As listed by artist: Epiphone Les Paul guitar, Ibanez bass, MXL V67 microphone, Ableton Live, MacBook Pro, M-Audio Oxygen MIDI controller, Korg Triton keys, Pearl Export drum kit with Zildjian A cymbals.
“Magic Moment” is an alt rock song. Ben did it all, with Courtney on vocals.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
Ben and Courtney have submitted a strong effort here, one that’s only a few tweaks away from being totally successful. Starting from the top, both the writing and the arrangement are top notch, and honestly, that’s a heck of a head start! The moody keyboard, bass, and electric guitar intro is kept well under our one-minute limit, and the introduction of the propulsive drums at the 42-second mark is certainly welcome! While we found the tones to be somewhat lackluster (particularly the flabby kick drum sound), the movement they provide is essential to the song. Continuing on, the double synth bass is a cool choice, and the 9:00 and 3:00 panning placement in the stereo field works quite well. As far as the remaining sound sources are concerned, through our monitors the electric rhythm guitar sounds too distant to be truly effective (though curiously not so for the solo at the end of the song) and the tom fills are somewhat clumsy sounding. All that said, the real star of the show here is Courtney’s gorgeous vocals, and except for a wee bit of compression sibilance, Ben has done a great job with their tracking and placement in the mix. Courtney’s sultry voice impressed us greatly, and the marriage between it and the MXL V67 microphone is money, as they used to say. Sweet!
A few adjustments should have things running smoothly in short order. First up, we’d encourage Ben to spend some quality time with his drum tones; while we’re not sure exactly what’s here (a combination of live and programmed drums?) we’d like to hear a beefier kick and a simpler tom performance for starters. We also encourage Ben to take a less apologetic stance with his rhythm guitar; it should be at least as present as the string pads in our view. Lastly, while we can’t know where in the chain the compressor/limiter is placed, backing it off a tad should eliminate the sibilance on Courtney’s excellent vocal performance.
Ben Kitay, [email protected]