Studio Pros

Using Reference Tracks to Get The Sound You Want

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Have you ever tried talking to someone about your music? Sometimes describing something so abstract can be a little tricky.

“I want this song to have a smooth vibe, but still be a little rough around the edges.”

“This song should rock out and have tons of energy.”

“This track very ethereal and spiritual, but without being corny.”

Sound like anything you’ve heard before? Each of these things means a specific thing to the artist. But what it means to them could be completely different from what it means to you (or any other musician for that matter). And that’s the trouble with using words to describe music: it’s not always a universal language. What’s dark to one person might be somber to another. What’s peppy to one ear could be cheesy to the next. So how can you convey the style you’re going for, particularly when you’re doing a project with an online recording studio like Studio Pros?

The answer: reference tracks!

The simplest and most helpful way to help a musician figure out what you want for your song (beyond musical charts) is to provide them with songs that achieve the same kinds of goals you want your song to achieve. That’s why the musicians at Studio Pros like having our customers send reference tracks to help translate their instructions. Reference tracks are particularly important when the customer provides only a basic recording of the song (like a vocal/guitar take) or have decided to use our chord progression writing service. Any time we don’t have a partially-arranged recording to base our parts on, reference tracks are very useful.

You may be thinking to yourself, “But I don’t want to send in reference tracks. I don’t want them to just copy another artist’s song. I want my song to be original!”

We understand the concern; no one wants to sound like they ripped other musicians off. But Studio Pros’ world-class session musicians don’t use reference tracks so they can copy from them. As the name suggests, they are simply for reference. Our session players have played on countless major label releases, so they have lots of experience capturing different vibes, not copying other artists.

You may also be thinking, “but my song is unique in style, there isn’t an artist that I can be compared to!”

That’s awesome!  We love working with talented artists forging new grounds with their music.  But you can put those creative forces to work with the reference tracks, too…  If you can’t say, “I want this song to sound like Ben Harper,” you can say: “I’d love the raw energy of Ben Harper’s ‘Ground On Down’ along with the laid back beach feeling of Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Margaritaville.’”  This way you can retain the uniqueness of your song, but also give our musicians some great references to work from.

So for your next Studio Pros project, think about some songs that have a comparable sound and feel to the track you want to record and upload them with your song files and instructions. This will help you get the best possible product and maximize your Studio Pros experience!

To get your next project started, click here.



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