TASCAM MX2424 hard drive recorder with a TASCAM DM24 digital mixing board; Avalon M5 DI/preamp, ART Pro Channel tube preamp; AKG C3000 and C4000B; Shure SM57 and Beta 52; Sennheiser MD 421, RØDE NT-1. Mixed on a Pro Tools HD rig.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Lolinda” is a male vocal rock song with a slinky, sensual Dire Straits vibe. The Providers are a group from Milbrook, New York, a quartet consisting of Mark Calkins on guitar and blues harp, Vincent (“Vinny”) Armanino on guitar, Bobby Lee on bass, and Doug Levey on drums. They play originals as well as covers and play the small-club/party circuit in their area, and have samples of many of their originals on their website at www.theprovidersonline.com.
The tracking was a collaborative effort at Elm Knoll, the band’s 400 square foot “band cave” studio. The mixing, mastering and organ overdubs were done literally down the street by John Holbrook at his home studio.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Man oh man, you gotta be kiddin’ me! To say that we are impressed by “Lolinda” would be the understatement of the year. Whatever gap that may have existed between “commercial” and home/project studios recordings may have just been officially closed. Mark and the fellows have done a brilliant job in every aspect here. The writing, arranging, tones and performances are as good as we have ever heard from any submission since taking over this column some twelve years ago. Adding to that is a superb mix, spacious and pristine, free from the squashed brittle sounds that accompany many of today’s recordings, whether they be home, indie or major label releases.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the majority of the gear that was used to produce this sonic goodness will be familiar to most of you. The drums were tracked using Shure and Sennheiser mics—a Shure Beta 52 on the kick, Shure SM57s and Sennheiser 421s on the toms—along with a pair of RØDE NT-1 mics placed about three feet back for overheads. The NT-1s were also used on the acoustic guitars as a spaced pair, approximately 12 inches out from the body. Mark’s stellar vocals were captured via an AKG C4000B and an ART Pro Channel mic pre. The ubiquitous Shure SM57 came into play once again when miking the electric guitar cabinets, while the rock steady bass was run direct through an Avalon M5 DI/preamp. All of this was tracked to a TASCAM MX2424 hard disk recorder and monitored through a TASCAM DM 24 digital console. The whole affair was then transferred to John’s Pro Tools HD rig for mixing/mastering, and the results as they say, speak for themselves.
This month’s Spotlight sounds as if it could have been a long lost Dire Straits number. We love the clean “Stratty” tone on the lead guitar, and the conversational style lead vocal grabs our full attention with a whisper instead of a scream. The rhythm section and percussion tracks have an excellent spatial feel and tone, and the song builds dynamically up to a full bridge section that handles myriad sound sources without feeling cluttered or claustrophobic.
What we have here is the culmination of some fifteen years of playing and recording by a band of friends, exemplifying all that can be accomplished with hard work, patience and the continual striving for improvement. If this doesn’t inspire you loyal readers out there to reach for the brass ring, then I don’t know what will.
Summary: Once upon a time in the west indeed! Superb!
Contact: Mark Calkins / The Providers, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theprovidersonline.com.