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Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

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Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:14 pm

BigWheel started this thread, but then it got broken somehow. (?)

It was quite interesting, so I thought I'd try and kick-start it again. The basic question was which, and why...
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby . . . Delete This User . . . » Fri Nov 12, 2010 7:42 pm

as noted by several the first time around,

AC/DC's "back in black" is a popular album to reference rock/guitar driven material against.....
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Mixedup » Sat Nov 13, 2010 10:23 am

I didn't catch that thread, but it depends entirely on what I'm mixing... which means it's more than three tracks. Also, not sure if there was a link to the most recent SOS article on the subject.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Ken P » Sun Nov 14, 2010 5:00 pm

I am currently using the following for a new electronica project which I believe demonstrate true mixing genius in the genre:

Thomas Fehlmann - Hana (from the album Low Flow)

Thomas Fehlmann - Honigpumpe (the whole album!)

Gotye - Heart's a Mess (Supermayer Mix) (from the album Kompakt Total 10)


1 and 3 on Spotify.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby 4TrackMadman » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:05 pm

AC/DC "Back in Black" one of the ones for me as well :)

Scorpions "Love at First Sting" although lately I gravitate towards "Sting In The Tail"

Celtic Frost "To Mega Therion"
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Guest » Sun Nov 14, 2010 8:25 pm

None at all at the moment. I was sitting there one day working on one of my pieces, and every now and again checking it against some favourite reference material, and i thought to myself "what the hell are you doing!?"

I realised that i was being an arse. I know what i like, i know what sounds good, why did i need to have something to A/B with? I don't do this with other works. I don't listen to a commercial recording and then quickly put on another recording to make sure that thay have similar texture before i decide if i like it or not, if it works for me.

So i gave up using reference tracks in an attempt to keep other people's creations out of the room when i'm creating things that will hopefully have a more of me in them.

That was a few years ago. Now i just see it as a bad and lazy habit.

For me that is, not for anyone else... Y'all do as you like.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Mixedup » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:29 am

ow wrote:None at all at the moment. I was sitting there one day working on one of my pieces, and every now and again checking it against some favourite reference material, and i thought to myself "what the hell are you doing!?"

I realised that i was being an arse. I know what i like, i know what sounds good, why did i need to have something to A/B with? I don't do this with other works. I don't listen to a commercial recording and then quickly put on another recording to make sure that thay have similar texture before i decide if i like it or not, if it works for me.

So i gave up using reference tracks in an attempt to keep other people's creations out of the room when i'm creating things that will hopefully have a more of me in them.

That was a few years ago. Now i just see it as a bad and lazy habit.

For me that is, not for anyone else... Y'all do as you like.

It's not about creative stuff, it's about calibrating your ears. You listen to a track for several hours when mixing, so it's easy to become accustomed to it and lose perspective — your tolerance of HFs becomes higher over time, which causes problems with esses, cymbals, overall mix balance etc. If you can do without, and take regular breaks, then fair enough. But personally, I find it beneficial to do a quick AB from time to time — I don't mean listening to the track all the way through, just a quick five second burst so I'm not flying with no idea where my horizon is!
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:23 am

Mixedup wrote:It's not about creative stuff, it's about calibrating your ears.
+1

When you've been working on a track for hours at a time you do begin to lose perspective. I frequently wind up the lows and highs more as I progress, and add more ambience, in the belief that I'm 'improving' a mix, when all I'm doing is adding salt to a meal that I'm finding harder and harder to digest. Pulling up a reference track for a minute or two helps you to press your ears' 'reset' button.

Sometimes it comes as a shock when I go back to a reference and think how lifeless it sounds at the side of my own mix - this is the time to take as long a break as my deadline permits, because my perspective has left the building! :crazy:
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:46 am

I’m finding it increasingly beneficial to let artists supply me with reference material. It exposes me to music I might not otherwise hear, stops me becoming complacent and provides me with fresh challenges. The less I like the music I’m challenged with I find the more I learn!

Too often you can get side-tracked with your own likes/dislikes, when what you really have to do is hear what the artist/producer is trying to say.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Mixedup » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:51 pm

The Elf wrote:I frequently wind up the lows and highs more as I progress, and add more ambience, in the belief that I'm 'improving' a mix

Amen to that. Pretty much every time I mix without any reference points, I find I end up with a mix that's overly scooped in the mid-range, which leaves the mix sounding hollow on the 'y axis', and which is overly ambient and thus a little hollow on the 'x axis'. Regularly monitoring in mono only can help on the latter too...
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Shambolic Charm » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:29 pm

Mixedup wrote:
ow wrote:None at all at the moment. I was sitting there one day working on one of my pieces, and every now and again checking it against some favourite reference material, and i thought to myself "what the hell are you doing!?"

I realised that i was being an arse. I know what i like, i know what sounds good, why did i need to have something to A/B with? I don't do this with other works. I don't listen to a commercial recording and then quickly put on another recording to make sure that thay have similar texture before i decide if i like it or not, if it works for me.

