Compaq PC running Adobe Audition with Loopology (drum loops), Music preamp emulator, Audio Damage Vapor, Soundfonts IT GS-201 delay, KX delay, Digitalfishphones Spitfish, Voxengo Marauis compressor, Stereo expander, Reverb, T-RackS, GigaStudio with East West Steinway, Memory Moon, Musicrow String Machine, KX Omni-Percuss, E-Mu 0404, M-Audio 2496, TASCAM USB-122; Focusrite Trackmaster Pro Platinum preamp, TC Electronic M300, Digitech Vocalist EX Workstation Harmonizer, Robert Keeley compressor, DigiTech GNX3000 guitar and bass processor, Behringer patch bay, RØDE NT-1, CAD Trion 700, Studio Projects B1, 1933 Martin Parlor guitar, customized 1962 Gibson ES-330, 1967 Fender Coronado Elec.12, custom Warmoth solid-body guitar, customized Electra semi-fretted bass, customized Squier mini-Strat, 1976 Buescher tenor sax, Ensoniq ESQ-1 as controller, Yamaha PF70 as controller, 1950s Selmer Centered Tone clarinet.
Production Notes & Credits:
This song (actually untitled as far as the included notes are concerned; we gave it the title "Hear My Heart Cry" based on the lyrics) is a male vocal Christian rock ballad. Fred programmed, performed and handled the recording chores. Cliff Horn wrote the tune and sang the lead vocal. The backing vocals were provided by Brenda Korkosz.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: A fine overall effort that is being held back by some very nasty vocal processing. While we admire the rich full tones and the skillful processing of the music bed, we can’t help but wonder what is going on with the lead vocals. Right from the get-go we hear what sounds like a de-esser that has run amok. The word “artist” is completely without the letter “t”, making it near impossible to grasp the meaning of Cliff’s heartfelt lyrics. This processing is also affecting many of the “s” words, although not all. The bottom line is whatever processing Fred has chosen to use on Cliff’s vocals has created a smeared effect that continues throughout the entire performance. Definitely a big no-no on a message song such as this.
Fred has listed three mics in his gear list, and while we don’t know for sure which was used for the lead vocal, we are left to wonder whether there was a sibilance problem in the tracking that resulted in the necessity of a de-lesser either during the actual performance or at the mixdown stage. If the effect is not generated from a de-lesser, we can only conclude that Fred chose to apply some type of flanger or other processor that caused the issue.
Suggestions: We have published countless articles in Recording through the years that concern themselves with vocal recording. Whether it be focused on mics, performance or processing, these pages are rich with information on ways to achieve successful vocals. Fred tells us that he is an enthusiastic reader of our magazine and we have no reason to doubt the man! With that in mind, we suggest that he revisit some of those fine articles.
In the meantime we suggest that he go back to his mix and get to the root of the problem. If Cliff’s voice is inherently sibilant, Fred may have to use a different mic or some judicious mic positioning or even eq to tame the problem. If on the other hand what we are hearing is actual processing—a de-esser, flanger/chorus, etc.—we’d advise Fred to remove it so that Cliff’s message can be heard clearly.
Summary: Almost there.