Mark Szabo / Kohai
Rock and Pop
Core i7 Windows Vista 64 PC with PreSonus FireStudio and FireBox interfaces and Universal Audio UAD2 DUO Neve card running Steinberg Cubase 5.1.1 (with VariAudio for intonation tuning) and Waves GTR Solo plug-in plus Universal Audio 88RS, 1073, 1081, 1176, Realverb, LA-2A, Precision De-esser, and Precision Limiter plugins; API 500-series Lunchbox with A Designs Blue preamp for bass DI. Mics: Sennheiser e609, AKG D112, Shure SM57s, MXL V57Ms, RØDE NT1-A; Fender bass, guitars and amps; Gibson acoustic guitar, Rickenbacker guitar, Microkorg keyboard, Yamaha Beech Custom drums.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Next Stop" is a male vocal rock song. Mark played the drums, guitars, and bass, sang backing vocals, and engineered and mixed the track, with some help from Shaun Henry on the lead vocal.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: In his cover letter, Mark tells us that the drums were laid down after a scratch vocal and acoustic guitar were recorded as a guide track, and then "creatively edited" to fix any timing problems. To our ears, however, it sounds as if the track is still suffering from a disjointed feel. Things start out well enough with Mark's airy acoustic guitar and Shaun's vocal. Unfortunately, once the drums and bass enter we continue to hear some timing issues, particularly from the kick drum, and the overly strident tone of the bass guitar does little to hide the fluctuations.
On the plus side, we appreciated the clarity and panning choices that Mark made on his electric guitar and we certainly give him an A for effort in his attempt to handle all of the instrumentation here.
Suggestions: A quick read-through of Mark's equipment list revealed a pretty awesome set of tools for any home recordist. That said, we wonder if Mark took the time to lay down a click track on his system in order to be able to construct a grid for fixing his timing issues? Having to go through and manually move individual beats without a grid is a painstaking, inexact, and time-consuming process (trust me on this one!), and one that is really unnecessary given the options of modern computer-based recording.
So many DAWs offer great tools for timing adjustment, including Cubase, and we know they're capable of better than what we're hearing here. Work with a click, or construct a groove after the fact by having your DAW analyze the scratch track... but whatever Mark is doing to correct his timing issues in this case, sorry, it ain't working.
We urge Mark to spend some quality time with his computer and his drum set. Taking the time to learn and master all of the tools available is critical to all recordists, especially those wearing so many hats.
Summary: Grab that manual, yes that's right, the manual... and then grab the sticks.
Contact: Mark Szabo, firstname.lastname@example.org