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Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
John Lewitt
A Different Game
Date Posted:
October 2014
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Apple iMac with Apogee Duet interface and Roland A-88 keyboard controller, running Apple Logic 9 with Native Instruments Komplete 9 virtual instrument collection and Guitar Rig guitar effects, Toontrack EZdrummer, backing vocals via The Ladies female-vocal instrument by Realitone, and iZotope Ozone 5 mastering software and Nectar 2 vocal processing plug-in. Monitors: KRK VXT4. Vocal mic: Mojave Audio MA-200. Electric guitar and bass direct input through Duet.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"A Different Game" is a male vocal, one-man-band rock effort. John wore all of the hats here.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 0
Recording: In his production notes, John tells us that the track "was originally written and recorded as an Alt Country/Americana tune. I didn't like where it was, so on a whim one afternoon I stripped away everything but the drums, bass and vocals, added in the keyboard, guitars, and female vocals, and I very quickly ended up with this." Well John, we are not sure just what was removed -- mandolin/fiddle/steel guitar or some other "Alt-country" stalwarts? -- but we like the new direction just fine!

Starting with the drum programming, John kept matters simple and steady with just enough tom fill action to make things interesting. The lead vocal was clear and present and we definitely liked the slight tap delay applied to it. As for the remaining sound sources, the electric guitars and keyboards were well recorded as was the bass, though the amount of bass in the mix seemed a bit much through our monitors and headphones.

Lastly, we are failing to hear the "female vocals" that John described in his production notes. We understand that they were "played" using Realitone's The Ladies vocal instrument (female voices played back with a keyboard or DAW) and processed with Nectar 2 by iZotope, but we are missing their impact in the overall mix. They're either mixed so far back we can't hear them at all, or he accidentally uploaded the wrong mix!

Suggestions: Not a lot to find fault with here. John seems to have a pretty firm handle on his total skill set. As for our minor quibbles...

All monitoring systems and rooms treat bass response differently. John was gracious enough to list his monitors in his gear list (hey Mike, that "Fade Out" piece may have sprouted wings!). For all we know, John just digs the bass; however, our guess is that his monitor of choice, the otherwise excellent KRK VXT4, simply can't deliver much bass with its tiny 4" woofer and he didn't crosscheck it on other speakers. If it were our mix we would back it down a few dB.

Regarding the plug-in, perhaps the intention was to be subtle, though some actual female vocals would be cool here. Just sayin'!

Summary: Nicely done, John.

Contact: John Lewitt,
About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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