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Rob Schnapf Ribbon Microphones
Old 9th July 2016
  #1981
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12ax7's Avatar
 

.
Wanna know the coolest EV dynamic omni ever?
Pssssst:
Electro-Voice PL9
.
Old 9th July 2016
  #1982
Not that it tells you all that much. But here's the 635a on steel. Some kind of boutique tube combo amp with a 15". I think.

https://www.reverbnation.com/sonomad...ss-before-i-go
Old 10th July 2016
  #1983
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilla_studios View Post
... here's the 635a on steel. Some kind of boutique tube combo amp with a 15". I think.
For a developing player, the sound is really nice. "... a shot, a beer, and a place where nobody cries." Love that. And she sounds like Emmylou.
Old 10th July 2016
  #1984
They're a fun little cover band, and lovely people to boot. 99% of their demo was live off the floor.

It's a Ryan Adam's tune, I believe.
Old 16th July 2016
  #1985
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Quint's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Sullivan View Post
I don't think anyone makes a 6 ply bass drum in the same wood configuration as Gretsch. DW actually acquired Gretsch drums last year, so I'm assuming DW is going to start/has started making the shells using Gretsch's specs.

I've gotten pretty interested in old drums and have several kits come through my door over the past few months. None have dethroned my Ludwig 22/13/16 in the studio for versatility...late 60's era with the clear interiors. I had the edges leveled, which freaks collectors out but I care more about how they sound. And the tuning range is ridiculous. I think it's important to have done especially if you want things tuned low and slack.

Just based on my personal experience, not buying and sell crazy expensive stuff but just what I've owned, the late 50's/early 60's Slingerland (Chicago badge) and Ludwigs (Transiton badge and pre-serial keystone) are really well built. After Ringo happened I think the quality of the workmanship of Ludwig got hit or miss, same with a lot of Slingerland during. I think mid 60's to early 70's Rogers was really make the best constructed drums. Ludwig seemed to get their act together in the late 60's and early 70's before they went to 6 ply with no re-rings (not bad just different) and Rogers lost their mojo pretty quickly into the Fullerton era (pretty much after the old stock ran out)

I don't have much experience with Gretsch. Played around on a Broadcaster 3 ply set from the 50's that really impressed me but out of my budget. I think in general no re-rings and sharper bearing edge = more attack, volume,and sustain. Re-ring and rounded edges = more warmth. Rogers are a nice middle ground to me. The really early Tama Superstars that were 3 ply birch with rings are often overlooked. Also been really interested in the teardrop Sonor kits from the 60's and the 60's Premier kits.

Just like pro audio it's a friggin' rabbit hole.

I've been thinking about getting with a buddy and comparing all the different drums we have under mics and hear them side by side. It be a fun experiment.
What's your opinion of late 60's Sonor teardrop kits? I have a four piece (1969) I really like but I have not done any work at all to the bearing edges. I was considering having somebody do some work on it. Not sure if I should though.
Old 17th July 2016
  #1986
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12ax7 View Post
.
Wanna know the coolest EV dynamic omni ever?
Pssssst:
Electro-Voice PL9
.
RE-16
Old 17th July 2016
  #1987
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
RE-16
Great mic, wish I had one. Not an omni, though.
Old 17th July 2016
  #1988
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rob S's Avatar
That's an undisputed fact
Old 26th August 2016
  #1989
Gear Maniac
 

yo rob mangy love rippps

the clean electric tones sound so good. what can you tell me? (amps, mics, chains, etc)

record is so smooth. amazing work.
Old 4th September 2016
  #1990
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rob S's Avatar
Lots of strat and super reverb.
Beyer 160 or modded 57w/tab transfrmr.
CAPI Heider, 528 mic pres.
A touch of 550 eq 3A/distressor
Old 16th September 2016
  #1991
Lives for gear
 
rob S's Avatar
Just saw cass and band last not at the Teragram.
Great show
Old 16th September 2016
  #1992
That record is amazing.
Nice work by all involved.
Old 21st September 2016
  #1993
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rob S's Avatar
Playing around with the dizengoff D864 while mixing a new Toadies record.
So far sax sounded warm and woody.
Lead guitar real creamy with the growl switch engaged.

