My genius producer/engineer friend, Aaron Sprinkle, introduced me to Sample Magic’s MagicAB version 2.0 plug-in ($72.50) earlier this year and I can’t believe I ever lived without it. The plug-in is absolutely ingenious as it provides a simple, easy way to A/B your mix with a reference track at the click of a mouse.
MagicAB is the brainchild of UK-based Sample Magic, one of the world’s leading providers of musical components and sound samples. MagicAB is available in 32- and 64-bit VST, AU, RTAS and AAX formats and is designed to be inserted last in the chain on the master bus after all processing. I find that, on occasion, it makes sense to put a metering plug-in (my first choice is iZotope’s Insight) after MagicAB to allow a visual (in addition to sonic) comparison between the reference track(s) and the mix in progress.
Up to nine reference tracks (mp3, AIFF, WAV, m4a or AAC) can be loaded into the MagicAB plug-in. Once loaded, track volume controls allow the volumes to be balanced between reference tracks. A master volume control allows the reference tracks to be balanced with the mix in progress. The plug-in’s peak and RMS meters ensure the volumes have been correctly matched. A mouse click switches from one reference track to another, and clicking on the A and B buttons switches between the mix in progress and the reference track. Sections from each reference track can be looped or the entire track can play. A waveform display shows an overview of the whole reference track at the top and the currently zoomed area underneath, and each track can have its own loop assigned for repeated playback of a section.
The loop range can be doubled, quadrupled, halved or quartered in length at a click or adjusted manually. Both the reference track and the mix in progress can be switched from stereo to mono to check mono compatibility. If screen real estate is an issue, Mini- AB, which provides the same powerful feature set at a tenth of the size, can be utilized.
MagicAB is the quickest, easiest and most accurate way to compare a mix in progress with a reference track. Not only will it speed up your workflow, it will make you a better mixer/.