REVIEWED: Reference 2 by Mastering the Mix
Everyone knows that mixing without a reference track is incredibly hard and Reference 2 gives a lot of tools to accurately compare your track with up to 12 of them.
Listening to one track louder than the other is where the problem begins as we humans perceive loud bass and highs as being better and for that, the Level Match is perfect having 3 modes: “Match to Original” which will match to the DAW’s track, “Match to quietest” which will find the lowest of the volumes between your references and DAW’s, and “All to -14 LUFS st” which will match all the tracks to what is the most common loudness for pop songs in streaming platforms. I personally stay on “Match to Original” and “All Tracks”.
“Mirror mode” will play the reference track at the same point as the DAW’s and also opens the option Track Align which enables perfectionists like me to perfectly align the original and the reference track manually or automatically.
“Free mode” gives you the ability to select which point of the reference track you’d like to listen and also create loops.
This plugin not only makes you listen to the tracks properly but it also visually shows you what you need to work on and for that, the “Trinity Display” comes into play.
- Activating the “Level Line” one can easily see where to make EQ adjustments, the more the white line goes down the more the track needs a boost of that frequency and vice-versa.
- Stereo Width” shows how wide is the stereo field but keep in mind that you’ll only see the selected track’s so you’ll have to toggle between them to compare which I hope they’ll find a way to show both at the same time.
- The “Punch Dots” will show how their short term dynamic range compares so if the dots move towards the centre that means the original needs less compressing and if it moves away from the 0dB line the original needs more compression.
A very annoying thing is having to level match every time I put an effect on a channel to be able to A/B test and for that Reference 2 comes with an extra plugin called “REFSEND” which bypasses the entire FX chains to make loudness matchedA/B comparison.
Reference 2 by Mastering the Mix made my life so much easier and absolutely changed the way I mix for the better.