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  • Dana Nielsen

    at 1:41 pm

    Hey man!

    Great questions and observations about streaming sound quality when used as reference mixes.

    In general, I don’t worry too much about that since I’m not spending much time listening to the references while mixing – I just spot check very quickly, get a blast of quick inspiration about frequency response or vocal/snare balance or low end etc, and then I pop back over to my mix.

    I’m also not loading my streaming references into an analyzer like Ozone which can match and apply similar settings, tho I could imagine that’s a helpful tool! If you are doing that as part of your process I understand your concern about the loss of finer audio details in streamed files.

    Also worth noting: streaming services always deliver higher quality audio to paying subscribers. For me, as a paying schmuck of like half-a-dozen premium streaming services, I find they all sound pretty fantastic (and I always have Normalization setting set to OFF). If, however, you’re referencing audio from a free-tier or add-supported tier of a streaming platform you may very well hear poopy audio degradation.

    For references that I really love and/or are critical to a specific job, I tend to purchase the ref off the iTunes store and drop the full-res file into my client folder where I can drag it into ADPTR Metric A/B or straight into my session timeline.

    Another fascinating invaluable tool by ADPTR is Streamliner which allows you to preview your mix in realtime using all the popular streaming platform codecs, both free- and premium-tier codecs.