MacBook Pro with PreSonus FirePod running Steinberg Cubase SE3; TEAC A2300SR reel-to-reel recorder. Mics: RODE NT-1A(modified), 2 MXL 990s (modified), 2 MXL 991s (modified). Cremona Cello, unknown vintage viola and violins.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Weary and Worn" is an male vocal acoustic folk tune. The credits are Christopher Bell on vocals, double bass, cello, viola. recording, mastering. Cody Hiller played the violins and Dave Trusso did the mixing. Chris tells us this track was "recorded in a skate park".
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Well, friends, if ever the sound of a track were to describe its title, this would be it! Chris an friends have created a sonic atmosphere so stark and lonely that it almost hurts. We applaud them for their courage -- it's not all that hard these days to find every inch of a track filled up with one sound or another. They don't call them limitless track counts for nothing! It is quite a different matter to get as sonically naked as "Weary and Worn"... very few places to hide in this one.
We found that the stings were quite well recorded, no screechy digital artifacts or runaway "wolf tones" on the low end, and the fact that the recording took place in a skate park adds to the intrigue.
Our only real quibble then centers around the sibilance we hear on the lead vocal. With a vocal placed so forward in such a minimal setting, any issue will be magnified, and to our ears many of the "S" sounds have a smear that detracts from the mood of the piece.
Suggestions: Given the mellow attack of Chris's vocal, it would be difficult to imagine that a compressor was necessary to the signal chain during the tracking or mixing of the song (more on this later!). Instead, this may be one of those cases where a dynamic mic (Electro-Voice RE20, Sennheiser MD421 or MD441, to name but a few) would have been a better tool than The large capsule condenser that was used here.
Finding the perfect "marriage" between the singer and the mic can be challenging, particularly in small home or project studios were the choices may be limited. That said, every studio setup should have at least one or two dynamic mics available for drums, bass and in many cases, vocals. Even something as commonplace as a Shure SM58 can often be effective; many of your favorite live recordings were captured using them. On the other hand, if the sibilance was indeed compressor/limiter-based... well, it shouldn't have been. Period.
Summary: Cool and gutsy, we like it!
Contact: Chris Bell / Win Peter Winters, firstname.lastname@example.org