Show 215 – Producing “Perfect Little World” with Marco Bucci and more!

This week we have a segment on producing, recording and mixing JJ Gerber’s song “Perfect Little World” with Marco Bucci.
Our guest this week is Marco Bucci.

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28 thoughts on “Show 215 – Producing “Perfect Little World” with Marco Bucci and more!

  1. Fantastic segment, Marco. Jon said it at the end, and I have to agree: that was one of my favorite segments to date. And that is saying something. Great show as always! I do a bit of singer/songwriter work as well, and I just learned a thing or 3 from your approach. That’s the great thing about the show, and the great thing about this line of work. There’s always something new to learn…

    A few months ago I made the jump from part time engineer to full time. This is in no small part due to listening to this show. You guys have inspired me. I discovered the show while working at my day job in a law office (I was not the attorney, I assure you!). It took a couple of months to catch up on all of the episodes, during which I’m sure I was a bit more distracted at work, eyes drifting out the window, daydreaming about what I was going to try in the studio that night, or how I was going to approach a live mix differently at a gig that weekend. One of the things that kept sticking in my brain was both Jon and Ryan commenting that this is what they do full time. And, while I was certainly learning a shit ton from the show and getting better every day, I realized that I was able to keep up in the conversation… In other words, you guys weren’t losing me, even during long bits about Ryan cheating on his wife with a soldering iron. I could keep up, which meant that if I could apply the knowledge I could do it to. Anyways, thank you guys. You really did help change my way of life. I appreciate that. Of course, now I’m a “financially challenged” full time engineer with Gear Aquisition Syndrome, but I digress…

    I just picked up an SM7b, and I’m loving it. It is allowing us to do voice over work at all hours of the day now, instead of waiting until after 10 pm at night until the traffic dies down… LOL. It was cheaper than building a sound proof bunker in a corner of my live room (which is coming, after I make a few more bucks), and my wife likes me more now. Also switched to Reaper from Sonar X1 a few months back. I’m considering giving Reaper more money, just because I love them that much… It has changed the way I do business. It has allowed me to speed up my process by leaps and bounds. It helps me make money. Speaking of which, I’m overdue. Heres a bit for the tip jar. And for the love of God, stop flogging your chicken. It’s embarrassing.

  2. Categorically the BEST EPISODE EVER. I would listen the hell out of a production/arrangement podcast like this (in addition to HRS, naturally). Awesome song, as well – all the little cheerful details just made me grin like an idiot while getting the groceries. I’m currently producing a friend’s EP, and this gave me a big boost of inspiration. Thank you all!

  3. That was a really great show guys. Worth the wait. I hummed that song from the time I finished the podcast at lunch until I left work. Can we buy or download that song from somewhere?

    And I wanted to mention that you guys don’t have to read all of the comments. Why don’t you limit yourself to five or ten. Just to the ones that actually have a question or are otherwise interesting.


    • Hey! Unfortunately not … after putting months of work into that song’s production, the artist signed with new management and decided to take a different direction in sound/branding (they gave me special permission to use it in my segment). The song may eventually see the light of day maybe on a side release, but right now I can’t actually post it 🙁

  4. Great show! More of this if possible please… 🙂

    About noise and colouration of tracks stacking up in the sum of the mixes… I am currently reading “The Audio Expert” by Ethan Winer. In this he makes the observation (from the scientific angle, of course) that noise from e.g. a preamp will NOT stack up even if all tracks are recorded on this preamp. His argument in a nutshell is that as the noise is added for each track, so is the useful part of the signal, so the relation between noise and signal, so to speak, remains constant and thus not a factor. He makes the same argument regarding colouration, as this can be described as added content at various frequencies (being distortion or just “EQ”).

    A a simplified example, if a preamp’s “colouration” is a +3db bump at 400 Hz, and all tracks are recorded with this – this of course gives each preamp a +3db bump at that same frequency. But adding all these together STILL only gives a global +3db bump at 400 Hz – as the decibel unit is essentially describes ratio, not an absolute value.

    It made total sense to me the way he explains it. But it goes against what I have previously heard.

    What is your opinion on this?


  5. Guys,
    I agree with the other posters – that was one of the best episodes ever. I really enjoyed the production stuff, especially.

    I listened to this podcast on the headphones I got with my iPhone 5. They’re better than the original iPhone headphones, but there’s no real low end to speak of.

    And that got me thinking. If I’m mastering a track and I know for a fact that most people will be hearing it either on cheesy laptop speakers or on iPhone headphones, what are some tricks, strategies, and techniques to get the best possible sound? I mean outside of the obvious “listen using iPhone headphones while mastering” advice. Are there strategies for EQ, killer plugins, or anything else that works well? Thanks in advance.

    Ride the Duck. The Chicken needs a break.

