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Current Tape Reviews

80 Proof
Artist Name:
Mike Kuvinka
80 Proof
Date Posted:
August 2014
Equipment Used:

TASCAM DP-01 Digital Portastudio with PAiA Hot Springs Reverb. Mics: MXL R144 ribbon (trumpet), beyerdynamic M 818 stereo pair (piano). Roland M-BD1 Bass & Drums Sound Expansion module, Casio CZ1000 for the sax sound on the tuttis.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"80 Proof" is an instrumental jazz song. Mike wrote, performed and recorded the entire effort aside from the piano, which was played by John Kuvinka.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Recording: Tracked on a humble TASCAM DP-01 Portastudio, Mike has fashioned a fine demo or sketchpad recording that places the emphasis firmly on his primary skill as a trumpet player. We love his choice of the ribbon mic on the horn; steering clear of a condenser mic here keeps the often-strident upper frequencies of the instrument in check without the use of excess EQ. As for the remaining sound sources, we found them to be rather distant through our monitors, leading to a mix that seemed somewhat out of balance to our ears.

Suggestions: In our experience, the rather timid nature of Mike's secondary sound sources has more to do with unfamiliarity than skill level. While Mike's trumpet chops are unquestioned, he is obviously not a drummer, nor a bassist. This, then, friends, is where the "demo" part of our review looms large. In our view, being able to hand this track off to some seasoned jazz players as a guideline is the real strength of Mike's effort. Pre-production recordings such as these used to be commonplace back in the day, and their value kept many small affordable 8-track commercial studios in business, especially as more and more players relied on "head" arrangements and less on charts.

As for Mike's track, we would love, as always, to hear the energy and insight that real live players could provide, and would certainly encourage him to take it to that level if he has the means.

Summary: A fine roadmap for a fine song.

Contact: Mike Kuvinka,,
About: Marty Peters

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