Rock and Pop
Apple iBook running OS 10.4 and Logic 7.2, PreSonus FP10, Sampson CO2 stereo matched pair (overheads for drums and horns), Audix i5 (snare, trombone), Audix D6 (kick), Sennheiser e603 (toms, trumpets, saxes), M-Audio Pulsar II (hi-hat) and Luna (voice, acoustic guitar), M-Audio Ozonic (some tracking and keyboard programming), M-Audio BX-5A monitors (used during mixing), various guitars and basses, 5-piece Eames drum kit.
Production Notes & Credits:
"She Cries" is a male vocal rock tune, in a Broadway/cabaret style. Jason Robert Brown composed the song. David played drums/percussion, keyboards, guitar and five-string bass. He also arranged, engineered and mixed the track. Adam Tackett sang the vocals. Yugin Amano handled the lion's share of the guitars. The 4-string bass was played by Glenn Nataupsky. The horn section consisted of Trevor Neumann and Dan Urness on trumpets, Nathan Childers and Jon Irabagon on saxes and Michael Boscarino on trombone.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This ambitious track has no shortage of sound sources and must have presented David with quite a challenge at mix time. There are things that we liked and some that we found less successful.
The tones of the individual tracks are impressive. The piano lacks the high-frequency harshness found in many of today's recordings. The horns are nicely arranged and presented with a well-chosen reverb. The bass has a round and rich tone and the guitars are present but not invasive.
Now for the flip side, we thought that the overly dry snare drum was too prominent in the mix and the equally dry lead vocal, although well placed, suffers from, Ladies and Gentlemen—drum roll please—SIBILANCE! For a song that repeats the title numerous times throughout (Sssshe Criesssssss), this, as Martha would say, "is not a good thing."
Finally, we hear more than a few cases of distortion throughout the mix, particularly during crescendos in the arrangement, even though the levels on David's submission CD are quite modest.
Suggestions: We loved the reverb treatment on the horns; a little dash of the same on the snare would help integrate it into the mix more successfully. We would also suggest that David reduce its volume by several dB.
Regarding the lead vocal, there are few if any styles of music that have more dynamic range then Broadway show tunes, rock or otherwise. Compression, as we all know, is designed to modify dynamic range; over-compression is designed to monkey up a perfectly good vocal. Therefore, we ask that David reassess his compression choices. Shadow and light, my friend, shadow and light.
Lastly, we can only assume that the distortion we hear throughout the track is a result of some type of digital overs during mix down. In this case, we would suggest that David keep his peaks to 0.05 dB under absolute zero or find a very high-end, transparent limiter to act as a brick wall to prevent said problem.
Summary: Some easy fixes will result in an excellent track.
Contact: David Vincola, firstname.lastname@example.org.