Apple MacPro with Steinberg MR816CSX running Steinberg Cubase 4, MOTU Ethno, UAD-2 Duo, Universal Audio LA-610 Signature Edition, sE Electronics SE2200A and RODE NTK mics, Larrivee & Takamine acoustic guitars, Agile TC-730 semi-hollow Tele knock-off electric guitar.
Production Notes & Credits:
Music: "Called in Sick" is a male vocal acoustic rock tune. Justin Wright produced, mixed, co-wrote, sang and played everything, except the acoustic guitar played by cowriter Todd Santos.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This is a well-conceived track. We liked how the guys used some creative panning and processing to give some fairly basic instrumentation a sense of motion and energy. We also enjoyed the blend that Justin achieved on the lead and backing vocals, they sound smooth and seamless.
Less successful to our ears were the tone of the acoustic guitar, which sounded rather edgy though our monitors, and the increasing amount of compression on the acoustic guitar and lead vocal as the song began to gain momentum. The lead vocal, which started out free of artifact, begins to show signs of sibilance as things heat up, and we begin to hear a bit of flattening and pumping on the acoustic at the same point.
Suggestions: While we've certainly heard worse, there are better ways to handle dynamics than to simply slap on a compressor when a track begins to exhibit some dynamic range. Sadly, for many recordists, this is the path of least resistance... quick and easy, kind of like the drive-through at the fast food joint. Too much fast food can lead to some nasty problems; ditto for the compression.
We would like to suggest that Justin look at alternatives prior to the compression route. Certainly some quick automation in Cubase would allow for more than adequate "in the box" fader riding. If Justin still prefers compression, then we urge him and all of our readers to study and experiment with compression attack/release times, thresholds and ratios. One size does not fit all here, folks! You owe it to yourselves to know the tools in your toolbox before you start using them.
Summary: Measure twice, cut once!
Contact: Justin Wright / Paper Air, firstname.lastname@example.org.