Mixing With Multiple Reference Points: Better Mixes In Minutes

“Remember how good that mix sounded in your studio? Why did it completely fall apart in the car?”

“Why are half of the instruments missing when I listen on my laptop? What is the meaning of this madness?!?”

These are the questions that have haunted me in the past – until I figured out how to overcome this challenge in minutes rather than days of agonizing back-and-forth.

The key is using multiple reference points. But that doesn’t mean two sets of studio monitors. Take a look at my monitoring setup and see how this will help your mixing.

The more points of reference you have, the better you’ll be able to make decisions. If you’ve only got one point of reference, good luck. 🙂

If you’ve got two, you’re in better shape, but still not doing too good.

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Seven different points of reference. Here’s my list:

1. A pair of KRK Rokit 6

2. A pair of Yamaha HS-50m

3. A cheap set of portable consumer speakers

4. The new Apple earpods

5. The old Apple earbuds

6. AKG K240 MkII Headphones

7. Audio Technica ATH-M20 Headphones

Seem like overkill? Sometimes I wish I even had more.

What’s the point of having all these different references? I like to make sure it sounds good on each system. There is virtually no bass coming from the 1″ cone on the cheap consumer speakers I use. That’s why I like them. I can make sure the kick drum will still cut through. The old Apple earbuds are a good overall look at what most earbuds sound like. If it checks out there, most sets will be good.

Each listening set has its purpose. But the overall goal is to make it sound good on all of them. I keep bouncing back and forth between them, striking the best balance possible.

The result of doing this? You’ll have better mixes in minutes rather than having to print a mix fourteen times before it’s right.

This isn’t to say that you won’t have to reprint some mixes, but it’ll be a much better place to start.

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