Jason Jones

Jason Jones

Feedback Ratingstar star star star star (5.0 / 5)

Jason Jones

Audio Engineer
Owner and operator of ArtCitySound (www.artcitysound.com).  Professional tracking, mixing, and mastering engineer.  Professional studio drummer.
mixing, music production / mastering, music, programming
indie rock, rock, folk, pop, alternative rock, folk rock, soft rock
United States

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JJ Muir submitted media.

Find Your Way Home by JJ Muir

Jason Jones

Love the honesty in the vocals in the beginning.  Very nice.  Over-production here would be a bad idea.  Keep it simple.  Keep it honest.    At :35, the electronic elements fading in are nice.  Very subtle, but introduces some tension.  Nicely done.

The flutes coming in at "Take Things Slow" are a bit too pronounced, I think.  ...   and then the tinkling bells that come in right after that are...  I hate to say it - a bit cheesy.  Didn't fit the previous feeling of honesty, in my opinion.  Gotta have the right sound for those, and they probably shouldn't be as loud in the mix, either.

Also - a note on your vocals.  Love em'.  They're rich, full, and full of emotion.  Wouldn't change a thing with the vocals.

When the drums come in, the song changes, and I get that it's supposed to.  It might change too much, however, with the electronic arpeggios added, and then, just when I'm wrapping my head around the change (because it's quite abrupt), it's already over.  This needs to be addressed.  The song begins emotional, and honest, and the lyrics are something most people have struggled with, so it's very visceral.  Then, when the flute comes in, it might sound a bit forced, and drawn-out, which could take away from the previous emotion.  Then, the tinkling bells draw way too much attention to themselves, and the sound used isn't quite right.   Then the drums come in, and though the idea of that change is good, it feels too abrupt and forced.  By this time, the original emotion and honesty were pretty much lost.

Just gotta work on the arrangement, and a few of the sounds.

I really like the idea of this song, it just needs to execute a bit better, and with the proper arranging, the original emotion in the beginning could be accentuated throughout, and leave the listener in a very nice space.

Also - as a note - I wasn't going to mention this, but the drums recorded sound very flat in comparison with the rest of the mix.  They also have too much room, and lack definition.  They're not bad, and if you're going for a throw-back feel then they can work, but they could definitely have more impact if recorded and mixed properly.

Bill Greenwood submitted media.

Elizabeth Distressed by The Paper Jets

Jason Jones

Wow... Talk about heavy out of the gate!  That down-beat hit was explosive!

At around 0:40 seconds now, and that high-end is making me want to turn this down.   This track is mastered *very* hot...  too hot.  Those mid-highs are grating...  It's almost making this unlistenable.  I can hear distinct clipping going on all the time.

If this were me, I'd get this re-mastered.  It's way too hot.  (and by the way, I'm listening in a tuned control room with Adam A7X monitors with a Sub, so I don't think it's my system)

Now, about the song...  I'm not entirely sure, but I think it's a very good song!  My uncertainty comes because I couldn't get into it, due to it being so loud, and those mid-highs being so harsh.  This is too bad, because this genre is something I usually dig quite a bit.

So, yeah..  Fix that glaring problem, and then I'd be super excited to listen to this again, and be able to enjoy the music properly mixed and mastered.  Apart from that, this review would most likely be pretty positive.

Thanks for posting!

Justin Sheriff submitted media.

Trying by People Like You

Jason Jones

Wow... First thing I notice out of the gate is the incredible low freq boost that kick has.  It might be a bit much, but maybe not.  Not sure yet.

About a minute into it, and I'm smiling.  This seems like a very fun song.  Guitar solo at 1:10 needs to come up in the mix.  It's buried a bit too much.

Vocals sound thin, but I think I like it that way.   Yeah, the more I listen to it, I'm not sure I would change the vocals.  They sound good.

Okay, that organ is amazing.  I love it.  If it was removed, the heart of the song would disappear.

Hmm... The solo at 2:35 is... almost completely buried.  I didn't even know there was one until later in the solo, when it started playing higher.  The guitar solo definitely needs to come up.  Both of them.

The song just ended, and I smiled pretty much through the whole thing.  The high-pitched ring at the end can almost certainly be deleted, unless it's supposed to make people think they have tinnitus.  Perhaps some nice guitar feedback instead?

Highlights: Fun upbeat feel, and the organ.
Needs work: Guitar solo is buried!

Thanks for posting!  It was a fun listen.

Clarence Schwarz submitted media.

Wide Open Single Release by Eli's Redemption

Jason Jones

Love the way the feedback from the guitar mixes with the strings in the opening, right before the first verse.  Very good way to open the song.

Okay, when the vocals come in, they really, really need to be louder.  They are buried almost to the point where I'm straining to hear them, let alone understand them.  It's almost like this is a vocal-minus track with a guiding vocal.

I can totally understand why this would be done if the vocals aren't very strong, but from what I can hear, your vocals are not in that category!  They sound good.  They need to be brought more into the spot-light...  and if you're worried about losing power by doing this, listen to some songs in your genre.  Daughtry specifically comes to mind.

For example, in 3:17, the vocals are almost completely buried, and I have no idea what they're saying.  (Also, worth noting... I'm listening in a tuned mixing room on Adam A7X's with a sub-8, so I'm not getting much coloration that would diminish the vocals.

Man...  So...  Yeah, the song just ended, and all the while I was typing about the vocals, I was noticing how awesome the rest of the instruments are mixed.  The drums come out very nice, but they don't stomp on the guitars.  The guitars sound nice and meaty, and the string section compliments everything without draining the power from the guitars.  The bass is exactly where it needs to be.

Also - you have an amazing song here!  I have no idea what the lyrics are because I can't understand them, but that could be fixed by simply raising the fader on the vocal bus.

If you don't like the way the vocals fit in the mix when they're more present, feel free to contact me (www.artcitysound.com) and I'll get them sitting in the mix where they should be in no time.

Again - kudos on this song.  It's one of the best I've heard on Fluence so far...  Just please give the vocals a bit more of the spotlight.

Thanks for posting!

Lori Jean Mathiowetz submitted media.

MUSIC BOX FINAL MASTER by Lori Jean Mathiowetz

Jason Jones

Very cool music box intro...  heh...

I think the thing I like most about this track is the very appropriate use of specific instruments.  The instrumentation is sparse, but very well put.  That cello is gorgeous, but not over used.  Nothing is overplayed.  Beauty in its simplicity.

...and then there's that voice.  It's fairly perfect.  I already know I'm going to want to listen to this again to enjoy it, rather than critique it.  I can tell there's a story going on, but I'm so taken by the instrumentation, I don't want to focus on the lyrics just yet.

At around 3:05, I feel myself starting to get both pulled in to the music, and yet wanting a bit more...  Ahh... There it is. the bridge.  Very nice.  The vocal effects was just what the song needed.

Okay...  Coming back into the chorus around 4:00, I feel there should be another element or two added to keep interest to the very end.  Because the instrumentation is done so well here, I'd hesitate to just throw something else in, but because the song is almost 5 minutes long, there needs to be ... something different at the end.  Something added... Something else for your listeners to latch on to.  The first thing that comes to my mind is a small chorus of voices, or "ooohhhs" / "aaahhhs" placed sparsely in the background.  That can easily be done with keyboard / sample patches.

One other thing which I hesitate to mention, but the guitar at the very beginning seems to have been looped.  The only reason I know this is due to the buzzing string which happens on every iteration.  If something is gonna be looped, make sure there are no mistakes in the performance.  With a song like this, I'd recommend playing the whole thing through.  It'll give the song even more personality.  (and don't worry about getting the performance perfect, either.  With a song like this, the occasional buzzing string gives it strength... Just not when it's looped.)

Other than that, I look forward to listening to this again for the storytelling!

Great job, and thanks for posting!

Curtis Drew submitted media.

Hieroglyphics by Curtis Cameron

Jason Jones

From the get-go, this is a pretty compelling soundscape.  The texture of the vocals is very nice, too.

