Skip to main content

Your Favorite Reference CDs

Member for

19 years 7 months

RemyRAD, TVPostSound, and I were discussing reference CDs in another thread and (for one reason or another) I thought it may warrant it's own topic.

So, what CDs do you check your mix against? What great albums do you use to setup your mixing environment? What is your reference?

I mentioned that I liked:
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
The Beatles - Abbey Road
most anything Steely Dan


RemyRAD said:


Still nothing like the old Roger Nichols Steely Dan stuff, some of my favorite. Stuff by George Massenburg, Bruce Swedien, Bob Clearmountain, Michael Delugg, Michael Barbiero, Harvey Goldstein. And a few more than my brain cells cannot bring forth, since I'm having a senior moment..... Along with my own stuff I've done over the past 25 years. I really love putting that stuff up side-by-side with the Platinum stuff.

Maybe she'll take a Centrum Silver and tell us more... :P

TVPost Sound added:

Am I the only one left who uses Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon as a reference disc??? Or anythng else produced by Alan Parsons??? Like I Robot??

Also Mutt Lange, Todd Rundgren, Phil Spector???

Dark Side is a great addition, for sure. I can't believe I left that out. I also would have added some newer stuff by Nigel Godrich, Brian Deck, and Phil Eck.

How 'bout you?

Comments

Member for

18 years 5 months

UncleBob58 Mon, 11/20/2006 - 10:57
For me a refernce CD is something that will acclimatize me to a new room.

For getting used to a new room or new speakers I listen to "Aja" by Steely Dan. It's clean, it's got plenty of air/space, the instruments sound "real", the bass is "tight" and it's not overloaded with FX. I know the album well and when I am freelancing it gives me what I need to settle into a new situation quickly and comfortably.

For a project I will ask the client to bring in examples of the sound they are looking for and even for examples of specific sounds.

Everyone works differently, so if the final product is good what does it matter if their reference material is four days old or four decades old?

Member for

19 years 7 months

CircuitRider Mon, 11/20/2006 - 11:57
UncleBob58 wrote: For getting used to a new room or new speakers I listen to "Aja" by Steely Dan.

One of my favorites to use as well.


And like you were saying, I usually try to use something that is close to what the target is for specific projects. But for my own purposes, I like the Dan.

I've also found some really interesting mixes recently on a new album that I came across by M. Ward called Post-War. Reeeally cool mix.

Member for

15 years

Scoobie Mon, 11/20/2006 - 14:36
I always thought a reference CD was not how good you think a mix is or how great it is. I thought it was about how well you know the mix.

Listening to it and thinking about how you know what it sounds like! Like, I know this CD is bass heavy and going........ Where is all the bass, or the thickness is gone. The high end isn't there. Use your reference CD to judge how the room sounds.
Then learn how to compensat for the room your mixing in.
So it don't really matter how good it is. As long as you know it inside and out.

Just my think'n..........Oh well,


Peace............Scoobie

Member for

16 years 8 months

TeddyG Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:02
All good points.

After reading all the posts, though, I would still want to "upgrade"(Or add to) my reference library, once in awhile, to reflect the quality of today's best recordings. I enjoy the past, I learn from the past, but I don't want to get stuck in the past... Certainly not to the point of basing critical - now - decisons on only the past.

Having a Model-T ford, with which you are intimately familiar(From new. BOY are YOU old!), would show you how IT "works" on any road, in any situation. However, it could not show you how "the road works", in many modern situations - it would not be capable of pushing the limits of the speed and handling possibilities, for instance, that a new Corvette, might, on a brand new highway(Watch for the blue lights!).

My goal, then, would be to have a small library that were superb examples of the current recording art, possibly of different genre and of different methods, that would use all of the available everything in any modern system as well as showing any "defects" in any system. Being "nice to listen to" would remain a hoped for, but only secondary, goal(I'm sure I could find something...). I "might"(???) retain a selection of "past" examples??? Though I would feel bad(And even older.) if there are no modern examples of greatness to select from, become accustomed to(I"m a pro, I can "learn" quickly!), and use for most purposes.

Frankly, I would feel just plain old going into a modern studio with my copy of "my music" of the 60's, 70's or 80's to set-up a modern session... I AM old!

I still don't believe that an old record, transferred to CD(The "record/tape noise" alone?) could be considered a good "reference" idea... I still have several actual reference/test "records", from as far back as the early 60's, but I wouldn't want to use them for any sort of reference, today, even if I bumped them over to CD. I'd believe there was too good a chance that I was fooling myself. Doesn't mean I wouldn't take my "fave" CD along! Just that I wouldn't always expect to count on it in all situations.


Thanks for the Kip Winger tip! Does he have only one album??? Just need to know what to look for at the store...


TG

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Tue, 11/21/2006 - 15:04
TeddyG wrote: OK, found the Kip Winger web site - lot's of albums!

Can't get any of the .mp3's to play? Error in Media Player comes up.

Any ideas?