  6. Hi Jon & Ryan,
    Easily one of the best and most informative shows to date. It was great to hear how the individual tracks were processed. It reminded me of Jon’s awesome mix autopsy segments. Mixing is an area I’m trying to improve in and segments like these really inspire and educate. Thank you so much for consistently producing some of the best content out there.

    I’m thinking of adding a new preamp to my setup and considering the GA Pre 73 and the Art MPA II. Jon: Is the Art capable of providing a colored sound similar to the GA? Ryan: Do you think it would be worth the extra money to get the DLX version of the GA?

    Again, thanks very much for all the great episodes. They are definitely one of the highlights of my week.


    ps: Hope you are doing much better Ryan.

  7. Great Show Gents on episode 215!

    I really enjoyed the segment Marco provided. It’s pretty amazing how much work goes on behind the scenes to generate one song.
    I am a hobbyist when it comes to mixing & recording so I don’t get too wrapped up in the details of the gear or all the types of plugins that are available; however I have to know what plugins (and mic) was used to get Ryan’s voice to sound like that. Did Jon apply the choke hold during the whole show or did Ryan just choke on the chicken! 🙂

  8. By the way, I’m relistening to all the episodes. Following a reformat of my computer, I no longer have all the back episodes. The zip files only go to episode 175 – could you make a zip of episode 176-200?

    I would be most grateful 🙂


  9. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a while now (since about show 190), so I figured I should come and finally leave a comment. Especially since I currently have a question that I’m sure you guys could give me some quality input on (self serving, I know).

    My dad has played guitar for most of his life. He was in a band that was semi-big in the area when he was in his teens, and has done things with it to varying degrees since. For the last few years, however, he hasn’t picked up the guitar once.

    I mentioned it to him the other day and asked if he’d be more likely to pick it back up if he had some way to complete some kind of vision. He said absolutely.

    So, I’d really like to get some kind of setup for him that would allow him to do just that. I have my own meager home studio, and I know my way around the basics pretty well, but his needs are obviously a bit different from mine. He is by no means computer illiterate, but I would like to keep things as simple as possible for him. For the forseeable future, my assumption is that he’d just be setting up some backing tracks and recording guitar over it. I have an available license or 2 for Ableton and Steven Slate Drums that I can set him up with (I am totally open to any suggestions that you guys feel would suit him better). I’d just like to get things working for him so he’s actually likely to follow through with doing something with it, rather than get bogged down in hardware and/or software complications. Any and all help is welcome. Thanks guys. KUTAFSW (Keep up the absolutely fucking spectacular work)

    • Hi

      If he’s on a mac, maybe garageband is the way to go (to start out) – it’s pretty easy to get going with this. For windows, take a look at mixcraft ( I have no experience with this, but seems to be a viable alternative.


  10. Ditto what all the other commenters have said – Marco’s segment WAS awesome, and not because i loved the song, i didn’t,(the horn parts were too far off key) but all the little touches like the vocal warmups trills, the megaphone, the extra vst piano part, were very inspiring.

    listening to that made me want to actually record, rather than scrolling through endless pictures of gear, and reading reviews of gear on Harmony Central. Maybe i have enough stuff…Nah, i NEED more! If i ever finish my current song, i’m definitely sending it to Jon for mastering.

    Keep em coming!

  11. Ryan,

    I know you are big on re-amping. Beyond the fundamentals of “always experiment,” do you have any tips about what type of amps to use when reamping soft synths? For example, would you use an electric guitar amp, bass amp, or keyboard amp for this process?


  12. Hey guys.. So I am about to buy the Steinberg UR824. We all like to save money but anytime I consider to buy a Interface I always remember what jon once talked about long ago in a previous episode about how important the A/D converters are… Well I think its time I just give up the cash and buy a decent interface and be done with it. Do anyone of you know about this product? Its cool if you don’t, I know you guys don’t have time to babysit everyones purchases so they don’t end up with Beringer or beringer like gear. But I’m coming from the tascam US-1461 to this Steinberg UR824. I was just also wondering how much of a improvement the preamps are comparing. And just for the record.. Anyone who is in the learning phase of this home studio project building, I cant say enough good things about the US-1641. It really is a great intro interface. Anyway. Hope all is well and I’m glad you guys got to recieve a email from me. HA!!

    PMS: Ryan, You once mentioned in the early days of the show that you would try and get some vocals laid down when your voice changes when sick. Oh, and so far, You have shown that to be true EVERY time! Its amazing! One minute your voice is all wimpy like, uh I mean normal like and then your aids of the throat kick in and your suddenly darth vader! HAHA!! It seriously does sound cool though. So did ya lay some vocalage down brother? Ain’t no way this white cracker could get inspired when sick. Love ya guys and thank you both for your services…

  13. F–K, F–k, F–k! That Damn Song’s been Stuck in my head as an immovable earworm for just about a week now… I caught myself humming it and thinking.. “WTF, what is that, and where did it come from… Oh wait… Now I remember… Those Chicken Riders over at the Home Recording Show Put it in my head!!!”

