In my recent post on the 10 Principles Every Producer Must Know To Achieve The Pro Sound, one of the key principles I mentioned was “Effective Use Of Reference Tracks”.
As I wrote there, “The only thing better than practicing production and mixing yourself, is to listen to some of the worlds best producers and engineers doing their thing on your favourite records. The key thing here is to listen critically: know what it is you’re listening out for, and learn to dissect a mix in your head, being able to focus on any individual part, or to the entire mix as a cohesive whole.”
Effective use of reference tracks can literally improve your mixes immediately: suddenly, you’re not fumbling in the dark for a balanced and powerful mix, because you’ll have signposts all the way through the production and mixing process to check that you’re on the right track.
Result: inevitable, fast improvement. It’s the single easiest and quickest way for beginner and intermediate producers to improve , which is why I’m labouring the point slightly… apologies for that… :)
In this 3-part series I’m going to go into a bit more detail about how to do this practically: how to select the most useful reference tracks for your projects, and how to get the most out of them.
It’s a fairly straightforward topic once you know what’s involved, but it can really revolutionize your productions and the speed of your development as a producer if you take a few minutes to do it right.