Recording - September 2015 - 64
humble opinion, the beauty of recording is most often found in the freedom of choices we are allowed, be it style, working methods, equipment, or vision. One person's Steely Dan is another person's White
Stripes, as it should (and hopefully will continue to) be. What is abundantly clear with the Hipnotists is that these two friends are having a
blast creating and presenting their music, and for that we salute them!
Summary: Rock on, fellas!
By submitting a Readers' Tapes entry you automatically grant permission to Music Maker Publications to feature your submission here,
on our website, and in our SPOTLIGHT e-newsletter. We might need to
shorten entries for editorial reasons. By listing your name with the submitted work, MMP does not imply any assignment of rights to the submitted work. We can neither guarantee publication of a review nor
engage in correspondence about individual submissions.
Media can be submitted physically (as in an actual recording
through the mail) or online at our website. For online submissions,
please go to www.recordingmag.com and click on Readers' Tapes,
then select "Submit Your Recording" and fill in the requested information. We accept MP3 and AAC files of up to 5 MB size. File bitrate is
up to you but we strongly recommend a minimum of 128 kbps; note
that the higher the bitrate, the shorter the song that will fit in the 5 MB
limit. You're free to submit an excerpt of a longer song if that helps!
Send physical submissions to: Readers' Tapes c/o Recording
Magazine, 5408 Idylwild Trail, Boulder, CO 80301. Please be sure to
include: a) a CD, CD-R, cassette, DAT, or MiniDisc with only one
song preferably no longer than 3:30 in length (or tell us which track
you want reviewed); b) a credit list (who did what); c) a list of
equipment used. Remember that CD-Rs with unevenly applied
paper labels, smudges, or scratches won't play back reliably.
PLEASE state which part of your contact info we can publish
(address, phone, and/or email)-if you don't tell us precisely, we
won't print anything at all.
Tim Mosher / The Hipnotists
Equipment Used: Avid Pro Tools 8 with Digi 002R interface
(computer specs not given). Mics: Blue Bluebird (vocals and
drum room mic), Shure SM57 (guitar), Audix DP7 drum mic
kit. Focusrite Octopre MKII preamp. Fender Twin Reverb and
Fender Bassman amps, 1997 Pearl forum kit, M-Audio Keyrig
49 controller playing various software instruments.
Music: "Oh Today" is a male vocal rock song. Jon Warren
sang, played the guitars and keyboards, and wrote the song.
Tim played the drums and handled all of the recording/mixing
and mastering chores.
Recording: Working from Jon's "lo-fi" demo template, the
duo have created a very live-sounding track that harks back to
a '60s garage band sound. So what exactly do we mean by
Well, first off, it is not a slight on the guys or their skills, but
rather a descriptor for a looser, less polished sound that has
been championed by groups as varied as the Rolling Stones,
the Standells, Velvet Underground, and the Black Keys.
Perhaps the most pervasive aspect of this style is the drum
sound, which in general comes across as quite "live", with a
fairly distant ambience. Tim has captured this vibe well here,
particularly with his snare and floor toms.
The sound of the cymbals would also indicate some distant miking scheme, while the absence of a dedicated bass instrument
serves to enhance the whole effect. As for the remaining sound
sources, everything is pretty genre-correct; slightly spitty vocals,
buzzy guitars, a borderline psychedelic keyboard sound, and
chanting/unison backing vocals. Check, check and double check!
Suggestions: As always when dealing in the lo-fi realm, certain allowances must be given for intent. Of all the types of
submissions that arrive here at Readers' Tapes, this genre is by
far the most slippery, given that its mission statement and ours
are somewhat at loggerheads.
Have we heard better tones during our tenure? Sure, though they
were most certainly designed for a different type of song. In our
RECORDING September 2015
Contact: Tim Mosher, email@example.com
Equipment Used: Roland VS-2000CD desktop hard disk recorder
with VS8F-3 DSP card. Mics: Studio Projects C1, Shure KSM137
and KSM44, APEX 460 tube mic. Yorkville YSM1p powered monitors, Audio-Technica ATH-M30 headphones. 1974 Fender
Telecaster, 1968 Fender Stratocaster, pedal steel guitar, Fender
JP-90 bass, Fender Super Reverb and Laney guitar amps.
Music: "Waiting for the Clouds" is a female vocal rock song. Bob
played bass, programmed the drums, recorded, mixed, and mastered
the song. His wife Nancy wrote the song and handled all of the vocals.
Earl Filsinger played guitar and pedal steel guitar, Neal Young played
keyboards, and Glen Patterson and Lisa Bates played the violins.
Recording: Excellent work here by all involved! But for a few
small areas, this one would be heading for showcase in our
monthly Spotlight feature.
Before we delve into the particulars, however, we must give a
shout out to the sadly discontinued and sorely missed Roland VS
line of standalone digital recorders-in this case, the VS-2000CD.
During our years at the helm of Readers' Tapes we have been constantly amazed at the audio quality of projects done on these small
but mighty machines, and "Waiting for the Clouds" is certainly no
exception. At the risk of hyperbole, these units have an incredibly
analog sound in our humble opinion.
Bob has done a fine job blending the multiple sound sources in
his mix. Pedal steel, violins, and electric guitar traditionally command a goodly amount of high and high midrange frequency
space, and it would be pretty easy for them to clash or mask each
other. Fortunately that is not the case here, each instrument is provided a clear voice through prudent EQ and panning.
As for the areas of concern mentioned earlier, while we love the
tone and performance of Nancy's vocals, through our monitors/headphones the vocal volume and presence put them too far out in front of
the music bed, leading to a slightly unbalanced feel to our ears.
We also felt that while Bob did an excellent job overall with his
drum programming, the repetitive tom fills at the outro scream
"programmed drums" as opposed to the very realistic fills at the
intro of the track. You almost had the horse in the barn, Bob, but
no drummer that I'm aware of would have repeated those fills
twice at the end without some stern looks from the producer!
Suggestions: We were certainly impressed with not only the
recording but all of the performances here. As for the trouble
spots, seating vocals in a mix can be tricky business. One creative
way to accomplish it is to create a vocal "stem" or stereo submix
of the vocals on two available tracks, then lay them into the instrumental bed at varying levels until you reach a balanced blend.
Stem mixing/mastering is a great skill to learn and can be invaluable when dealing with incremental level changes.
As for the drums, Bob is fully aware that a live drummer would
have been his best option. That said, we think he did a heck of a
good job with 95% of his programming; replacing/simplifying the
ending should take care of the rest.
Contact: Bob Kalmusky, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - September 2015
Recording - September 2015 - Intro
Recording - September 2015 - Cover1
Recording - September 2015 - Cover2
Recording - September 2015 - 1
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Recording - September 2015 - Contents
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