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Current Tape Reviews

Trust The Sky
Artist Name:
Paula McMath
Trust The Sky
Date Posted:
January 2011
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

"Piano, guitar, Neumann U87 mic"

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Trust The Sky" is a female vocal ballad. Paula sang and co-produced along with Ian Hattwick, instrument performance credits were not supplied.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Recording: A beautiful, simple song that would be at home on any contemporary acoustic/folk play list. For the most part the recording is well done, with the exception of some piano sustain pedal noise (especially during the intro) and some compressor/limiter smear on the lead vocals, particularly on the f and s sounds.

Suggestions: Since only one microphone (albeit a great one) was mentioned in the gear list, we assume that the piano was miked in mono. How, and more importantly, where, the mic was positioned holds the key to the excess pedal noise. Were the piano and vocal tracked simultaneously? Could the pedal noise be coming in from the vocal mic? Without further details it's hard to know for sure. What is abundantly clear is that with a recording this sparse, there is no place to hide any unwanted artifact, particularly during the intro, prior to the vocal and acoustic guitar accompaniment.

We would encourage Paula and Ian to reconsider their mic placement. Experimentation is key here, tiny mic moves can often provide surprising results. We would also suggest any of the fine articles that Recording has run throughout the years regarding piano miking. There is a wealth of great info and experience in these pages, folks!

As for the vocal artifact, alas... Paula has an awesome voice with nice dynamic range, and so did Judy Collins, Sarah Vaughn, Laura Nyro, and a whole host of female singers whose voices were never smeared by a quick-fix compression ratio. We implore Paula, Ian, and all of you loyal readers, to learn from the greats: there are better ways to handle dynamic range, trust us on this one.

Summary: The devil is in the details!

Contact: Paula McMath,

About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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