Most difficult instrument to record?

Current Tape Reviews

Artist Name:
Bret Wilson / Thallium
Date Posted:
May 2017
Rock and Pop
Equipment Used:

2.4 GHz iMac with Presonus FP10 interface running Steinberg Cubase LE and “miscellaneous plug-ins”, ART Tube MP mic preamp, Event Project Studio 6 monitors. Mics: Shure SM57 (guitars, toms), AKG D112 (kick), Shure SM81 (overheads). G&L L2500 bass, Burny Les Paul, Ibanez JS1000 guitar, Ampeg VST4 bass amp, Hartke 410XL & 115XL cabinets, Marshall JCM800 amp with 4x12 cabinet.

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Production Notes & Credits:

"Disintegration" is a male vocal rock song. Bret co-wrote the track with Bob Jacobs. In addition, Bret played bass and rhythm guitar, sang the vocals, and handled the recording end of things. The other members of Bret’s band Thallium were Matthew Johnson on drums and Rick Seifken on lead guitar.

Reviewed By: Marty Peters
Rating: 2
Lots of talent to go around in this heavy rock number, along with some not-so-great artifacts and tonal/balance issues.

The track intros with the rhythm section, and we were impressed with the sounds that Bret and Matthew got on the drum kit. The kick drum had a lot of snap, as befits the genre, and the snare had a muscular ‘crack’ that married well with the deeper tom sounds.

Unfortunately, the upper register bassline was far less effective. The repetitive nature of the bass must have played a central role in the group’s arrangement plans, but in our view it went on waaaay too long before dropping down to fill in the low frequency range of the mix.

Moving on, we found that the low-mid-based electric rhythm guitar benefited from some nice panning, adding some bulk and movement to the proceedings. This was in direct contrast to the brittle "ice pick" tone of the lead guitar later in the song. We also found our old nemesis Señor Sibilance in attendance, all over Bret's lead vocal—elongated syllables and smear, impossible to miss through our monitors!

Suggestions: As we mentioned earlier, Thallium are a talented bunch and Bret certainly has some recording chops. But the track needs fixes, starting with the sibilance.

While most of the cases that we get stem from improper compression/limiting (a whole other story unto itself), the fact that so many of you loyal readers seem to either (a) not hear it, or (b) not care, is rather puzzling to us. Sibilance is never going to pass as proper recording technique in these pages; learning to properly use gain reduction/leveling tools is as essential as it comes.

While the bass arrangement is ultimately the band’s decision, waiting well over a minute for it to drop down and muscle up this mix seems achingly long in our book. Lastly, taming the super-bright tone on the lead guitar would help take some of the "crispy" out of the overall mix; we urge the fellas to give it a try.

Summary: Good band, easy fixes.

Contact: Bret Wilson/Thallium,
About: Marty Peters

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