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“That first song on your demo is like a radio hit: you want to hook the listener in the first ten seconds, interest him/her more in the next ten seconds, and if you can really hold them through the first minute they might listen to your whole tape.”- John Simon

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Current Tape Reviews

Tiresmoke and Gasoline
 
Artist Name:
Dan Spechtenhauser
  Title:
Tiresmoke and Gasoline
 
Date Posted:
October 2010
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

PC with Line 6 POS Studio UX2 interface, running Sonoma Wire Works Riffworks Standard with Sonic Reality Raw Pop Rock drum loops and Line 6 POD Farm 2 guitar effects plug-ins. Fender Strat: POD Farm effects-Noise gate, Brit J-800, 4-band eq, Medium Hall Reverb. Bass Guitar: Fender Strat through POD Farm effects-Noise gate, Sub Octave, Adam and Eve, Compressor. Vocals: Audio-Technica ST90 MKII through POD Farm effects-Vetta comp, Console EQ, Tube Echo, Brite Room Reverb.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Tiresmoke and Gasoline" is a male vocal rock song. Dan was the author, artist and recordist on the track; he wrote, "It's all mine so I will take all the blame."

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 2
Recording: Achieving the proper balance of sound sources is the key to any sucessful mix. Unfortunately, like many of our submissions, Dan's mix has just enough balance issues to "spoil the soup," as they say. Lets take a look/listen and see what going on.

First of all, there seems to be a reversal of roles concerning the drums and the melody instruments and vocals. While we can certainly appreciate the forward nature of Dan's drum kit, we're a bit puzzled as to why the rest of the sound sources appear to be in a totally different ambient space. The vocals sound buried and distant, ditto the guitars. Adding to the problem is the fact that there is no discernable bass guitar in the mix and the changing sound of the snare drum gets tiresome fairly quickly.

Suggestions: Over the years we have listened to hundreds (if not thousands) of mixes with balance issues. The causes can vary greatly, but the most common ones concern room acoustics and monitoring. Next up would be folks who are simply unsure as to the way to achieve a sense of depth and size in a mix. Like most things in life, the later is usually learned through trial and error, and the experience that comes along with it. As the wise man once said said, "You don't know what you don't know, ya know."

Given that, we would encourage Dan to take the quickest and least expensive road to redemption by simply getting in the practice of A/Bing his mixes. There are plenty of great commercial recordings that specialized in "burying" the vocals as part of their sound. Any of the early R.E.M. releases would work; after all, things turned out OK for them, didn't they?

As many of you know by now, even in our Auto-Tuned, cut and paste, plug-in world, there is still no magic "balance" button in or outside the box. This, my friends, is the skill that the engineer still brings to the table, and how it's done determines if the meal is fast food or gourmet.

Summary: There is a reason that A and B are the first letters of the alphabet!

Contact: Dan Spechtenhauser, danspec@gmail.com.

About: Marty Peters

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