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Current Tape Reviews

And We
Artist Name:
Ken Hilts / Wonderfuzzy
And We
Date Posted:
October 2016
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

PC with PreSonus FireStudio Project interface running REAPER 5, with Scarbee Rickenbacker, Musiclab RealGuitar, Toontrack Superior Drummer, IK Multimedia SampleTank 3, ValhallaDSP VallhallaRoom, Toneboosters EQs and de-essers, Schwa CMX, iZotope Ozone 7 (mastering). Shure Beta 58A for vocals, Gibson SG Special guitar through IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3. KRK Rokit 6 monitors and AKG K271 Studio headphones, mix checking in an Audi A4 (Bang & Olufsen audio).

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Production Notes & Credits:

"And We" is a male vocal rock song. Lindsay Fritsch sang the lead vocals and Ken Hilts supplied the rest, including the background vocals, instruments, music, lyrics, recording, and production.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 3
Ken has submitted a fun late-í70s style trackópart Blondie, part chorus-guitar Police, but original at the same time. The track is centered around a fairly basic drum pattern programmed by Ken via his Toontrack Superior Drummer plug-in. Unlike many of the programmed or software-based drum recordings that we hear at Readersí Tracks, it sounds to our ears like Ken actually took the time to think about, and then execute a very suitable room ambience for his kit. Accompanying the drums are the aforementioned chorused electric guitar and a fairly simple bass track. Nothing particularly notable here, but nothing problematic either.

Quite clearly the star of the show is meant to be Lindsay's vocals, delivering the lyric content loud and clear. Unfortunately, through our various monitoring systems itís a fair bit too loud, and shows some signs of sibilance to boot. Cohesiveness in a mix is a critical component in any successful recording, and with so few competing sound sources in play, itís unclear to us just why the vocal is pushed so far forward.

Suggestions: It would be hard to believe that this much disparity in the mix balance could be monitor-related. Given that, we are left to assume that it was intentional to some degree. Ken lists himself as doing "production," which implies to us that he indeed produced the track. Well, friends, with every title comes a responsibility, and one of the producer's primary ones is to make sure the final mix is as "radio ready" as possible.

In my four-plus decades of recording, I have been asked far more times than I care to remember to turn up one sound source over the others in a mix. It's called the "more me" syndrome... you may have heard of it. We are by no means blaming Lindsay here; it could just as easily have been a joint decision or Ken's alone. Either way, it's the producer's job to insure the mix integrity. Given that, we suggest a remix, with the lead vocal seated further back. We would also suggest that Ken pay close attention to the high-frequency EQ on the lead vocal: it is right on the edge of sibilance.

Summary: Grab that producer's hat and have at it!

Contact: Ken Hilts / Wonderfuzzy,
About: Marty Peters

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