We’re still talking about mastering here, but this tip includes a cool technique that you may find other uses for..

When I’ve inserted my mastering chain into the mix, I sometimes like to use Spectrum to have a look at the difference between my mix and the track I’m referencing. This presents an interesting problem.

I want to put spectrum into the Master track, so I can quickly switch back and forth between my mix and the reference track while watching the graph. The problem is that I need to avoid running the reference track through the mastering chain. (As you may recall, I tend to run my reference track directly out of Ext. Out 1/2 to avoid listening to it through any devices on the Master track.)

The solution to this problem is a little trick using Compressor – not as a compressor, but as a tool that allows you to insert any signal anywhere. Drop the Compressor after the mastering chain, and before Spectrum.

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Open up the Sidechain section and set the source to the reference track.

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Then, use the Preview switch to monitor the reference track.

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You’ve now silenced the audio flowing into the Master track, and replaced it with the reference track. Now you can switch back to your mix by turning the Compressor off.

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