If at all possible, use a real bass.  I just caught a riff from the bass, and it's too obvious it's not a real bass (but yet feels like it's trying to be)

A few of the end-verse rhythm changes seem a bit gimmicky.  Also, some of the vocals seem a bit too contrived...  Not natural enough.  Yeah... I'm at 2:33 right now, and that bass needs to change.  If you're going with synth, then use a bass sound that screams "I'm synth", not "I'm a synth trying to sound like a real bass"

At 3:16 now, and I'm trying to not think about how much this sounds like too much of the same.  Gotta change it up more.  I hear some back-ground synths being added and changed, but it's not enough.

Toward the end, it seems that the use of auto-tune becomes more and more apparent.  ... and sadly, it's not working.  It's been turned into a cliche by the industry, so I'd recommend not using it (or making it apparent that you're using it)

All in all, the production on this isn't bad.  It's not enough, though, for this genre.  Something about the song needs to be more compelling.  The lyrics / message really isn't very compelling.  The music is a bit more, but gets monotonous, as the song is almost 5 minutes long.  If I were producing this, I'd cut the song in half.  Boil the lyrics down to more of the essence of what you're trying to say, and say it in half the time.

Keep at your craft.  You're getting there.  Thanks for posting!

submitted media.

Orphanage by Nozart

Jason Jones

Very interesting intro, for sure...  When turned up in volume, the high-pitched strings are a bit bright...  Perhaps a more subtle patch could be used there.

Then there's the intro vocals...  Love them.  They're perfect.  If it were me, I might add just a bit more ambient reverb, but that's just me.  They really are perfect.

When the main vocal comes in, I think it's too forward in the mix.  If I am really into the music during the intro, and decide to really crank up the volume...  The main vocal intro would blast out, and not in a good way.  If I were mixing it, I would have automated the beginning 10-15 seconds of that vocal intro to slowly come up to the volume it's at now (but probably not even that loud.)  The bed music is beautiful, and should be given a bit more presence through the vocals.

I love the story-telling approach, by the way.  Not too much music these days uses this format anymore, and I love it.  Interesting turn of events at 3:43.

...waiting for more elements to come in...  ahh yes... There they are.  Good.  Perhaps the additional percussion is a bit busy?  Not sure..  Maybe they're just too dry...

By 4:48, I'm convinced the main vocals are too loud.  Those bells behind the vocals are beautiful, but I can't really tell, because the vocals are completely covering them up.  Don't get me wrong, the vocals are wonderful.  Very textured and full...  But you should never compromise the balance of a mix due to the beauty of a single instrument.  Even at very loud volume levels, the vocals completely cover up those bells, and at that volume, the vocals are almost un-listenable.

Bottom line?  I loved it, dude.  I really did.  Get this mixed a little better, and perhaps mastered, and it would be *amazing*.

Thanks for posting!


Harmony House submitted media.

Bergman Summer by Harmony House

Jason Jones

Cool effect of panning the water FX in the beginning...  Very unique soundscape you're creating here.  Let's get into this a bit more.

Not sure if I like the hard-panned vocal doubling or not...  It's almost like it's purposefully off-set from each other.

Drum entrance @ 1:28 is pretty cool..  I love the additional "tom" sound coming from the snare beat...  Very unique and it works.  Brings the rest of the song's sounds together, somewhat.

Wow!  What a change at 2:24.  Interesting guitar distortion sounds....    @2:53, the soundscape is starting to get a bit cluttered...  Not liking this too much.  Yeah, this is staying really messy until 3:46....  Nice fade back to sanity.

Not quite sure what to write as a summary, man.  This song is definitely unique.  It has its good parts, and then not-so-good parts.

What I liked:
1.  Totally unique.  Kind of a trail-blazer of sorts, I'd think.  I really like risk of going into unknown territory, and for what the song could be, I think it worked.
2. That drum beat was way cool.  Very unique, and that beat, for me, is what brought all the elements together.  It just worked.  Great job.
3. Diversity of where the song was going.  The harder part blindsided me, and half of me liked it.

