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Current Tape Reviews

Come On Back
Artist Name:
Jack Robbins / Forever Son
Come On Back
Date Posted:
May 2016
Equipment Used:

PC with Digidesign 003 Rack interface running Digidesign Pro Tools 8; RODE M3 microphone, no-name nylon-string acoustic guitar. Monitored on modified Bose 501 speakers.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Come On Back" is a male vocal folk song. Jack wrote, performed, recorded and mixed the song. The finished track was mastered at Indie Masters in Melbourne, Australia.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
This seemingly simple submission comes to us with quite the educational back story, friends. You see, in his production notes, Jack reveals that the goal of this effort was to achieve a "lavishly personal sounding recording that captured the flow of dynamics but sounded as though it was recorded with 'one mike and all live'." Okey dokey, then... so did he succeed? Well, mostly -- but he really took the long way around to achieve it!

You see, instead of trying "one mic and all live" from the get go, Jack set about filling his recording space with a plethora of tracking possibilities. He tried to capture is "one mic and all live" sound with (take a deep breath here): a matched pair of RØDE NT5 small-capsule condenser mics, the DI output from his Schatten passive acoustic pickup and LR Baggs Para Acoustic preamp run through a Peavey Valve King 212 electric guitar amp and miked with a Shure SM57, and finally a RØDE M3 large-capsule condenser as his vocal mic.

I think that at this point, I'll let Jack continue the tale in his own words.

"After a few takes it sounded great, but I had really missed the point. If I wanted it to sound like a single mic, I just needed to use a single mic! I set up a few different mics, but settled on the RØDE M3. It was all about mic placement and the room."

"It was recorded in a small room with limited furniture. I started with setting the mic up on a stand, and positioning it in between the guitar and vocal, but it always sounded a tad hollow. I then experimented with placement and ended up placing the mic on a wooden desk, on its side, 1 foot away and aiming at the guitar. There was also a wall behind the desk. I sang down towards the mic. This created that small personal feeling I wanted and the desk captured any lost resonance from my vocal and the guitar. It also made the dynamics great. In the end, to make a song sound like it was recorded with one mic, use one mic!"

Suggestions: Fortunately Jack assures us that he took away much from his project, not the least of which is to trust one's instincts! Far too often these days we look for the most complicated ways to achieve the simplest results, and the recording process is certainly not immune.

As for suggestions, we urge Jack to check out the great Kelly Joe Phelps' CD Tunesmith Retrofit. To our ears it's as masterful a "one mic" recording as there exists in Jack's genre, and he might benefit from its sounds to give him ideas for future recordings.

Summary: When in doubt, go with the gut!

Contact: Jack Robbins / Forever Son,
About: Marty Peters

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Kef America

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