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Hi composer fellows,

here is sort of a jazz rock song I am trying to mix. So far I am not so happy with the horns (which are Bb-Trumpet, Tenor Trombone, Alto-, Tenor- and Baritone Sax from VSL). In this version I did nearly nothing to them except for a low cut depending on the instrument between 50 and 100 Hz and a convolution reverb from a small room.

So here is the big question: How do you experienced engineers treat horns in a musical context like this? Comments to the rest of the instruments are welcome too of course.

Thanks in advance


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Hello there,

it's Sunday afternoon, and I will try to sort the lot of information I got here.

What I found out during this discussion, learning can be painful. However, the song itself gets a positive feedback from you, only the production is bad. I will try to fix that.
First step: I will record all(well, most) keyboard tracks again live and leave them as they are. Then I can try to handle my own human imperfection.

@ Chris: Any advice for this purpose? How do one can handle human imperfection?

@ Ray: Thanks for spending time and energy in doing a remix. What did you do in detail?

@ George: You suggest to put the drums back in the mix. How would you do this? Using reverb or using more of the room signal of the kit? And yes, using all these transient shapers and compressors on the drums kill the original acoustic character of the drum kit. I will work on this.

@ Michael: Thanks for the hint to StudioTraxx. Sounds interesting. Do you have any experiences with this service?
I listened to your album, very nice, probably I will get it.
As I am a kid of the seventies I learned the rock from Deep Purple, the fantasy from Genesis, the "fake jazz" from Steely Dan (yes, me too) and the overall weirdness from Frank Zappa. In the early 80s I played the keyboards in a fusion band, We covered stuff from Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Klaus Doldinger, Weather Report (Birdland, what else) and the still popular "Pick Up the pieces" from Average White Band. The compositions for my project are based on this period (one of them is 30 years old).

The conclusion for today: I downloaded the latest album of the United Jazz & Rock Ensemble, and I will not stop before my production sounds like their production, or I am celebrating my 60th birthday, whatever comes first.

Hi George,

at the very moment I experiment on the drums with a tool named Jamstix3. If you never heard of it: You enter a straight beat, and Jamstix composes additional hat and/ or tom hits and fills. It also has "drummer models" which interprete the beat in different styles. When the song is finished I will post it here. Hopefully there will be an audible difference.

Definitely nothing against Bill Bruford, but I remember that he quit (or got fired?) a band called UK in the early 80s because he did what you suggest, he played around the beat, but the other members (Eddie Jobson, John Wetton) wanted a rock drummer.

Little memories of my long gone youth.

See you later


When a computer or software composes a drum part, it will NOT sound like a live drummer. Solution: work with a live drummer. If you really want something, it IS possible.

Bruford was/is amazing. The way he fused jazz and rock. I was disappointed when he departed from Yes. Fragile! Close to the Edge!  ...George reminds me that I need to order his auto-bio.

The biggest improvement happened for me, when I shifted from sequencing to working with live musicians.

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