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Current Tape Reviews

Upside Down
Artist Name:
Tracy Towns
Upside Down
Date Posted:
January 2012
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

PC with Roland OCTA-CAPTURE audio interface running Cakewalk SONAR to record, Cockos Reaper to mix and master. Sigma acoustic guitar, Squire electric bass. Mics and mic positioning (thanks for giving us this info, Tracy!): Audio-Technica AT4040 and MXL 990 on the acoustic guitar soundhole, Shure SM57 at the head of the guitar pointed down the fretboard at the left hand, AKG D112 on the Squier bass's amp, AT4040 with a pop filter for the vocals.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Upside Down" is a male vocal "metal" song. Tracy wrote, performed and recorded the track in his home studio, playing guitar, bass, and vocals.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 2
Recording: Our overriding impression of Tracey's recording is that it fails to take advantage of the stereo spectrum in any real sense. With the exception of one very loud left to right guitar "whip" at approximately 27secs. into the tune, the majority of sound sources are placed dead center in the mix.

Sadly, the result of this "piling on" is frequency masking in the low mids, along with a general inability to distinguish parts effectively. Bottom line, there may be a good thing going on somewhere in here... but we won't know for sure until we get things to open up a bit.

Suggestions: While many fine and famous recordings have been done in mono, the metal genre is not exactly rife with examples. Therefore, we offer up this slogan for Tracy to consider; "embrace the space, embrace the space". Now say that ten times quickly!

Seriously, though, as evidenced by the hard panned electric guitar at 27secs. Tracy is aware of the stereo field. We advise him to return to his mix and readjust his sound sources: kick drum, bass, and lead vocal in the center, everything else out to the sides according to taste. Need guidance? There are many great RECORDING articles on panning for maximum effect, including a couple of very good ones in November 2011 and in this issue; check them out.

Summary: "Into the great wide open"!

Contact: Tracy Towns,
About: Marty Peters

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