iMac (Intel Core 2 Duo) with Roland A-33 controller keyboard, audio interface not given, running Apple Logic Pro 8. Mics: Audio-Technica AT4033a and Shure PG27. Event Electronics TR5 studio monitors.
Production Notes & Credits:
"My Heart Could Burst" is a instrumental track with a brief rap section included. Andy Bolper (BaBa Sax) is listed as saxophonist, composer and programmer, with vocals by Rapper Man.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: There is a duality within the arrangement of Andy's recording that seems a bit off to us. While the main body of the song is a showcase for his considerable sax skills, the inclusion of the rap section kind of left us scratching our heads a bit. Sometimes stylistic contrast is a powerful hook for an audience's attention; sometimes it attracts attention because everyone is saying, "Hey, that doesn't work!" In this case, it may simply be a matter of poor placement, coming so late in the song.
As for the actual sound sources, the programming is solid enough to provide a bed for the sax, but not dynamic enough to drive a full-fledged rap tune. We also felt that both the sax and the rap vocal had a somewhat "spitty"/metallic quality. Andy listed two condenser microphones in his gear list, and while they are both fine pieces from two stellar manufacturers, they may not have been ideal for the task at hand here. Also, we have no idea what he used as an audio interface, so we can't tell if preamplification was at fault, or if the culprit was merely mic choice and placement.
Suggestions: While there is no hard and fast rule in such matters, in our experience dynamic mics are often a better fit for instruments such as the saxophone. The frequency curves inherent in modern condenser mics are often hyped in order to accentuate the upper midrange and high frequencies, areas which are in abundant supply in tenor and alto saxes!
We suggest that Andy try out a dynamic mic on his next session. There are many fine choices out there at virtually every price point; some of our favorite models are the Sennheiser MD 421 and Electro-Voice RE20, along with the ubiquitous Shure SM58. In our opinion, any of these could also serve as a great vocal mic option to complement Andy's condensers, and could provide a tad more body to the rap style vocals.
Lastly, while it is never our intention to undermine anyone's muse, we would advise Andy to reconsider his arrangement slightly here. In our opinion, the track is well established as an instrumental by the time the vocal appears, leading to a disjointed feel. Moving the rap up sooner in the arrangement might serve to give equal credence to both sections.
Summary: A good learning platform.
Contact: Andy Bolper / BaBa Sax, firstname.lastname@example.org