Last edited by rob S; 21st September 2016 at 05:15 PM..
Old 21st September 2016
  #1994
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Let us know how it works on vox/bass/drums..

Price seems to be too good to be true but man that in off switch is dog ass ugly ! I know that switch from electronics shop bargain bins.
Old 21st September 2016
  #1995
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Fleaman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut View Post
Price seems to be too good to be true but man that in off switch is dog ass ugly ! I know that switch from electronics shop bargain bins.
Obviously a result of the price.

But it would be real easy to replace with a switch of your choice...
Old 22nd September 2016
  #1996
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rob S's Avatar
Don't know if it's gonna make it onto drums or Bass on this one.
Already got a vibe going on there.
Overstayer SFE on overheads
Overstayer SFE drum buss.
1176 parallel snare
Drums also parallel to modified Ampex AM10.
Crunchy
Bass - Overstayer line driver Distressor
Old 22nd September 2016
  #1997
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
I had a modded up old federal comp
Lots of roll off under 120hz
The crazy blow it up army manual.
Used it on parallel aggressively.
Old 22nd September 2016
  #1998
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rob S's Avatar
You still have it?
I'm trying to put the dizengoff thru it's tasteful paces.
Sometimes it's the simple stuff that's the hardest.
The attack release pump artifact stuff thru subtlety can be far more revealing
In the 'can we set this thing up and get a nice sound' mode before resorting to
Outright destruction.
Old 22nd September 2016
  #1999
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
You still have it?
I'm trying to put the dizengoff thru it's tasteful paces.
Sometimes it's the simple stuff that's the hardest.
The attack release pump artifact stuff thru subtlety can be far more revealing
In the 'can we set this thing up and get a nice sound' mode before resorting to
Outright destruction.
Sold it about 3 years ago.
For the most part It was kinda one trick.
But looked pretty badass.
Old 9th October 2016
  #2000
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rob S's Avatar
Overstayer master and servant in the house.
It makes a difference.
Old 9th October 2016
  #2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
What's your opinion of late 60's Sonor teardrop kits? I have a four piece (1969) I really like but I have not done any work at all to the bearing edges. I was considering having somebody do some work on it. Not sure if I should though.
I actually just got a Teardrop kit last week! It's a 20/12/13/16. I'm missing a 12 and 16 hoop so I haven't got it going yet (I didn't realize how hard they'd be to find!) but it's definitely a bit sharper with more sustain compared to the Ludwig and Slingerland's I have. While I've had a lot more drums with re-rings I think one without benefit from 2 ply heads. I never much cared for Emperor or similar on 3 ply drums because they were too muffled (it's a lot easier to reduce sustain than add it when it's not there) but I think with the sharper bearing edges and less contact to the head by the drum itself you get a nice balance of warmth and attack.

My suggestion if you've never had the bearing edges done on your drums is to take the one that's the worse (A good way to check is to lay it on a flat dark surface, turn off the lights, and point a flashlight in the drum and see if any light comes through the bottom...that means it's not level) and have it done and see if you notice a difference.
Old 9th October 2016
  #2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
Overstayer master and servant in the house.
It makes a difference.
That modular thing looks pretty crazy as well.
Old 9th October 2016
  #2003
Lives for gear
 
rob S's Avatar
The Modular is incredible.
Looks intimidating but once you get a handle on it,
It is amazing.
From subtle and tasteful to over the top
And tasteful because you can craft the distortion to your liking.
The sickest bass distortion ever.
Old 9th October 2016
  #2004
Lives for gear
 
rob S's Avatar
the History of recording:

Every revolution needs its’ leader - the provocateur - the central figure in which everything emanates from and flows through. In the case of 20th century music and mass media technology, the figure having the greatest impact was not an inventor or scientist, but rather a singer.

