There are a number of ways to use Spectrum in a real world context. Here we’re going to set up a mastering session with the primary intention of comparing a mastered song to one of your own.
Let’s assume you’ve rendered a mix of a song you’re working on. To set up a mastering session, first create a new Set and drop your song into the Arrangement view. (Don’t forget to make sure Warp is turned off for the clip!)
Now, drop a fully mastered track into another audio track. It should be a song that you like the sound of, and is at least somewhat comparable stylistically to your song.
Two important things to note above. First, the reference track is muted (Track Activator turned off). When you want to switch over to the reference, just hit the reference track’s Solo switch.
Second, the reference track is turned down (by -9.4dB in this case). Since it’s mastered, it’s going to be quite a lot louder than your mix. To compare the two, you either have to turn the reference down until it sounds about as loud as your mix, or you’ll have to use a limiter to bring your track’s overall loudness into the ballpark of the mastered track. (Use of the limiter is ultimately a necessary step, but not absolutely essential if your primary goal is to do some analysis with Spectrum).
Now, insert a Spectrum into the Master track and see what you can learn by listening to and looking at the reference mix as opposed to your mix. Obviously, this ultimate point of setting up this Set is to do some actual mastering processing to your mix. More on this to come.