Footnote: Last nite I was in a club around here, and in between Linkin Park, and Eminem, two Frank Sinatra songs were played. I was cracking up to myself (since there wasnt another soul in this particular pub that I could relate to).
Great fan of Ol' Blue Eyes, and agree with everything said so far.
Can I mention another of my favourite vocals/recording combination?
I don't know much about how he used to record, but I suspect since all of the recordings I have are from 78 transcriptions that the band assembled round a single mic (we're talking late 1940s here), yet there is such a presence to his voice. The clarity of the top end belies the supposed restricted response of shellac and it just sounds so natural.
You're left wondering if we haven't forgotten more than we've learned.
I'm convinced we have forgotten a lot of value, and I'm hoping to learn some more on this fantastic thread! Now we're for sure talking about vocal sounds like covet like crazy.
"he Japanese have a word "Sensei", it means "one who came before", he/she is the one with experience.
Not education so much as road wear and life experience, you can see it in their eye's, hear it in their voice, and watch it in they way they move. We seek that they may have an insight into life that we do not, and for each of us we find different answers. This "Sensei" is an artist, they come in all shapes and sizes, every path of life.
For me, when I listen to some of the singers you are speaking of, I am listening to their life in every word they sing."
Man that's beautiful. That's what I'm talking about for sure, and I will swear that some important part of that is very dependent on "the impact of sound". That's what all the fidelity fuss is really about for me, bringing that across- more like, letting it come across.
If anybody posts any pics of Nat Cole singing at a microphone I will be EXTREMELY gratified and all eyes! Been all ears for a while now- I love this guys phrasing, so arty but so natural- "mel-O-dy" He makes it sound like people just natcherally talk that way all day long.
I could be totally wrong here but I seem to remember hearing that Frank Sinatra had his own U47 that he got because that particular mic sounded the best on his voice. I also remember hearing that he recorded at United Western Recorders in LA (now Cello/Ocean Way). Lots of LA-2As and 1176s.
From the look in the pics, Frank is 10 - 12 inches away from the mic. Hes getting a little proximity but not what you would expect from the Rich sound of his voice. Its possible he was belting at the time and "working" the mic, OR that the pics were posed with him backed off so you could see his face better?
So far, it looks like we know Frank used Telefunken 47's and 251's, and then Sony C37A's. LA2a's are the suspected compressors but thats still not definite?
TWO MIC QUESTIONS
1) How different were the Telefunken 47's from the Neumanns? Any interesting History?
2) What are the Mic models NAT COLE is using in those pics. I think I know but someone save me the embarassment!
"From the look in the pics, Frank is 10 - 12 inches away from the mic. Hes getting a little proximity but not what you would expect from the Rich sound of his voice. Its possible he was belting at the time and "working" the mic, OR that the pics were posed with him backed off so you could see his face better?"
Good points. I would love to study these guys' mic techniques. What bliss it would be to get a good luck at it.
Originally posted by atticus I was at a studio yesterday with 12 U47's!!
Ive been trying to scoop up some old gear including mics because its probably a better investment than CD's or the Money Market in the short or long run. Plus you can use em and show em to your friends. Talk about a "sound" investment...
Anyone got a great tube U47 for sale... cheap?
PS NEVE 1073's are $3500 now without a rack or power supply! And theres like 200 companies making copies... Holy Mortgage Batman
Fantastic thread, heartstopping pic's...so I went out and bought "Point of No Return" again, I sold my vinyl of it and crazily forgot to replace it on CD.
I went straight to "Memories of You", the last time Frank sings "everything" with the pitch up from the norm- it's just magical. It touches me in a place where the joy and uplift, is tinged with satisfying sadness. It's so powerful.
. The sleeve notes put it well
"full of nuanced, controlled emotionalism".
Sheesh I dont have Point of No Return and not sure I ever heard it! I need to get some George Jones, Louis Jordan (that Doug mentioned) and expand my Frank Collection beyond the 2 - 3 albums I have. One of the Frank Compliations I have is awful damn gooooood tho.
Speaking of another great sounding 60's classic - with no vocals this time, is Dave Brubecks Time Out. Im sure its a lot of folks favorites on here. When they started using Take 5 for a car commercial and you heard what a compressor at the TV station did to the room mics, it made me happy that people heard a classic recording like that in our day to day life.
Unfortunately on that record, the piano sound (and tuning) was probably the weakest part (*AHhhhhh! I hope no one gets mad I said that). But its still really good. I learned a couple of those songs when I was a music major in college. Had to learn it by ear tho cuz I never saw it written out. CLASSIC COMPOSITIONS, DAVE BRUBECK. People will be listening 200 years from now, if we can survive our own technology.
Thanks Dave for initiating such a wonderful thread.
Timely personally too as I've making a transition from singing
primarily high baritone/2nd tenor to baritone.
Part of the "homework" suggested by my fellow singing friends
is to go back and study Frank, Nat, and Bing.
(which just started)
Special emphasis on their phrasing, continuity of tone,
and breath control.
Love the way they sing FOR you, rather than AT you.
Main reason I've been turned off by Mariah, Celine, and
(much) Whitney-besides their often poor song selection.
On a more positive note for the ladies, been loving re-listening
to Patsy Cline and Dusty Springfield ("Dusty In Memphis").
Both are more than worth a thread of their own too!
Originally posted by Dave Derr DAVE BRUBECK. People will be listening 200 years from now, if we can survive our own technology.
I saw Dave Brubeck the night before my Junior recital (1991 I Think). He literally hobbled out the piano. I thought "this in not gonna be good." Man, was I WRONG! He played wonderfully and had a great band. It was one of the best concerts I've ever seen. "Blue Rondo ala Turk" was a religious experience.
