Non-specified computer with two PreSonus FIREPOD interfaces running Steinberg Cubase SX and WaveLab, Waves Diamond plug-in bundle, and IK Multimedia Amplitube 2; RØDE NT1-A, Blue Baby Bottle, Shure drumset mic kit, Ampeg SVT, Taylor T5 guitar, Spector bass, Pacific drums.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Nice tune here, kinda equal parts funk and jam. The track intros with a phat bass line followed by a jazzy octave guitar and drum pattern. Next up are some very nicely executed vocals with a sort of Finn Bros./Crowded House close-harmony vibe. Well done, James!
Now, on to the heart of the matter, that being the sounds. While we admire the presence of the bass in the mix, its forward nature provides an interesting challenge. In comparison to said bass, the drums come across as rather distant. The kick drum is certainly audible, but it would need more muscle to integrate with the pronounced bass. The snare has an organic sound, more distant than close miked, which again seems slightly out of step with the bass.
James’ guitar tone is adequate but it suffers from its position dead center in the mix, along with the kick, snare and bass. Finally, the superb vocals sound a bit buried in the mix to our ears. This may have been by design, in order to complement the moody vibe of the track, however since the vocals are (in our opinion) the strongest element of the song, we would love to hear them a bit louder.
Suggestions: There have been many bands throughout the years that have made the bass a very prominent element of their mixes. The classic Yes albums certainly featured the great Chris Squire front and center. The key to it is to integrate the other sound sources so that each is distinct while still forming a solid whole.
To that end, we would encourage James to experiment with some additional close-miking on his drums. Using two mics on the kick, one inside for snap and the other placed outside for some thump, would certainly provide him with more choices. Ditto the snare, double-miking the top and bottom (remember phase considerations) for more sonic options at mix time.
Regarding the guitar, we suggest that James pan his out from the center, to give it some identity. As for the vocals, the performance and balance are spot on, some of the best that we have heard; we would only ask for an extra dB or two so that they can shine.
Summary: A very nice place to start; now off you go!
Contact: James Kinne, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.broadjam.com/jameskinne