I always tried to get my tracks to sound as good as possible, but it was taking forever to get it right. I had to test the track several times in a club or car to get all the frequencies balanced. I didn’t have an accurate visual analysis other than my spectrum analyzer.
REFERENCE is an A/B plugin, with several features that will help get that done, to sound as close as your favorite track.
Let me break it down for you.
REFERENCE allows you to load several mixes, that it will then analyze to give you a visual insight of your track and the reference tracks. It’s a very user-friendly layout and allows you to switch easily between your track and the reference tracks.
One great feature is the option to gain match your track to get it to the same level as the reference. I find it far easier to compare mixes when you have your track at the same level as the reference.
The Free Mode is very useful to loop a particular section of the reference track to compare only that area when you compare 2 mixes of the same track. I used it mostly for my drops to get them as big as the reference and see whether to go back to the old mix or stick with the new one.
The meters on the side (especially the LUFS) help you compare the perceived loudness. It gives you a better idea of how close you are to the Reference tracks.
The Multiband analysis helps compare a particular frequency with the reference track, to be able to tweak that exact frequency and get it as close as the reference as possible.
Reference also allows you to see your stereo image and how wide your track is in comparison to the reference. You can then confidently tweak the elements you want to spread in your mix.
REFERENCE gave me a very detailed visual analysis of my mixes as sometimes my ears get tired, which I find often affects my mixes.
It’s always great to see what you are hearing. You can visualize the Stereo width, the Dynamic Range, the frequency response and so on. Most producers have the same problem; we know how we want our track to sound like in our head, but it is very difficult (at least for me) to pinpoint what needs to be changed to make it sound the way we want to.
Having a visual analysis of my track and the reference track makes it much easier. I have used some A/B plugins and technics before but REFERENCE has something I find very helpful; which is informing you which frequencies in your track are more compressed or less compressed than the reference track (if you think about the punchiness of your track, that’s your answer).
As a DJ I like to try my tracks in the nightclubs I’m performing in, even if they are only 80% done. I like to have my tracks balanced and loud enough in order to have a better idea of what needs to be changed in the mix or on the track.