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Recording Drums? How many mics do you use?





Current Tape Reviews

Promisemaker Pete
 
Artist Name:
L.J. David
  Title:
Promisemaker Pete
 
Date Posted:
October 2015
 
Genre:
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Windows PC with Zoom R16 and M-Audio Fast Track interfaces, running Cakewalk SONAR X3 Producer, Native Instruments Guitar Rig and Overloud TH2. Mics: AKG C214 (lead vocals), Shure SM57s and Beta 58A. PreSonus TubePre preamp used for some vocals. Behringer MS16 monitors, Bose and Sony headphones for mix checking. Fender Stratocaster, Mustang IV amp, and Precision bass. Drums played on Roland electronic kit, using samples chosen from Toontrack EZdrummer, Steven Slate Drums, and XLN Audio Addictive Drums.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Promisemaker Pete" is a male vocal rock song. L.J. did it all at his home studio.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Recording: Quite the fine one-man-band effort here overall, although not without a few small areas that could use a little attention. First off, kudos to L.J. for the smart, concise arrangement. He presented his ideas succinctly and built the track's dynamics in a very musical way from start to finish. As for the sound sources, we really loved the uber-present feel and tone that L.J. got from his lightly distorted/heavily compressed Fender Strat. Kind of a cross between the Cars and Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"!

The rhythm section (while basic) provided a strong overall tracking bed. However, we did hear some slight distortion on both the drums and the bass. We also heard a fair amount of smear on the cymbals as the song got "heavier". In our opinion, the vocals were a mixed bag -- while the performances were totally solid, particularly on the Beatlesque backing vocals, we did notice some sibilance and proximity effect on the lead vocal, especially during the more exposed parts at the end of the chorus sections.

Suggestions: In his gear notes, L.J. gives us a nicely detailed description of his tools and working methods. While we know the origin of much of his drum sound along with his bass, we are less informed as to their treatment during the mixing process. Our guess, and this is purely a guess, is that L.J. may have been going for the infamous Abbey Road "smashed through a Fairchild limiter" sound that was so vital to the Beatles rhythm section during the Rubber Soul/Revolver era. If this is indeed true, and the drum sounds are an homage, well... hats off to you, sir! If not, we would suggest that you check for some signal path overload, either in the tracking or mixing stage.

Regarding the cymbals, while there have been huge strides made in the sounds of software-generated cymbals, to our ears nothing will ever truly capture them as well as a pair of well-placed overhead microphones. Playing actual cymbals along with the Roland drums would be a great addition to the drums here.

As for the vocals, sibilance and proximity effect simultaneously would seem to indicate a mic position issue. Singing too closely into a large capsule condenser mic would absolutely result in proximity issues. Trying to EQ them away could, in turn, lead to exaggerated high-frequency presence, causing the sibilence. Nasty bit of business, eh?

Mic technique is still a crucial part of our skill set, even in the world of Auto-Tune and sound replacement.. The old school engineers banked on it every day, and you should, too!

Summary: Strong effort, L.J.

Contact: L.J. David, lj@ljdavid.com, ljdavid.bandcamp.com
About: Marty Peters

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