How to use Reference Tracks when Mastering Using MultiBand Compressor

If you are mastering at home, one of those desirable things is to have your favorite commercial track to sound as the same as your mastered track. So basically you want to have the same bass, mid and high frequency level which would be able to translate to different audio players outside of your home studio.

Using Multiband compressors

One way to accomplish this is using multiband compressors. This tutorial is using Adobe Audition and Waves Linear Multiband compressor (LinMB).

The process is the same regardless of what audio mastering software you are using as long as you using this plugin. This also assumes you have completely mixed your track and it follows the guidelines on how to prepare and submit the mix for audio CD mastering studio. This also requires that you have an accurate listening environment which is important for doing some EQ adjustments. Ok if you are ready, let’s get started:

1.) Load up the track to be mastered in Adobe Audition editor view.
2.) Open or launch another window of Adobe Audition. This time load up the reference commercial track (it needs to be in WAV format, 16 bit CD audio quality) in editor view. So basically you have two Adobe Audition windows open in your computer.

adobe audition windows open in computer

adobe audition windows open in computer

3.) In track to be mastered, measure the volume of it. Go to “Analyze”–> “Statistics”. Take note the value of “Average RMS power”. For example, the track to be mastered has an average RMS power of -24dB.

4.) In the reference commercial track, measure the volume also by going to “Analyze”–>”Statistics” and then take note of the “Average RMS power”. Since this track is obviously louder (because it is already mastered), it can have a louder value for example -12dB.

5.) You need to attenuate the reference track so that it will have the same level as the track to be mastered, in this case compute the attenuation:

Attenuation= Track to be mastered – Reference commercial track = -24dB- (-12dB) = -12dB.