May 12, 2021
ATLANTA, Ga.—Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum mastering engineer KennyMixx Daniels mastered Blanco Brown’s self-titled EP and debut album Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs, featuring the viral hit single “The Git Up,” using his trusted JBL Professional M2 monitors.
KennyMixx Daniels has over two decades of mastering experience, including work with legendary artists like Dr. Dre, Prince, Patti LaBelle, Snoop Dogg, T.I, Kanye West and T-Pain. In addition to his work in hip-hop and R&B, Daniels also works in a diverse array of genres including EDM, jazz, soft rock, pop, gospel and Latin music. Blanco Brown is a producer and songwriter who has been crafting hits behind the scenes for years, collaborating with artists like Pitbull, Fergie, Monica and Chris Brown. When it came time to launch his own solo career, Brown enlisted KennyMixx and Grammy-nominated mixing engineer Ray Seay to make sure his self-titled EP, debut album Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs, and breakout single “The Git Up” had chart-topping production value.
Released in October 2019, Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs achieved remarkable success, spending 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the US. In March 2021, Blanco Brown released an official music video for “CountryTime,” a song from the album which reportedly influenced the writing of the Netflix Series Ginny & Georgia. According to KennyMixx, sound quality was a goal of the project from the beginning.
“The cool thing about Blanco is that he’s very detail-oriented,” said KennyMixx. “When he and Ray Seay and I got together and started on this project, we were going back and forth on the phone about adjusting certain sounds by points of a decibel. What we were trying to do was have the best-sounding album ever. It's not loud at all; it's just really mastered for sound quality and not loudness. So, in other words, that's a win for all of us quality control freaks.”
To achieve the desired level of polish in the mastering studio, KennyMixx has to be able to hear every tiny detail of the music. To do that, he trusts JBL M2 master reference monitors. The freestanding, two-way M2 towers feature 15" Differential Drive woofers for extended bass response and D2 dual voice coil compression drivers for ultra-smooth high-frequency reproduction all the way up to 40 kHz. With a crossover frequency of 800 Hz, the D2 compression drivers accurately reproduce the overtones and harmonics of piano, guitar and brass instruments.
“These monitors are good because they’re brutally accurate,” continued KennyMixx. “Sometimes, you can listen to a speaker and just know right away that it’s too boomy or loose-sounding, or the highs are too bright and sibilant. But with the M2, using that compression driver, the highs don't hurt. And when people walk in my room, they immediately notice and say, ‘Whoa, I like the way these highs sound.’ They're not fatiguing, in other words. The D2 compression drivers are legible over the length of a football field with no distortion, but still delicate enough to play back very smooth, intimate vocals, allowing you to hear every breath.”
The M2 monitors are powered by a state-of-the-art Crown I-Tech 4x3500 HD power amplifier, which delivers an ultra-clean signal with ample headroom. Onboard BSS OMNIDRIVEHD DSP employs industry-leading IIR filters, linear phase FIR filters and LevelMAX limiters to achieve exceptionally accurate sound. And with a damping factor greater than 5,000, the I-Tech 4x3500 eliminates excess speaker resonance, improving the low-end tightness of the M2s.
“I was very excited when I found out that the amp utilized IIR and FIR filters in its DSP engine,” said KennyMixx. “To me, being able to hear every pluck from a bass guitar is very important, so being able to tune the low end with IIR filters was a godsend. And calibrating the D2 compression drivers using the FIR filters is the only way to go. The mids and highs stay nice and clean without adding any phase shift or distortion to the sound.”
“It’s a very, very clean-sounding amp, and it has a super high damping factor,” KennyMixx added. “And that's one thing I love about that amplifier—when it pushes that solo through, that kick drum, it only moves when it's supposed to, and it'll stop dead on without all the looseness.”
Thanks to KennyMixx’s work with JBL M2 monitors, “The Git Up” reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, charted in 14 different countries and garnered over 50 million views on YouTube.