World Funk (?) Mix

Here’s a mix I’ve been working on from the Cambridge-mt library called ‘Ja Make Ya Dance’ by Ghost Note. It was a fun one. As always, any input is welcome!


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Sounds very mono/narrow on headphones… can u make an LCR mix? Just change the pans, nothing else, to left, center or right. See what happens. :wink:

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Mono?? Oh oh. I was checking the mix in mono, I wonder if I forgot to put it back in stereo?? Will check tonight. BTW, thanks for the listen!

i can hear panning, just seems cluttered and narrow ‘between the speakers’ and a little wooly in the low mids overall.

Gotcha. Yeah, I’ll look at those panning decisions. I really spent some time trying to clean that area up - evidently not enough. :thinking:

This is kinda airier and wider.

Hi Mike and VTR,
I’m listening on cans, and having no trouble with the stereo image. In fact I like the way the panning is done.
I have one or two quite small issues though:

  1. to me the shekere (I think that’s what it is - panned to the left on top of the high hats) is just a bit too loud and a little harsh, maybe a bit (too much?) distorted as well?
  2. The same applies to the alt sax: a bit harsh (like it has all of the lower fq’s attenuated) and maybe too much in your face.
    I was wondering if you crushed the mix with a brickwall limiter? If I overdo it I tend to get a similar sort of sound. I’m thinking a bit more dynamics and less loudness would be good .
    I like the music though. African I guess?

Hey Evert, thanks for the listen. I’ll definitely look at No. 1 - good ears! Other than cleaning up the low mids, your No. 2 was my other issue that I struggled with. I’ve got that sax de-essed, dynamically compressed with a broad 5k band, and EQed to boot. I wanted it featured since it’s kind of the climax of the song, but I agree, it should be pulled back some more. It is low-passed as well, I’ll revisit that too. *

  • No mix was crushed in the making of this MP3. -3 dB tops on my final limiter. :wink:

Going to throw together an LCR mix tonight to see how that sounds. But honestly, I’ve kind of moved away from that method and try to place things all across the stereo field as I would see them on a stage, then try to add the extra width with delays and reverbs.

PS. I think I’ll lop off that first part like the mix that Vaugn post above too.

i didnt lop it off on purpose… was just playing with the tg abbey road mastering doodad, and didnt notice…

Hey Mike, cool track. Sounding like a great start.

My first impression is that the drums are a little too loud in the first section of the song before the sax comes in.

Part of the issue maybe that the bass seems to be taking the lead in the first section, and it is lacking some fulness in the low end overall. It seems to be very mid focussed, but doesn’t provide a nice, full “pillow” for the groove of the song to rest on, so it sounds a little disconnected in that first section.

The second section (from 2:42) sounds like a better overall balance, but the bass still needs to fill out the low end more IMO. The sax stabs seem to work alright tonally here, however later in the song during the solo it gets super-harsh and biting. Try multing some of these sounds out and tailoring them to suit the different sections of the song.

Overall, going beyond the static mix and getting super-detailed with multing and automation is the key to making a track like this work. Like scenes in a movie, the instruments are different characters that come in and out, and each needs it’s moment to shine.

This is the biggest difference between instrumental focussed and vocal focussed music. Vocal centred mixes in rock and pop tend to have a relatively static instrumental backing, whereas to keep the interest in instrumental music, there needs to be a LOT more movement and trade-off happening between the different instrumental elements. This is even more so when it’s a groove-based piece like this without a real central lead instrument going the whole time.

Kudos for stretching out and trying something a little different!

Hey Andrew, thanks for your observations too! On the bass: I actually only used the DI track. There was also an amped track which sounded horribly muddy to me and I tossed it straight away. I also have a couple of notches and am high passing the bass track as well to try and get it under control. And yes, I added some EQ to make it pop. :grin:

The horns were just one track and there were different effects and levels between the parts. I was thinking of it as the same player just switching instruments so just tried some automation to liven it up and/or tame it. I do like your idea of splitting it off though. It would simplify things!

Here’s my revision based of your guys’ comments:

@vtr - The mix was already pretty much LCR panned. Bass up the middle, Horns up the middle, 1st keyboard up the middle, 2nd keys L/R… Except for the drums. There were a few stereo OH and Room tracks which I felt dictated where the panning of those elements should go.

@aef - I brought the HH track back and actually panned off to the right a bit to try and clear up some space.

@ColdRoomStudio - I tried to address your comments as well. I won’t bore you with too many details, but hopefully the beefed up bass and smoother sax sound better! I got pretty aggressive with a dynamic EQ in the 5-6k range during the sax solo.

After listening this morning, what I’m wondering is if it would help to darken to really darken up the reverb tail on the sax?

Thanks again guys! It’s so helpful to have other ears weighing in on a mix!

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Wow this mix sounds nice. I love the musicianship in this one. Very pro when it comes to performance. Aside from the comments above, maybe making the snare a bit brighter to make it more balanced with the other instruments will help bring the mix to a more lighter and exciting feel. Good job man. I love it.

Hey Brian, thanks for the listen and the comments! Good idea with the snare too. I had never heard of the genre “World Funk”, but I like it! :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi Mike I didn’t read the others. Absolutely love the bass. Almost sounds like someone is talking. Drums intro a little long for me. love the hey bgv. nice work bud

Thanks for listening Paul. Yes, you can tell these guys are top notch musicians. I thoroughly enjoyed mixing this tune.