Windows 10 PC running Reaper, Takamine, Fender, and Peavey guitars, Line 6 guitar processing, Toontrack EZ-Drummer, Arturia strings, KRK Rokit 5 speakers, Sennheiser headphones; mastered using Sound Forge Audio Studio
“Simple and True” is an acoustic rock instrumental track done in its entirety by Scott in his home studio.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
Scott has submitted a lovely and pretty darn successful composition—hats off to some fine guitar sounds here! Scott’s passionate lead guitar performance has a bit of a Mark Knopfler vibe, and that’s a heavy compliment around these parts! We dig the tone from his Fender Strat / Line 6 rig. Playing a clean tone without repetition for five-plus minutes is no easy feat. We’re also generally impressed by the other sound sources in the track. The acoustic guitars are presented without artifacts. The software-generated organ provides a great full bed to support the active and impressive electric lead guitar (recorded in one take!). We’re thrilled that Scott presents his programmed drums without apology. While they could benefit from some minor rebalancing, the tones and arrangement are solid and certainly fit the genre. We often hear programmed drums mixed apologetically—ducked uncomfortably in the mix. Sadly, this only serves to add insult to injury by throwing the entire soundscape out of whack. Presenting sources correctly regardless of their origins is critical to learning solid mix skills, so thank you, Scott!
As for areas of improvement, we feel that there are slight volume irregularities with the electric guitar, and in spots, the kick drum overpowers the snare. We also believe that the guitar and organ could benefit from some additional ambience to air out the track a bit.
Scott has done well, and with a few minor tweaks, ‘Simple and True’ will shine. Starting with the electric guitar, we would advise a touch of compression to even out the volume irregularities, along with a bit of small reverb or delay—nothing crazy—a little goes a long way! Adding some reverb to the organ pad would accomplish much the same, benefitting the mix with some additional space. We would isolate the drums and examine the balance between kick and snare, aiming for an even flow. A touch of compression would also aid the kick drum; again, go easy and avoid pumping. In his production notes, Scott tells us that he wants this track to sound real and not polished and perfect. Fair enough—if our advice is handled subtly, we think the organic nature that he intends can remain alongside a more balanced result.
Scott Owens, firstname.lastname@example.org