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SPOTLIGHT 81: Johnny Walked In
Artist Name:
Christian Krauss
SPOTLIGHT 81: Johnny Walked In
Date Posted:
November 2014
Equipment Used:

Mac with Apogee Duet 2 interface and Universal Audio UAD-2 card, running Steinberg Cubase 7.0, with ADAM Audio A7X monitors. VST instruments include: Native Instruments Komplete, Ilya Efimov Guitars, Sample Modeling Sax and Trumpet, Modartt Pianoteq, Toontrack Superior Drummer (New York Series), Spectrasonics Trilian and Omnisphere. VST effects plug-ins include: many different Universal Audio effects, Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machines and Virtual Console Collection, 2CAudio B2 reverb, FabFilter Pro-Q, Vytomic The Glue compressor, Voxengo Soniformer, WAVES Signature Series.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Johnny Walked In" is an instrumental jazz recording, done in its entirety by Christian in his home studio in northern Germany.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
Recording: This month's SPOTLIGHT is a shining example of "one-man-bandness" (I love making up new words, don't you?) with an added twist. You see, there's not a "real" acoustic instrument to be found here, folks. Each and every sound source is either triggered, programmed, or generated via a plug-in.

Now this in itself is not all that unique. You loyal Readers' Tapes followers have heard us pontificate through the years as to the merits and pitfalls of this type of music making/recording. What is unique with Christian's submission is its level of sophistication: from the performances, right through the choice of tones, to -- perhaps most importantly -- the clarity and balance of the final mix.

We absolutely love the fact that Christian intros "Johnny Walked In" in the sparsest of fashions. There's no place to hide here if the tones/performances don't hold up. Instead, we hear a kick drum tone that is incredibly organic through our monitors, combining a great blend of beater snap offset by "air". The snare drum has a really nice snap, and the wide-panned toms are also totally realistic. Christian has obviously spent some time getting to know his way around Toontrack's Superior Drummer software, and the results have paid off handsomely.

The funky keyboard-generated bass works beautifully with the drums. Will it replace Bootsy Collins in the pantheon of bass greats? Nope, but that's not the point. The key here is that these are the sounds that Christian has at his disposal, and he is absolutely making the most of them. Oh, and did we mention that the guy has some monster arranging chops? Just listen to the beautiful horn chart composed and performed via Christian's keyboard/sample modeling combo. Along with the Steve Gadd snare drum vibe in the track's B section, this is arranging to be proud of.

Lastly, we would be remiss if we failed to note the superbly blended mix that Christian achieved with "Johnny Walked In." One look at the equipment list will show a heck of a lot of potential firepower come mix time, and it was used with skill and taste. Bravo!

Suggestions: Increasingly these days we have been noticing an "apologetic" nature to mixes from a goodly number of our OMB submitters. Kind of a "if I bury it waaay in the back, it might not sound programmed" situation. Hopefully Christian's superb piece is proof that treating all of our sound sources equally is critical to a balanced, quality mix.

Are Christian's tones the absolute best in the whole wide world? Who knows? Neither you nor I will ever have an opportunity to hear them all in a perfect listening environment anyway. What we can say with conviction is that Christian has used HIS tools to create a fantastic track, and in doing so, has provided us with a great example to follow.

Summary: Danke, Christian!

Contact: Christian Krauss,
About: Marty Peters

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