We have a stem production here from Creator, a graduate of the Mixing and Mastering program here. Now everything is converted and sounds like this. Now everything is playing back correctly. There’s one more thing we need to do. One of the things that we do in the mixing and mastering course here at Dubspot, is we use reference tracks very heavily. People are used to hearing these, so if we match the production value to these songs, then all of the sudden, we know that these songs will be accepted as they go out to iTunes or Beatport.
Creator has given us this reference track. Let’s go and we’ll give a quick listen to it. Big build, exciting track. What we’re going to do now is we’re going to go to “Import” inside Logic and import the audio file. Here’s his reference track. You see that now, it’s automatically doing the sample rate conversion because we have used the “Import”. He’s saving an extra step. It’s creating an overview. We’re going to drag this down onto its own track.
Before we do more detail work, now that the basic composition is together, we’re going to apply some Mix Bus compression or limiting. The reason that we do this is because oftentimes, mixers slave over their work doing all this detail work, but when the limiting is applied, all of the sudden they feel that everything has become distorted. It’s a lot like you need to blow up the balloon first, and then, paint the face on it, and then it’s going to make sense.
If you paint a face on a balloon that’s not blown up, and you blow it up, all of the sudden, the face gets very wide, and you say that’s not my beautiful portrait right? What we want to do is work backwards. We’re going to first, inflate the balloon by putting on this limiting, which we need to do to make it loud enough so that it will be accepted in the commercial world.
The problem is when we do our A-B switching, we don’t want to have to bypass the master fader compression because we want to be able to switch as quickly as possible. Here’s the trick. We’re going to go to the mixer. We’re going to go to this little plus sign here, and it’s going to create an extra auxiliary track. We’re going to make a stereo aux track here and hit “Create”. We’re going to name this track “Mix Bus”. I like capitals, so there’s MIX BUS. If you’re English, you can add an extra ‘s’.
What we want to do now is also, name the reference track, so we know it and keep track of it. Naming things and keeping track of things is very important. Now, we’re going to click-drag across these tracks, and we are going to assign the output to Bus 64 which is the last Bus here. Over here on the Mix Bus, we’re going to open up the Mix Bus and we’re going to have the input be Bus 64.
Right before we do our comparative analysis, we need to take this Mix Bus and bring it up. It defaults to negative infinity which is pretty quiet. Let’s put in zero here. You want to always have the Mix Bus and the reference at zero. Never change those fader values because we want to keep it absolutely at unity so that we can compare loundnesses. We’ll go back here to your range. Then, we can very elegantly switch between the reference track and our production.
Here’s the reference track. Then, if you “Option” click, watch what happens. It releases the solo and gives us our production. Now you can see, we can switch very quickly between the two very elegantly and get a really good comparative analysis. This is how we import tracks into sessions so we can start to do reference analysis work.
Again, it’s very difficult to remember in your mind what good sound is and the good engineers don’t even try. All the great engineers that I had a chance to work with they would always bring reference tracks into whatever studio they were working. That’s exactly what we’re doing here. We’re importing the reference into the track, and then, very elegantly switching between our production and the competition.
You can take a look here at the routing, and you can duplicate it. This is the best way to set up a reference track within your production. I’m Daniel Wyatt. Stay tuned to Dubspot.com for more mixing and mastering tutorials.
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