SPOTLIGHT 36: Cha Cha Sensemaya
Tracked on Avid Pro Tools|HD on Mac Pro with Digidesign Control|24; mixed on MacBook Pro 2.16 GHz Core Duo and Avid Mbox 2 Pro using Pro Tools LE with Factory plug-ins; Dynaudio Acoustics BM5 monitors. Mics: two AKG C3000B (overheads), Shure SM57 (snare), Electro-Voice RE20 (kick), stereo pairs of SM57s on congas and bongos, Audio-Technica AT4050 (alto sax and flute), Shure KSM44 (guiro, baritone sax, trumpet, all vocals); Bass via DI, Yamaha digital piano.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Cha Cha Sensemaya" is a Latin big band instrumental. Robert handled the recording/mixing. The musicians on the track are the band Sensemeya, featuring Dave Gleason on piano and backing vocals, Ryan Lukas on electric bass, Pete Sweeney on drums, Tim Williams on alto and baritone sax and backing vocals, Ben Akrish on trumpet, Tony Garcia Jr. and Sr. on congas and bongos respectively. Rounding out the group on lead vocals and guiro was Walter Ramos. The song was composed by Mssrs. Gleason and Lukas and was mastered by Larry Devivo at Silvertone Mastering in Saratoga, NY.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This month's Spotlight was a dual-purpose affair. David was needing a demo for his group, while Robert was in need of a band to record for his music production class. Fortunately, the end result seems to have served both purposes rather nicely.
Tracked on a Pro Tools|HD system and mixed on a Mbox/LE system, the recording utilized both large and small room environments. For example, while the basic traks were recorded in a large room at Robert's school, the backup and lead vocals were recorded in a middle school band room. Better still, the trumpet was "recorded on a Sunday morning at the front counter of Hermie's Music Store in Schenectady." Hey, you can't make stuff like that up, folks!
Anyway... it's not often that we receive submissions that so successfully marry such disparate sonic environments together, but Robert has done just that. From the intro piano we get a great sense of room and "room". While we are not privy to Robert's miking setup, the drums and percussion sound very natural and "real". The horns are tighter and drier in the mix, which gives them a nice punch and contrast, and we also dug the treatment of the "wetted-up" backing vocals.
One of the hardest areas of recording is mixing and blending different ambiences together. Very often we receive submissions that sound as if the drums are in the parking lot and the vocals are in the closet. Not so here, however. So take this opportunity to study up, this is how it's done!
Summary: Say hi to the folks at Hermie's for us!
Contact: Sensemaya, www.sensemaya.net; Robert Aronstein, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.robertaronstein.com