PCAudio Labs custom PC with M-Audio FireWire 410 interface and M-Audio Keystation Pro 88 MIDI keyboard, running Digidesign Pro Tools M-Powered Version 7 and MOTU Symphonic Instrument plug-in. Mackie MR5 Studio Monitors, Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones, RØDE NT1-A mic (vocals). Fender Stratocaster 70s version, Takamine EF341C acoustic guitar, BOSS GT-10 guitar processor, Yamaha PSR550 keyboard.
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: This is Steve's second appearance in Readers' Tapes, the first coming back in July of 2007. At the time Steve had relayed that he was "an old guy" just getting back into recording after a long absence. So what has changed with Steve 2.0? Well, track count and arrangement skills for a start!
"Cooper Street" is a full 24-track project, the core drum beat and opening train effect were played manually on a Yamaha PSR550 keyboard. It also has 5 tracks of guitar, 3 tracks of lead main vocal, 4 tracks of "ooh's & harmony" in the interlude sections supported by choir vocals from a MIDI keyboard, along with 9 MIDI orchestration tracks via MOTU's Symphonic Instrument plug-in. Well, Steve, it looks like you've been making up for lost time!
As for the individual sound sources, the results are a bit of a mixed bag. To our ears the strength of the track is the vocals (and the lyrics, a heartfelt tribute to his dad) along with the string arrangement, which add a nice Moody Blues vibe to the proceedings. Less to our liking were the acoustic guitar tones, along with the mushy low end bass/drum sound.
Suggestions: Steve has come a long way with his recording chops since 2007 and we're mighty pleased to find him still at it. As for suggestions, the tone of the acoustic guitar would indicate that it was tracked using the instrument's onboard pickup. While this can sometimes be effective as a supplemental technique, it will never replace the sound of a miked-up acoustic in our opinion. Combining the pickup with the RØDE NT1-A condenser mic would almost certainly yield superior results.
Regarding the bottom end sounds, clarity and frequency management are vital regardless of what sound sources come into play. We encourage Steve to define what he wants the drum/bass relationship to be, and then find a good solid "voice" for each sound.
Summary: Welcome back, Steve!
Contact: Steve Bonaccorsi, firstname.lastname@example.org