Your Favorite Refernce CDs

Discussion in 'Compressors / Limiters (analog)' started by CircuitRider, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. CircuitRider

    CircuitRider Active Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    Home Page:
    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:
    Maybe she'll take a Centrum Silver and tell us more... :p

    TVPost Sound added:
    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?
  2. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    I really don't have one. :cry:
  3. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    Maribor, Slovenia
    I travel with only 2 cds, when I do live sound. One is my "squeaker" (sine tone recording) and the other is Sting - Brand New Day.
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    I love that Stevie Wonder solo on that title song....Stevie and Sting be jammin'...
  5. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    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.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    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.


    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.


    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)
  7. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    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!
  8. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Peter Gabriel - So

    (Particularly Sledgehammer)
  9. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    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?
  10. CircuitRider

    CircuitRider Active Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    Home Page:
    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.
  11. Scoobie

    Scoobie Active Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    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,

  12. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    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...

  13. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    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?

  14. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    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.
  15. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    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


    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.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice