The Mother Of Vocal Chain Threads
Old 24th October 2008
  #1
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The Mother Of Vocal Chain Threads

Since there have been so many discussions about so called "magic" vocal chains,I thought that I would post one about a so called "old school" method.

Back in the seventies when all of those classic Philly recordings were made with real artists who could REALLY sing such as Teddy Pendergrass,the Ojays,the Stylistics, Billy Paul,Delfonics,Blue Magic,Lou Rawls etc,allof those great hit records by those artists and many more were recorded with a Neumann u87,using the mike pre from the Electrodyne board,into a Kepex Gain Brain,maybe a DBX compressor,if needed.
Thats about it.
No magic bullet..no "mojo"other than the GREAT ARTISTS who sang their asses off.
Need I say more??
Old 24th October 2008
  #2
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I can see where you coming from.

thumbsup
Old 24th October 2008
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Since there have been so many discussions about so called "magic" vocal chains,I thought that I would post one about a so called "old school" method.

Back in the seventies when all of those classic Philly recordings were made with real artists who could REALLY sing such as Teddy Pendergrass,the Ojays,the Stylistics, Billy Paul,Delfonics,Blue Magic,Lou Rawls etc,allof those great hit records by those artists and many more were recorded with a Neumann u87,using the mike pre from the Electrodyne board,into a Kepex Gain Brain,maybe a DBX compressor,if needed.
Thats about it.
No magic bullet..no "mojo"other than the GREAT ARTISTS who sang their asses off.
Need I say more??
The older U87's do sound great though. It can only reproduce (to some extent) what you put in it!

Jazztone
Old 24th October 2008
  #4
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FWIW: Electrodyne consoles are great!
Channels racked up go for big bucks now-a-days...
Were you guys cutting everything at Sigma back then?

You can take the statement further and mention how many tracks were available to work with in the 70's when recording your records.
Definitely none of this 'overdub, cut, paste, edit, vocalaign, autotune and double for 48+ tracks' crap mentality.
Old 24th October 2008
  #5
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you mean artists can actually sing
Old 24th October 2008
  #6
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I see where Philly is comin from.

Most of the songs I did that I consider my best works were not done with high end gear, but even with the most expensive stuff, I still wouldn´t be able to reproduce the emotion and feeling of those songs.

Conclusion: It´s usually not about the gear used, but about the song, the singer and the vibe of the session.

Just my 2's.
Old 24th October 2008
  #7
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Ive always been a U87 avalon kind of guy!
Old 24th October 2008
  #8
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Quote:
Since there have been so many discussions about so called "magic" vocal chains,I thought that I would post one about a so called "old school" method.

Back in the seventies when all of those classic Philly recordings were made with real artists who could REALLY sing such as Teddy Pendergrass,the Ojays,the Stylistics, Billy Paul,Delfonics,Blue Magic,Lou Rawls etc,allof those great hit records by those artists and many more were recorded with a Neumann u87,using the mike pre from the Electrodyne board,into a Kepex Gain Brain,maybe a DBX compressor,if needed.
Thats about it.
No magic bullet..no "mojo"other than the GREAT ARTISTS who sang their asses off.
Need I say more??
.........no doubt great singers philly, but I also think when u record a great singer and song to tape well u also get that vibe thing that's a bit more difficult to capture digitally, unless you have a nice set up and even then.....
Old 24th October 2008
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
.........no doubt great singers philly, but I also think when u record a great singer and song to tape well u also get that vibe thing that's a bit more difficult to capture digitally, unless you have a nice set up and even then.....
...and when you record a lousy singer to tape...he'll be that much lousier..vibe or no vibe
Old 24th October 2008
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReaLsoN View Post
I see where Philly is comin from.

Most of the songs I did that I consider my best works were not done with high end gear, but even with the most expensive stuff, I still wouldn´t be able to reproduce the emotion and feeling of those songs.

Conclusion: It´s usually not about the gear used, but about the song, the singer and the vibe of the session.

Just my 2's.
All of those great Al Green records were recorded in one of the "crappiest" studios everRoyal Studios in Memphis,but Willie Mitchells sensitive production and Als emotional vocals and those wonderful songs made it all worthwhile.
Old 24th October 2008
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
FWIW: Electrodyne consoles are great!
Channels racked up go for big bucks now-a-days...
Were you guys cutting everything at Sigma back then?

