I do not normally listen to references before a session, I usually dive in and do my thing. There are of course exceptions:
- if I've done a record with the producer or artist before I might pull up something we've done and they've already approved, just to get my head in the game.
- if they specifically ask me to check something out I will, but I don't always put a ton of stock into it, as I try to treat their recording the way that works best for it.
- if I'm really having a difficult time trying to get a mix to sound good (a bad mix, for example) I might pull up something I really love sonically (and in the same ballpark in terms of genre) to regain perspective.
Of course early on I had several favorites that I knew very well and listened to often, and they are as follows:
Foo Fighters "The Colour and the Shape"
Sheryl Crow (self titled)
Should Coughing - all 3 of their records
As for recordings that I have mastered that I go back to often for sonics, I mentioned them in another post, but I'll copy and past here as well:
Some sonic favorite masters of mine are:
Pearl Jam “Vs” and “Vitalogy” remasters that I did in 2010
Augustana (self titled album)
The Dandy Warhols “This Machine”
Mavis Staples “Livin’ on a High Note”
Rascal Flatts “Me and My Gang”
The Band Perry “Pioneer”
Carrie Underwood “Blown Away”
Trevor Hall “Kala”
Blakroc (self titled)