Mac running Apple Logic 8, M-Audio ProjectMix I/O, Xone 92 DJ mixer, AKG C-414, PreSonus BlueTube, Line 6 Bass POD, Digitech RP350, Marshall AS100, Event 20/20 monitors, Roland V-Drums and Roland XP-80 controlling sounds from Logic 8, Fender Strat, Pedulla Pentabuzz bass, Gibson J-185, Cordoba classical guitar.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Not unlike many of our submissions, “Dream in Red” is a bit of a mixed bag. Although he has written and performed music for over twenty years, Shawn tells us that he is relatively new to the world of recording and that this track represents eight months of trial and error.
Fair enough, then... how’s it sound? Well, if we had to pick a one-word description it would be “thin”, both individually and collectively. The haunting lead vocal, although free from sibilance, has a rather brittle quality to our ears. The bass is also kinda skinny and the kick drum has a lot more click than kick.
On the plus side, the electric guitars are nicely recorded, and the reverb on the vocal track provides a nice spatial setting. We should also add that the performances here are all quite good, particularly for a one-man-band effort.
Suggestions: Despite our concerns about the overall lack of low end in the mix, we have to say that for someone with less than a year of recording experience under his belt, Shawn has done a pretty bang-up job with his first major effort.
That said, we have to wonder about the accuracy of his monitoring position. Without any firsthand knowledge, our guess would be that there is a bass buildup occurring in his room that may be leading him to believe that his mixes need to be thinned out. We have certainly heard very successful mixes that were done using Event 20/20 monitors, but as a wise man once said, “You can’t mix what you can’t hear.” A second theory would be that Shawn attempted some “home” mastering and perhaps lopped off some low end at this stage.
In any event (pun intended), the remedy is the same, drum roll please… “Ladies and gentlemen, always A/B your mixes against others in your genre before declaring yourself to be finished.”
Not to scold Shawn here, but yikes! We have been preaching this same sermon for well over a decade in these pages and yet it seems as if this simple concept has continuously failed to take hold. Folks, it’s free, it’s easy, and it will lead to all manner of good things, ya know, kinda like flossing for your music. Ah, that’s better! Now go out and A/B, children—it’ll do you no harm.
Summary: “I’m gonna add some bottom so that the dancers just can’t hide”—Sly Stone
Contact: Shawn Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.myspace.com/staylormusic