And that singer was non other than Bing Crosby. Without question, he was the original superstar of multimedia and more than likely, still the biggest. His White Christmas was the No. 1 recorded song in total sales (35+ million) for over 50 years. And for sheer volume, the 1600 records he made have never been equaled. He performed on a staggering 4000 radio shows, appeared in 300 television programs,100 movies, and was the first popular singer to win a Academy Award for Best Actor (Going My Way, in 1944).

Along with his success, he gained enormous wealth and became an independent force to be reckoned with in the midst of the corporate powers that dominated the radio, film, and music industries. And because of his artistic need to innovate new methods of reproducing himself, he used his power to nurture the major technological developments of the past half-century. Simply put, if it was not for Bing, music and mass media as we know it would be radically different.

To fully appreciate Crosby’s gargantuan impact, it’s important to understand where technology was in the 1940’s. Magnetic tape recording, for all intents and purposes, did not yet exist. Recordings were made directly to disc - as they had been for over 40 years. Though the world of audio had come quite a way since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, the jump to hi fidelity sound was still around the corner. In fact, it is remarkable to look at how far we have come in a relatively short time. Here (in very broad strokes) are some major milestones that illustrate how we have arrived at the current state of audio technology:

1874 - Ernst Siemens patents the very first loudspeaker, in Germany

1876 - Telephone is invented by Alexander Graham Bell. The first Microphone was a telephone transmitter invented by Emile Berliner, who was working for Bell at the time.

1877 - First recording of a human voice - by Thomas Alva Edison working in his lab, he succeeded in recovering Mary's Little Lamb from a strip of tinfoil wrapped around a spinning cylinder. A year later he was granted a patent, and the phonograph was born.

1887 - Emile Berliner patents another early form of "Gramophone". With many improvements, the disc phonograph would become a commercial success and eventually replace the original Edison phonograph after 1910.

1895 - Marconi achieves wireless radio wave transmission in Italy

1898 - Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen patents the “telegraphone”, the first practical magnetic sound recorder. Using magnetized steel piano wire as the recording medium; it functions as a dictating machine and telephone answering machine.

1890 - The first "juke box" appears in San Francisco

1901 - Eldridge Johnson, (who in 1896 improved the gramophone with a motor) merges his Consolidated Talking Machine Co. with Berliner's company to create the Victor Talking Machine Co. in 1901 with the "little nipper" dog as trademark.

1903 - Wax cylinders start giving way to flat discs The 10-inch 78 rpm record eventually becomes the overall standard format. 78s were recorded and played back "acoustically", without any electric amplifiers or microphones, until 1925

1904/06 - Ambrose Fleming invents the vacuum tube diode in 1904 and Lee DeForest invents the triode vacuum tube amplifier in 1906 - enabling Electronic amplification and broadcasting as we know it.

1906 - Victor introduces the the "Victrola" - the first all-enclosed cabinet phonograph

1912 - Major Edwin F. Armstrong is issued a patent for a regenerative circuit, making radio reception practical.
* **
1921- The first commercial AM radio broadcast is made by KDKA, Pittsburgh PA.

1924 -Two General Electric researchers patent the modern, moving coil loudspeaker, which becomes the prominent design for all loudspeakers

1925 - The first electrically recorded 78 rpm disks appear.

1929 - Harry Nyquist publishes the mathematical foundation for the theorem basic to all digital audio processing, the "Nyquist Theorem." While it is curiously surprising that this breakthrough concept pre dates practical magnetic tape recording, it is absolutely staggering that the theorem will not be comercially applied for over 50 years.

1931 - Alan Blumlein, working for EMI in London, patents stereo.

1932 - German electrical manufacturer AEG starts designing a tape recorder

1933 - Magnetic recording on steel wire is developed commercially.

