Mac with MOTU 828 FireWire interface running MOTU AudioDesk software; M-Audio Audio Buddy dual mic preamp; Mics: AKG D310, Shure 8800, Oktava MK-210-01 (Room Mic); Guild D-44 guitar; floor tom, calabash rattle, leather ocean drum, tambourine, and cymbals.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Mono! Tom, we love you! Mono, yippee! Tom tells us that he tracked his tune in mono because “he hasn’t figured out the whole stereo thing”. Well, at the risk of sounding flip, good for you, my friend.
What Tom has figured out is how to create a sense of space and depth in his track that would put a lot of stereo mixes to shame. The difference is that this spatial goodness is front to back rather than side to side. Starting with a very cool shaker/rattle, Tom stacks his sounds. Rattle first, then the dry acoustic guitar, followed by a reverbed lead vocal and finally the percussion, which is treated with a great delay effect that really serves to set it back into the rear of the stack. Well done!
Suggestions: There was a time back in the “good old days” when mono was king and stereo was the red headed stepchild, much like 5.1 surround sound is to stereo these days. Most if not all recording consoles were fitted with a mono switch, and the ubiquitous Auratone speaker was a fixture in practically every studio. In fact, one of the biggest complaints that arose during beginning of the digital recording age was the loss of front-to-back depth in mixes. This has been blamed on numerous things over the past twenty years, from sample and bit rates to converters to the actual physical media itself.
So how do we explain Tom’s results, then? Well, perhaps it comes down to familiarity and skill, rather than gear. Tom tells us that he’s into old acoustic blues and field recordings and that mono is a comfortable fit for his style. Because of this he has focused his skills in one area, and the results speak for themselves. Therefore, since we can find no obvious fault or flaw with his work here, our only suggestion would be for Tom to indeed “figure out the whole stereo thing”. Combining the gorgeous front-to-back depth that is evidenced here with some side-to-side action would no doubt lead to good things.
Summary: Wait ’til he masters stereo!
Contact: Tom Forsythe, firstname.lastname@example.org.