Windows 7 64bit PC with M-Audio Profire 610 interface running Cakewalk SONAR X2 with Celemony Melodyne, IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3 (rhythm guitar) and Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 5 (bass) and Kontakt 5/Steven Slate Drums 3.5. Mackie Big Knob monitor controller, M-Audio BX8a monitors. Mics: Shure SM58 (vocals), Studio Projects condenser (ac. guitar). Primacoustic Voxguard vocal enclosure. Jackson Soloist through Behringer V-AMP Pro for lead guitars, ESP LTD EC-1000 and a PRS Mark Tremonti with Zakk Wylde EMG pickups used for rhythm guitars. Cort acoustic guitar, Ibanez bass.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: Big anthemic rock tracks seem to span generations, from Bon Jovi to the Kings of Leon, and Ryan's submission has all of the ingredients necessary to compete with these "big boys". The first thing required is a well written track with a strong hook, and "Be Somebody Else" is certainly that. The majority of the music bed is equally strong, with perfectly compressed/ distorted guitars (via Amplitude) delivering a wall of sound.
We also dug Lauren's gritty lead vocals, sung dry through a standard issue Shure SM58 dynamic mic. Legend has it that both Mick Jagger and Elvis Costello were fans of the SM58 in the studio, and its ability to handle powerful voices like Lauren's make it an excellent choice here.
If there was a negative to be found with Ryan's submission, it would be with the drums. While the programming was capable for the most part, there were some level issues with the tom fills at times. We also felt that the snare drum tone was a bit on the "plastic" side through our monitors. The Steven Slate Drums 3.5 plug-in that Ryan used is one of the best in the business, and a bigger, deeper snare drum sound would have been a better fit for the size of the track in our opinion.
Suggestions: Ryan has done an excellent job overall here. The tracking and mixing are free of artifact/heavy limiting that often spoils many of today's rock recordings, major label releases included. As for the drums, It's very rare that we hear programmed drums compete with a good live player in terms of feel. Hey, it's their job, you know!
Our suggestion to Ryan is that he consider teaming up with a top notch player in his area, or take advantage of the many pro players who offer their services long distance. Computer based recording and the Internet has made it possible to connect with all types of monster players, many with gold/platinum credits, who will lay down parts on a track, often for much less coin than one would think. Both Ryan and Lauren are serious talents; with a pro drummer "Be Somebody Else" would be headed to our Spotlight feature.
Summary: Good stuff!
Contact: Ryan Nadon, firstname.lastname@example.org