Rock and Pop
Mac with two MOTU 828 mkII interfaces running Apple Logic 7.2 with Waves Renaissance plug-ins and Universal Audio UAD-1 card running 1176, 1073, Fairchild, and EMT 140 plug-ins; Mics: RØDE k2 and NT5, Audio-Technica AT4033, Shure SM57; Mackie 32•8 mixer, Great River ME-1NV, Universal Audio Solo/610, dbx 1066, Lexicon MX200, Behringer Tube Composer, Alesis Midiverb 4. Alvarez Yairi acoustic guitar, Fender Stratocaster with Blues Junior, Fender Precision bass.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Rock Star” is a male vocal rock song. Brett wrote the tune, sang the vocals, and played the synth, Rhodes and piano parts. Eric Lichter of Dirt Floor Studios in Chester, CT, played the drums, as well as the bass, electric guitars and the Hammond organ. Although it was not listed, we assume that Brett was also the recordist on the project.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Brett and Eric have done some nice work on this track. The lead vocal is up front without too much artifact, while the backing vocals are even more impressive, both in arrangement and execution. Well done! Equally impressive to us were the electric lead and slide guitars. Not only is Eric a fine player, but he and Brett also captured some mighty fine tones with his Strat/Blues Jr. rig. We also dug the organ, which helped to provide some solidity to the track.
Unfortunately, when it came to the rhythm section, our enthusiasm was dampened a bit. Although the performance aspect of the drums and bass was certainly adequate, tone and balance issues make them problematic in the mix. The drums tones are very organic, dry and uncompressed, and their mix-forward positioning creates an imbalance such that the power chord electric rhythm guitars sound weak in comparison. The relationship between the soft simple kick drum and the active bass guitar is also creating issues in the mix. Both of these sound sources could use a lot more punch in order to give the track some oomph.
Suggestions: If the guys are fond of the sound of their drums, we suggest that they reference some late ’60s Creedence Clearwater Revival recordings for guidance. Those recordings featured a very open sounding kit that still managed to rock with the best of them. Ditto the bass—one could do worse than emulating the classic Clifford/Cook rhythm section!
If, however, the drums are open to change, we would suggest that Brett apply some compression to the snare along with some reverb to give it a bit more of a modern sound. He might also consider adding several dB of eq at approximately 3.5 kHz to his kick drum in order to bring out some beater head or mid-range definition.
Once that is cleared up, re-examine the bass and its relationship to the kick. It may be best to simplify the bass part on order for it to meld with the kick. After these changes are made, we suggest that the whole drum kit volume be lowered until those electric guitars regain the power that they were intended for in the mix.
Summary: A tweak here and there and you’re good to go.
Contact: Brett Terry, www.brettsongs.com.