SPOTLIGHT 45: Breathe
Rock and Pop
Two different Pro Tool rigs for tracking: a Black Lion Audio modified Digi 003 with Black Lion Auteur and Universal Audio 6176 preamps, for all vocals and guitars, and a Pro Tools HD system for strings/piano/mixing. Plug-ins and virtual instruments by Waves, SoundToys, McDSP, and Native Instruments. CAD Audio Trion 8000 vocal mic and Oktava MK-012 instrument mics, all modified by Michael Joly at Oktavamod.com. Monitors by Tannoy, Auratone, KRK, and ProAC. Guitars: Martin acoustic, Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster, and Fernades Sustainer; Fender P-bass; Drum Workshop drum kit. See below for a few more details on rack gear in other studios.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Breathe" is a male vocal rock song. The individual credits supplied by the band read as follows: Produced by Kenny Scott and Denny Scott, Mixed by Stuart Brawley, with Rudy Hauserman and Drew Harris engineering. Stuart played strings and piano, Denny did lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Kenny did programming and backing vocals. Joey Clement played bass, Luke Adams played drums, and Tim Pierce played guitars.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
This month's Spotlight is yet another indicator as to how far the gap has narrowed between the home/project studio and the big label efforts. Kenny Scott tells the story:
"The basic tracks were done in my home studio in Fort Myers, Florida called 18Below. I have a Black Lion Audio Signature Mod'd Digidesign 003 + Factory. I have a BLA Auteur and UA 6176 microphone pres. Plugins/VInstruments: Waves, Soundtoys, MCDSP & Komplete 7. All the vocals were cut in my studio with a Mike Joly Mod'd Trion 8000 modeled after the specs of an old Blue Bottle with the Auteur because it sounded better with my brother's voice. We wanted the vocal to feel really personal, so I got Denny really up close to the mic, then I had him back off a bit once he got more dynamic."
"As for the acoustic guitars, we did two tracks with the Oktavamod MK-012. I used an old Guild Acoustic with the mic placed over the 12th fret... not too close because I wanted it to have some body/room to it."
"Long story short.... I created a basic loop in Native Instruments' Battery plug-in and was experimenting with the SoundToys Panman panner. I started scraping the strings of my acoustic and it gave out this really cool clock/ticking noise that just worked with the loop I built. Then I wrote the piano riff and that was that! My brother and I finished the song in a week."
"Once we had the song mapped out in Pro Tools, we outsourced the session to Luke Adams for some live drums. Luke has a Pro Tools HD studio with Apogees as his interface in LA. He is such a pro, he had it in two takes. We kept it really simple."
"Next up was sending the session to Stuart Brawley for Strings and some additional piano. Stuart is a true professional; his site is at www.stuartbrawley.com. He has a Pro Tools HD studio in his home in Los Angeles. Neve & API pres and some classic compressors, plus a couple of UA 6176s. He also has a Digidesign C24 console he mixes on."
"After Stu completed the strings, we had Joey come lay down a nice bass. LA session guitarist Tim Pierce was next up to add his magic. He just adds this color to a track with these great textures. Then Stu mixed it in a day. We had a one day of edits and the song was done."
Phew! Lots of work... and you can tell! Starting with with an extremely well written and arranged track, "Breathe" is like the gift that keeps on giving. We love the expansiveness derived from the panning and processing choices, and also how the guys never lose their dynamic focus during the performances.
Equally impressive are the lead and backing vocal blends. The individual tones are top notch throughout and we found no evidence of artifact from either the tracking or mastering process.
Lastly, we would be remiss if we failed to mention just how balanced the entire mix is. Very, very few of our submissions achieve it at this level. Superb!
Summary: What's not to like?!
Contact: Swirl 360, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.18below.com, soundcloud.com/swirl-360