1934/36 BASF manufactures 50,000 metres of magnetic recording tape and makes the first tape recording of a symphony concert during a visit by the touring London Philharmonic Orchestra.

1939 - Major Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio, makes the first experimental FM broadcast.

1941 - Commercial FM broadcasting begins in the U.S. Les Paul completes his first solid body electric guitar- the instument that single handedly creates the sound of Rock & Roll.

1942 - The first stereo tape recordings are made by German Radio in Berlin.

1944 - In Mineappolis, 3M begins work on magnetic tape. In Redwood city, CA, the Ampex Corporation is formed.

1945 - Jack Mullin mails tape machines and tape back to the US.

1946/47 - Les Paul develops groundbreaking new recording technics in his garage studio.

1948 - The 33-1/3 rpm long-play vinyl record (LP) is introduced by Columbia Records.

1949 - RCA introduces the microgroove 45 rpm, large-hole, 7-inch record and record changer/adaptor. Magnecord produces the first U.S.-made stereo tape recorder.

1950 - Sony founded in Japan.

1954 - Ampex develops 1" eight track for Les Paul; Sony produces the first pocket transistor radios

1955 - Ampex develops "Sel-Sync" (Selective Synchronous Recording), making audio overdubbing practical

1958 - World standard for stereo records established, and first stereo LPs sold; new generation of Hi-Fi components adopt stereo. Koss introduced stereo headphones.

1959 - The FCC decides the FM stereo broadcast format - paving the way for FM Rock format - 7 years later

1963 - Philips introduces the Compact Cassette tape format, and offers licenses worldwide.

1964 - Ampex 4-track

1965 - Philips introduced the compact cassette for consumer audio recording and playback on small portable machines such as the Norelco Carry-Corder 150.

Robert Moog shows early music "synthesizers."

1967 - 8-track becomes the main pro format for rock music production.

1968 - First Dolby B on cassette machines - explain how that raised the quality of prerecorded cassette

. First 24-track recorders... MCI pioneers... Ampex MM1000 and 3M M79.

1974 - DuPont introduces chromium dioxide (CrO2) cassette tape.. Along with the spread of Dolby - The cassette becomes hi-fi.

1976 - Dr. Thomas Stockham makes the first 16-bit digital recording in the U.S. at the Santa Fe Opera.

1980 - Sony introduces the "Walkman." in US - revolutionizes the music biz
The Linn Drum, First sampling drum machine is released

1981 Banner Year -Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc (CD). Digital Technology explodes in the musical instument and professional audio worlds. MIDI is standardized as the universal synthesizer interface, forever changing how music would be made The first new generation of synthesizers/samplers, such as Synclavier, Fairlight and Emulator create an entire new sonic pallete how we hear music.

1982 - Philips and Sony introduce compact disc in late 1982. Sony releases the first production CD player.

1984 - Apple markets the Macintosh computer -
Sales of prerecorded cassettes exceed LP sales for the first time.

1987 - Digidesign markets "Sound Tools," a Macintosh-based digital workstation

1988 - For the first time, CD sales surpassed LP sales, leaving CD and cassette as the two dominant consumer formats;

1998 - MP3 players appear for the first time - enabling the next major wave of the future - downloading audio via the Internet.

It is amazing to realize how far we have come in a relatively short time (at least in reference to all of human history). And it is surprising to understand how great a role Bing Crosby played. But in order to fully grasp his role as chief provocateur, it is necessary to know about the two main men whose lives converged with him and forever changed how sound is made and reproduced.

Like thousands of other GIs just before D Day in 1944, Jack T. Mullin was in England. Assigned to the Signal Corps, he was troubleshooting a problem the Army was having with radio receiver interference.

Working until two or three in the morning, he wanted music to listen to, but unfortunately, the BBC broadcast only until midnight. In searching for music at that hour, he discovered German stations that were broadcasting very well played symphony concerts - apparently twenty-four hours a day.