Do you know anything about Esquivel record sessions? He used to use 2 orchestras in two studios (located in different houses, even streets) in order to have maximum stereo separation. It is funny, because today we have lots and lots of this kind of separation. However the records are very bright, almost as today's standard. I like the music in general because of big invence in arrangemens and sound colors and fx... however the brass is very very piercing.
On the other hand, I love sound of old tracks by Jorge Ben, smooth smooth, big sense of space etc.
you're right. The 80s, especially the mainstream, were a nightmare. And that's the period I grew up!
Esquivel records sound great. I guess when you speak of absolute stereo separation you're referring to "Latin-esque", his best album i think. But saying this album is as bright sounding as modern records... mmm.. I'm not sure. To me it really sounds like other late 50s early 60s big productions. Everything sounds smooth, veiled, full of many colours. And most importantly, you can play it really loud and not feel any ear fatigue because of smooth highs and not too much compression.
dave brubeck??? i went through a dave brubeck phase which overlapped with a mahavishnu phase. i wrote some pompous 5/4 material around that time, lots of histrionics but you could hear the "cool" jazz come through anyhow. funny composition titles during this time period as well. the silliest one i remember was one called "a little country funk."
HMmm Should I defend the 80's? .
Those were the years that honed the huge rock sound (among other things), and things became much larger than life thru the take-no-prisoners mixdown approach. SSL Boards offered all in one versatility, automation became tweaked (GML too), great digital reverbs were spawned, and in fact, digital technology itself became accepted and common. CD players became "commercial" (I can hear some of you saying "EXACTLY! It sucked!" lol). Then there were the social events of the birth of MTV and death of Disco.
I do think there were a lot of mistakes and an over-fascination with transients and high end. Mastering engineers were getting all-digital tapes with frequencies that would never stand on analog tape. Lots of them didnt know what to do with the frequencies at first, I dont think. I remember some re-released albums on CD that sounded like experiments with "extreme treble", and had very little sweetness that the original album's had.
We had people like Clearmountain, Massenburg, Mutt Lange, and the Lord Alge brothers come into prominence (to name a few), becoming part of a bands sound by maniupating not only the tonality and dynamics in their mixdowns, but even manipulating the individual tracks, flying them around, and pitch fixing on a regular basis - whatever it took at mixdowns to make something killer. And then digital editing also came into its own as a basic mixdown tool. And these guys were speed mixers too (laughing)
Digital Mastering also was a big technological change, mostly during the 80's.
And what about the advent of MIDI? That happened during the 80's too. And the home recording craze started with the advent of cheap multitracks and the all in one "Portastudios".
Maybe one way to look at the 80's was a renaisance of music culture and music technology, but that we didnt know how to use all these new tools & mediums, and maybe we over did them. Maybe we were "distracted" by technology. I think most people have a sense that "songwriting" has taken a back seat to the image, the video, the production, the culture.
Or it could just be the "Older things are better" phenomena. (Why isnt there a name for that, besides "nostalgia"?). All in all the 80's saw tremendous technical innovaction and the proliferation of people who were masters at using it... and possibly OVER-using it.
Sheesh this was gonna be a short paragraph when it started.
"I remember some re-released albums on CD that sounded like experiments with "extreme treble", and had very little sweetness that the original album's had."
Wasn't some of that the fact that things mastered for vinyl were just whacked onto CD without undoing the adjustments made for the RIAA curve?
One funny thing for me, listening to bands that had such incredible taste during the early-mid 70's, and then hearing the same band in the 80's and then the 90's- realizing their taste maybe wasn't so great to begin with, but using the latest tools at hand and flavors of the day was a safer bet during the previous era!
In fact, there are bands that sounded nice to me in the '70 and then in the '80 it was real horror, mostly at the music side. And sound thin, with typical ugly reverb on everything etc. And yes the transients.
However I like the sound of some todays "electronic" and sampled music, because it has something from '70 and '60... with those rhodes pianos/hammonds etc... don't know if it is just nostalgia... I was born at 79, so I grew with '80 sound. And I wonder why is this music so popular. It is so CHEMICAL sounding.
I got the book on Frank Sinatra's Recordings that Mitgong recommended. Its really a good one!
Frank was very concerned about his sound as we all know, and they talk about the advent of the Telefunken U47 and how it changed recordings in 1947. It was made by Neumann (duh) and ONLY DISTRIBUTED by Telefunken. Bob Fine and dozens of others immediately jumped on these mics and almost wouldnt use others for a few years.
ALSO, the book goes on with quotes from Frank about working the mic as an instrument, and about how he worked FRIGGIN HARD ON HIS BREATHING. He loved the 47's cuz he could change the timbre of his voice moving in and out (proximity effect). They said he learned some of his breathing tricks from the Dorsey band days, where he would take a quick breath off to the side (of the mic), kind of out of the side of his mouth. Live he often held his mic and would have this incredible mic technique, moving it away and then closer again depending on the words or passage. He was incredibly conscious of hearing breaths. FRANK WAS PROBABLY HIS OWN BEST COMPRESSOR EARLY ON. One of his only singing coaches said that he learned to "breath thru his skin", and could avoid breaths in the middle of lines, that most other singers needed. He also learned trombone solos and sang them to get his phrasing, and used to swim laps in a big pool early on to develop his breathing even more.
Everyone mentions Franks Focus in the studio. He would go over the arrangements, the sounds, and be incredibly prepared when he went in the studio. He hated laboring or re-doing his parts too many times.
Frank himself said he would rather make records than anything else in the world. Thats saying something, considering some of the beautiful lustmaidens he went out with. tutt