Korg D1200mkII digital multitrack, Audio-Technica AT3035 cardioid condenser, ART Tube MP, Alesis NanoCompressor, Taylor 314ce six-string; Taylor 354ce twelve-string; Ibanez GA6CE nylon-string.
From the album Pastoral Elegies; written, arranged, performed, and produced by Derek Mok at home in Los Angeles, 2008.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
Derek has submitted a very nice ballad here with a lot of upside and only a few minimal issues. Recorded on a standalone Korg multitrack machine, there are plenty of highlights. All three acoustic guitars are well recorded and represented in the mix. Derek deftly handles the combination of the Taylor steel string guitars and the more rounded tone from the Ibanez nylon-string instrument. The AT 3035 / Art Tube MP combination works well; each instrument maintains a distinct voice while forming a unified bed for the soaring vocal performance. Speaking of which—except for small amounts of sibilance and proximity effect here and there, things come through with flying colors. Our only real concern is the very noticeable distance and tone/texture changes that occur when Derek sings into his powerful upper register. What a set of pipes!
Derek has done an excellent job with this track, and there’s a lot to be happy with. As for the strong singing, the correct technique is to back off from the mic as needed to work the performance dynamics. Having decades of experience as a live sound engineer, I can tell you that while this goes a long way toward getting things under control, it can also create secondary issues such as thinning out vocal tones and creating timbre shifts. Combine these issues with the natural voice variations that occur in our upper registers, and things can get uneven quickly. We suggest Derek experiment with compression processing that might allow him to work closer to the mic while not compromising his excellent vocal chops.