Jason Goldstein.New York, NY (November 21, 2007)--As of January 2007, mix engineer Jason Goldstein joined the leagues of mixers working fully in the box, a transition he credits in large part to the Sonnox range of Oxford plug-ins. "Sonnox plug-ins make up at least half the plug-ins on every mix I've done for over a year," Goldstein says.
In that span, he mixed Beyoncé's Grammy-winning B-Day and The Roots' Grammy-nominated Game Theory, tracks on Kelly Rowland's recent album and upcoming re-release, Kirk Franklin's latest, Jill Scott's new single "Hate On Me," and the upcoming debut album for Jive artist Samantha Jade.
Working primarily with R&B and hip-hop artists and known for coming up as mixer for the Trackmasters production duo, Goldstein mixes the genre's whole spectrum. For their timing, the Beyoncé and Roots albums predicated the imminent move into-the-box for Goldstein. "I used Sonnox plug-ins a lot on both of those records, and really on every album since," says Goldstein. "The Oxford EQ is my total go-to EQ, and the Inflator goes on the stereo buss of every single mix. I also use the Transient Modulator and the Dynamics plug-ins all the time.
"I tend to do records that have tons of vocals," Goldstein adds, "and I use the EQ on 99 percent of them. I used the EQ all over Beyoncé's lead and background vocals, for example. I also use the EQ on sweeter sounding instruments like acoustic guitars and strings. The transparency of this EQ is key--I can be very surgical, very specific with this EQ, but it's also smooth and musical. It has the 1-4 EQ curve setting, and I lean towards 2 or 3 because it's a wider bell, and more musical.
"I also used the Inflator on every mix on that Beyoncé album, and every mix I've done since," Goldstein continues. "And, I use it for exactly what it's intended to do--it adds dynamics and increases apparent loudness. A lot of records I end up doing are mid-deficient, and the Inflator seems to add harmonics in the midrange so that I get a better overall sound from top to bottom, a better representation of the entire frequency spectrum."
Often working with bass-heavy music and sub-bass tracks, Goldstein first applies the Sonnox compressor on bass. "I do a lot of records where you can't really hear the bass, but you can feel it, and the compressor in the Oxford Dynamics plug-in moves it into the audible range so it sounds better on smaller speakers," he explains. "I use the 'Sony Bass EQ' preset, which has a preset attack and release but also has the warmth function turned on and all the way up."
Goldstein recently mixed an album for singer/songwriter Elizabeth Wills. "Mixing this album, I used the Oxford Limiter on the drums, to tame the individual drum tracks," he says. "There's a setting called 'fatten' and it did exactly that--it fattened up and filled out the record."
Goldstein employs the Transient Modulator plug-in to build "apparent loudness," a process intrinsic to his mixing style. "I'll use Trans Mod a lot on drums. For example, if you put more crack or more attack on a kick drum, it punches through the mix without having to actually turn it up," he says. "This really helps a lot in creating space--you can make the drums punch without stepping on the bass or vice versa. I'll use the Trans Mod a lot on kicks and snares, and I'll use it on loops too--if I'm trying to pull out a loop, make the loop in a hip-hop record more dynamic, I'll use the Trans Mod to accentuate the attacks of the loop, leaving the rest of it alone."