Gottcha. Now I get whattcha mean. Actually, now that you explained it, I look back at your previous post and that’s exactly what you said! Sorry about that. My bad. I misunderstood.
So, this is interesting to me. You’re not talking, then, about remixing someone else’s tracks to learn how to get it to sound like their mix; you’re talking re-creating their mix from scratch, on your own? The only piece I did that with was the Time in a Bottle mix that’s somewhere on this site. That was just two guitars mainly, then added a touch of harpsichord and strings, courtesy of @Lophophora. I’d love to hear the project you did, though. Very cool.
I do use reference tracks; I don’t know that it’s so much about trying to make my song sound exactly like the reference, but I’ve found it helpful for matching balances mainly.
- I start with the low end to compare not only the volume of the bass, but how rounded or muddy or whatever my song is in comparison.
- Then I compare the high end, re: brightness of my high end, how wide, volume compared to low end, etc.
- Next I look at the balance of bass and drums, esp kick/snare.
- Last is my vocals and how they sit with the rest of the mix.
And, of course, I listen for volume/panning/etc. of guitars, and other elements as well, but hopefully if all of the above is good, this stuff can just fall into place.
Anyway, it seems to especially help me with my low end. But I don’t have a well-defined collection of ref tracks to choose from. Just my thoughts.
How do you all use your references? What do you listen for? Or do you not use them either?