Mac Pro w/ 8 GB of RAM with RME Fireface 800 interface running Apple Logic Pro 9; Neumann TLM 103 and KM 184 mics, Mackie HR824 monitors, PreSonus MP20 preamp, Line 6 POD XR PRO, Korg Triton 61, Fender American Deluxe Strat, Taylor LKSM 6 acoustic guitar, Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass, "plus some other stuff."
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Chas tells us, "I miked the acoustic with the KM184 at the 12th fret about 8 inches away. Everything else was direct. I used the TLM103 on vocals. It's the classic OMB situation. I am set up in a small bedroom with some meager attempts at absorption... Hit me, hurt me, make me write bad checks! I am an old fat guy who needs to bring (find) his skills into the 21st century. Thanks!" Well Chas, that's a bit out of our job description, but let's take a look under the hood and see what's tickin', shall we?
Things start out well enough here with a nicely recorded acoustic guitar supporting a doubled Neil Young/America style vocal. From there however, things a little sticky. While the sound of the drums suit the genre nicely, we hear some very audible compression "pumping", particularly on the kick drum. We also found the bass guitar to be somewhat underpowered through our monitors. The compression issues seem to extend over to the electric guitar as well, and the inclusion of a "Spanish" style acoustic guitar playing fills seems to add clutter to and already busy scene.
Suggestions: One could stock a fairly good-sized library (that's where people used to go to read books... you know, the ones made out of paper...? Oh well, never mind) with articles dealing with the misuse of compression. Now for the good news -- there are at least an equal amount of articles advising on how to properly use the same. We urge Chas to use this magazine (in print form and online) as a gateway into a solid grasp of the compressor. That knowledge will pay dividends for a long, long time.
As for the bass, once the kick drum is freed up, adding a few dB to the bass will help the rhythm section blend. Finally, the abovementioned guitar fills fall into the "just because you can doesn't mean you should" category. In our opinion, losing them would not impact the mix in a negative way.
Summary: Hit the books!
Contact: Chas Tharp, firstname.lastname@example.org