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Early 90's Reverbs? Tape signal?
Old 7th December 2005
  #1
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Early 90's Reverbs? Tape signal?

I've been wondering for a long time now, what reverbs were prominant on Hip-Hop vox during the early 90's. Eventide? Lexicon? Yamaha? Same thing with the snares and kicks. Alota the early 90's stuff had those huge (what sounds like Gated Hall or Plate verbs) that made the snares real splashy and crispy. I've heard the Rev7 and the Roland SDE stuff, but never a concrete first hand statement from someone who was in the studios around that period of time.

I've also wondered how hot studios were printing tape around that time frame (like an average db level that was widely accepted when printing Hip-Hop tape..)
Old 7th December 2005
  #2
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The prominent sounds were the 224, AMS nonlin and ambience, Quantec Room Simulator. Roland SRV made a HUGE amount of noise (good) on Kicks. Also used were the Lexicon PCM60. Panscans got quite a workout, also PCM 42 and Eventide 949.
By far and away, the people's champ was the Yamaha SPX 90. The first one. The ****ty, lo-bandwith one.

I printed +6/185 to Ampex 456 @ 30ips.
Old 8th December 2005
  #3
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^You my friend, are the fu*king man. Thanks.
Old 8th December 2005
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paultools
The prominent sounds were the 224, AMS nonlin and ambience, Quantec Room Simulator. Roland SRV made a HUGE amount of noise (good) on Kicks. Also used were the Lexicon PCM60. Panscans got quite a workout, also PCM 42 and Eventide 949.
By far and away, the people's champ was the Yamaha SPX 90. The first one. The ****ty, lo-bandwith one.

I printed +6/185 to Ampex 456 @ 30ips.
Well said, Paul! Let's not forget about the Lexicon 200. Something about that piece. Remember when 499 came out? All that extra headroom. The good ole' days..........
Old 8th December 2005
  #5
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I'm building a studio early next year that will cater to Hip-Hop/Ragga/Jungle exclusively, and be straight vintage/good ole' days based. Thats why this thread has been extremely helpful to me. I had supiscions on what FX processors were prominant, but nothing verifiable. I'm most likely to purchase an RMX 16, some PCM 60's, couple SPX90's, Ensoniq DP4+, and a PCM 41/42.

As for mics, I've got a vintage 76' U87 right now. I'm considering an AKG 414EB w/ P48 capsule... any other suggestions? I know the 251 was popular, but I can't swing that at this point in time.

Compressor wise i'm looking at a couple 160VU's, couple 1176's. I'd like an LA2A but I don't think my budget will allow it. Maybe the Summit Audio knock off?

Urei 813C for control rooms, NS-10M near fields w/ auratones. Bryston amps.

Ampex MM 2" 24 trk. Couple SV3800's, few Adats for good measure, and of course the revered PT HD1 w/ a G4. I'm not a fan of PT at all, but alota my clients track to PT regardless if they cut to tape or not.

Soundtracs CM4400 for console.
Old 8th December 2005
  #6
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Big up.

You're definitely headed down the right road.....
Old 8th December 2005
  #7
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Fa'sure.

SP-1200, MPC 60, S950, are the standard samplers on deck.

Arp Odyessy and MiniMoog holding the synth department.
Old 8th December 2005
  #8
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If you're going for true vintage of that era, look for an Otari MTR 90 multi track and consider the Urei 813-B's. You can probably pick up an MCI 636 CHEAP these days.

The king of all studios of that era was Unique Recording in NYC.
They had at least 2 of everything that was new, and had the staff to use (abuse) that gear in ways not described in any manual. Of course, they had the location as well!

Hats off to Frank Heller, Bob Rosa, Peter Robbins, Acar Key, the brothers Lord-Alge, and the creative producers of that time. Respect to Andy Wallace, Bob Clearmountain, Dave O, Michael Brauer, Steve Jerome and all the others who pushed the envelope back then!

Let The Music Play!!
Old 8th December 2005
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signalflow
Well said, Paul! Let's not forget about the Lexicon 200. Something about that piece. Remember when 499 came out? All that extra headroom. The good ole' days..........
499 did not smell nearly as good though.
Old 8th December 2005
  #10
It depends on what do you consider early 90's?


Which reverbs?

Same as you see in the High End studios today.

Remember the engineering was still Hi end then which is what really counts.

You did from time to time sneak in a couple of low enders like an Alessis midiverb or a SRV2000.