You can take the statement further and mention how many tracks were available to work with in the 70's when recording your records.
Definitely none of this 'overdub, cut, paste, edit, vocalaign, autotune and double for 48+ tracks' crap mentality.
Sigma,24 tracks from 1973 on
Two tracks for automation
A lot of comping and bouncing.
Dolby A
Old 24th October 2008
  #12
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Quote:
...and when you record a lousy singer to tape...he'll be that much lousier..vibe or no vibe
.....................erm yes, I don't think anyone would dispute that, but that wasn't my point............I was comparing the sound of a u87 going through an average preamp and into prosumer convertors to one going directly to tape...........there is a subtle or maybe not so subtle difference. to my ears the tape seems to take a little of the harsh digital edge off and gives a more real 3d quality...........like it or not i just think good analogue distortion has a vibe, you can disagree or not.
Old 24th October 2008
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
.....................erm yes, I don't think anyone would dispute that, but that wasn't my point............I was comparing the sound of a u87 going through an average preamp and into prosumer convertors to one going directly to tape...........there is a subtle or maybe not so subtle difference. to my ears the tape seems to take a little of the harsh digital edge off and gives a more real 3d quality...........like it or not i just think good analogue distortion has a vibe, you can disagree or not.
For sure.
Old 24th October 2008
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
All of those great Al Green records were recorded in one of the "crappiest" studios everRoyal Studios in Memphis,but Willie Mitchells sensitive production and Als emotional vocals and those wonderful songs made it all worthwhile.
what was so crappy about that studio?

an rca dx-77 ribbon mic into an mci console thru a pultec onto 2" 16 track...

can't get much fatter than that....
Old 24th October 2008
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
what was so crappy about that studio?

an rca dx-77 ribbon mic into an mci console thru a pultec onto 2" 16 track...

can't get much fatter than that....
By comparison.
Old 25th October 2008
  #16
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I know most of you all are into "name gear", but one of my fave vocal chains here for female voices and stacking bvs is a CAD Trion 8000 tube mike thru an ADK AP 1 mike pre.
Old 25th October 2008
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
Definitely none of this 'overdub, cut, paste, edit, vocalaign, autotune and double for 48+ tracks' crap mentality.
That music compared to today's pop music is very different in sound.

That's like comparing apples and oranges... just cause they grew great apples back in the day in a modest climate, doesn't mean that today's oranges don't need a HOT climate.

If you want to grow an apple, however, it can be done exactly the same way it was in the 70s
Old 25th October 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
By comparison.
by comparison to what?

who would say rca ribbon mic into mci preamp fed thru pultec eq onto 2" tape isn't a seriously slutty vocal chain?
Old 25th October 2008
  #19
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Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
by comparison to what?

who would say rca ribbon mic into mci preamp fed thru pultec eq onto 2" tape isn't a seriously slutty vocal chain?
Thats right.
I was speaking about "aesthetics"
And by comparison,technologially speaking, there were far more "superior studios, but taking all that into consideration,Willie did a superb job in capturing the essence of soul.
Now, are you happy???
Old 25th October 2008
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyotekells View Post
That music compared to today's pop music is very different in sound.

That's like comparing apples and oranges... just cause they grew great apples back in the day in a modest climate, doesn't mean that today's oranges don't need a HOT climate.

If you want to grow an apple, however, it can be done exactly the same way it was in the 70s
No shite???
Old 25th October 2008
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyotekells View Post
That music compared to today's pop music is very different in sound.

That's like comparing apples and oranges... just cause they grew great apples back in the day in a modest climate, doesn't mean that today's oranges don't need a HOT climate.

If you want to grow an apple, however, it can be done exactly the same way it was in the 70s
Its all still recordings of music whether 1970 or 2008, no?
The same principles of recording a GREAT performer still apply no matter what decade it is or what tools are used.
But The point that I responded to in the OP was that it is about the performance. 99%...
Gear should have little to do with a GREAT performer and performance.
I mentioned tools like vocalaign and autotune because back then, there wasn't a 'fix it in the mix' attitude that there is now.
If you were good, you sounded good. If you suck, you suck.
I think that also still applies now as well.
Your analogy, as fruit friendly as it is, isn't making much sense to me...
Old 25th October 2008
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Sigma,24 tracks from 1973 on
Two tracks for automation
A lot of comping and bouncing.
Dolby A
Would it be typical to record the whole band at the same time or would you break the recordings up into different production sessions?
Would vocals be its own session or did you find that having vocalist cut with the band (in isolation) gave better performances?
Old 25th October 2008
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
Would it be typical to record the whole band at the same time or would you break the recordings up into different production sessions?
Would vocals be its own session or did you find that having vocalist cut with the band (in isolation) gave better performances?
99% of the sessions were usually in this order:
Rhythm
Ruff vocal...sometimes a keeper.
Backing vocals
Strings
Horns
Mixing

