We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with our buddy Jay-J to share some advanced mixing and mastering techniques.
Jay J brings his years of experience as a dance music producer to his collaboration with Gregory J. Gordon on his track, Hold On. In this video interview Jay J opens up his Remix in Protools and breaks down his approach to the track.
Below you’ll find some notable tips and tricks as well as the full interview to watch.
1. Editing arrangement for remix
The process begins by using Protools elastic audio to speed up the tempo a full 10 BPM, from 110 to 120 BPM. Jay J then points out the original instrumentation to point out the tracks he wanted to keep, including: Organs, guitar, Rhodes, strings, and vocals. He then walks us through the layers of MIDI programing & drum samples he used to build the groove and underlying Bass layers. An important element reflects on the stereo vs. mono components of the Bass tracks, using a mono maker setting for everything below 120 Hz.
2. Using 8 bar markers for remixing
Once he goes over the basic groove creation we look at his arrangement strategy. Using markers set up on eight bar intervals he shows how he re-cut the track to create a “House” style arrangement that eliminated the rap and sung bridge of the radio edit.
3. Printing the mix to an aux bus
With the arrangement laid out Jay J shows the technique for running the entire mix to an Aux bus that he ultimately converts to an audio track to print the mix to. This allows him to use playlists in Protools to flip between different versions of the mix based on “client” feedback he receives. It’s a great way to be able to track revisions as well as different versions of the mix: In this case the vocal version vs. the dub mix.
4. Emulating the Weiss Softube mastering compressor
Jay J then shows us his in session mastering strategy by having his mastering chain in place to be able to monitor through it as he is mixing. The mastering chain plugins are then discussed in detail to reveal a great look at parallel compression techniques that Jay J learned from Bob Katz and emulating the Weiss Softube Mastering compressor to get “a smoother, rounder sound”.
5. Using a deesser in mastering chain
He also reveals an interesting strategy that employs a Massey de-esser to help the high end have a “softer roundness” too and in combination with the parallel compression how it helps tighten the low end and gives increased loudness without having to make the limiter work too hard and squash everything from the top down.
6. Limiting master out at -1 rather than 0 for translatability
Jay J then goes on to share some great insight on the headroom requirements for streaming services and the requirements to build in headroom for the final conversions to not clip and have the best possible sounding results.
7. Favorite mastering and remixing plugins
In conclusion Jay J explains some of the plugins that he uses that are his “go to” tools that help him get his sound. They include: Brainworks Mid Side EQ’s, Soundtoys Microshift and EchoBoy, Steven Massey’s Tape Head, Cytonic glue compression and The Acon Reverb.
Finally he discusses his approach to working with reverb and the importance of understanding the psychoacoustics of reverb in a mix.
More About Jay-J
In the world of dance music production, Jay-J has forged the reputation as the producer with the “Midas touch”. He is known for his signature ‘sexy, soulful, dance floor driven’ style blending elements of funk, soul and disco combined with sultry vocals.
Many of the dance industry’s top icons including Kaskade, Miguel Migs, Marques Wyatt, Halo, Julius Papp, Mark Grant and Chris Lum have collaborated with Jay-J at his Moulton Studios, one of the most respected production houses often credited with the creation of the “San Francisco Sound”. These sessions produced some of the biggest contemporary dance releases that also caught the attention of music professionals.
In 2003, Jay-J received a GRAMMY® nomination for his re-mix of Jill Scott’s “He Loves Me”. He has also re-mixed the music of other notable artists including Joss Stone, Airpushers featuring Motown’s legendary Lamont Dozier, Alicia Keys, David Gray, Lil’ Kim, Koffee Brown and gospel great, Donnie McClurkin. In 2006, Jay-J performed live at the 2006 MTV Australia Video Music Awards, hosted by Ashlee Simpson, on both the Red Carpet and awards show to an estimated audience of 1.3 Billion people and still found time to produce and release over 14 re-mixes. Jay-J then released his latest compilation CD, Re:Souled | The Shifted Music Remix Collection and the Latrice album, Illuminate (Ultra), which he co-produced with Kaskade to wrap up the year. 2007 kicked off with the release of Jay-J & Friends Volumes 1-3, the complete collection of re-mastered tracks from his Moulton Studio Recordings and Multitracked catalogues as well as select classic productions spanning the past 15 years.
As both a DJ and Producer, Jay-J has consistently generated quality like very few can. With over 120 productions released to date, his peers consider him one of the most influential, respected and prolific individuals in the industry. Fans can expect more innovative and unique productions from his new label, Shifted Music, and hear them “live”, as Jay-J continually tours the globe, sharing the music he’s been so passionate about for the last 15 years, and that has made him a dance music icon.
To book a one-on-one mentorship session with Jay-J so that you can dig into your track, visit our Online Mentorship Program.