As producers making EDM, we eventually find out that we are going to have to play a couple of roles in our careers in order to maximize the quality of our music.
Today I will be showing you guys a trick that will help guide you to making the perfect mix down and master for your tracks.
That trick is Referencing
Referencing What Is That?
Well referencing is the biggest tip I can give you.
Referencing for us is going to be grabbing a track that we will try to get as loud as, have clarity, have energy as, and most importantly used to guide us.
Now this sounds simple enough right?
Well it is, but there are 4 rules you must follow to pick the right reference track.
When you pick the right song you will be set to go.
1.Make sure your reference track is in the same key
The first tip when using the reference track trick is to that the reference track has to be in the same key as your track.
First off a track in G will have some of the boomiest low end out there out of all the keys, as it's strategically placed in an area where the sub bass can be heard and felt.
A track in the key of E Minor won't fair so well as it's low end will be felt but not heard, resulting in less power.
So if your track is in E and you are referencing a track in G you can see how this will misguide you.
1st you will try to get your E Minor tracks low end as loud as G and that will never happen due to the fact that G is just a better key for low end.
2nd You will probably mess up your low end causing your track to lose loudness.
3rd A track in G will sonically never sound like a track in E Minor.
MAKE SURE YOUR REFERENCE TRACK IS IN THE SAME KEY AS YOUR TRACK
2. Reference TRACK Must Be The Same BPM As Yours
This one is very self explanatory.
The track must be the same BPM as your track.
Tracks like Trap which are lower BPM will have more power than tracks that are faster due to the bass and 808 being sustained longer.
3. Same Genre
Make sure your tracks are in the same genre as well.
Genres tend to differentiate in the way that artist mix their tracks.
For example rock doesn't have a boomy boomy low end so they can get their tracks super loud while EDM tracks that have a super boomy low end won't be able to be pushed due to the low end giving out.
4. High QUALITY MP3 And WAV
Make sure the track you have chosen has a high quality MP3 AND WAV Format.
You don't want to reference a track in 128kbps quality like Soundcloud as it will guide you down the wrong path.
Last thing before we continue is that YOUTUBE and SOUNDCLOUD will alter the original mix and master so if you are downloading via youtube to mp3 don't..... Buy the track or find it for free somewhere.....
The Tools NEEDED To Reference Properly.
You will require a couple of tools to reference properly
Spectrum Analyzer (You can use the DAW Stock one or OZONE)
Stereo Imager Analyzer( Ozone Imager works well here especially the multi band feature)
Loudness Meter ( OZONE INSIGHT, TRACKS METER, WLM WAVES)
Will allow you to see where all the frequencies are in terms of loudness and how loud each area will need to be . You will use this to compare your frequencies to that of your reference. Use a spectrum you can route 2 tracks too.
Stereo Imager Analyzer
Will allow you to see what sounds are wide in the mix and what sounds are placed in mono. You can do this with your ears as well but just in case you can't tell this will be useful. Ozone 7 Imager is amazing for this as it's multi band and lets use hear every portion of the mix.
You are gonna use it as a pinpoint tool to hear only the low end and try to get your track to sound similar and also other frequencies. Make sure to use a bandpass feature to pinpoint certain frequencies like in the image above. To make the eq style of above just use a low pass and high pass together to get a bandpass. Then select both eq points and use the frequency to drag across.
It's no mystery that the louder a track is the better some people will think it sounds due to the energy. You need to get as loud as every track out there so this meter will help us with that. make sure your track is as loud as the one you are referencing.
Referencing a track using the tools given above will help guide you to perfecting your mixes. Just remember to practice practice practice.
If you need a quick video to guide you with everything I just taught you check this one out. It has some funny analogies and elements so be warned if you are a straight edge no humor type of producer
In all I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial and try this out for yourself.
In perfect theory this could actually make it so that you don't have to make music in a treated room.