Hotrodded Acer PC, Steinberg Cubase LE, Line 6 interface, Samson CO3 mic, Dean Cadillac and Gibson Les Paul guitars, Love bass, Samson Rubicon monitors, and JVC headphones.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Lots of heavy sounds on this one, with an emphasis on the low midrange end of the sound spectrum. Let’s start off with what the strong points of the recording are, namely the drums. We hear an energetic performance that was very nicely recorded via some distant miking. Well done!
Now for some of the trouble areas, starting with the vocals. While this is not the first case of the vocals being buried in the mix that we have heard, it may be one of the worst. Yeah, we get the idea of making the listener “work for it”, but come on Paul, unless you provide a lyric sheet to everyone who hears your tune, why not just make it an instrumental? We listened to “White Mountains” several times in a nicely treated room, through very accurate monitor speakers, and we would be hard pressed to tell you the words to a sentence! One can only imagine trying to decipher anything through computer laptop or boom box speakers.
The next trouble spot is the overabundance of low-mid frequencies in the track. While this genre of music certainly calls for a lot of it, too much can result in an effect called masking, and Paul’s recording is guilty here. There are more than a few sections where the low end of his aggressive guitars swallows up the bass. Not good, my friend.
Suggestions: Genres aside, there are core fundamentals to recording that are universal. We suggest that if Paul is serious in his lyric writing, he should bump up the level on his vocals in the mix. The fact that he lists no monitor speakers in his gear list leads us to wonder whether “White Mountains” was mixed on headphones. As most of you loyal readers know, this is somewhat of a pet peeve of ours. Without getting into the physics of the thing, let’s just say we that advise Paul to either buy or borrow some monitor speakers in the future. Even at very low levels (the “don’t wake the baby” kind), monitors will provide a better real-world test of his mix than headphones.
As for the masking, Paul needs to decide whether the bass or the electric guitar is going to occupy the low midrange of the track. One of them needs to make way for the other by taking out a healthy dose of frequencies in the 3–5 kHz range. Panning the electric guitar out to the sides a bit further would also help with definition.
Finally, we urge Paul to press on with his recordings. As with all art forms, recording is a process of trial and error, along with a lot of long hours spent in the learning process.
Summary: Carry on!
Contact: Paul Terl, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.myspace.com/terlmusic2