Now the consoles and the outboard(dynamics/EQ's) were more of a story.
Old 8th December 2005
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by paultools

The king of all studios of that era was Unique Recording in NYC.
They had at least 2 of everything that was new, and had the staff to use (abuse) that gear in ways not described in any manual. Of course, they had the location as well!
Well Paul.

I would consider Unique's hey day more mid 80's than early 90's.

And more for dance and pop.

By the early 90's the Hit Factory was king.

For Rap you gotta put Firehouse and maybe the old Powerplay studios a step up above.

And maybe Chungking and Greenestreet also.
Old 8th December 2005
  #12
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Chung King, Powerplay, Green St., Battery.

Those (4) studios put out just about every Hip-Hop classic I hold dearly.

D&D also put a grip of rough sh*t. You know, I've contemplated the purchase of an MCI 636. In fact, I know where to finds (potentially buy) the original D&D console they used to produce Group Home's first LP, Jeru's first LP, many GangStarr LP's and so on.

I know alota the aformentioned studios were fans of the Pultec EQ's, Neve Prism EQ's, etc. If I recall, Green has/had an SSL and a big API right?

The Soundtracs CM4400 is a wonderful console though, so i'm not sure if I need/want to deal with the MCI (I've heard they're maintaince monsters). The Soundtracs is bullet proof, I had Steve @ Digiconsoles take the OG Op's out and replace them with Burr Browns. The mid-range EQ is phenominal, kick the sh*t out of the MCI, Trident 80/65, Amek Big etc. I think it sounds a lot like a Neve to be honest. It's got a nice round bottom end, present mid-range, and sorta smeared hi end (which I'm particular too). Very natural (dynamics wise) and upfront sounding.The patchbay is pretty cool too, all the 1/4"s are located there rather then the back. Another thing I like about them is that they're RARE! I think I know of (2) studios in the entire US that have one. They seem to pop up in the UK much more frequently then over here. I use the word "frequently" loosely. Cause it's not that frequent. I see maybe (1) or (2) per year?

I read that Radio Head cut they're demo or first EP/LP on it? The one with "Freak" on it? If so, that record sounds great. I donno, I think it'll do the job. I would say the 400 series MCI would be much darker because of the transformers.. but the 636 is OP based right? So I can't imagine it being much warmer? Ahh who cares. lol.

The onboard CPU for midi/mute automation is sweet too.

I agree Thrill, engineering is everything. A poorly sampled sound, or mixed track can't be saved by all the gear in the world. I don't think my studio list above is all that flashy, just tried and true. With the right set of ears and hands, I can put money on it that I'll get a straight 93/94 era sound.

Paul - Why do you suggest the 813 B's over the C's? What about the big Tannoys or JBL's? Any experince with those?

Also, whats your guys take on a stero bus compressor for the lab? If I decided to get one, it would be a Neve 33609 OG. However, I've got mixed emotions about compressing/limiting the stero mix prior to mastering. Should I leave that for the mastering guys honestly, or just apply some glue myself, then send it on it's way? I'm not into squashing the sh*t to death, so i'm not gonna kill the dynamics if I do use bus compression. I like my samples to maintain alota the air, presence, snap, of the original record I borrowed from.

Interested on everyones take on this..

Also Paul, why the Otari over the Ampex? I considered the MX80/90mkII/III. I've got a MX70 1" 16 trk and it's rock solid. Hardly ever have to align it, tape runs butter smooth. But i've heard the Ampex is the swinging dick for that sound I want. I also heard the 3M M79 with some interesting mods gets some pretty sickening bass.
Old 8th December 2005
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due
Chung King, Powerplay, Green St., Battery.

Those (4) studios put out just about every Hip-Hop classic I hold dearly.

D&D also put a grip of rough sh*t. You know, I've contemplated the purchase of an MCI 636. In fact, I know where to finds (potentially buy) the original D&D console they used to produce Group Home's first LP, Jeru's first LP, many GangStarr LP's and so on.

I know alota the aformentioned studios were fans of the Pultec EQ's, Neve Prism EQ's, etc. If I recall, Green has/had an SSL and a big API right?

The Soundtracs CM4400 is a wonderful console though, so i'm not sure if I need/want to deal with the MCI (I've heard they're maintaince monsters). The Soundtracs is bullet proof, I had Steve @ Digiconsoles take the OG Op's out and replace them with Burr Browns. The mid-range EQ is phenominal, kick the sh*t out of the MCI, Trident 80/65, Amek Big etc. I think it sounds a lot like a Neve to be honest. It's got a nice round bottom end, present mid-range, and sorta smeared hi end (which I'm particular too). Very natural (dynamics wise) and upfront sounding.The patchbay is pretty cool too, all the 1/4"s are located there rather then the back. Another thing I like about them is that they're RARE! I think I know of (2) studios in the entire US that have one. They seem to pop up in the UK much more frequently then over here. I use the word "frequently" loosely. Cause it's not that frequent. I see maybe (1) or (2) per year?