TG

he has quite a lot of albums. remember the band winger? they were quite big in the 80s. and they have a new one out.
i would recommend "songs from the ocean floor", his latest solo album and "down incognito" (also called "made by hand") with unplugged versions of both band and solo songs (really nice acoustic guitar sounds).

check amazon. maybe you can listen to some songs there, but the quality is very poor. best way to enjoy them is to buy the cd's. if you like good, well thought-out rock music you won't regret it. (i don't get any money for this :D )

btw, i just tried the links on his site click here to listen . worked fine with quicktime player on the "mp3" button.

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Fri, 11/17/2006 - 02:59
I think it depends on the music you're recording/mixing.
but for normal rock/pop I often use
Toto - Tambu
Sting - Soul Cages
Kip Winger - Songs from the ocean floor
Genesis - A trick of the tail (for retro sound)

for hard rock/metal
OSI - Free
Linkin Park - Meteora
Metallica - Reload
Evanescence - Fallen
Sevendust - Seasons

but again, it depends on the style and sometimes I take something completely different.

Member for

16 years 8 months

TeddyG Fri, 11/17/2006 - 07:13
Bottom line:

There is "reference" and there is "reference quality".


I've been wondering about this for some time, but I haven't bought anything yet...

My problem is I question the relevence of old CD's? Recordings that were made in analog, with no thought of digital anything, at the time, and then "transferred" to CD at some later time AND even CD's that were made to BE digital(Even if there was an analog something in there somewhere), just a few years ago, that is now "old tech".

OK, maybe it's fun to listen to, maybe it's a "good mix", but, is it relevent to today? Depends.....?

The reference CD's I want to buy will be made, like, last year(Or last month, or yesterday?), using every conceivable modern technic and technology, to the best of it's ability - reflected on the CD, so I have some chance of learning from it what to do, with my stuff, today.


DON'T SCREAM AT ME!!!

I don't care if the recording, made last month was all or in part made on a vintage 24 track analog deck, or used any number of "tube things"!!! NOT THE POINT! Just that the final result was FROM THE BEGINNING(2 months ago) a CD(Or even DVD), using technology aimed at this goal, to be "the best it can be" - "cool songs and hazy memories" be damned!

That would be "my" reference CD.

What do I buy? I'm 52, I do not listen to anything newer than about 1970, by choice. YOU tell me.

What do I go down to Coconuts and buy, so I can hear my "system" in all it's glory and I have something to aspire to..? DSOTM would be something, at my age, to "expire" to...

I have at least heard of Kip Winger! I emailed him about a couple of mics he had for sale, once... Are his recordings "reference quality"?

Dark Side of the Moon --- for gosh sake..... There has to be something better than that - by now??? If not, I quit.


TG



I spoof, here, a bit...(Really, Teddy???)

DSOTM could be, like any other recording, a fine "reference", as to "how it sounds on THIS system, at THIS time, as compared to how it's sounded on OTHER systems at THOSE times", IF one has been listening to it for a l-o-n-g time AS a reference - no question - for THIS type of reference one needs just a "favorite" CD, not a "reference quality" CD, perse(If it IS a "good recording", fine, but not the issue, here.)... See what I mean???

What do I buy? ----- while I'm finally picking-up a copy of Magical Mystery Tour(If it's there and if it's cheap -- my girlfriend stole my record in 1971...) - just for "personal reference"...


I'll bet RR has a nice little collection of stolen records from her, long-past, boyfriends...... YOU COULD SHARE!


No dear, I didn't mean "Long" past, no. I just meant, ya'know, your ol... no. I meant -- no dear, of course you're not old... no. I just was trying to be funny... no... not funny... Dinner? Movie? Couch..? yes, dear..... ga'night......(slam)

Member for

19 years 9 months

Davedog Wed, 11/22/2006 - 19:10
Geeez...and I thought Kip Winger was all about the hair, the jawline and the top three buttons on his shirt....

I like a few different things to reference to.....

Abbey Road...preferably an older European copy

John Anderson...Seminole Wind

Todd Rundgren....Nearly Human

AC/DC.... Back In Black

ELO....Eldorado

Peter Gabriel.........So

Sting....Dream of the Blue Turtles

Steely Dan...Aja

The Eagles....Hotel California

Green Day....American Idiot

Sheryl Crow...Sheryl Crow

Joan Osborne....Relish

These all cover a lot of sonic ground and styles. If you can get close on your project to any of these recordings, folks are gonna be calling at all hours of the day.

Member for

15 years 8 months

ouzo77 Sun, 11/19/2006 - 06:49
TeddyG wrote: Bottom line:

There is "reference" and there is "reference quality".

Dark Side of the Moon --- for gosh sake..... There has to be something better than that - by now??? If not, I quit.


DSOTM could be, like any other recording, a fine "reference", as to "how it sounds on THIS system, at THIS time, as compared to how it's sounded on OTHER systems at THOSE times", IF one has been listening to it for a l-o-n-g time AS a reference - no question - for THIS type of reference one needs just a "favorite" CD, not a "reference quality" CD, perse(If it IS a "good recording", fine, but not the issue, here.)... See what I mean???

it's not really about the objective quality of the recording, it's more about what you like about a recording, i think.

there are for sure far better sounding cd's out there than the ones i mentioned, but these are the ones i like, not only for the music, but also for the sound. because they sound right for the respective type of music.

btw, kip winger's album does soung great, because it has many layers with voices and sound fx. you always find something new everytime you listen to it!
x