The mixing world is no stranger to techniques and strategies that promise better sound quality and enhanced musical experiences. One such technique that has caught the interest of many audio engineers is the Jaycen Joshua NLS Technique, which requires eight NLS Buss (althought the NLS Channel sounds better to me) from Waves at work. While some swear by its effectiveness, I, for one, remain skeptical. Here, I've dissected this method and offered an honest evaluation.
According to the Jaycen Joshua technique, you set up eight NLS Buss instances in series.
The proposed arrangement as per the Jaycen Joshua NLS Technique:
The big question is: does this technique bring a notable difference to the sound quality? For me, it didn't make a considerable difference. Furthermore, it somehow worsened the whole sound quality.
What I noticed first was how this chain seemed to create a mess in the low end, making the whole low end wider. At first glance, it might sound 'fatter' or 'bigger', but in reality, it was losing focus. To manage this, I utilized the 'Utility' with the base mono at 130 Hertz.
One crucial feature you need to understand to make this technique work better is the Dual Mono/Stereo button. Keeping it in dual mono leads to several issues, but switching all the instances to stereo mitigates this.
Still, I believe it's not enough for the sound we are aiming for. We can achieve a much more satisfactory result using saturation, a bit of compression (sometimes), and EQ. For example, I used the Console 7 Cascade set at 0.3719, along with a Channel EQ to match the tone. In comparison, the kick drum's sound was more focused, punchy, and defined, while the NLS technique seemed to smudge it, causing a loss in definition.
Using multiple instances of a plugin like the NLS, hoping for magic, isn't the approach I would advocate for. It would be more practical to have fewer instances with more control and understanding of what each instance is doing.
Moreover, another con of this technique is that it requires the NLS Buss, a paid plugin. If you're not a fan of Waves or don't appreciate the plugin's structure, you might face a predicament. As an alternative, the Console 7 Cascade from Air Windows is free, and you can use the channel EQ if you're an Ableton user or any similar EQ of your choice.
Ultimately, what I advocate for is personalization and understanding. Use this chain or technique as a starting point, but don't hesitate to modify it to suit your genre, style, or sound. Understanding why something works or doesn't is as crucial as the result itself. While the Jaycen Joshua NLS technique is not entirely flawed, its efficacy is highly situational and may not be a one-size-fits-all solution.
If you want to listen to more accurate examples, as in the first video I used the NLS Channel, and not the NLS Buss, here's a follow up video.
In the world of audio engineering, there's rarely a magic formula that works in all scenarios.
Stay curious, stay skeptical, and remember that every situation calls for a unique approach. Until next time, happy mixing!