The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Led Zeppelin I sound Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Led Zeppelin I sound

So for an audio class project I need to reproduce the sound of Led Zeppelin 1 as closely as possible. I have musicians who can pull it off, but I don't know the first thing about how that record sounds the way it does. My entire recording education so far has been on protools and crystal clean recording. Surely there must be some publicly available information in the recording techniques used for that album? I don't have a tape machine, but I do have access to either an API or SSL console, all the mics, protools and a load of plugins.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
CJ Mastering's Avatar
Quote:
So for an audio class project I need to reproduce the sound of Led Zeppelin.
I don't know the first thing about how that record sounds the way it does. My entire recording education so far has been on protools and crystal clean recording.
Google and see what you can find out. This is your school project, not mine. Use what you learned in school so far and do your best.

If you put in the work, you will find some good info on the net. Everything is at your fingertips. GOD i wish i had the internet when i was learning!!!!

Good luck and post your mix when its done
Old 4 days ago
  #3
look for old posts on Pro Sound Web from Terry Manning. He talks about the old Led Zeppelin records. Although I don't think he tracked Led Zep 1. There are also lots of pictures and articles about that era and the producer of that album (Glyn Johns and his brother Andy Johns).

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I can remember when I had to do those projects in college. We'd all be researching and looking up photos and biographies and whatnot to see pics of the beatles recordings, hendrix, led zeppelin, elvis, etc.

The info is out there... you gotta find it.

One thing to remember, up until Led Zep III, everything was tracked and mixed in mono. Led Zep III was the first album they mixed in stereo (although they tracked it in mono). I remember Terry Manning talking about that, how he had to manually pan the tom fills because the drums were one mono channel on tape but they wanted the tom fills in stereo.

Another way to learn about the recording of Led Zep I is to look at other albums Glyn Johns did around that time. Glyn was also the engineer/producer for the Rolling Stones, Steve Miller Band, Joe Cocker, The Band, The Beatles, Humble Pie, The Who, Howlin' Wolf, Billy Nicholls, The Kinks, etc...

So even if you can't find a ton of information about Led Zep I specifically, you could come up with an overall overview of Glyn's approach at that time (late 60's/early 70s) by looking at all the albums he did and trying to piece together different photos from the different albums to figure out an overall methodology... then you can use that to help with tracking your project.

Also... just a tip.. it's not JUST about the musicians but also their instruments... make sure you do some digging on the instruments used (which guitars and amps were used on the record instead of what Page used live)... For example, I know Bonham used to use a 26" kick live but he very rarely recorded with it... he would alway use a 24" kick in the studio. Same with the metal snare drum. Live he would use a metal supra phonic... but in the studio he was mainly using ludwig black beauty snare drums. And he used a Remo power dot head on pretty much all the drums.

Anyway... even if the musicians can play the crap out of zeppelin... if the drummer comes in with an 18" kick and 12" hats and a 16" crash, the guitarist comes in with an Ibanez through a Mesa Boogie amp, and so on... it will never sound like Led Zep I no matter what mic you use or how much EQ you use.

Another big thing about the sound of Led Zep was usually Glyn's use of a new compressor design at the time called the "Urei 1176" compressor on drums. Before that it was EMI and Fairchild compressors. Also Page used RCA BA6A compressors a lot on his acoustic guitars. He actually owns/owned a pair and would bring them to the studio for every session.

Cheers!
Old 4 days ago
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
BazzBass's Avatar
record drums in a big hallway. THAT is the Bonzo sound.

Jazz or Precision bass with flats.

But, you need track bleed, ie the isolated bass track has drums bleeding into it, the the bass sound is VERY dirty and clanky, yet sounds silky smooth when mixed with the rest.
For guitar, sloppy is how you get Jimmy's sound
You'll probably need a woman to sing like Plant though.....
Old 4 days ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
woodhenge's Avatar
 

Just a little nit-pick, but as a huge Zep fan that has studied the [email protected]#$ out of those records I have to disagree that the first two records were "mixed in mono".

Zeppelin I was actually one of the earlier albums that was a stereo-only release, with no alternate mono version available for sale.

Right off the bat, on "Good Times Bad Times", the hi-hat is in the left channel... the drum mics are hard-panned... kick is more dominant in the right channel. Mixed from mono sources, sure... but hardly a "mono mix".

Don't get me started on "Whole Lotta Love" with the crazy panned slide guitar...

Unless there is some other type of "mono"???
Old 3 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodhenge View Post
Just a little nit-pick, but as a huge Zep fan that has studied the [email protected]#$ out of those records I have to disagree that the first two records were "mixed in mono".

Zeppelin I was actually one of the earlier albums that was a stereo-only release, with no alternate mono version available for sale.

Right off the bat, on "Good Times Bad Times", the hi-hat is in the left channel... the drum mics are hard-panned... kick is more dominant in the right channel. Mixed from mono sources, sure... but hardly a "mono mix".

