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SPOTLIGHT 104: American Dream
Artist Name:
Ryan Kimrey Trio
SPOTLIGHT 104: American Dream
Date Posted:
December 2016
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

MacBook Pro with Apogee Ensemble and Universal Audio UAD-2 Satellite, running Apple Logic Pro 9 and UAD-2 Plugins (LA2A, 1176, Fairchild, Neve 1073, EMT Reverbs). Neumann TLM49 through Universal Audio SOLO/610 (vocals); Shure SM81 stereo pair and Neumann TLM103 in room (acoustic guitar, also recorded direct); bass direct through UA SOLO/610; Brady Jarrah Ply drum kit recorded using Shure SM81s (drum overheads), Shure SM57 (Snare), Audix D6 (kick), Shure Beta 98s (toms) using Apogee preamps and two Universal Audio SOLO/110 for snare and kick.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"American Dream" is a male vocal rock song. Ron Brashear produced and recorded the track at his home studio, Snare Buzz, in addition to playing the keyboards and drums. Ryan Kimrey provided the lead vocals and acoustic guitar, and Robbie Brown rounded things out on bass. The track was mastered by Peter Humphreys (Masterworks Studios, Philadelphia).

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 5
This Month's Spotlight is a beautifully written, performed and recorded track courtesy of three wonderfully dedicated and focused bandmates. In his production notes Ron tells us that the group had initially intended to record an EP and had first considered going into a commercial facility to track it.

In Ron's words, "We simply couldn't afford the rates at commercial facilities in our area. My bandmates knew of my love for recording and engineering and knew this would provide a growth opportunity for my engineering skills and an opportunity to share those results with others. I'm thrilled with the trust they put in me to work on this project. All of the tracking for this project was done from my home-based studio on the third floor of my residence." Well guys, in our opinion your faith in Ron yielded great results!

As far as the actual tracking goes, it turns out that Ron's place was pretty nicely equipped with analog gear as well as digital firepower. Still, as Mr. Clapton sang, "it's in the way that you use it," so let's look under the hood and see what's what with this stellar recording.

First of all, Ron did a super job capturing every single sound source here. The panned acoustic guitars have an incredibly warm analog sound, and while we are not sure of the make and model of the instrument, the pair of Shure SM81 condenser mics used to capture it delivered the goods!

We were also knocked out by the sound of Ryan's vocals throughout the song. The performance is topnotch and the "marriage" between his voice and the Neumann TLM49/Universal Audio SOLO/610 mic pre is heavenly. No sibilance or compressor/limiter artifacts in sight, thank you!

Moving on to the rhythm section, the drum tones here are simply some of the best that we have heard during our two-decade tenure at RECORDING Magazine. The kick drum has a wonderful openness; if you listen closely you will hear not only the beater, but also the cavity space between the drum heads. Sweet! The Audix D6 kick drum mic has certainly become an essential tool in many studios, including my own, and it shines here. Not to be left behind, we love the warmth and articulation on both the snare and toms. Ron's performance is ideal, and Robbie's fine playing and round smooth bass tone provide the perfect accompaniment.

Last up, we'd like to commend Ron on the spaciousness of his mix. Unlike so many of our submissions, the lure of the unlimited track count was bypassed in favor of a realistic number of sound sources for a trio. That decision provided a huge amount of space for each instrument and vocal to shine. This, combined with the relatively dry ambient treatment, provides a whole lot of what we used to call "bandwidth" back in the analog tape days. Since we are speaking of analog: as we made mention earlier, Ron's tracking/mixing efforts, combined with the huge benefits of professional mastering, really have lent a tape sound to the entire track... putting a big ol' smile on the face of yours truly!

Suggestions: Friends and bandmates working in concert, with faith in a common goal, with fantastic results. Yes, it can be done, friends... if you are willing. As always with our Spotlight selections, we hope you find inspiration that can carry over to your own efforts. As the wise man said, "A rising tide lifts all boats". Peace.

Summary: Love everything about it!

Contact: Ron Brashear / Snare Buzz Studios,
About: Marty Peters

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