Reference x2

Reference 1

Every blog and every tutorial covering music production tips and tricks state the importance of reference tracks. For a good reason I must add, but unfortunately I haven’t applied it to my own productions. Until now. I always thought it was too fiddly and the reference tracks were always mastered and way louder, and being lazy, I couldn’t get myself to set up busses and level match and stuff. Enter Reference by Mastering The Mix

I’ve been using Levels and Exposé from the same guys before but never really saw the need for Reference. I was wrong. This thing is excellent in every regard. This isn’t a review so I won’t go inte too much detail, but basically you put this at the end of your mixing and/or mastering chain, add a reference track, press the level match button and you’re good to go. Whats especially good about Reference is that it’s multiband. Being able to solo the different bands from within the plugin is super helpful. It also shows you the perceived loudness and width per band. One thing I have yet to come to grips with is the puchdots. I get that they’re supposed to show you dynamic range in some sense, but to be honest, I don’t pay to much attention to them. I like my mixes dynamic but most reference tracks I use in the same genre are smashed to bits by a limiter so…

Reference 2

The second reference I want to mention is the one by Sonarworks

After demoing this I will never believe a “neutral” and “flat” headphone again. I use ATH-M40x most of the time and I always thought they sounded excellent. And they do, but they really boost the low and high end as shown in the picture above. This is a real problem since I’ve ended up cutting too much highs and lows from my productions. They sound good on systems that too use the V-shape but on a completely flat system they sound kind of, hm, muffled and midrange-heavy. What Reference does is negate the curve and flattens the response out in a really transparent way. Works both system-wide and inside of the DAW. Simply brilliant. The sound takes some time to get used to, but it’s well worth it.

I really wish I had found out about these tools earlier. But at least my upcoming track have been mixed and mastered using these tools.


Production update

Having a day job and a baby at home really puts a dent in the production rate at the moment, but it’s all good. The studio has been upgraded with a new iMac Pro, a Komplete S49 MkII keyboard and a new OWC Thunderbolt 3 enclosure to which I migrated all project-files and sample libraries. The setup is really working great, and the UAD Apollo Twin is so much more stable then the previous Apogee Duet. Sorry Apogee, but you kinda dropped the ball.

Production-wise I have a few projects in the making. I’ve created a remix for Disconun which will be released soon I hope and I also finished a remix for a remix competition which I’m very happy with. Fingers crossed.

I also have a couple of new Matt Avall tracks in the making. Expect some deep house, psytrance and acid house coming up. There’s also a new MA track in the works in the liquid vocal drum and bass variety. I have no clue which to track to finish first though. Watch this space 🙂

//Matt Avall