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Current Tape Reviews

No Secret
Artist Name:
Murray Adams / Samantha Mutis
No Secret
Date Posted:
December 2014
R&B and Soul
Equipment Used:

64-bit, Intel PC with Phonic Firefly 302 FireWire interface and M-Audio Ozone keyboard controller, running Windows 7, Propellerhead Reason 7, Celemony Melodyne, PSP VintageWarmer and Native Instruments Session Horns (Kontakt 5). Yorkville Sound YSM1 monitors, Sennheiser HD 520 II headphones. Neumann TLM 103 mic and ART Tube MP Studio preamp for vocals. All other instrumental tracks created in Reason.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"No Secret" is a female vocal "jazz/bluesy/soul ballad". The track was written and sung by Samantha Mutis, Murray handled the recording and provided the music bed utilizing a bevy of plug-ins and programs.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Recording: Really nice song here, with a mid-'60s NYC Laura Nyro vibe. We love Samantha's vocals; the Neumann TLM 103 microphone, while certainly less legendary than some of its predecessors, sounds fabulous on her voice.

That said, we have to question the use of the Celemony Melodyne that Murray applied to the vocal. In our opinion the "pitch" treatment here is not only unnecessary, but actually detracts from both the performance and the sound of the vocal. Every time the Melodyne kicks in we hear an artificial "warbly" vibrato that is simply wrong for this genre. In addition, it is imparting a weird sound to the recording, as if somehow Samantha's vocal microphone got repositioned into a corner with a lot of bad reflective surfaces.

As for the remainder of the track, we really liked the sound of the sampled drums (excluding the tom fills), which Murray tells us were derived from his own 1960s Ludwig kit and Zildjian cymbals. Murray also did a nice job with the bass, keys, and horn arrangement.

Suggestions: First off, we really dig this submission, even more so after repeated listening. With the sheer number of submissions that we receive, the fact that we have listened and enjoyed Samantha's/Murray's work multiple times should be considered a compliment!

As for the suggestions, at the risk of appearing Luddite, we find no need or place for the vocal "effect" here. The Celemony Melodyne is an incredibly powerful tool in the right hands, and in the right setting. Few would dispute that it can, like all software, be a creative force, and that it will be with us for a long time to come. Still, for this recording, we strongly urge Murray to replace it with a well-considered gentle reverb. Call it wrong style/decade/whatever, but Samantha's vocal chops are more than fine without it.

Lastly, while in "fix 'em up" mode, we also suggest changing the tom fill sounds from their present "Remo Roto-Tom" vibe to something more period-correct.

Summary: When does the 45 come out?

Contact: Murray Adams,; Samantha Mutis:,
About: Marty Peters

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