HP dual-core Athlon PC with 3 GB RAM, PreSonus FireBox interface, M-Audio Oxygen II 61 keyboard, and Frontier Designs AlphaTrack, running Steinberg Cubase 4 with Waves Platinum and SSL 4000 plug-ins, Toontrack Superior Drummer 2.0 with Country kit, and Steinberg HALion One strings; MXL V69 tube mic (vocals), Alesis M1 Active 520 monitors with ESi 8” subwoofer, Seagull 25th Anniversary cutaway acoustic guitar (miked with AKG C1000S and mixed with direct signal from onboard pickup), Fender Jazz bass (direct through ART Tube MP).
Production Notes & Credits:
“A Long Way From Last Night” is a female vocal acoustic ballad. Peter Renfree co-wrote, engineered and produced the track, as well as handling the instrumentation and programming. The fine lead vocal was courtesy of Andi Renfree.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Recorded and mixed in a “17’ x 76’ mobile home, between cars and trucks passing by”, the Renfrees have done a pretty darn good job with this track. The acoustic guitar has a full rich tone and the bass is strong without overpowering the mix.
Peter did a good job choosing his drum and string tones and their programming remains believable throughout the song.
For the most part we also felt that Andi’s soulful vocals were well recorded. We say “for the most part” because while we love the presence and intimacy that Peter was able to achieve, we do hear a slight bit of sibilance as well as some distortion on the vocal. Short of this, our only real quibble with “A Long Way From Last Night” is the programmed hi-hat count in at the intro to the track. While we are able to “buy” the programmed drums as a whole, in our humble opinion the intro hi-hat is not at all convincing, nor is it really neccessary.
Suggestions: Ah, mobile home recording, now that brings back some memories! Done that and been there, folks. Hey, if it works, it works, we say. Peter obviously knows his system well enough to get good results and he and Andi both have the musicianship as well.
As for the trouble spots, Peter may want to experiment with the mic placement on his MXL V69 in order to cut down on the vocal peaks. Short of that a slight bit of input compression would be helpful. As for the hi-hat, if it was functioning as a click track, there’s no need for it in the final mix. To our ears the songs enters just fine without it there.
Summary: Well done, just a few loose ends to clean up.
Contact: Peter Renfree/The Renfrees, email@example.com.