Spark and Punch and my buddy's hd24

I have a Motu hd 192, modified at Black Lion Audio that I record with at home.and a Motu 828 mk3 system, with 2 8 pres for additional inputs.

I am looking for that “Spark and Punch” in a Mastered mix. I set up my tracks in Cubase, put LA2 compressors on vocals and either that or WAVES CLA plug ins, and also use CLA on the instruments. I insert a Waves L2 plug on main out.

I have yet to get the Spark and Punch that I am looking for. I have the L2 set to kick in at -16 to -19 and it brings the volume up, but still, I cannot get the sound I am looking for. It seems that the starting levels of the original tracks are not loud enough, even though there is plenty of signal apparent in the wave form and in the mixer.

My buddy has an Alesis HD 24 hard disc recorder. It seems like his initial tracks are smoother, have more life and just plain sound better. Comparable mics and preamps, his just sound better.

To get “the sound” am I going to have to give up computer based recording? I have tested an Apogee Duet with my home system my modified hd192 still sounded better.

I’m open to thoughts and opinions.


I think it’s mostly in the skill of the operator and a lesser extent the gear. Room acoustics are of course a major contributor too.

…not to mention the initial quality of the instrument or voice you are recording.


Maybe you are just using too much of everything. See if you can accompany a band into a commercial recording studio, or just plain ask to watch them work. You will see that they use very small increments on nearly every setting they make. No one can explain from here. You will be surprised.
Less is more.

I suggest a free trial of a finishing program like Ozone, which I use. Don’t take the presets too literally, just get in there and muck about until you’re hearing more sizzle,more smoothness, more bottom whatever it is you’re looking for.
If you do go this route, expect to have to go into your track and adjust things-for example, in adding a little excitation, perhaps the cymbals become too loud or too thin sounding. Etc etc. Good luck.

Hire your buddy, simple.

OR, try a finishing/mastering program, which are not so complex, actually.

How’s it going old fella, you been alright:)?