I recently downloaded a new plugin from Sample Magic called Magic AB. The plug simplifies and facilitates a task which we all do on a regular basis as mixing and mastering engineers, namely ABing one source to another.
Magic AB has multiple frames of reference. (click to enlarge)
They’ve done it in a creative interface that is really seamless and easy to use. Within the first 15 minutes of using the plug, which I insert across my mix track, I was referencing my current mix against four or five other tracks from the album I’m currently mixing for artist Maya Solovey.
This record was a tricky one, because it spans genre from quiet contemplative singer-songwriter songs, to indie rock jams, to almost borderline electronica. So how to reconcile the apparent loudness of these seemingly disparate songs? Well, Magic AB came to the rescue just in time!
Referencing other records and other tracks has been a regular habit for over a decade, especially on album and EP mix projects because as a mixer you really want to leave the mastering engineer a record that is ostensibly already pre-mastered in a sense.
Usually when I am close to having final mixes on the album, I throw them all in to one Pro Tools session, and line them up in order and start testing the transitions between the songs to test how the tempos, apparent loudness, and keys work for the listener.
If I wanted to test how a song was sounding EQ-wise or apparent volume-wise I would usually open the IMPORT AUDIO window from Pro Tools and try to set the volume to a relatively similar level to my current track, and see how its matching up EQ and volume wise.
Problem is, switching back and forth required playing the import track in the preview window, then canceling the import and hitting play on the DAW. It has always been cumbersome…until Magic AB.
Quick to Compare
Another way of looking at things with Magic AB (click to enlarge).
What this plug does is simply facilitate the monitoring of multiple tracks (up to 9 sources) against your current mix with a simple AB switch.
You can set the crossfade time from instantaneous to 2000 milliseconds. There is also a volume adjustment for each reference track, and a loop function so that you can reference the chorus or verse or whichever section of the ref track you want to focus on.
So, say you’re comparing the transition from verse to chorus on your song to Daft Punk, no problem: Set your DAW to loop verse into chorus, on your song and do the same with the Daft Punk song (not likely I’m gonna beat Mick Guzauski any time soon, but we can all try) and you have a really good idea of how your mix is performing compared to a really well-mixed, well-produced track.
I would also imagine that this tool will be soon adopted by mastering engineers, even though they have the capability already with their mixers to monitor several sources, its just so damn easy, and it just works…
You could say that they’ve really thought of just about everything, including being able to save your setups by whatever description you need, like ROCK, EDM, JAZZ, etc… No need to rebuild your references, just load your preset and the tunes are right at your fingertips. It’s much less cumbersome than ABing with iTunes on an 1/8 inch jack, constantly trying to get the level matched. Magic AB covers all those needs.
If you, like me, spend hours upon hours going back and forth between your current mix and others you will love Magic AB. At $32.90 USD its affordable and does everything it advertises, and more. This is a great tool for the professional, as well as the new auteur.
– BassyBob (ultiple Grammy winning mixer/producer, Tech entrepreneur, and trumpet and bass player)