What needs work:
1. The distortion on the guitar seemed too fizzy..  Needs more chunk, in my opinion.
2. On the louder part, it seems like the sound space was super cluttered, and as such, I couldn't really enjoy what the different instruments were doing.  It was pushing too hard.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy listening to metal and hardcore from time to time, and so I get where this wants to go, I believe it's just trying to get there using techniques that cause a bit of a mess.  Clean up that space a bit, and you'll be surprised how much harder it can hit without the instruments trying to clobber each other.

The jury is still out on the uneven vocal doubling.  I'm not sure I hate it or love it, but it definitely caught my attention, and at this point, I'd consider that a plus.

I've also got to say... Having sat here typing after the song finished about 2 minutes ago, I find myself wanting to listen to it again.  I don't know why I want to listen to it again, but that is a HUGE win, my friend.  If the harder part wasn't so messy, I'd be sharing this right now.

Great song, and great effort.  Hats off to you, my friend.

Kenny Gray submitted media.

Tunnels by Tom Flash

Jason Jones

Drenched with reverb.....   That had me worried until about 0:24.  Dist-guitar entrance was nice.

At 1:15, I'm sitting here listening, trying to determine whether or not I like this.  I haven't heard music like this in a long time.  Reminiscent of early 90's rock, with more reverb.

At 2:00, I think I'm figuring out what isn't sitting well.  The drums are mixed way, way too low.  I can hear the hi-hat louder than the snare, and the kit being played doesn't seem to be tuned well at all.  Perhaps I'm mistaken.

Maybe it's the copious amount of reverb applied...  Maybe it's just not my cup of tea....

Wow, the pumping is crazy at 3:25...  It's a wall of sound without much definition.

So, here's what I think.  The performances are awesome.  The guitar solo around 3:50 is very well done.  The singer sings well.  The drums (thought mixed low) are played well.. Very tasteful.

The reverb applied to the mix is .... remarkable.  It's almost as strong as the actual instruments, and it's a thick reverb, too.  I get where it's trying to go, but it seems the reverb applied everywhere might be the wrong type.  If done correctly, the reverb can provide the intended effect of making everything lush and long, without drowning out the actual performances.  If you listen to your mix, you'll notice there are times when the reverb and other instruments *completely* drowns out the snare.  This just shouldn't happen.  There are ways around it, without sacrificing the sound you're going for.

Keep going, and if you want a bit more advice, take a look at my website.  I'd love to help out.

Thanks for posting!  I enjoyed listening.

Jim Tramontana submitted media.

'The Mission' Lyric Video Album by Red Hot Rebellion

Jason Jones

I listened to the intro and The Mission.  I'm only going to comment on the music.  I'm also a drummer, so, take that into account.

First off, I think youtube may be heavily compressing the song, as artifacts from the compression are clearly audible (Listening through AKG Q-701's).  I'd love to hear this in higher fidelity.

Vocals are very, very cool.  They fit the genre perfectly.  The guitar work is, well... It's phenomenal.  Very clean, very clear (as much as the audio fidelity will let me hear).  Drums are on par with the guitars.  Very, very clean performance, and driving.  I loved it.

I thought i would only be listening to "The Mission", but I'm now on the 2nd song, and I don't think I'm gonna be stopping anytime soon.

I'd love to comment on the production / engineering, but the obvious compression on the audio would make that effort futile.   Is there any way for you to get a higher-quality recording on here?  It sounds like it was compressed below 128k (mp3), and that's just not good for music as high-quality as this is.  I know music can sound good on youtube, too, as high-fidelity music is all over on it.

Man, the guitar solos on this are insane.  I love it.  Crazy yet tasteful...  I could sit here and code to this music for a long time.

Good stuff, man.  I've gotta stop now, but if I had time, I would listen for a lot longer.  Great job.  It would be great to get a higher-fidelity version up.

Elliott Sencan submitted media.

Breathing Underwater by Hollywood Principle

Jason Jones

Very interesting soundscape.  At 1:05, and I'm still intrigued.   Modern elements of dubstep heard throughout, without it going too crazy...

