Apple 24” iMac with Digidesign 003 Factory running Pro Tools LE, factory plug-ins, Xpand!, and BBE D82 Sonic Maximizer plug-in; Samson CL8 condenser mic, Shure SM57, SM58, and Beta 58 mics; BBE Dual MaxCom compressor and Sonic Maximizer racks; Taylor 410 acoustic guitar, Ibanez Jem 777 electric guitar; BOSS DD-3 and DigiTech guitar effects; Marshall JCM800 tube amp with two 4x12 cabs.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Mark has submitted a fairly solid effort here that is unfortunately suffering from some rather obvious compression and stereo field issues. While the performances are fine overall, the amount of compression on the drums has flattened them out, and in the process, robbed them of much of their tone. We also couldn’t help but notice just how narrow the overall sound field is. Mark has piled the drums, bass, acoustic/electric guitars as well as the vocals right up the gut—hey it’s football season, what can we tell ya?—resulting in a claustrophobic stereo field.
So that’s the bad news. The good news is that his tracks are solid and the fixes are pretty easy to accomplish.
Suggestions: Since no actual drums are listed in Mark’s gear list we assume that they were generated via a plug-in in his 003 system. To our ears the kit sounds as if it was treated with some sort of buss compression, rather than compression on each individual drum. If this is indeed the case, it should be easy enough to recall the mix and go back to the drawing board with a less severe compression ratio, as well as a faster release time. The result should be a re-awakening of the tonal complexity associated with a more natural sounding kit.
As for the stereo field, ya got it, so why not use it? Panning out the electric and acoustic guitars alone would do wonders to open things up down the center, thus liberating the lead vocal. Mark may also want to consider some creative panning of his backing vocals as a way of generating some additional excitement in the mix.
Summary: Lots to work with here.
Contact: Mark Spinner, firstname.lastname@example.org.