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Music Connection Magazine Review

Sample Magic's Magic AB is a referencing plug-in that lets you instantly compare (A/B) your currently running mix with up to nine disparate stereo mixes either of your own work or imported files from mastered CDs, MP3s, AAC or WAV files. Magic AB runs RTAS/AAX, AU and VST 32/64-bit in both PCs and Mac hosts (AAX 64-bit coming soon). It supports stereo interleaved and mono files and works with AIFF, WAV, MP3, and AAC file formats. Both 16-bit and 24-bit and up to 96kHz sample rates are supported.

It has been my common practice, like so many other music mixers, to import other records I use to establish a reference point for the music I'm presently mixing. I'll pull into my Pro Tools session - either my own past stuff or commercial released CDs - that I like to hear as prototypes or as a way to reference lead vocal mix placement/effects and/or bottom end size, styling drum sounds etc.

In Magic AB, I like that each of the imported songs has its own individual volume control to "level the playing field" (even out the inherent playback volume differences) especially between mastered and raw audio files. There is also a master volume fader for both the "A" stream (your session's mix output) and the "B" stream (the particular song file(s) you're comparing). I liked the metering for these two faders because besides level, it shows a numerical figure for +/- gain offset and the Crest Factor--the peak-to-average ratio of both A and B streams.

I also thought the looping feature was well thought out. You can highlight and loop a section of the imported tracks to compare it to sections in your mix you may be trying to emulate or match. In addition, each of the nine imported files stores their own loop start/stop points within the Magic AB plug-in. You can turn looping on/off and also resize the length the loop instantly. For desktop mastering applications, I liked the A/B changeable crossfade time that goes from instant to up to 2 seconds.

For its version 1.0 premiere, Magic AB is remarkable and I'm finding more and more uses for it all the time. Magic AB modernises and greatly enhances the whole A/B process in a logical and near-scientific way.