Digidesign mBox, Pro Tools LE 7.3, drum loops created using Sony CDs and Ableton Live 5, Roland MA-12 monitors, MXL 990 condenser mic, Ibanez electric bass, Guild F412 12 string acoustic guitar, Michael Kelly mandolin, Roland RD-300SX piano & onboard horn sounds, IK Multimedia SampleTank 2 LE with B3 Organ sample.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: A solid overall effort by Gary here. The twelve-string acoustic guitar is well recorded and a refreshing change of pace, and the arrangement breathes nicely. In addition, the faux horns and drums are pretty darn convincing for sampled sources. Our only minor issues with Gary’s recording center around the lead vocal and bass guitar tones. While Gary has done an admirable job “seating” his lead vocal in the mix, the overall tone is a bit thin to our ears. As for the bass, there are times during its ascending/descending pattern that it seems to get a bit masked by some competing frequencies, particularly during the chorus.
Suggestions: This really is a lovely tune, and Gary should be proud of it. Regarding the minor issues that we had, we can easily make some simple suggestions for tweaks. While there is certainly nothing wrong with the MXL 990 condenser mic that Gary used for his lead vocal, it may be that a dynamic mic would provide a more successful match for Gary’s voice. Dynamic mics often fly under the radar when compared to condensers, but they can be really helpful in bulking up certain voices. My initial suggestions would be a Shure SM7 or Electro-Voice RE20; those are more upscale dynamics with great track records for creating bigger-than-life vocals. If that’s a bit beyond Gary’s budget, it can’t hurt to borrow and try out a less expensive dynamic mic such as the venerable Shure SM57 or SM58. Most touring bands and small studios have at least one 57 or 58 lying around, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.
As for the bass, we suggest that Gary leave it as is, and instead use some wider panning on his twelve-string, in order to give the bass some room of its own in the mix, thereby reducing the frequency collision in the center of his spatial field.
Summary: Nice! Only a few small tweaks to go.
Contact: Gary Stockton, firstname.lastname@example.org.