MacBook Pro with MOTU Pre8 interface running MOTU Digital Performer 6.02 and its plug-ins, Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2, Waves plug-ins, Drums On Demand drum library; Behringer MX3282A mixer; AKG C 414 B TL mic; Joemeek VC1 channel strip, Lexicon 300L effects processor; Sony MDR-7506 headphones, Behringer Truth B2030A monitors; 1979 Fender Strat, cheap old bass.
Production Notes & Credits:
“Stop” is a male vocal jazzy rock tune with a Steely Dan/Boz Scaggs vibe. Dino wrote, performed, programmed, recorded, mixed and mastered the project.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This month’s Spotlight is a tremendous one man band effort that shines on a multitude of levels. Before we get into the real nuts and bolts of the recording, let’s take a brief moment to discuss what makes this such a standout track in our opinion.
Those of you who have followed Recording Magazine’s Readers’ Tapes review column for any period of time are aware that the majority of submissions that we receive are from one man/woman band operations. You have also heard me (on many occasions) point out just how rare it is for a recording musician to possess an elevated skill set across the entire spectrum required to pull off a really topnotch track. From the composition right on through to the final mastering, the number of pitfalls facing a person working entirely alone can be daunting.
The one area that probably gets the short shrift in all of this is focus, and in the end it may be the most important of all. You sports fans out there will probably agree that the greatest athletes out there, like Tiger Woods, Tom Brady or Alex Ovechkin, in addition to their incredible talent, also seem to possess an even greater level of focus. It seems that Dino had a very specific sound in mind for his track... and all of his decisions reflect that.
Dino was kind enough to share his recording process with us so let’s hear it from the man himself. He states: “I use Digital Performer 6.02 as my DAW going into a MOTU Pre8 on my Macbook Pro (2008 - OS 10.5.8). Monitoring on Behringer 3020A speakers, Sony MDR-7506 phones and the stereo in my Mazda 3.”
“All the vocals were recorded with an old AKG C 414 B TL into a Joemeek VC1 Studio Channel slightly compressed but also going though a channel strip of my Behringer MX3282A console to the DAW. I include the mixer in the chain for some analog “noise” :-). Lead vocals (double-tracked) centered, all other harmonies panned more or less L&R to create a really nice wide vocal fullness. I like voices to sound almost like a pad. The multi-leveler in DP6 was added later as a plug-in to add warmth to the vocals as well as reverb.”
“The bass used was a cheap GK 4-string Precision copy, going through the VC1 directly and played with a pick. BTW, all instruments are played “live to tape”. Again a little use of eq and compression was used on the bass track. DP plugs again. The guitar is my beautiful ’79 Strat going through the VC1 and the mixer and then treated with NI Guitar Rig 2. All guitars recorded directly, no amps involved. Guitar tracks centered and panned in different positions to separate and clarify the mix, the solo guitar, in GR2, center. Drums were the only “fake” instrument. All loops are from the fabulous Drums on Demand series. Simply drag and drop into the right place.”
“The only thing I can tell you about the mix is that it was done on the fly. I always mix while I am recording which means that when I am finished recording, the song is 99.9% final. A few days of rest, another listen and fine tuning and then mastering. I use the term ‘mastering’ loosely as it is just final eq, compression (very little), and maximizing of the bounced stereo file with Waves.”
Well, there you have it, then! Dino’s hard work has resulted in a track that has a richness and clarity usually found in big-budget affairs. We love the programming and those stacked harmonies are the best we’ve heard this side of Donald and Walter (Steely Dan for you youngsters out there). The processing on the electric guitar is spot on for the genre, as is the funky bass. Add in a clean succinct arrangement and voila, 5 stars indeed.
Summary: Well done, sir... and welcome to the Spotlight club!
Contact: Dino Pacifici, firstname.lastname@example.org.