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Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Terry Carolan
Date Posted:
November 2008
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Equipment: Broken TASCAM 38, Allen & Heath SR-416 console and Mackie 1202 (for MIDI submix), Sonus SMX2000 MIDI Timecode Generator, dbx 166A, AudioArts Engineering 1200 comp/limiter, Alesis XT reverb, Alesis MidiVerb 2, Yamaha SPX90, AT 4033 (vox and some ac. guitar), Shure SM57 (el. guitar), Alesis D4, Korg M1, Kurzweil Micro Piano module, Roland MC500 sequencer, ‘65 Fender Deluxe, Mesa Boogie Studio preamp, Alesis Quad GT (for guitars), Ovation and Takamine acoustics and Gibson Les Paul and Fender Strat electrics, Sony DTC 790 DAT (mastering machine), Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro (now Adobe Audition) for final mastering only, KRK K-Rok monitors.

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Production Notes & Credits:

Music: “Holly” is a male vocal rock song. Terry played guitar and sang the lead vocals. Kip Millwee played bass, along with keyboards and guitar. The backing vocals were courtesy of Al Chan and Tommy Dunbar. The drums came from an Alesis D4; we are not sure if they were triggered via MIDI or from pads. Recording: Yet another recording with a fascinating story—in fact, this one may have just taken over the number one spot! Terry explains that “’Holly” was recorded on a TASCAM 38 half-inch reel-to-reel machine that was having serious problems and would lose different tracks in each of the Record, Sync or Playback modes. To compound that, they were not necessarily the same tracks each time. “The tape machine would only work properly if I used a heat gun, to heat up the motherboard and channel boards, so the bottom of the machine stayed off throughout the sessions, and the heat gun had to be applied every few passes. I was still using a time-code interface for MIDI, so I had to print timecode to one track of tape, leaving seven tracks to work with.” Fair enough, Terry: You are the winner of this month’s How-to-keep-a-’56-Chevy-running-in-Havana Award!

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Remarkably, after all of this, Terry and friends have done a pretty admirable job with their recording. The lead and backing vocals are full and present and benefit from a fine arrangement. They would receive even higher marks on our report card if not for the obvious sibilance on Terry’s lead track. The digital drum part, while failing to achieve an ideal acoustic sound, still manages to be a convincing performance. The bass does its job, melding nicely with the kick, while the electric guitars, both the “jangly” rhythm and gritty lead, work very well.

Suggestions: Under normal circumstances, we would advise Terry to go back and do whatever possible to eliminate what appears to be compressor/limiter-based sibilance on his vocal. However, since this would require several more passes with the heat gun, as well as a remix, we suggest that Terry spend some time getting to know his compressor. This processor may be the most overused and misused piece of gear in modern recording. Learning its nuances will be invaluable for Terry down the line.

Summary: We’ve heard hot recordings before, but never like this!

Contact: Terry Carolan,

About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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