The American networks wouldn't permit the use of recordings in the early 1940s, because they claimed the quality was inferior. You could always spot the surface noise and the relatively short playing time of commercial 78-rpm discs. But there was none of this in the music coming from Germany. The sound was comparable to that of a live broadcast, and a selection might continue for a quarter of an hour or more without interruption.

In Germany at that stage, of course, Hitler could have anything he wanted. If he wanted a full symphony orchestra to play all night long, he could get it. Still, it didn't seem very likely that even a madman would insist on live concerts night after night. There had to be another answer, and he was curious to know what it was.

After the liberation of Paris, as the Allied armies moved on Berlin, Mullin’s unit was reassigned to Paris and given the job of discovering technological developments that the Germans had made in electronics during the war. That meant taking trips into Germany from time to time. And on one of those trips, he met a British army officer who raved about the quality of the Magnetophon (the term that Germans used for all recording devices) at Radio Frankfurt. Figuring this officer simply didn’t have a good ear, Mullin assumed that the machine in question was no different than the noisy wire recorders that were commonplace.

On the way back to his unit, he came to the proverbial fork in the road. Turn right and drive straight back to Paris, or turn left, to Frankfurt. Turning left was the greatest decision of his life. The radio station was then being operated by the Armed Forces Radio Service, and when the Magnetophon was demonstrated, Mullin flipped. There was no background noise - the music sounded live. The answer to his question about where all that beautiful night-music had come from was finally answered.

Although these machines had been used at a number of stations in Germany, there was no official word that such a thing existed. The people who were using it to prepare radio programs apparently were unaware of its significance.

Upon finding more of these machines, Mullin kept two for myself, photographing the manuals and schematics. During his last months in the Army, he took the machines apart and sent them home to San Francisco in pieces. Regulations specified that a war souvenir had to fit inside a mailbag, so he made little wooden boxes for the motors, shipping each one separately. In all, it came to thirty-five separate items. Any one of those boxes could have been lost or damaged, but miraculously, all of them arrived safely. In a addition, he sent all the magnetic recording tape he could find.

After reassembling the machines in San Francisco, early in 1946, he started showing them to audio professionals. And at one of those early demonstrations, a representative of the Ampex corporation was looking on keenly. That company had been making aircraft motors during the war but was now looking for a new product, and tape recorders well could be the ticket. As it turned out, Ampex did in fact become the U.S. pioneer in the field.

In mid 1947, before Ampex was in production, Mullin was invited to give a demonstration for Bing. The previous year, Crosby wanted to shift from live performance to recorded transcriptions for his weekly radio show on NBC sponsored by Kraft. But NBC refused to allow recorded radio programs (except for advertisements). Even though Bing was radio’s biggest star, the live production of radio shows was a deeply established tradition (reinforced by the union) that the network was not willing to dispense with. The new ABC network was willing to break the tradition and pay Crosby $70,000 per week to produce a 60 minute recorded show every Wednesday. Crosby wanted to change to recorded production for several reasons. The legend that has been most often told is that it would give him more time for his golf game.

But golf was not the most important reason. Bing was always an early riser and hard worker. He sought better quality through recording, not more spare time. He could eliminate mistakes and control the timing of performances. Also, he would no longer have to wear the hated toupee on his head previously required by CBS and NBC for his live audience shows (Bing preferred a hat). He could also record short promotions for his latest investment, the world's first frozen orange juice to be sold under the brand name “Minute Maid.”

Bing’s problem was that his new network threatened to cancel the show during the first year because the audience rating was falling off - and this was blamed on the poor audio caused by editing on multiple transcription discs. Crosby needed to act fast and find a viable solution. What Jack Mullin didn’t know was that Bing had already seen a tape recorder. It turns out that Colonial Richard Ranger had also found a Magnetophon, shipped it back to Newark, New Jersey, put it back together and then made a copy he ingeniously called the Rangertone.

