while you're mixing your song. You will want to choose a reference that has a similar mood & style to the song your mixing.

Be sure to lower the volume of your reference track to match your mix as well.

We also have a full video on YouTube breaking down some useful tips when using a reference track. You can watch that here.

Some people that are just starting out or don't have much experience are very anti-reference track because they worry too much that they're not being original, but when it comes to using reference tracks while mixing, it's not about stealing or being unoriginal. It's about giving your ears perspective & freshening up your ears so you don't get too used to your mix - which can trick you into thinking the quality is better than it is. Reference tracks can help you achieve better quality & lots of professionals use them.

Reference tracks should be viewed as a way to refocus your ears. If you're worried they mean you're being unoriginal, then you're misunderstanding what reference tracks are used for.

1. They can help you figure out where important instruments may sit. A reference track can help guide you to figure out the balance of the volumes of kicks, snares, bass, vocals, etc. They can also give you insight to the stereo field.
2. They let you know if your mix is too bright, not bright enough, too much bass, not enough bass, if there's too much mid-range, too hollow, too muddy, or really just any of too much or too little.
3. Setting your limiter & overall loudness. When it comes to the mastering stage, a reference track can be useful to set your overall loudness & guide you to how loud that style/mood usually gets.
4. They can give you inspiration. Hearing a reference track can give you ideas or inspirations to add your own twists on certain FX or transitions.
5. They can give your ears a break from the mix you're working on. When you hear the same mix over & over again, it can trick your ears & brain into thinking things sound better than they are or you may get too used to the sound of the mix & not realize something needs to be brighter or less bright. Using a reference track can quickly freshen up your ears & guide you to the proper clarity.


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