PC with M-Audio Profire 2626 interface running Cakewalk SONAR 8.5, Waves Masters plug-in bundle, and Pro Drum Works software with the Phat To Phreaky loop library. Monitors: Yamaha NS10, Altec Lansing computer speakers, Pioneer car speakers and Sony MDR-7506 headphones. ("Then I check the mix in my Jeep.") Mastered with Waves Masters. Guitar signal chain: 1980 Les Paul Custom through Carvin V3m amp, close-miked with Sennheiser e906, through Groove Tubes Brick to Empirical Labs Distressor.
Production Notes & Credits:
"RR3" is a rock instrumental done in its entirety by Les. He tells us, "I wrote, played, recorded and mixed in my home studio. The studio is in a 10'x10' room in my house. I sit in a triangle between the NS10s on an inside wall."
Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Recording: In his production notes Les tells us that "RR3" was originally designed to be a collaboration with a singer/songwriter, hopefully resulting in a set of lyrics and vocals that could be added to Les' musical composition. When that failed to materialize, "RR3" became an instrumental. Fair enough, let's see how things turned out in the re-adjusted format.
The track itself is comprised of the rhythm section plus three distinct electric guitar parts. Starting from the bottom up, we applaud Les for keeping his drum programming on the basic side. However, through our monitors (as well as our Grado Labs 325 headphones) there is a noticeable "flangy" distortion on the kick drum, along with several spots where the snare drum sounds chopped, like an gating attempt gone wrong.
Moving on to the main attraction, Les has definitely got some "geetar" chops. We found the lead guitar to be quite forward in the mix, entirely appropriate for the genre, while the "tick-tack" electric rhythm was superbly played, recorded and mixed. The third part of the trifecta was a dual harmony guitar section. While we dug the concept, we would have loved to have heard the two instruments panned left/right across the stereo field rather than bunched up on the left side, where they currently reside.
Suggestions: Ah... drum programming, you heartbreaker! Unlike many submissions that fail to mention monitor speakers (much to our chagrin!) Les has actually listed a whole herd of them. So did he hear the weird tone on the kick? Was it intentional, in the vein of the infamous John Bonham "When the Levee Breaks" syndrome? Or did something occur in the MP3 conversion? Whatever the cause, we urge Les to reverse-engineer his mix and see if he can find/fix the problem. Ditto the snare; there should be no real need to gate a programmed snare this side of Phil Collins. As for the twin guitars, a stereo placement at 10 and 2 o'clock would provide some nice space to the overall mix.
Summary: A bit of detective work ahead.
Contact: Les Amundson, firstname.lastname@example.org