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Current Tape Reviews

SPOTLIGHT 79: Little Voices
Artist Name:
Paul Calder / The Obvious Wish
SPOTLIGHT 79: Little Voices
Date Posted:
August 2014
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Mac Pro with Apogee audio interface running MOTU Digital Performer and Universal Audio UAD plug-ins; Royer R-121 and Neumann M149 Tube mics; Chandler Germanium preamp, Universal Audio preamp, API preamp, Dangerous 2-Bus and Bax EQ, Rupert Neve Portico II Master Buss Processor, Crane Song HEDD, Korg MR-2000S synth.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Little Voices" is a male vocal rock song. Paul sang the vocals and played guitar. The rest of the band was Jason Sweeny on guitar, Steve Giles on bass, and Geoff Dunbar on drums. No writing credits were provided in the production notes.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: This month's SPOTLIGHT features an awesome band effort from a band that was never actually in the same room at the same time. Intrigued? Us too!

In his production notes, Paul tells us that the "Drums, bass, guitars, and vocals (were) all recorded in separate home studios and sent via FTP to one central home studio for mixing." Sweet -- multiple players, multiple instruments and multiple studios/recordists. Gives a new meaning to "pass the hat"!

So what distinguishes this track from others that were accomplished via the wonders of modern technology? Well, for starters, the quality of all of the individual sound sources here is superb. Collectively there are some serious pieces of gear in place... which, of course, means nothing at all if you don't know how to use them. In a rare display, each of the "band" members possess excellent engineering skills to go along with their obvious playing chops.

As for the individual sound sources, well, we love them all. In our opinion the drums are as pro sounding as any commercial release we've come across, and Geoff's performance shows masterful taste and restraint. Those of you out there searching for a great example of side-stick, tom and cymbal tones, here's a free primer for you! Equally impressive are the rich bass tone and the ambient electric guitars.

We also must comment on the "marriage" between Paul's voice and his Neumann M149 Tube microphone. While myriad articles have been written about the importance of matching the right mic to the right voice, the unfortunate truth is that this is easier said than done. Those of you lucky enough to live in and around large urban music centers may be able to demo/audition microphones at will. The rest of us rely heavily on reviews, both online and in the pages of magazines like RECORDING. In any event, however Paul arrived at his decision, the Neumann fits him like a glove. The vocals have an almost 3D transparency: clear, yet with an all-encompassing presence. Stellar!

Lastly, we congratulate the entire group on the seamless nature of the final mix. The arrangement is not without complexity, and still the various sections flow in a way that can only be described as musical. Kudos to Paul or whomever was responsible, job well done!

Suggestions: As much as we preach collaboration here at Readers' Tapes, the fact remains that most of you loyal readers are one-person operations. What Paul and the band have accomplished utilizing FTP is not smoke and mirrors, but rather a fairly straightforward process. That said, the quality of each player's contribution lifts "Little Voices" into an entirely different stratum. We encourage all of you to begin thinking a bit more outside the box regarding your recordings. It's a big, accessible world out there, as Paul and the gang have so ably proven.

Summary: Love it!

Contact: Paul Calder / The Obvious Wish,,
About: Marty Peters

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