HP Pavilion dual-core AMD PC (Windows 7) running Cakewalk SONAR X2 Studio and IK Multimedia AmpliTube, with sound card fed by Fostex 450 analog mixer. Microphones: Shure KSM42 (lead vocals), KSM32 (backing vocals and guitar amp distance miking), SM57 (guitar amp close miking). Peavey EVH electric guitar, Fender Jazz Bass (recorded direct), Mesa Boogie DC-3 with 2x12 Celestion Cabinet. Drum & Percussion loops were from various sources, but primarily Drums On Demand.
Production Notes & Credits:
"Reflection" is a female vocal rock song. Melisa arranged, produced, and sang the vocals. She and Howard produced the rest of the track together. No additional performance credits were provided, so we assume that Howard played the guitars and bass.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This month's Spotlight is a powerhouse track with an awesome message. The duo tells us that their goal "was to create a track that was both classic and modern as well... 70s, 80s, 90s and a bit more." Well, to our ears they have certainly achieved the mission statement, so let's take a closer look and listen.
The first thing that impressed us was the obvious amount of time and effort that went into the arrangement here. The careful introduction of sound sources, from the "world" music feel of the intro, straight to the muscle of the full band, is beautifully conceived and executed. There is some serious talent here, folks, both in the performance and the recording end of things.
Melisa's radio-ready voice is a perfect match with the Shure KSM series microphones, and the lead guitar tone delivered from the Peavey EVH/Mesa Boogie left us smiling and more than a bit jealous. "Like butta," as they used to say!
The rhythm section is also a standout. Melisa and Howard kept their drum programming and choice of loops highly realistic, a task that is very often problematic when the programmer's main instrument is something other than the drums.
Lastly, we must complement the duo on the great side to side panning of the vocals near the track's ending, as well as their wonderful use of dynamics. The quiet section just prior to the guitar solo really helps the guitar soar into the mix. Awesome job, both of you!
Suggestions: We really can't praise "Reflection" enough, but what the heck, we'll try. In our humble opinion, a great recording starts with a great song, and that is precisely what we have here -- a great song. One of the most rewarding benefits for us at RECORDING in presenting the Spotlight feature to you loyal readers is the opportunity for all of us to use these fine works as a learning tool.
That said, if we could suggest just one "lesson" to take away from Melisa and Howard's track, it would be the importance of arranging. We encourage all of you to study "Reflection" and really focus in on the brilliant vocal and instrumental decisions that were made here. You're welcome in advance!
Summary: Superior all around!
Contact: Melisa Kary / Howard Hart, firstname.lastname@example.org