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John Mayer's "Room for squares", wow!!!
Old 23rd April 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
RaGe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
John Mayer's "Room for squares", wow!!!

Hey gang, I am currently in love with this album's sound (esp. the song "Neon"), the drums sound gorgeous and the guitars are also very nicely mixed.
Just curious about you folks' opinions. Does anyone have any info on the eng/mixing process?
Old 24th April 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dave-G's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A bulk of the record was mixed by Jack Joseph Puig at Oceanway, otherwise by John Alagia and Jeff Juliano .. I think there's some notes on the production of one of the songs in one of the trade mags (Pro Audio Review or Audio Media maybe?)..... Anyway, with all due respect to those involved (sincerely), I find the vocal sibilance painful, and the mixes get a little congested, harsh and distorted in the upper midrange (and highs)... but there's still plenty to like about it too.

I was ordered to buy and listen to this record by one of my clients as a part of her campaign to familiarize me with some records she admires. I must say I was surprised by the high quality of the song-craftsmanship throughout. Due to the way it/he's marketed, I thought it was just going to be music to score Abercrombie-and-Fitch ads for teenage girls. But it's actually pretty nice stuff.

...quality schmality; I'd bet Mayer is just swimming in horny teenage girls...

-dave
Old 24th April 2003
  #3
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I would agree.....it is not exactly a pristinely recorded album. Most times I find myself thinking they used the wrong vocal mic whatever it was. And is he really that breathy or is there a whisper track throughout the whole album?

Some very V-drum sounding drums in places too.

BUT I love the album. The songwriting is infectiously good for the most part with some really good tunes on the back half of the record. "3x5" and "83" are great as well as "Neon." Production is cool too. For an organic, acoustic guitar record...it stays pretty fresh throughout. Just one of those examples where the engineering didn't stay out of the way.

Just one man's opinion though.
Old 24th April 2003
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
RaGe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes I agree on the high-end being a tad too bright (esp. the cymbals, maybe ribbons would have helped?) but I guess it's just a matter of taste, it doesn't bother me anyways, the record as a whole I think sounds nice.

addendum:Found this : yeah km184s for OHs (on "Why Georgia").
Old 24th April 2003
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
Chae Ham's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
When I first bought the CD a while back, it was a lot better than I anticipated. I liked it so much I even bought his first release (that has been rereleased) just to hear the acoustic versions. Personally I LOVE the songs NEON, and CITY LOVE. Those two songs really stand out in all aspects from music to mixing.

I saw him in concert not too long ago(with my ER-25 Custom Earplugs of course!) and unless they're purposely going for that airy breathy sound on his vocals, it probably is natural.

Good Show.
Old 24th April 2003
  #6
Gear Addict
 
mdbeh's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hmmm. Maybe I'm just an indie rock snob, but I can't stand him. He sounds really affected and stiff to me, like some sorority girl's idea of soul.
Old 25th April 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
RaGe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
^ LOL! Come on, it can't be that bad.
Old 25th April 2003
  #8
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e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mdbeh
Hmmm. Maybe I'm just an indie rock snob, but I can't stand him. He sounds really affected and stiff to me, like some sorority girl's idea of soul.
Interesting point of view. You didn't like the JJP drum sounds? Particularly the way he set his attack and release times? (Atlec compression sound?) I do wish some more of the mistakes you knew where pro toolsed out would have been left in. Specifically the drums. Why the **** can't drummers play drums all the way through a song anymore? The highlights of the cd made up for the short commings for me.
Old 25th April 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
RaGe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
e-cue if you have some info about the drums please share ... I am curious about those settings you're talking about. thx.
Old 25th April 2003
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Chae Ham's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The drums sounds are definitely a highlight!
They sounded just as good live, not sure if it was the same drummer, I know there were two different drummers in the sessions.

The drummer that played for the concert was a really heavy hitter, but the character of sound matched that on the CD.
Old 25th April 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RaGe
e-cue if you have some info about the drums please share ... I am curious about those settings you're talking about. thx.
I don't know exactly what went down, but compare the drums from "Body is a Wonderland" to "Why Georgia". The JJP stuff has more of a firecrackerish sound. "Why Georgia" sounds like attack times on compressors sent to as fast as possible. The "Body/Wonderland" track has a drum compression sound that sounds like the Altec 1591(?) to me, but I could be wrong. When I go for this vibe, I usually use distressors.
Are there things I would have done differently if I mixed it? Sure, but when I first heard the record, it did inspire me to think up a couple different techniques.
Old 25th April 2003
  #12
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drew's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mdbeh
Hmmm. Maybe I'm just an indie rock snob, but I can't stand him. He sounds really affected and stiff to me, like some sorority girl's idea of soul.