The vocals are darned-near perfect.  Very well mixed.  Very balanced with punchy, controlled bass.  I like how it builds up, to the chorus, and then builds and swells.  With the verses being very chill.

Almost at the end of the song now... and I'm thinking two things:
1. There wasn't enough ambient instruments to fill out the spaces.  This is entirely subjective, but I probably could have got lost in the music easier, if there was a bit more synthy, ambient, lush instrumentation to hook me.  Very wide and thin, layered with probably 2 or 3 patches playing various inversions of the chord progression as the song went along.  That might just be me, though.

2. There wasn't enough lush-ness (reverb, perhaps?) on some of the percussion elements.  The percussion stood out a bit too much.  I'm not referring to the bass - that was perfect.  I'm talking about the little percussive elements providing the top-end of the beat.  It could have been much more elaborate using effects on the already-existing sounds.

But that's about it.  I enjoyed the listen very much, and if you have anything else, I'd love to listen to it.  Good on ya, and thanks for posting!

Jared Lutes submitted media.

Lionheart Soul by Jared Lutes

Jason Jones

I can tell I'm gonna love this from the first note.  Right up my alley.  Turned up my volume, and am ready to be engulfed by sound...

Vocal entrance didn't disappoint.  Great sounding voice!  Nice and rich, full of texture.

Great full band entrance at 1:00, at "Lion heart soul"...    I love the photo in the background, too.  I never notice stuff like that, but this time I did for some reason.  Great sign, man.

Vocals are mixed nice and high.  Upfront and personal.  Maybe a bit too much?  The music bed sounds just as good as the voice does, and there are times when I feel the voices drown it out a bit much... But just a bit.  Little nit-pick.

At the bridge at 2:19...  So far, so good, man.

heh... Got wrapped up in the music.  It's ended now, and I forgot I was writing a review.  Yeah, man.  I loved it.  I think I'm gonna share this one.

Great message, great mix (with the vox brought down just a bit), and great performance!  That's all I got, man.  Thanks for posting!

Billy R. Preston submitted media.

The Silent Heart by dizzybloom

Jason Jones

Love the opening drums, man.  Nice, big, fat, and sassy!  Sounds like they're actually acoustic drums, too!

Oh, man... Vocal entrance at :40 is beautiful... Just what I was hoping for, to be honest.  I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the organ / keys sound yet or not, but so far, the soundscape sounds very interesting...  ...and that vocalist!  Rich, and full.  Perfect intonation, and ..... now we're into the chorus.  Nice harmonies.  Nothing too much, but just enough.

As far as the mix goes, I'm hearing a slight buildup in the low-mids that could be carved out in the mix to help bring the rest of the mix out a bit.  At 2:30, I'm just about ready to turn down my speakers because those frequencies are hurting my ears...  Everything else sounds awesome.

Yup... One of the high points of this song is the vocalist.  Her voice is so rich, and full...  and a bit of sultry in there, too.  Solo now at 3:30...  Probably could be brought up a bit in the mix, but the tones are wonderful.  I want to hear that solo just a bit louder.  It should be about the same level as the vocals.

In the outro now..  Good stuff, man.

One note..  and this is neither good nor bad, but after having listened to the song, I have no idea what it's about.  I know I loved the voice, and the drums, and I'd probably be interested in sharing this with a few of my friends.  If possible, get it re-mixed, to tame those low-mids a bit, and it'd be stellar.

If you'd like, I know www.artcitysound.com would be happy to help with a quick re-mix.

Thanks for sharing, Dizzybloom!

Fluence Team submitted media.

For the Creative Community by The Fluence Team

Jason Jones

Sounds like the violin in the beginning fake, or synthesized...  Perhaps amped?  Something sounds weird about it.

The video itself is very descriptive, and it's obvious early on what the service can be used for.  The voice seems well-suited for the content of the video.  As far as the music goes, I personally found it a bit cheesy.  Lots of synths that sound like they were popular in the 80s and 90s.  Perhaps a more modern sound would engage your audience more?