Pro tools LE, Gibson SG, Fender Stratocaster, AKG microphone, TLM 500.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Dance Alone” is a male vocal jazzy rock song. Steve wrote recorded and played all of the instruments with the exception of the drums and backing vocals, which were provided by Jason Mielke and Monique Loumeau respectively, and the sax, which was played by David Halliday. (This last credit came to us as a correction from Steve after the review went to press; fortunately we can correct it here.)
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Although most of the sound sources (particularly the sax) are fairly well recorded here, there is something claustrophobic about Steve’s mix. We hear a good deal of information crowded into the center of the soundscape, and while there seems to be no obvious frequency masking, many of the instruments seem to have a dull feel to them because of it. This over-centering also causes Monique’s harmony vocals to practically jump out at us due to their wide panned placement.
In addition, the lead vocal seems to have some type of processing attached to it that gives it a “wobbly” feel. Those of you old enough to remember cassette tape recordings would be tempted to indentify the sound as the dreaded “wow and flutter” of that medium. Not sure how this has manifested itself here, but doggone it, that sure is what it sounds like.
Suggestions: While panning choices are certainly a matter of preference, allowing for space and ambience is an important part of any mix. This is true even in mono, although with a more “front to back” emphasis. We suggest that Steve experiment with some panning options in order to breathe some life and excitement into his recording. Again, there are no hard and fast rules here, other than keeping the kick/snare, bass and lead vocal centered.
Speaking of the lead vocal, we found the processing to be a distraction, and out of character with the rest of the sound sources. If for some reason this is simply the sound of Steve’s natural voice, then we will retract our statement; if not, then we suggest that he experiment with other types of reverbs/delays. Lastly, we would advise Steve to reassess Monique’s vocal in terms of placement and volume. The addition of some light compression would help to keep it from leaping out quite as much as it does presently.
Summary: All the ingredients are here... now off to the kitchen with you!
Contact: Steve Kusaba, firstname.lastname@example.org.