Recording - April 2016 - 64

Megan Birmingham / Malderine's One
Girl Band
Equipment: Core 2 Quad PC with Digidesign Digi
002 Rack running ProTools LE 7.4. Shure SM44
mic for vocals, A&L acoustic guitar, cello, violin,
and flute, IK Multimedia T-RackS mastering software and Sampletank drum loop.

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Jim Nystrom and Steve Ogden
Equipment: PC With M-Audio 2626 interface running Cakewalk SONAR
Producer 8, with Sony Drum Tools ACID Loops for rhythm track, Waves
reverb and compressors, and IK Multimedia T-RackS 3 multiband compressor for mastering. Mackie 32*8 mixer and HR824 monitors. Shure
KSM32 for vocals, SM57 for amp. Fender Strat and Paul Reed Smith guitars, Ibanez bass. Line 6 POD xt and Boogie Heartbreaker guitar amplification, Line 6 Bass POD xt bass preamp.

Music: "Your Miracle Man" is a male vocal rock song. Jim played the
guitars, recorded and mastered the track. Steve arranged, played the
bass, programmed the drums and sang the vocals.
Recording: A fine bit of blue-eyed soul with a rock edge here from Jim
and Steve. Starting with the source, "Your Miracle Man" is a darn fine
piece of writing, both musically and lyrically. We've all heard the old saying "a great recording of a bad song is still a bad song"? Well, fortunately that's not the case here.
As for the nuts and bolts of the track, we found most of the sound sources
to be pretty successful. Steve wisely kept the programmed drums within the
scope of reason, and we liked the snappy kick and snare that he fashioned
from his Sony Drum Tools library. We also loved the performance, tone and
placement of all of the vocals in the track. Steve's smooth delivery was a perfect match with the Shure KSM32 condenser mic used here. Nice!
Now for our concerns. The busy bass guitar cut a pretty wide swath
through the mix to our ears, sitting somewhat out front of the drums
throughout the song. This was further highlighted by the thin/bright tone
that Jim got from his Fender Strat, which we found to be ideal in this setting. We also thought that the guys' valiant attempt at an Isley Bros.
"Who's That Lady" phased/flanged guitar effect fell a bit short of the mark
during the guitar solo here. "A" for effort, though!
Suggestions: Lots to admire, and very little to fault with Jim's and Steve's
work. We would, however, suggest that the bass get tucked back into the
mix some, so it could couple more with the programmed drums. As for the
guitar solo, it's a great concept that simply needs a bit more experimentation to replicate.
Summary: Lots of positives to work with!
Contact: Jim Nystrom, jim@4nystroms.com; Steve Ogden,
ogden@lunaentertainment.com
64

RECORDING April 2016

Music: "Leaves" is a female vocal rock song.
Megan wrote, sang, performed, programmed and
recorded the track at her home studio.
Recording: Megan has submitted a fine track
here overall, albeit one with a few minor areas that
could be tweaked a bit to our ears. Instrumentally,
the playing and recording is excellent. We love the
tone and the performance on both the fingerstyle
acoustic guitar and the cello, and the blend of the
two instruments in the mix creates quite a nice hypnotic weave. Megan has thankfully employed the
same subtle skills with the percussion and flute
sounds throughout the track. Saving the best for
last, the beautifully performed/tracked violin near
the song's outro puts a firm stamp on Megan's
superb musicianship. With its aching ancient sound
and rich tone, the violin seals the deal for us!
As for those areas of concern, the drum loop presented here is just about as basic as they come; it's
really nothing more than a click track. While it
works perfectly in that capacity, we would have
loved to have heard something a tad more developed in terms of sounds. Our primary issue with
"Leaves", however, is not the drum loop, but rather
the somewhat strident sound of Megan's lead vocal.
Though delivered in the softest possible manner,
there is a sharpness on many of the words containing "d's" and "t's" that is really distracting throughout the song. Whether this was an EQ issue or
derived from monitoring/mic choice, in our opinion
it's spoiling an otherwise excellent effort.
Suggestions: Congratulations are in order first
and foremost. In her production notes, Megan
relayed that she was a bit nervous about submitting
"Leaves" to us. Well, let us say that her fears were
unfounded! Not only do we hear an accomplished
musician in this piece, but the tracking/mixing end
of things is pretty darn solid for a self-taught
recordist.
As for suggestions, finding a drum-minded collaborator to help with the programming would be a
positive step. Regarding the vocal "nasties", as we
have mentioned several times recently, not every
mic marries up well with every voice. Megan's
Shure KSM44 is an outstanding mic, and we have
found it to be impressively neutral on all of the
sound sources that we've used it on. That said,
large-capsule condenser mics are, by design, more
high-frequency orientated. If Megan can get access
to a dynamic or ribbon microphone, we would
encourage her to A/B it with her Shure to see if the
less exaggerated high end found in those mic types
would be a better fit for her voice. Failing that,
going back and applying a bit of shelving EQ starting at around 6.5 kHz and upward to the vocal
may settle it down some.
Summary: Tons of talent-just a few tweaks
needed!
Contact: Megan Birmingham,
malderine@roadrunner.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - April 2016

Contents
Recording - April 2016 - Intro
Recording - April 2016 - Cover1
Recording - April 2016 - Cover2
Recording - April 2016 - 1
Recording - April 2016 - 2
Recording - April 2016 - 3
Recording - April 2016 - 4
Recording - April 2016 - 5
Recording - April 2016 - Contents
Recording - April 2016 - 7
Recording - April 2016 - 8
Recording - April 2016 - 9
Recording - April 2016 - 10
Recording - April 2016 - 11
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Recording - April 2016 - Cover3
Recording - April 2016 - Cover4
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