Don't get me started on "Whole Lotta Love" with the crazy panned slide guitar...

Unless there is some other type of "mono"???
Just reiterating what Terry had once said. Maybe he meant they were all tracked in mono, but mixed in stereo? I specifically remember him talking about how he had to pan the drum track on the tom fills on Led Zep III.
Old 3 days ago
  #7
I started a thread five years ago asking the exact same questions.
LZ I......

Study up on Glyn Johns miking technique.

Beyer M160 on gtr is your friend. Early EV...664, or Shure 545 maybe.
Record with gobos, but let some spill in between instruments. In a large room with high ceilings.

The gtr was a supro, with field coil speaker removed, mounted on a plywood board. Notice no bottom end?
All mids and up. Very chimey because of console adding harmonics. Would almost fool you that it is an AC30, but no...more akin to a Champ or something.

Don't mic too close.

Supraphonic snare, ambassador heads. Look up Bonzo's drum setup, youtube...google. Don't put mics too close to cymbals. Let them diffuse with distance, and wash a bit. More clanky and washed then crisp and silky.
Blue stripe 1176, or retro 175...or real 175

Tonebender on the supro, panned one side on Dazed, How Many etc.

Straight Supro CRANKED panned opposite. Crank until you get the distortion you need, but never too much. Overdrive.

Telecaster...get some 50's reissue pup's.

Use old, discrete transistor mic preamps, Helios...Sound Techniques. Earlier than Neve. Neve too tame and refined for this record. Need early, primitive transition from tube to transistor type circuit. The kind when they were still figuring solid state out.

5 transistors, big input and output transformers. Telefunken or TAB V672 ok.

Lots of the tone comes from the overdriven early transistor circuit in the console and mic pre. Germanium, but probably silicon by LZIII. Possibly even II.

Tape. If you can swing it. Tape echo, echoplex.. Plate reverb.

U47 vox.

Altec Limiters. Fairchild if you are so blessed. UnFairchild. BA6A.
Let bass gtr distort, just like "clean" overdriven gtr. A little.

All of that done carefully gets you close.

Biggest thing is the talent. The players, the songwriting, the engineer.

They were HUNGRY, and you can hear it. By the time this all becomes a science project in 2018, it is easy to lose the fire, which might be the most important thing. Don't get too lost in trying to capture the exact tones. More about performance. It will all vanish in a cloud of smoke if you do. By the time you do get the tones close, your music will suffer because you spent a couple years chasing tones. No excitement left.

They clearly did NOT do this. 30 HRS...entire record from track to mix.

Good luck.

ps:...avoid all IC's at tracking stage, and if you can help it, mix stage as well.
IC's suck the life out of that sound real fast.
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
The gtr was a supro...
Assuming you mean the amp, in a recent interview-style biography, he says the whole thing was done with a Super Beatle. Which is to say, transistors.

I'm less surprised by that than I might have been before I started messing around with overdriven solid state gain stages saturating transformers. I'm starting to think tubes have gotten too much of the credit.
Attached Thumbnails
Led Zeppelin I sound-stancor_daka.jpg  

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 3 days ago at 06:41 AM..
Old 3 days ago
  #9
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Assuming you mean the amp, in a recent interview-style biography, he says the whole thing was done with a Super Beatle. Which is to say, transistors.

I'm less surprised by that than I might have been before I started messing around with overdriven solid state gain stages saturating transformers. I'm starting to think tubes have gotten too much of the credit.
There's only one piece of gear that in my experience has not gotten too much credit: a good sounding room.
Old 3 days ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnEdson View Post
There's only one piece of gear that in my experience has not gotten too much credit: a good sounding room.
A room that doesn't fight you is helpful.

But I've only been in a few places where I felt like, damn, it's the room. Mediasound A, Columbia 30th St., Sun, the "snare spot" in Record Plant B. Not like I've been in a zillion studios, but that's the extent of it for me.
Old 3 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
woodhenge's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Just reiterating what Terry had once said. Maybe he meant they were all tracked in mono, but mixed in stereo? I specifically remember him talking about how he had to pan the drum track on the tom fills on Led Zep III.
Actually, they did that on a lot of the earlier albums to get some movement in the tom fills. You're not wrong there at all.

Im always amazed at the drum sound... just two mics for quite a few of the earlier records. It really shows how much control Bohnam had over the balance of the kit.

If you do some digging, there are some multitracks of zeppelin ii songs floating around. They're quite amazing... Bohnam especially. His groove and finesse are fantastic, and the real magic of his parts are partially buried in the mix.
Old 3 days ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Assuming you mean the amp, in a recent interview-style biography, he says the whole thing was done with a Super Beatle. Which is to say, transistors.
Got a link?
Sorry Brent, but I've recorded a bunch of these Supros now...tough to believe that.

