Mac running Pro Tools, Focusrite 18i20, Focusrite ISA Two preamp, Warm Audio WA76 limiter, Rode NT1-A, Neumann KM 184, Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box, Vox AC15, AKAI Professional MPD226, Toontrack EZdrummer 2, AKG 141 headphones, JBL 308 speakers
“That’s the Way we used to Play” is a male vocal rock song. Rodney wrote, arranged, produced, performed and recorded/mixed the track at his home studio.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
Oh man, but for a few minor issues, this one could have found its way to our Spotlight feature this month!
Rodney has written a moving homage to the spirit of the 1960s and 1970s, and his creative arrangement musically narrates the story alongside his lyrics—he nailed it!
The guitars, especially the electrics, are some of the best we’ve heard. Big, raw, rich, snarly, think 1970s Neil Young and Pete Townshend—killer tone from the Vox AC15 and Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box combo. Rodney rips it up here with passion and skill. Next, Rodney obviously spent some time with the creative drum programming, and it shows. The drum arrangement contains multiple sections, buildups and dynamics; and the tom-centric verse sections add excellent energy and movement to the recording.
As for areas that could use a bit of attention, the lead vocal is right on the cusp of sibilance, maybe an EQ or condenser mic issue. That said, our main area of concern is centered around Rodney’s panning choices. While the guitars take advantage of some excellent panning schemes, the vocals are clearly panned to the right of center, as is the acoustic guitar and often the organ, contributing to some frequency buildup and balance disparities in the mix.
We admire so much about “That’s the Way we used to Play,” but a little tough love is in order. Aside from many early stereo mixes in the 1960s, we can’t remember when non-center-panned lead vocals were a good thing. In our view, the lead vocal, kick drum, bass and usually the snare get the center of the stereo field, then have fun with the rest. Three or more sound sources tilted to one side asks for trouble. We urge Rodney to give his work a rebalance, vocal center, acoustic right and organ left to taste. The electrics are great where they are.
Love the tune, SO close.
Rodney Beegle, [email protected]