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How to Use Reference Mixes with FabFilter Pro-Q

Hey what’s up guys, David Glenn back again with and, and today i’m gonna tell you a little trick on how I reference other mixes to kind of get mine in the ballpark sonically, stylistically — I’ll have clients — I’m always asking them, hey what’s a reference, what’s something your listening to that you’re maybe vibing to, or what could you sonically give me an example of that will help me kind of paint the picture and build upon. So, and then if they don’t give it to me I’m out there searching.

So I’ll go to iTunes, I’ll buy the song and I’ll actually take an EQ and suck the high end out of it, all the way down to 30 Hz, 40, 50Hz, and then slowly pull it up to kind of match and see what my low end is doing compared to theirs, and that kind of thing. This song is called Be More, it’s from Justin Chase featuring Nellie Veitenheimer, and I’m gonna hit play and then we’ll show you the EQ and how we’re doing a level match here.


Alright cool. So, let’s jump right in, let me first explain, I’ve got the overall volume dropped by -10, for some reason when you do these videos the video will distort if I don’t do that. If anybody has a tip on how to make that happen let me know. But, I will throw the FabFilter Pro-Q on the main out. That’s gonna be over here. I’ve got two of them today because I had to drop that and because I used references, if I scroll to the top of my session I have a track called refs. The references are, like I said, tracks that I’ll pull in from iTunes. I’ll download them. I’ll buy them and download them, import them into Pro Tools and then I’m going back and forth between mine and theres, and then I’m gonna watch what it’s doing, but I’m gonna use my ears and hear what their low end is doing compared to mine and that kind of stuff. So a quick one today but this song is Of Monsters and Men, this one is Phillip Phillips Home, so maybe not perfect examples of what I want my mix to sound like, but sonically I think I’ll be good to reference these and kind of check my low end, my lows, my low-mids, some of that kind of stuff. So let’s play an example, let me go back down and pull this Pro-Q up. So here’s their reference, and I’m gonna suck everything out below 50 and let’s hear what Monsters And Men is doing.


If you’re on smaller speakers, laptop, phone, that kind of thing, you’re not gonna hear any of that. But I recommend throwing in some earbuds, headphones, or checking it on your studio monitors, and you’ll hear that that’s got some lovely stuff going on in the low end. Let’s here Phillip Phillips.


Back to Of Monsters


So it’s pretty incredible. Those are actually really really similar. So if i’m in the ballpark of that, I probably have a good thing going here. And now I gotta bypass this one for the tutorial, but like I said this will usually be just one of these. And let’s check out what mine is doing. Let’s go to maybe my big tag here at the end and let’s here from 60 and below.



Cool, so this is an unfinished track. You can hear I’ve got maybe a little too much low end in the kick. I’d be willing to bet that actually that’s gonna be from the -10 drop there that that’s gonna be different, but more so showing you the technique, not necessarily what i’m doing compared to them. Let’s pull it up and see what happens.


Cool, and then one more time with their example. Let’s pull theirs up.

[listening to reference track]

Back to mine


So right away, I for myself — this song is not done yet — I can notice that maybe i’ve got a little more work to do in the low mids, in the lows. And I would just keep dragging this high cut all the way up until I’m at full — it’s bypassed — and not necessarily taking it for biblical truth or anything here, I’m gonna go back and forth and I’m gonna reference it, but I’m using my ears and I’m gonna be doing what I can to kind of use it as a guide, not necessarily written in stone.

But hopefully that will help somebody. I’m using that all the time while I’m mixing. I’ll stop what I’m doing or I’ll reference and see what I’m at ballpark, make some adjustments as needed and move on. And then before I master it or finish it I’m gonna do the same exact thing, so…

Hopefully that helps somebody today. Hope you guys are doing great with these videos and be sure to check out that acoustic series I did. There’s a four part acoustic series that we used a really great song on that, so, hope you guys are doing well we’ll catch you in the next one.


David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at

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