    Oh well.. On the upside, its better then a lot of the crap that gets stuck in my head on occasion… (ok, I LIKED the song, as did my 8 yr old Daughter)

    Side Note about ear-worms:

    I once had a Boring Ass Accounting day-job (1995) and to keep from going “postal” i kept a list of every single Ear-worm that Popped into my head as it popped in… Im not sure why I started committing them to an official List, but i think the intent was to make a mixed tape (yeah, making your own CD in 95 was still a new thing) but it grew so large it would now have to be an iPod Playlist… ranging from Ozzy To Jim Reeves, The Muppets to U2, but I digress… (boy did I!!)

    anyway… GSAA…

    I’m REALLY happy this week guys.. I got 7 days straight work here locally at a PRO LEVEL Studio in Halifax where Im doing everything from Tracking Voice Over for a TV ad (I dont have permission to name drop, but It’ll be a MAJOR luxury Car Add, featuring a Real Actor that took me a couple of scrolls to get through their IMDB list) to Audio For in-house Corporate Animations, TV Commercials, and Sound Design, FX/Foly for a Short Film… I’ve been getting to play with all kinds of different gear, Like an ISDN system, and, well… ok.. Im going off on tangent again… sorry… its just been Awesome….

    Some other Seminal Moments (which I think are universal for ANY new Job):
    -getting a key and security code to the building (which means they may want me back sometime soon)
    -Going out for a free lunch with the office as a team
    -Your First “Job Well Done” “Atta-Boy” moment
    -oh, and Christening the Office Toilet, dropping a huge deuce (Too many chicken wings perhaps)

    Its been sooo exciting, that the hardest part is resisting the temptation to Rub one out every few hours just Being in this amazing Facility, with all this gear… We’ll, actually… its not so much the gear, its the space and the people… A REAL PRO ISO Booth, Mix Room with Surround Sound, Pro Floating Floors, Double Doors, properly sealed, with noiseless AC, I mean… FAWK!!!!! It just makes life sooo much easier not to have to worry about exterior noise like traffic, Lawn Mowers, whatever…..

    Their Regular Guy comes back on Tuesday, and then I’m off again, but the good news is my working here (being a relatively small city) has led to my getting another gig starting almost right away at another studio doing some sound design for a film there…. That’s just a 1-project gig, but its work, and yet another resume builder..
    I had to “embellish” on my familiarity with Final Cut Pro-X (as I usually mix In PT10) but Im hoping to teach myself the basics over the weekend, and make the rest up as aI go….

    On the homefront, I’ve got 1 little VO for Software gig Im trying to finish, and one gig Im doing for almost free…. Some forensic Audio of a cheating spouse caught on tape that I gotta clean the background noise out of… I was gonna charge my full rate, but after hearing some of the “content” my heart was just breaking for this person so Im basically giving them 4 hours for the price of one… its an awful awkward situation, but Its one of those ones where your just glad that you can help AND that its not your name being mentioned on the tape… (ok, that was a joke in bad taste, but I couldn’t help myself)

    It sure is weird the paths and rabbit holes our careers can take us eh? But I’m into it now, and between my home studio, the Mic Sales, The Buying/Fixing/Selling from kijiji I still do and the Random Freelance Stuff I do for other companies, and my E.I. (until it runs out) I’m surviving and committed to NOT get a day job unless its Audio Related… This is it man.. Im IN, Im Hooked, Balls Deep!!!

    Anyway…. At your Leisure, I invite you Check out my Home Studio…
    I set out (at a potential Clients request) to make a little video tour to send them, and while it felt like I was only talking for 5-10 min, it actually clocked in at just shy of 1 hour! But I’d like to think its interesting, and in turn, I’d love to see similar videos from your other listeners… I am an Audio Geek… and Im Proud of it.. so this type of stuff is better then PORN for me… ok… Now I just said too much.. Don’t worry.. My console is a designated “Spill Free Zone”…… Nuff Said..

    the youtube link is here..

    I would LOVE to hear comments, feedback (good and bad)
    I don’t have an ego about this shit….. anything I can learn from you guys and your audience to make my space/gear/work/etc.. better is all good…

    Keep up the great work…
    Your fan as always..


