A lthough referencing other material is a great way to improve your mixing skills, it can be incredibly fiddly to manage flicking between audio tracks, especially if you’ve got any processing on the master buss.
Manufacturer Sample Magic
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In steps Magic A/B, the first plug-in from Sample Magic, which enables you to load up to nine reference audio files and switch between them and the track that you’re working on. The plug-in comes in VST, AU, RTAS and AAX formats and is intended to be placed last in the chain on the master buss after any processing, although you may want to put metering plug-ins after it so you can compare frequency spectrums.
After loading in your reference tracks (which can be in a variety of formats including MP3 and m4a), you can balance the volumes using the individual sliders. Accurate peak and RMS meters ensure you have correctly matched the volumes of the tracks. The nicely laid-out user interface bares a striking resemblance to those from the iZotope stable (which is no bad thing!), and once your reference track is selected, you’re presented with a waveform view, which gives you the ability to zoom in and loop any section. It’s then simply a case of clicking on the A and B buttons located on the right-hand side to switch between your original mix and the new reference track.
Another useful feature is the A/B mode, in which you can choose to slowly fade between tracks from 0–2,000ms. However, we would ideally like to see an actual crossfader rather than just a fade-out and fade-in so that you can simulate how the tracks might sound being mixed together in a DJ set. It would also be great to have LP and HP filters to hone in on just the lows and highs, but this can be done with a separate plug-in. Finally, you can save all of your settings – including the reference tracks themselves – into a preset for quick recall in another project.
Magic A/B is a plug-in that everyone could benefit from. It’s a simple but incredibly useful idea that’s easy to use and well executed.
A simple but elegant solution for referencing other tracks when working on your mix.