TASCAM 414, Shure SM57, DigiTech processor, Peavey bass, Fender Telecaster, Pearl drums, Sabian cymbals.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Broken World” is a male vocal rock song. Alan wrote, performed, produced and mixed the entire track.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: If you read the gear list carefully you’ll see mention of a TASCAM 414 four-track recorder. For the uninitiated, this was no palm-of-your-hand, flash-card USB little number. No sir, this was the genuine thing, a four-track cassette recorder, which may even have had noise reduction!
This, folks, back in the day of yore, was what many of us considered the linchpin of our home-recording setups. Cassettes were inexpensive and if you didn’t mind a little “wow and flutter” (go look it up in Wikipedia) they were the perfect little pre-production demo machines. Flash forward to 2008, and lo and behold here comes Alan, the self-appointed “analog ghost in a digital world” with his tune “Broken World”, all cassetted up and rarin’ to go.
OK, but hang on a minute, this sounds pretty darn good. Yeah, there may be some timing issues, but the drums are crackin’; the lead vocal is present (maybe a bit too much) and without artifact; the bass, characteristically a problem area with narrow format analog tape (due to the limited bandwidth) is present and accounted for.
On the down side, the distorted electric guitar, with its emphasis on the low mids, is clogging up the center of the mix, and the backing vocal lacks enough presence to contribute to the overall blend.
Still, in spite of these problems Alan has really done a nice job with “Broken World”. The fact that he must have had to do at least one reduction mix (bounce) to make room for all of his sound sources makes the whole thing even more impressive.
Suggestions: Simple, really—pan the electric guitar out to one side or the other, thereby reducing some of the masking effect that it’s having in the bass. Following that, pull the lead vocal back into the mix a bit, and then thicken up the backing vocal to reduce its thin tone.
Summary: Man over machine!
Contact: Alan Ledesky, firstname.lastname@example.org.