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Plugin Alliance’s ADTPR Metric AB promises a comprehensive solution to mix referencing. DJ Pangburn explains further.

Anyone who has ever recorded music, whether novice or pro, has likely used another artist’s song (or album) as a reference for their own mix. Whatever it is about that sound, you want it: the sense of space, the lack of clutter, the filtering, cacophonous depth, and so on. The same holds true for sound engineers working in film or television, who often design their mixes by working off of existing media.

The mix reference plugin ADPTR Metric AB attempts to streamline this process with software that lets users search for reference materials, but also see the reference and their own mix in side-by-side analytics. Users can easily see how their mixes stack up, on a detailed level, against professionally produced songs in the pop or underground scenes.


ADPTR founder Marc Adamo, a mix engineer himself, created Metric AB because clients were bringing mix references into mixing sessions hoping to model their own tracks after them. In a clean and easy layout, Metric AB allows users to see the A and B mixes side by side in Playback. Beyond the professional mix engineer, the target market here probably isn’t the average rookie musicians and producers. It’s more likely aimed at those artists with a rather precocious interest in mix quality; those wanting to replicate popular sounds in dance music, hip-hop, or other genres.

To start referencing, users drop Metric AB in the Master Buss in their respective DAW, following effects like reverb and EQ, and the plugin syncs everything. Up to 16 reference mixes can be loaded into the plugin to compare against the user’s master mix. They can be loaded one by one, or drag-and-dropped in together, and are visible in a module at the bottom of the plugin. It’s worth noting that Metric AB supports various formats for its playback, including WAV, MP3, AIFF and FLAC.

Wisely, Metric AB allows users to look at the details in five different modes with easily identifiable icons—Spectrum, Correlation, Stereo Image, Dynamics, and Loudness. Within each of these modes, users can explore their various reference mixes from different sonic perspectives, and adjust their own master mix accordingly. Users can even save presets so that favourite reference mixes can be loaded quickly and easily.

For instance, in the Playback module, users can control a parameter like Gain, adjusting their mix to mirror a reference track’s gain level. As noted above, this can be saved as a preset for easy loading for future mix reference sessions. In the same module, Match compares and contrasts the loudness of the A and B mixes, but only when A is being played back. Playback also has filters—low-pass, high-pass, and bandpass—that give users the power to make sonic adjustments. This can be done in very granular way using the High/Low function, but one can also test out filter presets like Low Mid and Sub Bass.

Spectrum allows users to look at A solo on a spectrum analysis graph, or in dual mode with it stacked atop the B reference track. And with layered, A and B are overlaid on each other, allowing users to see how they look simultaneously. Spectrum also gives users power to zoom in on values;

a function that can be synced to the part(s) of the song being filtered with something like, say, the Low Mid filter preset. These functions on Playback and Spectrum are just a fraction of what can be done in Metric AB’s larger mix reference ecosystem.

With Metric AB, Adamo has made a clean, minimalist, and incredibly easy to use a reference plugin. But make no mistake, the plugin is feature-rich despite the attractive and inviting user interface. Again, Metric AB’s utility is revealed by looking at the details. Whatever the users’ background, the Metric AB deconstructs songs into component parts, placing this information in easily digestible form to help fine-tune tracks.

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