Many musicians, ordering mixing and mastering, specify what reference tracks are and why they are needed. Most studios, accepting projects for work, ask that several references be applied to the tracks, which will orient the sound engineer to the result that they want to get.
Reference tracks are reference points.
* those tracks that are close to your in style, character and content, and which you like in quality.
If a mixing engineer is well versed in music, why does he need landmarks (references)?
– Recently, we had a case when a client sent a project (he conceived it in the style of deep house, as it was clarified later), and provided landmarks in the styles of Electro, Eurodance.
Sound engineer (mixing engineer), focusing on what he wanted to hear the client, brought the track closer to the references (in dynamics, frequencies and overall volume). This style emphasizes synthesizers, high frequencies and percussion. Bass is not as full as in deep style.
All the depth of the “deep” sound is gone. The track has become danceable and transparent.
After talking, we found out that he sent tracks that he likes by sound, but which are not guidelines for the work sent.
As a result, of course, everything was redone and successfully released on digital platforms.
Send references of the same style as your track
– If you have doubts about this, or you just can’t decide how and which is better, write to the sound engineer. Let him do the work to his taste. In the future, you can make changes and adjust the work of the intended side.
Should the references be of high quality?
– That which sounds loud, wide and bright is not only equivalent to the concept of “quality.” You listen to this on monitors, in headphones, in a car or phone, and in each of these cases the same song will sound differently (due to the acoustic and technical differences). Music, like everything else on our planet, does not stand still. One and the same style can be changed, supplemented and improved every year. If you write music in 2019 – do not send references, for example, in 1998 (of course, if you did not initially conceive such an artistic sound).