TASCAM SX-1 desktop recording workstation for tracking and mixing; KRK V6 monitors; Line 6 PODxt direct into board for guitars (ESP guitar); Tech 21 SansAmp 21 preamp pedal for bass (Rickenbacker bass); Akai MPC 2500 (played live, in real time) for drums; M-Audio Sputnik tube mic for vocals.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This month's Spotlight is a heavy, muscular track that really showcases how to achieve a huge bottom end presence without the mud and frequency issues that often accompany such mixes. In his cover letter Thomas tells us, "I have always wanted to push the envelope as an engineer and 'walk softly with a big stick" as a producer. This song gave me and my band a real opportunity to go there." Well, sir, to our ears you've hit the nail on the head. Through some judicous low end shelving at 250 Hz and a minor eq dip at 400 Hz Thomas has managed to create a low end that is huge but tight-as Thomas puts it, the eq "really swept the basement out nicely."
Even more impressive is the lack of frequency conflict between the aggressive bass and the low-mid dominant electric guitar. Both of these sound sources have plenty of room to flex their muscle and power the track. Rarely in our decade-plus tenure at the Readers' Tapes chair have we heard a more skillfully managed low/low midrange combination, and trust us when we tell you that it is this of the most difficult and potentially ruinous areas that we recordists have to deal with.
Thomas goes on to say, "I love the sound of tubes in and on anything I can apply them to, so this song gave us a good raucous excuse to make tube sound out of a bunch of digital gear. My drummer Jeffrey Hoover actually played this number with sticks on an MPC2500! He is a one-of-a-kind percussionist! Christo Morgan, our vocalist/lyricist, has an incredible talent for picking up a theme and running with it! I am glad to lay guitars and bass down for this outfit. Nice grooves and a lot of hard work."
As for the rest of the track, Christo's vocals are captured free of artifact and show no signs of problems going from conversational to belting. The secondary vocals are equally matched and well balanced. While we normally are not fans of drum pads, Mr. Hoover is a powerhouse player, and the use of the Akai MPC 2500 may actually have benefited the track due to the controlled nature of the tones/overtones, particularly in the low midrange areas. The balanced sonic spectrum makes this a powerful yet clear heavy rock statement.