Figuring that Les Paul would be more interested in his machine than just about any other human being, Ranger tracked Les down and regaled him with his story. Not surprisingly, Paul was absolutely intrigued, but having had ongoing conversations with Bing about his immediate quandary, had Ranger fly out to Hollywood to demonstrate the recorder to Crosby’s staff. Although they were impressed with the machine, they were less than impressed with Ranger’s apparent lack of motivation. Knowing they needed at least two working machines, Ranger did the opposite of “siezing the moment,” matter-of-factly informing them he could only make one Rangertone per year.

Mullin on the other hand already had two machines and impressed the staff with his know how, so was invited back to record Crosby’s first show of the 1947-48 season. Crosby's technical people wanted to see how tape would compete with the disc system they had been using. They liked what they heard and asked Mullin to set up shop in their Hollywood studio and become chief engineer. His tools were exactly what he sent from Paris - two recorders and fifty rolls of tape. With those fifty rolls, he was able to do twenty-six shows : splicing, erasing, and recording over the splices. The concept of splicing magnetic recording tape had never been contemplated, so techniques had to be developed.

Everything was recorded, even afternoon rehearsals. As Bing wrote in his autobiography, "By using tape, I could do a thirty-five or forty-minute show, then edit it down to the twenty-six or twenty-seven minutes the program ran. In that way, we could take out jokes, gags, or situations that didn't play well and finish with only the prime meat of the show; the solid stuff that played big. We could also take out the songs that didn't sound good. It gave us a chance to first try a recording of the songs in the afternoon without an audience, then another one in front of a studio audience.

We'd dub the one that came off best into the final transcription. It gave us a chance to ad lib as much as we wanted, knowing that excess ad libbing could be sliced from the final product. If I made a mistake in singing a song or in the script, I could have some fun with it, then retain any of the fun that sounded amusing."

In the evening, Crosby did the whole show before an audience. If he muffed a song then, the audience loved it -thought it was very funny, but Mullin would have to take out the show version and put in one of the rehearsal takes. Sometimes, if Crosby was having fun with a song and not really working at it, he would have to make it up out of two or three parts. This way of working became commonplace in recording studios, but it was a whole new game in 1947.

Clearly being the wave of the future, Crosby invested in Ampex in order to mass produce machines. Midway through the next year, Ampex finally released their first machines (modeled on the Magnetophon) and the first two were presented to Mullin. This enabled him to retire his, which were showing signs of fatigue. Additionally, the 3M company was now making blank tape (based on the BASF tape brought back from Germany), so they no longer had to rely on the original 50 reels.
Within a short time, the tape recorder revolution was in full blast and a new, modern era of broadcasting and music was about to change all our lives. How ironic that it all led back to a fork in the road outside Frankfurt.

For history’s sake it must be noted also that many of the technical parameters that Mullin developed still are the worldwide standards for tape recording. Oh, and one other thing that probably casts an even larger cultural footprint. Crosby looked to take his act over to that newer medium, television. Production was mostly live in its early years but he wanted the same ability to record that he had achieved in radio. So, in 1950, in order to help facilitate his boss’s needs, Jack Mullin developed the world's first working video tape recorder. And over the next few years, through his investment in Ampex, Bing continued to finance the development of videotape.

If Jack Mullin is the Godfather of tape recording, the Pope of popular music, the person who has undoubtedly had more influence on the sound of music over the last half century is non other than Les Paul (the very man who first hipped Bing to magnetic tape recording). Unlike Mulin, whose name and story were familiar mainly to those inside the industry, the very name “Les Paul” conjures up powerful musical images and is recognized in all corners of the globe.

Of course Paul is most known for the rip roaring guitar that bears his name. Along with Leo Fender and Adolph Rickenbacker, he is the inventor of the solid-body guitar - the instrument that gave rock music its’ volume and voice, enabling it to explode. A musician himself, he was a highly versatile guitarist who gained nationwide exposure in the late 30’s and early 40’s through a variety of radio programs and recordings. Dissatisfied with the sound of available electric guitars, he set out to build his own and created “The Log,” which was nothing more than a length of common "4 by 4" fence post with bridge, guitar neck, and pickup attached.

