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Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Aaron Jones / Thomas Jones
Date Posted:
March 2016
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

Dell PC with 8 GB RAM and M-Audio Fast Track Ultra interface and Axiom 49 keyboard controller running Cakewalk SONAR, Native Instruments Guitar Rig 4 (guitar and bass direct recording), and Toontrack EZdrummer (drums played manually on Axiom 49 drum pads). Shure SM57 mic (vocals), Fender Strat, Ibanez SR500 bass.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Journey" is a male vocal rock song. Aaron co-wrote the song, sang vocals and played all of the instruments. Thomas co-wrote the song and also sang on the track. Aaron did all of the engineering in their home studio.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 4
Aaron and Thomas (siblings?) have submitted a dreamy, open recording that reminds us somewhat of the Moody Blues of yesteryear.

Several things jumped out at us while listening through the track, the first being the nice quality of the organic-sounding drums. The samples in EZdrummer are fantastic, as we've heard many times before -- the drums have a very well-balanced room sound that would indicate distant, rather than close miking. Usually one uses drum grooves inside EZdrummer, but between the selection of samples and the hand-played quality, the resulting sound is very natural, as if one were in the room with the drummer. Well done, sirs!

As for the remaining sound sources, the arpeggiated electric guitar and piano play well together in the mix. Both are well-recorded, as is the simple but effective bass guitar. We also dug Aaron's fiery, gritty-toned lead guitar solo with its Warren Haynes vibe. About our only concern with the duo's effort is some slight vocal sibilance throughout the track, particularly on the opening lines of the song.

Suggestions: As we have noted in the past, much of the sibilance that we hear on submitted tracks comes from improper use of compression/limiting, either at the tracking or mixing stage. It's also possible for this to be a "wrong mic on the wrong voice" problem -- so many of the affordable large-diaphragm condenser vocal mics out on the market now have that bright treble bump that combines with vocal processing to create sibilance if not handled properly.

If I thought that was the problem, I would normally suggest a dynamic mic in such a case, but as you can see from the equipment list, the vocal mic was a dynamic -- the ubiquitous SM57! Of course there's more to it than that... it's possible for even a dynamic mic to have a peaky response in the sibilance range, and the SM57's peaks in the 610 kHz range are precisely placed to turn compression into sibilance.

The trick is to find a mic that works with the voice for a smooth response. We would suggest that Aaron and Thomas investigate the possibilities of a ribbon mic as a future consideration for their home setup. There are dozens to choose from in all price ranges (too many to list here), but having one or two around is a healthy decision for all mic lockers, great and small, should the need arise.

Summary: Very nice indeed!

Contact: Aaron and Thomas Jones,
About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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