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Current Tape Reviews

Addicted To Butterflies
Artist Name:
Jeff Thal / Francesca
Addicted To Butterflies
Date Posted:
November 2015
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Avid Pro Tools 7 with Digi 002 interface. Live drums (ddrum Dios kit with steel Tama snare) miked with AKG 550 (kick), Shure SM57 (snare), Sennheiser e604s (toms), AKG C1000s (overheads). Audio Technica AT4033 vocal mic into Focusrite Platinum Trakmaster Pro preamp, guitars and bass direct into interface. Alesis M1 Active Mk2 monitors, "cheap $30 headphones at very low volume to check levels."

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Addicted To Butterflies" is a female vocal acoustic based rock tune. Jeff wrote, recorded and produced the track. Francesca sang the lead and backing vocals. No credits were supplied for the performances of the remaining instrumentation.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 4
Recording: What a fantastic effort here by Jeff and Francesca! Superior writing/arranging, topnotch performances, killer vocals... but, sadly for us, some heavy-handed compression/limiting that ultimately keeps "Addicted to Butterflies" from inclusion in our showcase Spotlight feature.

The troubles start right at the song's intro, where we hear acoustic guitar via a piezo or soundhole pickup, accompanying Francesca's beautiful vocal. While the performance is impeccable, the guitar has a very audible "flattened" and compressed sound that borders on pumping. As the "band" enters, the compressor rears its head yet on the snare drum, robbing it of some needed high end.

Ironically, the two areas of the mix that could actually benefit from some compression -- the backing vocals and tambourine -- seem to have escaped the compressor's grasp. The remainder of the rhythm section is very well performed and presented, albeit set back a tad too much in the mix for our ears.

Suggestions: With a quality performance like this, we were tempted to look the other way, but we're here to teach, not to sweep problems under the rug. In that spirit, we would suggest that Jeff re-examine the need for the compression on both the acoustic guitar and the snare drum. Both parts were superbly played, and in our opinion show no need for volume leveling. If the compression was for effect, well that's certainly Jeff's prerogative, but we would still advise him to back it off some.

As for the mix issues, blending the guitar back into the "band" would give the entire track a more unified feel. Ditto the backing vocals and tambourine.

Summary: A tweak or two from radio ready.

Contact: Jeff Thal,
About: Marty Peters

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