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Don't Stop Just Yet

by Belters Only
feat. Jazzy

Amidst all the 90s throwbacks (eg. the Korg M1 organ bass at 0:47 and piano at 1:33, or the Prodigy-esque breakbeat at 2:03) there’s a nice little 3+3+3+3+4 additive synth riff in the breakdown sections at 0:02, 0:17, and 2:03. But what really caught my ear from a production perspective were a couple of classic stereo effects.

The first can be heard on that M1 piano, where the dry sound is panned left, but its eighth-note feedback delay has been panned to the right. Just as a stereo enhancement this has a lot to recommend it, because its ear-catching ping-pong effect causes no problems in mono – the delay time is way too long to incur any real comb-filtering side-effects when the Left and Right stereo channels are summed. But an added benefit is that it also increases the rhythmic complexity and interest for the characteristically percussive syncopated chords. This isn’t just a dance-music trick, though – I regularly use the same effect for single-track percussion parts, rhythm guitars, and synth riffs in rock and pop arrangements.

The other effect is another simple one: the rhythmic autopanning on the steel-drum-like synth riff that arrives at 2:33. With autopanning, there are usually three main variables to play with. The first is what kind of modulation waveform are you using. In this case it’s a fairly smooth and symmetrical oscillation, which rules out square/ramp waveforms or anything randomised. The difference between triangle and sinewave modulation is more nuanced, with sinewave modulation feeling like the sound spends most of its time at the sides, rushing through the centre point to just as a means to reach the extremes. Triangle, on the other hand, makes the sound feel more like it’s moving at a constant speed back and forth across the panorama, so that’s what I think we’re hearing in this instance. And the third important variable with autopanning is how far the panning moves across the panorama. Here, if you listen to the mix’s Left or Right stereo channels on their own, it’s clear that the panning width isn’t set to 100 percent – which is no bad thing in my view, because full-width panning can be a bit distracting on headphones.