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Current Tape Reviews

Not Forgot
Artist Name:
John Lewitt
Not Forgot
Date Posted:
November 2015
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Mac with Universal Audio Apollo Twin interface running Apple logic Pro X, Toontrack EZmix 2 and EZdrummer 2 with Number One Hits and Hip-Hop Packs, iZotope Nectar 2, Final Mix MixBuss Lite, and UAD plug-ins (Neve 1073, LA-2A Legacy). Mics: Neumann U87 (vocals, acoustic guitar), AKG C535eb (Fender Super Champ XD electric guitar amp). KRK VXT4 monitors, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and AKG K612 Pro headphones. sE Electronics Portable Vocal Booth, M-Audio Keyrig 49 USB keyboard controller playing Logic virtual instruments.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Not Forgot" is a male vocal rock song, John did it all, with the exception of the mastering which took advantage of the online service

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
We welcome John back to Readers' Tapes with a new submission; most recently we heard from him in our October 2014 issue. John has submitted a fine overall track here, although not without some room for improvement.

First for the good stuff. The lead vocal sits nicely in the mix, and the subtle delay applied to the voice works well. The software-generated keys and strings are simple but effective, with good tones all around. The acoustic guitar is rather on the dark side but in a good way to our ears, more of a 1970s sound as opposed to today's hyper bright phosphor bronze "zingy" tone. We also felt that the tone the John coaxed from his bass guitar was fantastic, rich and full through our monitors.

Now for the flip side. We thought that both the intro and outro fades felt rushed, particularly for a song at this tempo, and that the backing harmonies dominated the overall mix too much for our ears. But our real beef is the drums. John's got plenty of firepower here, and we've heard many incredible tracks using EZdrummer over the years... and the "drum" tone here qualifies as a slightly unbalanced click track, reminiscent of the earliest drum machines/keyboard units that found a home in myriad Holiday Inn lounges back in the day. We found ourselves at various times thinking that this must surely be a ploy, and that a Phil Collins "In The Air Tonight" huge fill followed by an actual kit was just around the corner. Alas, no go.

Suggestions: John is quite obviously a talented musician and engineer; the good performances and tones he achieved would have been impossible if he were not. That said, with the exception of a few hits in the 1980s like Don Henley's "The End of The Innocence" with Bruce Hornsby, we can think of no example where drums like John's made their way onto a commercial release. Even in that case, the sounds were balanced, with the kick and snare centered in the soundstage. No shame or blame here; we've had tracks from drummers playing guitar that have suffered worse than tracks with guitarists programming drums!

John, we suggest that John should either befriend a drummer in his area who could collaborate on composing realistic EZdrummer parts, or find an online service (similar to how Landr mastered his track) that specializes in adding professionally recorded live drum tracks to songs recorded in home studios -- a solution that's benefited many of our readers.

The harmony vocals are called "backing" for a reason; we suggest John drop the volume on them by a few dB. Their wide panning should assure their prominence in the soundfield. As for the fades, we are not sure if this was done in the mix or the mastering, but a longer, smoother slope would be more musical to us.

Summary: To quote Sly Stone, "All we need is a drummer...."

Contact: John Lewitt,
About: Marty Peters

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