PC running Cubase SX, Presonus Firepod, Oktava MK-319 mic, Alvarez Artist acoustic guitar, Pearl and LP percussion.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Higher Consciousness” is an acoustic-based instrumental track. Eric was the one-man operation, handling the writing, performing and recording chores.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: They say that first impressions are everlasting. If that is true, then our first impression of Eric’s recording is reverb, and plenty of it! We hear two acoustic guitars, percussion and a faint bass that are all drenched in echo, resulting in a “swimmy” sound that defines the track.
As for the individual sound sources, the guitars sound rather harsh to our ears, while the bass is almost indiscernible. The percussion track, on the other hand, “pops” out in the mix at a level that is usually reserved for a lead instrument, not a supporting one such as woodblock.
Suggestions: Signal processing can often be a tricky business. It is not all that hard to let oneself get lured into “ear candy” land, especially with reverb. The fact that Eric failed to list monitor speakers in his gear list leads us to wonder whether “Higher Consciousness” was mixed through headphones. If this is the case, it would certainly go a long way towards explaining the overly wet mix. While headphones often excel in areas such as panning/placement of instruments in a mix, they may be one of the worst tools for judging signal processing.
We suggest that Eric revisit his mix through monitor speakers and rebalance the instruments (with no processing at all) until he is certain that (1) The acoustic guitars lose some of their midrange bite and (2) the volume relationship between the bass and the percussion is reversed.
Only after this is accomplished would we advise him to (gingerly) experiment with reverb or short delays in order to give his track a sense of space. We would further encourage Eric to find and study commercial releases that feature similar instrumentation, with a particular emphasis on the processing. Any number of recordings by the great Russ Barenberg would do the trick.
Summary: Too much candy, ear or otherwise, is not advisable.
Contact: Eric J. Gosselin, www.taxi.com/ericjgosselin.