Couldn't have said it better myself. First time I saw/heard that "body" song I almost didn't make to the bathroom in time.
drew
Old 25th April 2003
  #13
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toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The one thing that's great about that song is that it can easily morph into either "Your boobies are a wonderland," or "your booty is a wonderland". See, that's the mark of a song that's destined to be a hit.
Old 25th April 2003
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
RaGe's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's funny how labels tend to market the worst song on a CD as "the" single. There are some gems on this album that you'll probably never hear on radio (neon,3x5,city love,83....).
Old 25th April 2003
  #15
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cashewcupcake's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hehe I thought this thread was about John SAYER's Sqaure room treatment.
Old 27th April 2003
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
this album (most of the tracks) were mixed by the producer and engineer - yet once the album went to columbia, they had JJP re-mix most of the stuff. I remember hearing in the past that some of the fans largely prefered the mixes before Puig got his hands on them, just some food for thought..

I really like the arangement production on the album. Considering this is a solo guitarist songwriter, there was a good deal of arangement work done to build crafty songs, that still have a live feel to them...

The album sounds pretty good on the whole though, as far as the brightness - that could have something to do with how hot it is cut. For people to talk down upon an album of this character suprizes me, since not often do we cut work that we are 100% happy with ourselves, yet it's always easy to knock work that has made other people alot of money it seems...

and as for that kind of vocal - he seems to be the breathy type, I do believe the vocals were tracked with an sm-7. I have a new client that is particularly fond of John Mayer and has a very similar vocal technique, and before pre-production I am finding myself wondering what mic will work best for his breathy action, or if it will just require a good deal of comping...
Old 27th April 2003
  #17
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3rdpath's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i love the songwriting on this record--especially 3x5...

but what an incredibly harsh and brittle mix...ouch.

also there's a drum loop that opens one of the tunes thats about 1/32 too short...crap like that drives me nuts.

oh well, still a good record...it just sounds like they recorded the whole thing using 414's and adats...
Old 27th April 2003
  #18
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toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh, man. Your Body Is A Wonderland is definitely the best song off of that album. If you had to pick a song to be a hit, that would be it. I don't have the album, but I have heard it all the way through several times. Sure, there are songs on there that might take you to on a little bit more of an emotional ride. I think that songs that are very simple and consistent in their emotional "vibe" are usually better as singles.

And plus, you can put just about any word in place of "body". That makes it fun to sing along with.
Old 28th April 2003
  #19
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
the john mayer album to me is great except...........

I love this record but there are things that bug me about it too. I really like the songwriting and sound for the most part but tend to hear the same "Puig" vocal shrillness, way too slow release times on his compressors, acoustic guitars sound like they were mixed through a beer can into a Boss chorus pedal. Take a listen to Vanessa Carlton's record for comparisson. Puig seems to have a "Rock" preset button on his console just like the ones on AIWA mini stereos. Ya know the sound, lots of bottom NO mids and tons of high end that actually makes a vocal sibilant even when it wasnt in the raw track. This guy needs to be stopped! Or people have got to start opening their ears.
Old 28th April 2003
  #20
Gear Head
 
dstagl's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have both copies of the record, and I prefer the original mixes to JJP's. They're not so harsh. When I've A/B'ed them for people, everyone seems to lean towards the original mixes.

Dave
Old 28th April 2003
  #21
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by dstagl
I have both copies of the record, and I prefer the original mixes to JJP's. They're not so harsh. When I've A/B'ed them for people, everyone seems to lean towards the original mixes.

Dave
Did the same guy master both?

Mastering has a lot to do with it also.

Its unfair just to blame the mixer.
Old 28th April 2003
  #22
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
I would tend to sway with the mastering issue rather than JJP. I've been in his analog den of mixing at Ocean Way and it would be hard for me to comprehend anything brittle or harsh coming from the array of gear he has...
Old 29th April 2003
  #23
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robot gigante's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
oh well, still a good record...it just sounds like they recorded the whole thing using 414's and adats...


Ouch--- that's harsh
Old 30th April 2003
  #24
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I liked the song writing. I got that album when it first came out and after a day or two, I came to the conclusion that the over all sound was harsh and fatiguing.

I saw the cable broadcast aswell and I thought the the bass sounded fantastic. I'd like to know what his chain was.
Old 6th May 2003
  #25
Lives for gear
 
stealthbalance's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
jjp has workrd a long time to get to where he is. if an album sounds
a certain way - 8 times out of 10 that's because who ever was producing
and the artist wanted it that way or it wouldn't be that way. the other
2 times is because the a&r guy wanted to put their ego and finger prints
on the project so they could get a name guy on that album - and if it is
a hit, then the a&r guy can claim that thanks to them its a smash.
even if the leather eared a&r guy was aware that their choice of mixer
was turning out poor results - he would shut up and not place egg on his
own face - plus by that time too much $$ has already been spent.
by the way, jjp is also producing & mixing Mayer's new album at the
moment.
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