I read that Radio Head cut they're demo or first EP/LP on it? The one with "Freak" on it? If so, that record sounds great. I donno, I think it'll do the job. I would say the 400 series MCI would be much darker because of the transformers.. but the 636 is OP based right? So I can't imagine it being much warmer? Ahh who cares. lol.

The onboard CPU for midi/mute automation is sweet too.

I agree Thrill, engineering is everything. A poorly sampled sound, or mixed track can't be saved by all the gear in the world. I don't think my studio list above is all that flashy, just tried and true. With the right set of ears and hands, I can put money on it that I'll get a straight 93/94 era sound.

Paul - Why do you suggest the 813 B's over the C's? What about the big Tannoys or JBL's? Any experince with those?

Also, whats your guys take on a stero bus compressor for the lab? If I decided to get one, it would be a Neve 33609 OG. However, I've got mixed emotions about compressing/limiting the stero mix prior to mastering. Should I leave that for the mastering guys honestly, or just apply some glue myself, then send it on it's way? I'm not into squashing the sh*t to death, so i'm not gonna kill the dynamics if I do use bus compression. I like my samples to maintain alota the air, presence, snap, of the original record I borrowed from.

Interested on everyones take on this..

Also Paul, why the Otari over the Ampex? I considered the MX80/90mkII/III. I've got a MX70 1" 16 trk and it's rock solid. Hardly ever have to align it, tape runs butter smooth. But i've heard the Ampex is the swinging dick for that sound I want. I also heard the 3M M79 with some interesting mods gets some pretty sickening bass.
My 2 cents:


1) D&D blew up in the mid 90's and even though they had a 636(which everyone hated by the way including myself) a lot of the tracks were done with the outboard(same as Firehouse which had a Peavey AMR). I know they were trying to get an SSL for the longest.

The early GangStarr stuff was done at Firehouse.

PM Dolo if you like he would know(sorry Dolo).heh

2) To me the best stuff from Chung king was done on their old Neve(Run DMC,Public Enemy and early LL).

3)Greenstreet was the only basement studio i've ever liked.

They added a new API toward the end.

4) I know i am biased but i would stay away form every console you've named.

They compromise the sound(especially in the mix) more than helps.

5)On the Urei 813's you better soffit mount them if not they sound like pure ****.

6)and Otari's tape machines?

Studers all the way.

The prices have come down tremendously so you can surely find one.
Old 8th December 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Well Paul.

I would consider Unique's hey day more mid 80's than early 90's.

And more for dance and pop.
OK, I was getting a little nostalgic.
I stand corrected timeline wise.
But Unique had its share of rap...

The Otaris and the 813 B's for purposes of authenticity, not sound...
although with the 813 B you could get a nice light show
(which wasI used for a 3-band RTA, LOL)

The neve compressor is great, the SSL would be a good choice although I have no experience with the newer ones.
I used a 3M79 2" 16 track for years...... BOTTOM
Old 9th December 2005
  #15
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LOL @ The bottom comment.

I think the 3M is at the top of the list when it comes to 2". A Studer would be nice, but I can't seem to find one for 2G's. I can grab a minty M79 for $1,500, same with an Otari.

Thrill - In respects to the MCI, I've contemplated buying it just because of the history. And yea your right, I know Eddie, he told me many times that each engineer who stopped through D&D brought they're own outboard. Whoever, or whatever was used during the Group Home sessions was nothing short of hip-hop bliss. Same with Mobb Deep's Infamous sessions.

My favorite LP of all time mix wise is Lord Finesses "Awakening" LP. I belive it was cut at Chung, and Battery. The mix is phenominal on that LP. Wide open, clearity, punchy, crisp, present. I think it's equivalant to Chronic 2001 all day. I'm pretty sure the SSL at Chung played a major role in the sonic characteristics of that LP.

I'm a dan of the Urei's, but i'm always open to opinion. What would be some options you would explore? And what consoles do you suggest since your not a fan of any of the aformentioned

Keep in mind, I'm after that early/mid 90's sound.
Old 9th December 2005
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due
LOL @ The bottom comment.