For decades it was a Supro...now no?

Plus, little gray Supro sounds exactly like it? He has also waffled a bit on which Supro model, but there are photos of it miked at Olympic somewhere, OG session. Plywood baffle....ahem.... board really.

I mean, like 85% there.

I don't believe it. Or not for all of it at least.

Please post link of interview?
Old 3 days ago
  #13
I see this, referring to it on LZII?

Totally different tone though. One still sounds like a Supro to me.

Jimmy Page; Yardbirds / early Zeppelin, ul-4120 -

Edit:

Very last quote say LZI was super beatle...still don't believe it.

Vox web page. The only reason I say this, is because you put a mic up in front of supro, and it is GTBT.
Unless one track supro, like the main rhythm, and the dirty vox...who knows.

Looked around more.

See supro at his feet?
Coiled cord going to echoplex...

Jimmy Page Supro ? Right there on pg 105 | Telecaster Guitar Forum

Still....it could have been a mix of things. If I was in the studio, I'd use whatever got the sound I was looking for.

On a side note...Gallows Pole? transistor leads like crazy. Maybe DI like Black Dog? Fizzy, buzzy...thinner though.
Also No Quarter sounds DI'd to me...but what do I know.

Immigrant Song sounds maybe SS amp too?

Edit...only cuz I want to learn. Brent has done a good thing...got me thinking. Thinking's hard at my age.
More info. With conflicting quotes. Vox edorsement?

Finding Zoso: Discovering the Music of Jimmy Page: Guitarsenal: Supro Page!

Last edited by NEWTON IN ORBIT; 3 days ago at 03:04 PM..
Old 3 days ago
  #14
Old 3 days ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Edit...only cuz I want to learn. Brent has done a good thing...got me thinking. Thinking's hard at my age.
More info. With conflicting quotes. Vox edorsement?
I can't post a link because I saw it in a book. Right now, my studio landlord has the book. I know that sounds a bit like "my dog ate my homework," but if I see him today and he has the book around, I'll take a photo or two.

On the other hand my memory could be faulty.

On the third hand, I doubt it. That and the bit about the only acoustic he ever used on Zep records being a Harmony Sovereign really jumped out.

Anyway, if Ron's got the book with him today I'll either snap some pix or eat my words.
Old 3 days ago
  #16
No you're absolutely correct.
On that Vox page, he clearly says he did.

However, I still don't believe it.

Look at photos.

All the info over the years, and the tone. Why now is he saying this? I had a SS vox, not super beatle. Can't imagine getting that tone from that thing.

I believe it for LZII, and LZIII, but LZI sounds like a supro cranked to me.

Again...what do I know.

Just trying to use my ears, been trying to get that tone since 90's.

My fav gtr tones for sure...not just 1 but all of the records.
Most of it the player and how he used his ears though.
Nobody will ever be Jimmy Page.

I also like Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Dimeola...but zep is both unpretentious and grandiose at same time. Something about it.

Honest? Maybe?

Regardless, thanks Brent. Now I know he used that amp somewhere, may try it.
Old 3 days ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
No you're absolutely correct.
On that Vox page, he clearly says he did.
Thanks for saving me the trouble.

Quote:
However, I still don't believe it.
Nobody said you had to. All's I said was that he said it.
Old 3 days ago
  #18
Right.
He's said a lotta things in the past.
Now this.
Who freaking knows.

Might be out your way soon.
Maybe get a beer.
Old 3 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiveMeYourGuitar View Post
I have musicians who can pull it off..
No, you have not.
Old 3 days ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Following the methods used for recording is not going to get you where you want to go - not by a long shot.

The things you need to be focused on first and foremost is the music being played and the gear the musicians are using to get the sound when playing live. If thay cant nail the sound live you can forget about Everything else because it will simply never come into play.

There are some things which can help on an individual musician level. The guitar for example will sound much closer to the original playing through a Supero amp or at least using a pedal like this which can nail those electric tones. Supro Fuzz Pedal | Sweetwater An MKII fuzz into a Supero amp would likely be the best however.

The bassist can google up what was used on that album as can the drummer.

From there you'll have to decide whether you're going to use modern recording techniques to emulate a vintage song or use vintage techniques/gear and try and make them contemporary. Personally I do better using modern and making it sound vintage because I do that all the time. Pushing old vintage gear and try an make it sound its best can be most difficult and expensive.
Old 3 days ago
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm starting to think tubes have gotten too much of the credit.
Agree 100%. Tubes are important but not essential. I'm glad our world is starting to focus more on trannys.

