Apple iMac running Logic 8 with M-Audio FireWire 410 interface and Keyrig 25 USB keyboard controller, Focusrite Voicemaster Pro vocal channel strip, M-Audio Sputnik condenser mic, Takamine G Series acoustic, Yamaha BB5 bass.
Production Notes & Credits:
“In Your Shade” is a male vocal light rock song. Jason wrote and recorded the track along most of the performing and programming. The drums were played by Leo Gayten, and the backing vocals were courtesy of Jason’s fiancée Zandy.
In Jason’s words: “I recorded the drum tracks at South Street Sounds with a Jazz Drummer named Leo Gayten. Drums were recorded with a Shure kick mic and SM57s all around including for the two overheads. I then brought the drum tracks home and finished the recording. I am a rookie so I’m sure the mistakes are vast but I have been really impressed with the results from Logic 8—all the presets have been fantastic for someone who is just beginning to figure out compressors, limiters, gates, etc. etc. I played all other instruments in the recording, including my first attempt at a MIDI instrument track for the strings section. I also feebly attempted to mix and master the song. Backup vocals were done by my fiancée Zandy, who has a way better voice than I do.”
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: A self-professed “newbie”, Jason has gotten a lot of things right on this attempt (including the mention of his fiancée!). He tells us that he recorded the drums at a commercial facility, utilizing the skills of an accomplished drummer. Following that, he took the drum tracks home, where he imported them into his iMac, and then proceeded to record the rest of his sound sources. So how did Jason do? Not too bad for a rookie, although there are some areas that can be improved on.
Before we get down to the nuts and bolts, we would like to take a second out and applaud Jason for making the decision to track his drums as he did. He obviously recognized that a skilled drummer in a properly treated room would yield better results than he could do at home, and he was honest enough and committed enough to make the financial investment in his project. As for the remainder of the track, our main issue concerns the various ambient textures that are at play here. The drums have a very organic ’70’s vibe (must be those Shure SM57s!), while the instrument pad and the lead vocals are heavily reverbed and swimmy sounding. Unfortunately, the result is that there are sort of two flavors going on at once.
Suggestions: The good news is that the problem areas in Jason’s recording are easily fixable should he choose to do so. As most of you long-time readers know, we have a rather love/hate relationship with compression in this column. When used properly, it can be a great tool, providing glue and punch to myriad sound sources. Conversely, when misused, few tools in the recordist’s arsenal can cause as many (often unfixable) problems.
This is one of the rare times where we feel that adding some judicious compression to the drums would be of benefit. In their present state, though well played and recorded, they seem to lack a unified sound. We would also suggest adding some reverb to the snare and toms, along with some low end eq to the toms in order to provide some additional impact to the fills.
Regarding the ambience, this is also not an uncommon problem. We urge Jason to re-explore his vision for the track. Wet and swimmy, or dry and present? There is no right or wrong, but the two ends of the spectrum need to come closer for the track to succeed.
Summary: Much better than he gives himself credit for.
Contact: Jason Sees, firstname.lastname@example.org