I think the 3M is at the top of the list when it comes to 2". A Studer would be nice, but I can't seem to find one for 2G's. I can grab a minty M79 for $1,500, same with an Otari.
3M's are great sounding machines but who will take care of it for you?

At least there are still guys around that know how to service a Studer.

Sure you will pay double but at least you know you can service it, it will sound good and you can do confident punch ins if need be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due

Thrill - In respects to the MCI, I've contemplated buying it just because of the history. And yea your right, I know Eddie, he told me many times that each engineer who stopped through D&D brought they're own outboard. Whoever, or whatever was used during the Group Home sessions was nothing short of hip-hop bliss. Same with Mobb Deep's Infamous sessions.
Is this nostalgia or self mutilation? heh

As much as people like too wax poetic about things, D&D was not one of my favorite studios to do sessions.

It really became a hotspot because of Jay Z.

And yeah the 636 has a sound but man does it sounds crappy when hitting the inputs all at once.

You saw them all the time in HipHop studios( B and C rooms mostly) because they could take a punishment more than for the sound.

In a lot of the Hiphop studios they were replaced by Mackie D2B's.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due
My favorite LP of all time mix wise is Lord Finesses "Awakening" LP. I belive it was cut at Chung, and Battery. The mix is phenominal on that LP. Wide open, clearity, punchy, crisp, present. I think it's equivalant to Chronic 2001 all day. I'm pretty sure the SSL at Chung played a major role in the sonic characteristics of that LP.

Wow Lord Finesse.heh

Yeah Chung king or ("Ka-Ching" as we use to call it) was a great studio(even though Jking could be a total A**hole!!!).

He was really smart and took a big chance when all of the Hi End studios were discriminating towards rappers.

He also got points on a lot of the early rap records that came through his place and could not afford to book time.

That's how he made a lot of his dough early on.

When these rappers blew up... Welcome to"Ka-Ching"Studios.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due

I'm a dan of the Urei's, but i'm always open to opinion. What would be some options you would explore? And what consoles do you suggest since your not a fan of any of the aformentioned
Again unless the Urei's are soffit mounted you will have almost no bass.

This is a sure fireway to blow up the drivers because you will push them harder to get more bass.

They match up well with the old Urei amps.

But you are talking to a guy here who can't stand 813's.

I have clients that call me from time to time that need help hooking them up and i just do this on the idea... dfegad

Which consoles?

The best sounding one you can buy.

The one that makes your work the easiest.

The one that won't make you compromise your sound.

This part has never changed.

Even for hiphop/rap always go for the best sound quality you can.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GL Respect Due

Keep in mind, I'm after that early/mid 90's sound.
Trust me bro i was there.
Old 9th December 2005
  #17
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I'm gonna shoot for the stars on the Studer, but probably end up with a 3M. I got a cat in LA who services DJ Quik's, so no problems there. A good friend of mine was a Navy technician on all types of crazy **** for 15 years as well, he's fixed everything I've ever broke, and develop cool mods too boot, i'm sure he could handle a 2" reel (I can't imagine the electronics are all that advanced at this point).

As for the console, I hear you on that. I'm pretty fanatical about my equipment being treated properly however, I need **** to be sturdy for that occassional malicious attack. I think the Soundtracs is gonna be the sure shot at this point. I know the sound, I know it's pluses and minuses, and like you said, ultimately i'm comfertable with it and thats all that matters.

Areas i'm most open to suggestion to is affordable A/D converters to transfer into HD1 w/ process card, Mic(s), and monitors. As much as I like the Urei's, i've also eye'd those big Tannoys quite a bit. Same with the JBL's. I had some 4311's that always came through for me.

Since you seem to have a plethera of knowledge regarding this matter, what type of outboard EQ's were favored for snare drum, and vox.

Any tips on how to maximize my signal prior to sampling would be much appreciate too. I currently go Turntable through Monster RCA, to mixer, XLR Monster out to XLR male in on my console. Inbetween the console and mixer out is a DBX 1XB dynamic range expander. I leave my EQ at 12 o clock unless I'm highpassing for an effect etc.

Another question is, and I know this is lame, how much gain is typically applied to vox. I've mixed a lota ****, but I hardly ever mix vox. So forgive the noobness in my asking!

If you got any good threads or articles for me to check on recording vox, i'm game, just link me up.

Thanks to all who've provided knowledge.
Old 9th December 2005
  #18
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signalflow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by paultools
499 did not smell nearly as good though.
Ha!! True. Unmistakable
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