And as to the Led Zeppelin thing, remember to have the drummer lay back with a little swing, the guitar player to push like crazy, and the bass to sit right on top of the beat. That's the formula!
Old 3 days ago
  #22
Compress drum reverb; echo on the vocal; warm slightly-distorted bass; and er...Jimmy Page. Good luck! Please let us know how you get on - and Welcome to Gearslutz
Old 3 days ago
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by andyfreeman View Post
Agree 100%. Tubes are important but not essential. I'm glad our world is starting to focus more on trannys.

And as to the Led Zeppelin thing, remember to have the drummer lay back with a little swing, the guitar player to push like crazy, and the bass to sit right on top of the beat. That's the formula!
Absolutely.

You can tell what these guys were listening to as drummers growing up.

Tone wise, NOT playing wise necessarily I was watching old Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa vids? That is more akin to the tone at least of Bonham's kit, and the way he approached tuning etc. Skiffle?
Baroque Folk I guess too...

For me, those vids and the "Bonham" rock tone have a remarkably similar sound. Which seems to have gotten lost in the 1980's, but has started to come back.
Or maybe never left for purists...Jazz cats, Swing...etc.

Plastic heads heads ala Remo Pinstripes are cool, but they are not the LZ sound. Plastic shells? Vistalites>>> I dunno.

To do this right...so much is involved. Again, mainly player.

Doorknocker is probably right...haha

To do it just cuz you like the sounds from that era is one thing, to do it to replicate LZ is IMHO kinda silly and futile. Never een super crazy about tribute bands, but I guess they can be cool.

There is an allure to those tones though, and they are / were awesome. Some guys, mostly metal and prog guys don't like them, but I love em.
Old 19 hours ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

The very best thing the OP can do is search the internet for the 8 track multitracks for some of the Led Zeppelin II tracks (WLL, Your Time is Gonna Come, Ramble On). Then listen very carefully for cues as to mic placement and general eq. Use your ears and take what you read here with a grain of salt - there are TONS of misinformation about LZ recordings floating around.

Certainly a huge part of the challenge will be getting players who are good enough to pull it off.

Hints:

The drums are recorded with what sounds like two dynamic mics possibly in a GJ config (two of the 8 tracks), but they are out of phase enough to emphasize the highs and brighten the overall sound quite a bit. The drums are recorded pretty hot to tape with a decent amount of saturation. They are certainly not "stereo", because the phasing trick wouldn't work if the mics were panned.

Bonham just barely hits the cymbals on these recording and pounds the bass drum.

Bonham's drum tech Jeff Ocheltree has given very specific details about Bonham's recording kit. According to the man who maintained his drums, he recorded with wood drums in his standard sizes (14/16/18/26), with Ambassadors and then later Emperors over Ambassadors (note also that early Ambassador heads were double ply and sound more like a modern Emperor than a modern Ambassador). My memory of the snare specifics is a bit foggy, but as I recall Ocheltree says he usually used his 6.5x14 Supraphonic for recording. He liked his heads very old and dead sounding, so a tiny bit of moon gel is not a terrible idea.

The guitar is generally fairly clean and a Supro is certainly used on some of the recordings.

As I recall the the bass is miced and fairly midrange sounding.

Everything is roomy sounding, but not from a very live room. Nothing is terribly bright sounding, once again I suspect because of extensive dynamic mic and possibly tape usage.

I don't know what the rules are - would it be ok to post short snippets of the individual tracks to show what I'm describing?
Old 16 hours ago
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Thanks for saving me the trouble.



Nobody said you had to. All's I said was that he said it.
This is why you cannot trust what engineers and musicians say about sessions so many years ago - recent neuroscience shows memory as changing over time, this is a good example; for years Page claimed this was his Supro.
Old 15 hours ago
  #26
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiveMeYourGuitar View Post
So for an audio class project I need to reproduce the sound of Led Zeppelin 1 as closely as possible. I have musicians who can pull it off, but I don't know the first thing about how that record sounds the way it does. My entire recording education so far has been on protools and crystal clean recording. Surely there must be some publicly available information in the recording techniques used for that album? I don't have a tape machine, but I do have access to either an API or SSL console, all the mics, protools and a load of plugins.
Small tube guitar combo amps, big tube bass combo, large diameter drum shells with damped and coated heads, and a variety of vocal recording techniques with simple delay, chorus/flange, and reverb effects handy.

Lots of compression, simple EQ curves, minimal stereo miking techniques with large diaphragm tube comdensers, small ribbon mics, and large diaphragm dynamic mics.

Small deadened space for guitar and vocal miking, deadened medium large space with high ceilings and lots of diffusion for drum tracking. Leave distance between mics and source for natural sound, use room mics on the live takes.

Most importantly, playing style and mixing style. One live take with lots of overdubs of vocals and guitar, lots of track "shuffling" (mutes on and off, faders up and down).

Some kind of tape sim hit hard after soft but deep buss compression. Get as close to overloading analog stages as possible at every step of the recording, but DON'T overload.

I'd really like to hear the results please!
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump