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What are your reference tracks for Pop Mixing? Dynamics Plugins
Old 1st December 2010
  #1
Gear interested
 

What are your reference tracks for Pop Mixing?

Hello fellow GS.

Whenever i'm in a different studio and I don't know the speakers too well... the first thing I do....is get a coffee... closely followed by pulling out a reference CD.

This time we'll focus on POP mixes (the Spears, Gaga's of this world)

This might well turn into a favorite mix engineer list.... so please do put down their names if you can.


Everyone needs a reference CD, Gear slutz is about to get its very own..


Lets GO!
Old 1st December 2010
  #2
Gear addict
 

Everyone's using Rob Orton's Gaga mixes

Serban Ghenea's work from the last 7 years

Prince and M Jackson


More recently Jaycen Joshua I think his name is


The Bieber records are mixed in the current advent of style or however you want to put that. I think a lot of it is reamping through 1073 modules but I could be mistaken.


Serban is ITB mixing in the last number of years...


Everyone hates the new Kanye record for its sonic quality...but the music is tremendous.



Thoughts, anyone?



I chiefly reference to Smooth Criminal from the Bad CD Remaster, uncompressed, 16 bit, 44.1. Always liked that song since I was little. Dunno why.
Old 1st December 2010
  #3
What are your reference tracks for Pop Mixing?

I listen to my own work. Recent sessions or Ruff's from rooms I'm famiular with.

My friends which I almost fell out laughing, probaly would have if he hadn't warned me, was a Katy Perry song.

Another mixer Im friends with does the same. His past work. He usally used the Juvenile record he did some tracks on & mixed it.
Old 1st December 2010
  #4
Gear Addict
 
Pred80r's Avatar
 

Mix References

Right after I listen to a tone generator step up from 120 to 14k I often like to listen to:

"Even Better than the Real Thing" - U2's Achtung Baby
"Paradise City" - G&R Appetite
Early Beatles tracks (for the panning references)
"Comfortably Numb" Pink Floyd's The Wall
"Physical" nin off of Broken

That pretty much gets my ears ready to go. Of course I will lean lighter or Heavier depending on the material I am about to mix. I think of it more as a ritual than a necessity though...
Old 1st December 2010
  #5
Gear addict
 

You said pop mixing. Did you mean just stuff in general or literally Top 40?


Because it's kind of just going to be The New Rihanna song or The New Beyonce or The New Whatever is popular.


I guess?
Old 1st December 2010
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Affinity_Sound View Post
Hello fellow GS.

Whenever i'm in a different studio and I don't know the speakers too well... the first thing I do....is get a coffee... closely followed by pulling out a reference CD.

This time we'll focus on POP mixes (the Spears, Gaga's of this world)

This might well turn into a favorite mix engineer list.... so please do put down their names if you can.


Everyone needs a reference CD, Gear slutz is about to get its very own..


Lets GO!
maroon 5 , taylor swift ..Shaina stuff
still can't go wrong with thriller or back in black for old pop stuff
Old 1st December 2010
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

The Dream- LoveKing album.. I listen to that before I do any kind of work
Old 1st December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
DONNX's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
maroon 5 , taylor swift ..Shaina stuff
still can't go wrong with thriller or back in black for old pop stuff
Right on. Maroon 5 mixes are good modern references. thumbsup
Old 1st December 2010
  #9
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Bob Ross's Avatar
 

I use the exact same reference tracks for every single sound system/control room I'm evaluating, regardless of the genre the project will be:

- "The Infernal Dance of King Kashchei" excerpt from Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite", by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Robert Shaw, from album on the Telarc label.

- "People" by King Crimson, from the THRAK album.

- "So What" by Miles Davis, from the Kind Of Blue album.

- "Airhead" by Thomas Dolby, from the Aliens Ate My Buick album.

- "Outshined" by Soundgarden, from the Badmotorfinger album.


The Stravinsky, Crimson, & Davis cuts have been my reference tracks since 1995. I added the Dolby & Soundgarden around 2002.

I use reference tracks to figure out what the speakers & room are doing. After that, I just mix. I never put up someone else's mix and play the "How do we compare?" game.
Old 1st December 2010
  #10
Gear addict
 

I've been working on just that style pop - Ga Ga, Kesha, Rihanna, Britney - for a young female singer who has a TON of potential. I've been listening to the Rihanna/StarGate song "Only Girl in the World" and also "Bad Romance" - Ga Ga/Red One. Both are blowing my mind recently. Also, Kesha's stuff is mixed and produced great. It really helps to listen to what your competition is doing if you're trying to nail that style. Big, big soundscape - massive low end, thick tracks. Ga Ga more so then Rihanna but I'm just really digging the sound of those tracks and trying to get there with my stuff. By the way, this girl singer is now meeting with Rodney Jerkins and he'll be producing tracks for her. Talk about intimidating! YIKES!
Old 1st December 2010
  #11
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Oldone's Avatar
I concur with the poster above regarding Taylor Swifts work, classic modern pop. It's not in the same caliber with the Britney Spears work however which has a higher production element. These are for pop reference.

Other reference CDs for other types of music would be:
Imogene Heap - electronica & techno
James Taylors's Mexico & Hourglass for ballad, light rock
Bonnie Raitt - Souls Alike, Out of time for country rock, ballad
Vince Gill - the 4 CD collection for country
David Grissman Hot Dawg- Blue grass or folk music/traditional
Norah Jones - any album - for R&B
Ricky Skaggs - New Strings for Bluegrass
Sting - any of his solo albums for a study in ambiance
Led Zepplin - anything for classic rock.
Steve Winwood - 9 lives for R&B.
Old 1st December 2010
  #12
Well, in the more "electronic" and "dance" style of pop music i think what people like Max Martin and Dr Luke do sounds good and i use it as a reference.
Stuff like Pink, Katy Perry, Kesha. I guess most of it is done by Serban Ghenea and it is a proper reference since these guys practically own Top 10.
Somebody has mentioned Lady Gaga, i like songs and arrangements but soundwise it's horrible.
For the more "acoustic" pop i use stuff like Carrie Underwood's last album which sounds great. Well, most of the stuff from Nashville sounds great.
You can pretty much pick anything that comes from Nashville and use it as reference
Old 1st December 2010
  #13
Gear Nut
 
soulglow's Avatar
 

I'm not really in a situation to worry about whether my mixes compete with current Top40 radio singles, but if I want a reference for a punchy pop record that sounds good, another one (in addition to MJ already mentioned) is George Michael - Faith. Some of the snare and hat sounds alone are inspiring and damn near impossible to match in terms of impact. Also sounds remarkably, consistently good on all types of playback systems.
Done in the early days of digital too! A DASH machine I believe?
Old 1st December 2010
  #14
Gear nut
 
Will-Low's Avatar
 

I agree with Oldone. Imogen Heap's Speak For Yourself is a great reference CD.
Old 1st December 2010
  #15
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Mardi Gras's Avatar
 

question - do you guys do any pseudo-mastering to get the track you're trying to mix up to the same overall volume as the track you're trying to reference?

(just putting a limiter on and pushing it for volume)
Old 1st December 2010
  #16
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Oldone's Avatar
I use the UAD Mastering EQ, Fairchild compressor and Precision limiter on the buss but you need to be careful as to what point in time you add them or you can run into a problem when you pull them off at the end of the mix. This might cause you to set your track levels overall too low so you should get a rough mix up with all the elements and your overall level at -12 or thereabouts first. Then you can add the mastering chain for level and effect. This may require adjusting the overall volume of the mix from pre to post mastering chain.

At the end however I take the chain off,l pump up the volume level of the monitors (externally) to match, make last minute adjustments on speakers then headphones. Then I bring the mastering chain back in, check the results. If it's good to go, then burn it without the mastering chain. Other operator efforts may vary.
Old 1st December 2010
  #17
Gear addict
 

Quote:
question - do you guys do any pseudo-mastering to get the track you're trying to mix up to the same overall volume as the track you're trying to reference?

(just putting a limiter on and pushing it for volume)


I can't help myself -I do run it through some gear to get it louder. VariMu and or the UAD Precision Limiter. I sometimes also do some overall EQ ing with either the UAD Cambridge EQ or the Precision EQ.
Old 1st December 2010
  #18
Gear nut
 

Reference CD's

Here are the references I use from the last 5 year.

Walter Becker.............Circus Money (producer Larry Klein & DB))
Recorded at Avatar in New York . Keith Carlocks kick drum is king.

Herbie Hancock..........The Joni Letters (producer Larry Klein)
Grammy for Record of the Year
Recorded at Avatar in New York and Oceanway LA

Sade.......................Soldier of Love
Recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World studio

Kings of Leon..............Come Around Sundown (producer Jacquire King)
Recorded at Avatar Studios in New York.

Avatar was the old Power Station where Bob Clearmountain worked

Other references I use are.

Jennifer Warnes.........Famous Blue Raincoat
George Massenburg had a lot to do with the incredible sonic quality of this.

Joni Mitchell .....................Shadows and Light recorded live in the Santa Monica bowl. This sound better than most studio recordings.

Joni Mitchell.....................Blue ( this is what a C12 should sound like.)

Joni Mitchell.....................Turbulent Indigo (Sex Kills, How do you stop)
produced by Larry Klein. Joni's Martin guitar at its finest.

Mile Davis/Easy Mo Bee........DooBop (Hip Hop in the 21st century)
Miles was always light years ahead of everyone. Kanye would be well served to listen to this recording and use it as a reference to his latest ill sounding offering.

Not sure about you but I have heard recordings done on a Fostex 8 track cassette recorder that sound better than this ill fated offering from the master of hype.

If its a classical recording I listen to the CD version of the Living Presence Series recorded by Bill Putnam in 1953 with 3-U47 microphones in OMNI across the front of the Orchestra direct to three Mag recorders.

There were no multi-tracks back then and they locked the Mag Recorders together with mechanical sprockets as they were used in the film industry.

This recording sounds like you are in the front row.

Cheers, Dave Thomas

Advanced Audio Microphones











Quote:
Originally Posted by Affinity_Sound View Post
Hello fellow GS.

Whenever i'm in a different studio and I don't know the speakers too well... the first thing I do....is get a coffee... closely followed by pulling out a reference CD.

This time we'll focus on POP mixes (the Spears, Gaga's of this world)

This might well turn into a favorite mix engineer list.... so please do put down their names if you can.


Everyone needs a reference CD, Gear slutz is about to get its very own..


Lets GO!
Old 2nd December 2010
  #19
Oh boy, here we go again.
OP asks about Neve 1073 and people answer like:
"Yeah, my Manley VoxBox is really good but i don't like friends Urei 1178"


Sorry, but what is all this got to do with current pop mix references that OP is asking about?
Joni Mitchell, Igor Stravinsky, Ike and Tina Turner,Led Zeppelin and early Beatles tracks ?!?!?!
Old 13th December 2010
  #20
Gear Addict
N'Sync - It's Gonna Be Me
Old 13th December 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
bcgood's Avatar
 

This...
Attached Files

Thriller_Michael_Jackson.mp3 (418.4 KB, 7536 views)

Old 13th December 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
 
otobianki74's Avatar
 

often I don't reference stuff, I just start mixing. references might unconsciously be what I'm listening to or have been recently inspired by.

stuff I've been responding to:

spoon - transference
radiohead - in rainbows
black keys - brothers (deluxe)
deathcab for cutie - been digging the mixes from narrow stairs

a lot of engineers I work with bring up jonatha brooke's 10 cent wings.

oto
Old 19th December 2010
  #23
Gear Head
 

So are you guys mixing with mix buss compression and eq on, or adding later? Curious to hear what plugs you guys are using there.

Im using Imogen Heap (so many tracks, but you can hear all of them) and Top 10.
Old 19th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Why Imogen Heap? I don't get that. Those mixes sound like reasonably well done demos to my ears. Smeared and grainy, weak, with ITB processing artifacts all over the place. And don't tell me about the Grammy for her record, that was for the music/production, not for the actual recording and mixing (= sonics).

For pop/rnb I like to reference to Michael Jackson's "Break Of Dawn".

For guitar pop I like Lambretta's "Creep".

Estelle's "American Boy" is great for dance pop.

For an in your face more current sound "Party in the U.S.A." by Miley Cyrus works very well as a reference.
Old 20th December 2010
  #25
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airmate's Avatar
 

I never use reference tracks for direct orientation. But it is great to listen to something "tried and true" in between to re-align the ears.

That being said, "I Can't Get You Out Of My Head" by Kylie Minogue is still a reference for me that I keep listening to often when I am mixing.
I do not think that this mix sounds particularly "beautiful", but it is extremely compact and efficient and it has a great balance between lows, mids and highs.
If you compare any sonic picture to this track, you can immediately tell whether the coarse frequency balance is good or not.
Old 7th January 2011
  #26
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
stuff I've been responding to:

spoon - transference
radiohead - in rainbows
good taste!

- c
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