Roland VS-2480DVD, Behringer V-amp guitar module, Behringer Eurorack UB-2442 FXPro mixing board, Shure SM57 on all toms and snare, AKG D-112 on kick, MXL 990s for the overheads (“Yeah, I know, but they sound great!”). Instruments: Schecter 6-string accoustic, Peavey Steve Cropper Classic 6-string electric, Fender P-series bass. Pearl Export Select drums w/Sabian cymbals, Mapex Black Panther snare, Korg Triton Le workstation keyboard.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Waste Another Day” is an instrumental rock tune. James wrote, performed, and recorded it all at his home studio.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Unlike many of the “one man band” efforts that we receive, this one comes without any programming. James played all of the instruments, including the drums. Why do we make mention of this? Well, it is simply that we would like to give James his “props” for both his effort and the quality of all the performances. This is one of the rare cases where an artist displays rather equal skill on several different instruments. On the recording end of things, miking, playing and recording a real drum kit by oneself can often be a labor intensive and laborious undertaking, so we applaud James for his effort.
Now on to the heart of the matter: how does it sound? Well, our first impression is that the sound sources are generally well recorded and that the arrangement is pretty darn full. No shortage of guitars here, several clean electrics along with several dirty ones, at least two individual acoustic guitars, along with a lead guitar track or two. Combined this with very active bass, keyboard, and drum parts, and there’s a lot going on in the mix.
Fortunately James has made several wise decisions here that keep things from going bump in the night. One of the most successful ways of controlling a busy mix is through the use of judicious panning, and that is exactly the case here. The acoustic guitars are panned well away opposite each other allowing each to “speak” clearly. James has also used quite a wide panning scheme on his tom fills, giving them a true sense of motion in the mix. He is also savvy enough to weave the lead guitar and keyboard parts in and out of the mix at different time, thereby avoiding too much frequency buildup/masking between those instruments.
Although we liked the overall effort here, there are a few areas that we felt could be improved upon. The snare drum has a rather hollow, dull tone, and is a bit forward in the mix to our ears, while the lead guitar seems distant compared to the powerful “army” of acoustic and electrics. There are also some sections in the ending keyboard jam where the kick drum seems to get overwhelmed. Are those double bass drum fills? Can’t tell for sure.
Suggestions: Dense mixes such as this can be a slippery slope, and often require some exacting eq choices to be successful. To that end, we would encourage James to add some upper midrange to both his kick and snare drums. Some careful compression on the snare may also help to combat the hollow ringing tone. As for the ending jam, we suggest the James assign his electric and acoustic guitars to individual busses and “ride” those faders at the end in order to let the piano take center stage.
Summary: Good one man effort!
Contact: James Patterson, firstname.lastname@example.org