Soundscape R.Ed 24-track DAW; RØDE K-2 condenser mic, Focusrite TwinTrak Pro mic preamp, Urei 1176LN compressor/limiters, t.c.electronic M3000 reverb, Yamaha REV7 reverb; Guild D-50 acoustic guitar, Fender Precision Bass, Fender Strat, claves, shaker, Roland JV-1080 and JV-880 sound modules, Ludwig drums.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Mark has created an interesting and often-difficult sonic scenario here, with the inclusion of several instruments that share a common frequency range. Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin and shaker, a fairly common recipe for disaster! So how did it all turn out? Let's take a look.
While he has chosen to wisely pan his mando and acoustic guitar out to approximately 11 and 1 o'clock, the song still gets a bit claustrophobic at times. Several factors seem to be contributing here, and they are not all panning issues. For starters, Mark's bass part is very active, unfortunately a bit too active to our ears. This, combined with the lack of a strong kick/snare presence, helps contribute to a general sense of "wandering' in the track. And while we applaud Mark's panning choices on his acoustic guitar, mando, and rain stick and to a lesser degree, the electric guitar, placing his backing vocals straight up the center of the mix is clogging things up considerably.
Suggestions: The use of panning is certainly a matter of taste. Some top-flight mixers such as Bob Clearmountain are known for the amount of placement in their mixes, while others find something a bit more narrow more to their liking. What is undisputed across the board, however, is the fact that certain sound sources are almost always granted the center of the mix. These include the kick and snare drums, along with the bass and the lead vocal. From there it's "mix to taste", although planting something as space-demanding as the backing vocals in the center is a pretty sure way of causing a logjam.
We would suggest that Mark move his harmonies out of the center and to also establish some type of low end rhythm presence in order to rein in his bass and counterbalance the many midrange to high frequency sound sources in his mix.
Summary: "Damn, this traffic jam."
Contact: Mark Hibbert, firstname.lastname@example.org.