In 1951, years after first presenting his creation to the Gibson company, they finally decided to manufacture and market an updated version of “The Log,” only after Fender and Rickenbacker beat them to the punch and released their own solid body instruments. Even if that was his sole contribution, it would still place him in the pantheon of giants because Les Paul guitars are sold to this day and are continually used to create some of the world’s most memorable music.

But his pioneering work in the world of recording is even more monumental and touches each of us virtually every day. Every time you hear music that has been recorded after 1947, you can not help but feel Les Paul’s influence.

In 1944, Paul hooked up with Bing Crosby, who featured Les’ trio on his radio show and recorded six records with him, including a 1945 number one hit, "It's Been a Long, Long Time." On his own, Les continued to make jazz, country and Hawaiian flavored recordings in addition to backing other popular singers like Judy Garland, Dinah Shore and the Andrews Sisters.
By 1946, on Bing’s advice, Les had built a studio in his garage and was recording his own masters at home - experimenting and ultimately pushing the envelope of what could be done with recorded sound. His first major breakthrough was a song called “Lover,” a sonic wonderland containing eight layers of rhythm and lead guitars, all played by himself. Amazingly, this recording pre dates magnetic tape - made only with wax disks. In essence, Les created the world’s first multitrack recording system by gerryrigging two disc cutting lathes. He would record a track onto a disk, then record himself playing another part with the first, and then so on down the line. Capitol Records released the song in 1948, billing the astounding, futuristic recording as “The New Sound.” Not surprisingly, it became a hit.

At this same time, Paul was becoming involved with Colleen Summers, a singer he would marry the following year. While driving on Route 66 outside Oklahoma City, their car slipped on ice, crashing through a guardrail and dropping 20 feet into a frozen creek. Although lucky to be alive, it looked like Paul would never play guitar again as his right arm was shattered in three places. Doctors grafted bone from his leg into his arm and rebuilt his elbow with a steel plate, which had to be locked into place. Demonstrating his utter commitment to craft, Les instructed the surgeons to set his arm at an 90 degree angle that would allow him to cradle and pick the guitar. The arm would be in a variety of casts for the next 18 months.

During Paul's convalescence, Bing dropped by with a gift: the first Ampex 300 series tape machine. After studying it for a while, Les realized that by modifying his new toy with an additional record head, he would be able to record multiple parts, creating his “sound on sound, with far greater fidelity and control than he had with his disc system. And with that, he effectively gave birth to the multitrack tape recorder as we know it today.

In the beginning of Les’s tape experiments, it was just him, playing on his own. Soon though, he added his country singing wife, who he (bestowed upon the stage name) renamed Mary Ford. Paul overdubbed multiple generations of his wife’s silky voice, making her sound like a one woman Andrew Sisters. Les’s country- jazz licks and studio wizardry now had the perfect foil, and the results were stunning. Their first multi-track hit, a cover of "How High the Moon," was released in early 1951 and reached No. 1. This began a string of 28 spectacular multi-layered hits on Capitol Records, highlighted by three #2 records and the gargantuan, “Vaya Con Dios,” which stayed at #1 for eleven weeks in 1953. Not only did these recordings sell over 10 million copies, their success enabled Les Paul and Mary Ford to have their own television show.

But even more importantly, the creation of new recording techniques and the constant refinement of those techniques would have an even longer lasting effect than even the music itself. Along with sound on sound recording, Paul discovered tape delay - which became an essential element of early rock, starting with the immortal Sun recordings of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. He created artificial reverb and other never heard effects. He used Air Force pilot headphones to listen to the music while recording new parts. To lessen the tape noise caused by recording up to 37 generations, he designed equalizers and amplifiers to provide the optimum results.

