Artist Name: Tony Morgan Title: Summer Love Genre: Rock and Pop Rating:
Windows 7 Pro quad-core 32 GB RAM Lenovo laptop with Steinberg MR816CSX interface and Alesis Q25 MIDI controller keyboard (also used for drum programming) running Steinberg Cubase 9.5 and Toontrack Superior Drummer with Basic Rock Drums in multichannel mode. Mackie HR824 Studio Monitors and AKG K240 headphones. Mics: Shure SM57 and SM58, AKG Perception 420. Fender Deluxe Strat, Epiphone Les Paul style guitars, Line 6 Spider 3 1×12 and Spider 4 Half Stack amps, Fender Precision bass guitar.
Production Notes & Credits
“Summer Love” is a male vocal “rock ballad”. Tony did it all at his home studio.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
In his production notes, Tony relates that this is a re-recording of a song he had released on cassette way back in 1984! Let’s see what the 21st-century version sounds like, shall we?
With its heavily processed vibe, the vocals and guitars still maintain some of that mid-Eighties feel—plenty of delay and ambience here. We dug the big open kick drum sound that Tony achieved via his Alesis Q25/Superior Drummer setup. Less successful to our ears was the snare/side stick sound. Where the kick drum had a full organic sound with ample head and beater head emphasis, the snare sound was rather lifeless in comparison through our monitors.
Moving on, the synth strings and arpeggiated guitar parts were nicely panned and added some needed bulk to the track in general. That said, we couldn’t help but feel that the track never really “took off” in terms of its arrangement.
Those of you faithful readers who follow Recording’s monthly SPOTLIGHT feature will be aware of the light that we shine on these superb recordings, and specifically the impact that arrangements can have on a song. While we feel that Tony has some fine ingredients to work with here, we found ourselves on several occasions wanting a change in snare drum sound (particularly during the electric guitar solo) or for the bass guitar to switch from whole notes to the syncopated feel of the kick drum. Small things, for sure, but the kind of subtle addition/subtraction that can breathe life into a track.
While we recognize that “Summer Love” is a ballad, small changes in a mix can many times bring benefit without compromising the intended feel. In that spirit, we suggest that Tony check out past and future SPOTLIGHT tracks on our website—it’s a great resource, if we do say so ourselves!
Arrangements are your friend!
Tony Morgan, email@example.com