Once in a while, an artist would do a vocal in the booth while cutting a track.
With Wilson Pickett's Engine #9, he was right in the studio over in the corner recording with us and in the long version break where he says"play yo' gittar son" he was referring to yours truly.
Old 25th October 2008
  #24
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Quote:
Once in a while, an artist would do a vocal in the booth while cutting a track.
With Wilson Pickett's Engine #9, he was right in the studio over in the corner recording with us and in the long version break where he says"play yo' gittar son" he was referring to yours truly.
........awesome, it's great that there are guys like you and Bob ollson on these boards who were actually there during the great golden age of soul! love Wilson and of course Sam and Dave.
Old 25th October 2008
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterfly View Post
........awesome, it's great that there are guys like you and Bob ollson on these boards who were actually there during the great golden age of soul! love Wilson and of course Sam and Dave.
$hit..I aint THAT old(smile)
I started doing sessions when I was barely fifteen.
Just hung around a ton of oldheads.
Now I hang with 'young headz"

Its all love.
Each one,teach one.
Old 26th October 2008
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Its all love.
Each one,teach one.
thats what i'm talk'n bout!
Old 26th October 2008
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch333 View Post
Your analogy, as fruit friendly as it is, isn't making much sense to me...
My point is that THE BEST performers of the 70s couldn't "sound" like a lot of today's music without using today's recording & mixing techniques... No matter how amazing their performing ability is.. the performance is only one (crucial) part of the equation.

I wasn't saying either's better or worse... just sayin they are different approaches


People Booed and threw fruit at Bob Dylan when he first starting playing electric.. I'm not a fan of the "purist" mentality.
Old 26th October 2008
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Since there have been so many discussions about so called "magic" vocal chains,I thought that I would post one about a so called "old school" method.

Back in the seventies when all of those classic Philly recordings were made with real artists who could REALLY sing such as Teddy Pendergrass,the Ojays,the Stylistics, Billy Paul,Delfonics,Blue Magic,Lou Rawls etc,allof those great hit records by those artists and many more were recorded with a Neumann u87,using the mike pre from the Electrodyne board,into a Kepex Gain Brain,maybe a DBX compressor,if needed.
Thats about it.
No magic bullet..no "mojo"other than the GREAT ARTISTS who sang their asses off.
Need I say more??


as I've said before... now-a-days some folks get too technical about recording music. All you really need is a nice song and a nice singer. Everything else is simply Lagniappe.
Old 26th October 2008
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillysoulman View Post
Thats right.
I was speaking about "aesthetics"
And by comparison,technologially speaking, there were far more "superior studios, but taking all that into consideration,Willie did a superb job in capturing the essence of soul.
Now, are you happy???
mmm, kind of...

my understanding is the best thing about willie's studio is the room itself, which, according to him, he spent lots of time getting right.

and, his pultec sounded so good that michael jackson tried to buy it off of him but he wouldn't sell...

plus, alot of guys like keith richards, who obviously could record at any studio on earth, sought out willie in memphis because they wanted "that" sound.

anyway, go phillies!!
Old 26th October 2008
  #30
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Originally Posted by soultrane View Post
mmm, kind of...

my understanding is the best thing about willie's studio is the room itself, which, according to him, he spent lots of time getting right.

and, his pultec sounded so good that michael jackson tried to buy it off of him but he wouldn't sell...

plus, alot of guys like keith richards, who obviously could record at any studio on earth, sought out willie in memphis because they wanted "that" sound.

anyway, go phillies!!
Why are you so defensive about Royal?
Do you work out of there??

FYI..I never said that I didnt like the sound of the place.
In fact,at one point several years ago,I had planned to record a certain artist there .
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