Recording - February 2018 - 74

Readers'

TRACKS
BY MARTY PETERS

Listen online at www.recordingmag.com

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Brian Roach
EQUIPMENT: DIY PC with M-Audio Delta 1010LT and
E-Mu 1616M interfaces running Steinberg Cubase SX2,
Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3, and FXpansion BFD drums.
Behringer C-1 Mic, BOSS DR-770 drum machine, unnamed
guitar and bass.
MUSIC: "Out of The Ether" is a male vocal Rock song.
Brian did it all at his home studio.
RECORDING: Brian has submitted a fine tune here that's
full of ambience and more than a little swagger. Starting with
the programmed drums, we hear a tight but distant miked
sound-think "When The Levee Breaks" if it was played by
Charlie Watts instead of John Bonham. The tones from the
BFD drum software are well-conceived and really put some
muscle into the recording.
We absolutely love the crunchy electric guitar tone that
Brian got from his Guitar Rig 3 software. The performance is
Keef-worthy and the tremolo is a nice touch!
Moving on, through our monitors we found the bass guitar
to be fairly strident in the midrange and lacking as much low
end as we'd like. As for the vocals, Brian gave a fine
classic rock performance (think Bon Jovi) on both the lead
and harmonies, and the recording was presented minus any
noticeable artifact or sibilance. Wisely, the vocals were given
the same distant ambience that prevailed on the other sound
sources, which helped tie the entire track together.
SUGGESTIONS: "Out of The Ether" has a very distinctive
sound as a result of Brian's choice of ambience. Whether that
sound is everyone's cup of tea is purely subjective, but we
applaud his decision to apply the same ambience to all of his
sound sources. Far too often we hear submissions that feature a
mashup of wet/dry sounds that fail to form a unified front in the
74

RECORDING February 2018

mix. As for suggestions, we would love to hear some low end added
to the bass guitar in order to punch the rhythm section a bit more.
SUMMARY: Rock on!
CONTACT: Brian Roach, broached@att.net

John Lewitt
Equipment: Mac Pro with Universal Audio Apollo Twin and
Roland A-88 and Native Instruments Komplete S49controllers,
running Toontrack EZdrummer (Indie Folk EZ Pack), Native
Instruments Session Horns and Vintage Organs, Garritan CFX
Concert Grand, "and a lot of plug-ins!". Mics: Neumann U87
(vocals), Neumann K184 (pair on acoustic guitars), AKG C
535 EB (Fender Super Champ XD amp). Amphion One15
monitors with Amp100 amplifier, Avantone Mix Cube,
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones. Martin & Norman
acoustic guitars, Fender Stratocaster, Hofner bass.
MUSIC: "The Reason Why" is a male vocal Rock song. John
wore all of the hats on the project.
RECORDING: John has submitted a well-written Americana-style
song here; fans of the late great Uncle Tupelo will recognize the
sound. However, some level discrepancies and compression artifacts are holding it back.
The track intros with acoustic guitar, bass, piano, and a
basic EZdrummer pattern. The balance is skewed right out of
the gate, with the programmed sidestick hits dominant in the
mix, followed by the acoustic guitar, with the bass and piano
bringing up the rear. As the vocal enters, we hear a prominent
smear on the word "without", and we hear it on other words
throughout the song. In our experience, this type of artifact is
almost always due to compression/limiting mismanagement.
The track becomes even more unbalanced when the sidestick is
replaced by a full snare drum sound that is way out front of the
other instruments, exaggerated even more by the quiet bass.
Fortunately, much of this imbalance gets sorted out as John
crescendos his sound sources into the chorus. The welcome
addition of electric guitar, piano, organ, and harmony vocals
(fine performances here) add some bulk around the drums
and vocals that is much needed to our ears. Unfortunately,
the late bridge section follows the template of the verse rather
than the chorus, zapping energy out of the mix.
SUGGESTIONS: We wonder if John's intention here was
to purposefully play down the sound sources in his verse and
bridge sections in order to more effectively drive up the
intensity of his chorus sections. Nothing's wrong with the
concept, but forty seconds of balance issues prior to the chorus
is too long to wait! We would urge John to revisit his mix while
A/Bing any of his favorite Americana recordings. Listen to
the relationship between the drums/bass and acoustic guitar/
piano and try to achieve a similar balance.
As for the vocal artifact: historically, compression was used
for gain reduction of loud or uneven sound sources. We hear
no need for that much compression on John's voice. If he is
using it to achieve some type of "sound", further experimentation
is required. Smearing is a telltale sign of improper threshold/
attack and release times.
SUMMARY: A/B with known tracks-can't stress it enough!
CONTACT: John Lewitt, jmlewitt@gmail.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2018

Contents
Recording - February 2018 - Intro
Recording - February 2018 - Cover1
Recording - February 2018 - Cover2
Recording - February 2018 - 1
Recording - February 2018 - 2
Recording - February 2018 - 3
Recording - February 2018 - 4
Recording - February 2018 - 5
Recording - February 2018 - 6
Recording - February 2018 - 7
Recording - February 2018 - Contents
Recording - February 2018 - 9
Recording - February 2018 - 10
Recording - February 2018 - 11
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Recording - February 2018 - Cover3
Recording - February 2018 - Cover4
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