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Thread: What Reference Songs Do You Use?

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    What Reference Songs Do You Use?

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    For years now I've used Dire Strait's "Sultans Of Swing" and Van Morrison's "Moondance" as two of my most go to tracks I use as sort of reference songs when mixing some of my projects. I have a few others as well. As many of you have written......it's a good idea to have a song you can use as a sort of reference for a well mixed / mastered example. I'm not asking to debate whether or not those two songs in particular are of any real consequence. I was just wondering if you might have a few tracks you use as examples of a good mix. I'm aware that no one song can be a reference for all types of mixes of course.........but I'm 100% sure I'm not aware of all the great mixes out there......and if you guys / gals have some good ones......I'd like to try them out.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Yeah, those tunes are nice and chilled out. Good ones to use.

    What songs? I just try to keep it different. Not playing the same song over and over. Sometimes the difficulty is a little over my head. No fear.

    Showtunes, TV themes, Rock, 80's pop, motown, metal, I take on all challengers. I' will even belt it out and do the vocals like amateur night. It is much fun and I am learning a lot.

    What are you thinking? Tell me target track levels and sample rate.
    Whatcha need?

    You want me to record 1 verse 1 chorus of a Dire Straights tune and put it here to download? You could remix it how you want. It will not have any effects. I havent purchased any VST fX yet. Only the Apollo and a few Unison models.

    Does it need drums? I will put it to a master BMP click and you add your own?
    Last edited by LazerBeakShiek; 03-26-2020 at 11:46.

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    Hahahahahaha.........LBS.......I can just picture you doing an amateur night video of Sultans Of Swing. Hey man.......feel free!! I'm not looking to remix it though.....and I'm not referring to doing a cover of these tunes. I'm just asking these guys what songs they consider to be well mixed.......no matter the genre.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Alan Parsons Limelight. That Yello thing the Race and when I want to test bass response, I play Paul winter's Golden Apples of the Sun - which has some amazing bass from a huge organ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickster View Post
    I'm not referring to doing a cover of these tunes. I'm just asking these guys what songs they consider to be well mixed.......no matter the genre.
    Oh. Ok.

    The greats? I look at the O scope patterns for certain songs and I try to remake the wave form. Somtimes I can get close, and it makes me feel good. Like a guitar part from a song, be it Foo Fighters Everlong, or Crazy Train.

    Some people like playing Legend of Zelda, and they get those pieces of the Triforce and save the princess. To me recording music is like Playing Zelda. Each track is a piece of the Triforce...or something.

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    LBS...........may the Triforce be with you brother.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    The Ultimate Demonstration Disc, Volume 2 (Chesky, of course) on SACD (also plays on a normal CD player). That's the "test" disc. Any new equipment, converters, power supplies, even cables (I know, but still). Every track is there for a specific reason, no two sound similar (if they do, you need better speakers). No overdubs, no compression in the signal path, no multi-tracking, no large format consoles. Total minimalism, freaky good gear in freaky good spaces. If there's a weakness in a system, this disc will find it. But you need to know what it sounds like on a system that's worthy of the recording. If that makes sense.

    For something a little more "real world" (and one I keep with me to dial in rooms and unfamiliar PA systems) Britney Spears "Toxic" ("In the Zone" - Jive #53748 - If I recall, mastered by Tom Coyne). I don't care much for the tune (although I suppose I started to find it somewhat catchy over time), but the recording has most elements you'd want all in one package. Sparkly clean, down & dirty, a really excellent overall soundstage with a super-clear side component, uber-tight, dead-center bottom, in-your-face mono compatibility with super-dry, up-front vocals. When you really crank it up, I mean really crank it up, you'll notice your woofers orbiting in the weirdest way. And I mean smaller woofers too (this is the tune that I crank through my D4M's when people ask to hear them and almost without fail, they ask where I keep the subwoofer - which I don't have). There's clean, there's distortion (but "clean" distortion), there's low end, there's top end, there's an incredibly well-defined center, there's incredibly well-defined side information (and only a freakishly small amount of it, considering the apparent imaging), there's dynamic contrast, there's deep, if not overly-controlled low end. There's NOT a natural depth and holographic imaging like you'd find on UDD2 - but if you're looking for a tune that will quickly tell you if your system is up to the task (or a mix is up to the task on the same system), I don't know of too many other tunes that have the "Swiss Army" handiness of Toxic.

    But no MP3's in either case. You need to hear the "whole" thing. 44.1kHz 16-bit is fine. But the top end (on both of these recordings) shouldn't be limited to 16kHz (as it would be with MP3). And don't even get me started on the space-monkeys.

    And yeah, I guess if you don't have DSOTM and Aja, you shouldn't even consider yourself a human with ears.
    Last edited by Massive Master; 03-26-2020 at 20:59.

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    I usually pick one based on a sound I'm trying to get. For the record I'm working on now I'm using Chickenfoot songs. Clear, with a BIG ROCK sound.

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    I don't have any particular "reference" recording, however there are a lot in my collection that I have used in the past, especially when shopping for stereo gear. Among the better ones that I've used:

    Amanda McBroom/ Lincoln Mayorga - CD version of the Direct to Disc album Growing Up in a Hollywood Town.
    Gino Vanelli - Powerful People
    Kansas - Song For America or Leftoverture
    Kenny Rogers - Return To Pooh Corner
    Carly Simon - No Secrets
    Alan Parsons = Pyramid
    Steely Dan - Gaucho / Aja Both are good!

    I once created a CD that had several great sounding tracks and several really compressed tracks. Some systems just homogenized everything so they sounded OK. Others really showed vast differences. I wish I could find that CD, but its probably in a landfill somewhere.

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    I do the same genre thing and/or: particular featured instruments i will pick tunes that are quality recordings of same(to my ears of course) I also almost always include something in the pop realm since the radio friendly sound, while not always musical greatness, are for the most part very well balanced.

    As for specifics I like things like Train or Counting Crows for roots rock with an acoustic feel, The Black Crowes and Faces for rootsy blues rock, Our Lady Peace and Smashing Pumpkins for modern guitar rock, etc

    I also have certain mixers that i use as reference compasses
    Win 7 Ult Dell i7 4core 6700ghz 32 GB, 1,2x2, 4 Tb Barracuda HD's running Pro tools 2019 through Allen&Heath Qu-32

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