So i gave up using reference tracks in an attempt to keep other people's creations out of the room when i'm creating things that will hopefully have a more of me in them.

That was a few years ago. Now i just see it as a bad and lazy habit.

For me that is, not for anyone else... Y'all do as you like.

It's not about creative stuff, it's about calibrating your ears. You listen to a track for several hours when mixing, so it's easy to become accustomed to it and lose perspective — your tolerance of HFs becomes higher over time, which causes problems with esses, cymbals, overall mix balance etc. If you can do without, and take regular breaks, then fair enough. But personally, I find it beneficial to do a quick AB from time to time — I don't mean listening to the track all the way through, just a quick five second burst so I'm not flying with no idea where my horizon is!

very enlightening. I usually leave mixes for a few days and then go back. I'll try that see if it is a more instant fix for that state where Judgment seems to get lost
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:46 pm

Mixedup wrote:
ow wrote:None at all at the moment. I was sitting there one day working on one of my pieces, and every now and again checking it against some favourite reference material, and i thought to myself "what the hell are you doing!?"

I realised that i was being an arse. I know what i like, i know what sounds good, why did i need to have something to A/B with? I don't do this with other works. I don't listen to a commercial recording and then quickly put on another recording to make sure that thay have similar texture before i decide if i like it or not, if it works for me.

So i gave up using reference tracks in an attempt to keep other people's creations out of the room when i'm creating things that will hopefully have a more of me in them.

That was a few years ago. Now i just see it as a bad and lazy habit.

For me that is, not for anyone else... Y'all do as you like.

It's not about creative stuff, it's about calibrating your ears. You listen to a track for several hours when mixing, so it's easy to become accustomed to it and lose perspective — your tolerance of HFs becomes higher over time, which causes problems with esses, cymbals, overall mix balance etc. If you can do without, and take regular breaks, then fair enough. But personally, I find it beneficial to do a quick AB from time to time — I don't mean listening to the track all the way through, just a quick five second burst so I'm not flying with no idea where my horizon is!

For you. It works for you, right? But it doesn't work for me. I know what it's about, i know why people use ref tracks and have done. But it doesn;t work for me.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Mike Senior » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:18 pm

Mixedup wrote:
The Elf wrote:I frequently wind up the lows and highs more as I progress, and add more ambience, in the belief that I'm 'improving' a mix

Amen to that. Pretty much every time I mix without any reference points, I find I end up with a mix that's overly scooped in the mid-range

Funny -- it's the opposite with me! I usually end up with something that sounds boxy and horrible to start with.

Then I start making it even worse... :headbang:
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Džoni » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:54 pm

Mike Senior wrote:
Then I start making it even worse... :headbang:

Mhm, Mike, sure you do. We believe you... ;)
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 15, 2010 11:03 pm

Džoni wrote:
Mike Senior wrote:
Then I start making it even worse... :headbang:


Mhm, Mike, sure you do. We believe you... ;)

Come on, Mike - publish one of the Mix Rescues that failed! :D ;)
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby aekoi » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:04 am

Not recording much just now but for testing live PA rigs I favour a blast of some or all of the the following -

Candi Staton - You Got The Love (to be sure the subs are working)

Anthrax - Safe Home

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle (I think this record pretty much uses all of the audible frequencies, all of the time)

Britney Spears - Baby One More Time (which I'm ashamed to say sometimes makes me nearly cry, and don't say "Me too", I'm being serious)

Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby oggyb » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:42 am

Nine Voices - Yes, for acoustic guitar;

Living Forever - Genesis, for drums (though there are only about 3 places in the UK you can achieve that sound);

This is the New [ ****** ] - Marylin Manson, for a lesson in mix buss compression;

Choke - Hybrid, for the crystal clear, sparkly production, and to hear the polyrhythms and tonality clashes.

That's four. . .
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby MadManDan » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:05 am

aekoi wrote:Britney Spears - Baby One More Time (which I'm ashamed to say sometimes makes me nearly cry, and don't say "Me too", I'm being serious)
It's a tight track.

I recently fell in love with "When It's Over" by Sugar Ray. Very well done mix. A lot of little elements but still an uncluttered mix. I love the fact that these heavy guitars play on the first beat of every bar of the chorus but are faded out by the end of beat two. Great song too.
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby Blue Lizard » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:36 am

aekoi wrote:
Grace Jones - Slave To The Rhythm

+1 8-)
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Re: Q: What are your top 3 mixing reference tracks?

Postby oggyb » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:40 pm

MadManDan wrote:I recently fell in love with "When It's Over" by Sugar Ray. Very well done mix. A lot of little elements but still an uncluttered mix. I love the fact that these heavy guitars play on the first beat of every bar of the chorus but are faded out by the end of beat two. Great song too.


Lots and lots of sub-200Hz makes me dubious about agreeing with this. Very good use of background guitars though, nice and grungy.
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