    P.S. While I “think” I’m still the Atlantic Canadian Rep for Advanced Audio Mic’s, they’ve been making some changes corporately where I was asked (and volunteered) to give them back some of the related Domains I’d created for online sales… So If you go to any of the links I’ve posted previously, they now all redirect to the main site, which is currently going through an overhaul…

    They’ve added some new staff, and now have serial numbers and an online registration system for warranty tracking, along with some other great enhancements… But the temporary downside is that I’ve been also limited in that I can no longer advertise individual Mics for sale on Kijiji (our version of Craiglist) in addition to loosing my direct web sale revenue… So, for the Short term, My own personal sales here in Nova Scotia have, as a result, slowed to a trickle… But thats ok.. its just a small Bump in Road and I have faith very soon we’ll have a new agreement in place and that I’ll be up and running in a modified but active capacity sometime soon…

    Regardless of how that unfolds, however, Guys.. I shit you not!! These Microphones Kick ASS… I have the Whole Line, (2 or 3 of some of them) and I LOVE them All… But I’d better stop there or I’ll be writing another EPIC Novel within and Epic Novel of an email… LOL

    But to get back on point (and I did have one) if you’d like to try them out… Any and/or All of them… if you wanted to do a shoot out or just play with them….. Contact Dave in Vancouver First…(Chain of Command)..

    Advance warning though, with all the changes in the works, While he is one of the nicest (and smartest) guys I’ve ever met, he IS busy…. Far busier then I am…. So if he doesn’t get back to you right away.. then Contact me..and I’ll nag at him to Follow up, and if that STILL doesn’t work… then i’ll just hook you up from my own personal stash…

    So while this may come of as somewhat bias (me being a rep and all) I do mean it when I express my Love of the product…. Regardless of whether I get to stay on as their rep or not, I really believe in the product and I’ll still gladly loan you mine for a test… Best case Scenario, All the corporate stuff evolves and I’m still a part of it…. But if it doesn’t unfold that way, thats ok too… I Still Have had a great run with it, I STILL LOVE the Brand, and at the very least, even if I don’t end up staying on as their rep, at the very least it might drive some extra traffic to my studio website ( or my Resume Site ( which may lead to other opportunities…

    So its all like one big Audio-Related Reach-Around!!!! Boooyah!!!!!!


    Rob Out!

  14. Great show with the full song breakdown.

    Ryan’s voice sounds great here.
    A few years ago, I was doing location sound for a week long convention in the Oriental Palace in Vegas just before it was torn down (one of the last Rat Pack era casinos left standing at the time – and it smelled like it). Over the course of the week, my voice went from a midrange-y thing like Jon, to having people tell me I sounded like Tom Waits. I wasn’t sick, so it had to be something horrible lurking in the vents. Sadly, it took a couple of days to get home, and by then my voice was back to normal so no chance to track anything.

  15. Hello Ryan, Jon.

    My first comment since finding your show a few weeks ago. I’m gradually working my way through the archives.

    I’ve just re-started home recording again as a means of getting my bands songs recorded, as going into recording studios has not worked well for us (mainly to do with our flakey drummer, who won’t learn to play to a click). Back in the day I was recording on an Atari/cubase with an SMPTE sync code on my Aria 4 -track cassette. How things have changed! It’s a steep learning curve, but great that so much more is available to me that was back in 1993!

    Doing it a home means I can record with drum machines or loops, track it at myself and the guitarist’s leisure. Then our drummer can lay down his tracks afterwards. If he plays in time great, if not I still have machine tracks I can use (Jon’s segment on adding real percussion to machine tracks was great).

    Looks like I’m going to have to build myself a reamp box to go with all the guitar pedals that I’ve been building. Just as soon as I figure out what transformer I can get for a reasonable price here in Australia. There seems to be a whole lot of variations on circuits, some containing 600:600ohm, 10k:10k, or 10k:150ohm, or with inductors added in. For a simple circuit there’s a lot of different opinions. I don’t want to blow anything up, or buy something that doesn’t work! Any ideas here guys?

    Marco’s segment on production is GOLD!!! His ideas on using arrangements, keeping interest, and on knowing when less than perfect is OK are inspirational. And that song is just joyous.

    PS what does GSAA mean??

    Keep up the good work guys!

  16. Again, just another person singing a song of praise for Marco’s briliantly presented segment. What a great communicator, clearly a very very tallented guy.

    For anyone else interested i’m putting together another production walk through for the show myself, but I’m going back to square one because Marco just completely raised the bar!!!

  17. Recognize I’m late on the comment here.

    I love this track. It is awesome. Literally gives me chills. FWIW I’ll offer a couple of comments. The vocal warm up sounds are ridiculous. You’re already dealing with a track that is quite gay (I don’t mean that in the homophobic sense but it the traditional sense). Don’t go over the top with something so whimsical (or stupid depending on your point of view). I like the poorly intonated trumpets. They have a great feel. For the later choruses you need to move from the staccato beats to a driving beat. It feels like the song never peaks before it ends.

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