Another huge advancement that Les pioneered was close micing vocals. Previous to this there was an unwritten rule that vocalists should be placed no closer than two feet from the microphone. Les wanted to capture every nuance of Mary Ford's voice so he had her stand only a couple of inches away from the mic. It sounded so good that soon, everybody began recording vocals this way. Les even invented the idea of octave transposed voices that eventually provided the basis for the television cartoon “The Chipmunks” with his friend Ross Bagdasarian (David Seville). No one had ever heard things like this before. From Les Paul’s garage, the sound of the future was created.

In 1952, he gave a speech to the Audio Engineering Society stating that multitrack recording was the future, and begged for the invention of higher quality speakers and amplifiers. During the same speech, he let it all hang out - previewing the future by pitching the idea of a digital recording system that would replace the analogue systems (that were just beginning to be developed) and enable mutli tracking without the inherent problem of tape hiss and noise. Talk about being ahead of the curve!! Les was so far in front that he was looking towards new technology to replace things that hadn’t even been built yet. Absolutely staggering!!!!

In 1954, the audio world was speechless as Les commissioned Ampex to build the world’s first eight track tape recorder. His creation of “sound on sound,” later known as "Sel-Sync," in which a recording head could simultaneously record a new track and play back previously recorded ones, would firmly establish the future of multi-track recording.

Surprisingly, the record industry didn’t catch up to multi track recording for several years. For some reason, many of the old line powers that be thought that Les’s innovations were more of a novelty. It took about 5 years before they began making background recordings and putting a singer on later. Among the first to do this were Ray Charles and Patti Page, but it wasn't done seriously until the very late fifties and early sixties. From there, things just exploded over the next few decades. 4 track to 8 track to 16 track to 24 track analog tape machines - making way to 48 track digital tape machines, eventually making way to the computer based digital audio workstations of the present - with unlimited tracks and manipulation capabiliites that years ago would have been unthinkable to everyone. Probably everyone but Les Paul that is.

Quite simply, it is impossible to overstate Les’s contribution to music and sound reproduction. He is both the father of rock guitar and the father of modern recording. He gave birth to and nurtured multi track recording, overdubbing, artificial reverb and echo, effects like delay and vari speed. He pioneered the use of close miking. He continually invented and then refined the techniques that enable rock, pop and every other style of music to be created in the way it does, and ultimately sound the way it does. Whole volumes have been and will continue to be written about him - and for good reason.

The bottom line here is that our world would certainly not sound the way it does without Bing Crosby and the men he intersected with.
Old 10th October 2016
  #2005
Lives for gear
Massive post! The one thing that gets me though, is that whoever actually developed the magnetophon in Getmany, gets zero credit...
Old 10th October 2016
  #2006
Was just reading about this last night in THE GREAT BRITISH RECORDING STUDIOS .. Bing gave ampex 50K to develop their tape machines.
Old 10th October 2016
  #2007
Lives for gear
 
rob S's Avatar
never saw this info timelined and collected in one article.
Seemed like a good share
Old 10th October 2016
  #2008
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by EMMST View Post
Massive post! The one thing that gets me though, is that whoever actually developed the magnetophon in Getmany, gets zero credit...
Fritz Pfleumer invented the magnetic tape, and then the idea was further expanded upon by BASF, who manufactured the tape, and AEG, who manufactured the machines. Edward Schuller was responsible for reshaping the tape head into a ring, which had previously been a needle shape, and AC biasing was also developed at AEG around that time.
Old 11th October 2016
  #2009
Mro
Gear Head
 

Great piece of audio history! Not much info on the subject commonly available. Quite clever this Les Paul guy Didn't Rein Narma, the latter fairchild 670 constructor, collaborate with him on the build of his multitrack Ampex?
Old 21st October 2016
  #2010
Gear Nut
 
two|twelve's Avatar
 

Thank you Rob! Incredible!!
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