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Zeppelin recording outdoors w/out windscreens
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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petsematary's Avatar
 

Zeppelin recording outdoors w/out windscreens

I’ve been involved in a debate of sorts, originating from a photograph of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in 1970 ca, when they recorded songs at Bron-Yr-Aur. There’s a photo of the two of them, with what looks like Neumann U67’s (certainly some very boutique condensors at least), playing and singing outdoors. Sorry, but I can’t find the photo now, or I would include it here.

Anyway, having recorded various stuff (albeit not music per se) outdoors, both audio only and video with condensor miss, I know just how easily the wind will mess up a recording. I just can’t believe that Jimmy and Robert really recorded anything that way, without windscreens etc. Is that possible? Or is the photo just a photo, staged? I don’t doubt that they recorded outdoors, just that they had condensors without windscreens. I am now relying on your peeps to clarify things. Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
I've done a fair amount of live performance captures in my career. Most of the time we used foam filters on most of if not all of the mics.

I've also done it plenty of times without any filters, especially when there wasn't any wind, or enough wind to cause any problems.

It's difficult to judge what exactly is going in that 1970s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Bron-Yr-Aur session without seeing the image or listening to the recording. In any event, it is possible to get a quality recording done outside without any filters and such. It's about the environment.

That said, it could have been recorded inside that cottage, then staged for the visual, yet I bet it was an outside capture.


Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary View Post
I’ve been involved in a debate of sorts, originating from a photograph of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in 1970 ca, when they recorded songs at Bron-Yr-Aur. There’s a photo of the two of them, with what looks like Neumann U67’s (certainly some very boutique condensors at least), playing and singing outdoors. Sorry, but I can’t find the photo now, or I would include it here.

Anyway, having recorded various stuff (albeit not music per se) outdoors, both audio only and video with condensor miss, I know just how easily the wind will mess up a recording. I just can’t believe that Jimmy and Robert really recorded anything that way, without windscreens etc. Is that possible? Or is the photo just a photo, staged? I don’t doubt that they recorded outdoors, just that they had condensors without windscreens. I am now relying on your peeps to clarify things. Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Recording outdoors, away from reflecting boundaries like walls or concrete driveways, immediately gives you a very dry sound, due to the absence of wall and ceiling reflections which are part and parcel of studio recording (incl isolation booths and gobos) and somewhat mitigated by room treatment, carpeting etc

I doubt that sort of acoustic phenomenon removal would have been of interest to Page & Plant or their engineers, unless they wanted the sound of birds, sheep, wind, occasional aircraft imposed on the recording ? That would've been more 70's Pink Floyd ethos, if anyone was going to do it (and even they tended to fly in the sound effects from tape recordings (eg their 1977 Animals album, and 1970 Ummagumma).

So my guess is that they wanted a publicity pic or an album cover photo to show 'Look folks, we're out here in rural England recording our next LP for you'

The Omni pattern plus HPF filter on mics outdoors would have helped a little, but really a Rycote type of Zeppelin (lol !) wind barrier is what's needed for a condenser mic outdoors

My memory's dim, but isn't there a track on Physical Graffiti which has a small turbo prop plane flying over at the start...or is that some other band's record ?

EDIT: I was right, at the beginning of the Headley Grange track 'Black Country Woman' from that record, you can hear the following exchange:

Intro: Dialogue]
"Shall we roll it, Jimmy?"
("We're rolling on, what, one?")
("No, one again?")
(Airplane heard flying overhead - "Got to get this airplane off.")
("Naw, leave it, yeah.")

So....was it recorded outdoors or in ? If 'La Grange' was just a typical house, its plane-sound screening capacity would have been poor ?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HpCQDFRUKsY

Edit EDIT ....according to the Wiki entry for the Physical Graffiti album:

"Black Country Woman" was recorded in the garden at Stargroves* in 1972 for Houses of the Holy, as part of the group's desire to work in "off the wall" locations outside a traditional studio environment. The track was nearly abandoned when an aeroplane cruised overhead, but it was left on the final recording for effect"

* Stargroves was Mick Jagger's country residence....I think The Who recorded some tracks for "Who's Next" there also.

Eddie Kramer also recalled details about the recording of the blues "Black Country Woman," in the garden at Stargroves. He wrote that Page, wearing a V-neck cardigan sweater and looking "like the quintessential English school
boy," used a Martin 6-string acoustic guitar.

He continued, "We decided to place Jimmy and John Paul outside in order to record their acoustic guitars with no acoustical room interference. When Robert sang his lead vocal, we tried to capture the same sound. However, just as he was about to sing, an airplane droned overhead. On the final mix, both my comment, 'Er, what about that airplane?' and his terse reply, 'Na, leave it in,' are preserved for posterity on the album."

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 12:59 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary View Post
I’ve been involved in a debate of sorts, originating from a photograph of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in 1970 ca, when they recorded songs at Bron-Yr-Aur. There’s a photo of the two of them, with what looks like Neumann U67’s (certainly some very boutique condensors at least), playing and singing outdoors. Sorry, but I can’t find the photo now, or I would include it here.

Anyway, having recorded various stuff (albeit not music per se) outdoors, both audio only and video with condensor miss, I know just how easily the wind will mess up a recording. I just can’t believe that Jimmy and Robert really recorded anything that way, without windscreens etc. Is that possible? Or is the photo just a photo, staged? I don’t doubt that they recorded outdoors, just that they had condensors without windscreens. I am now relying on your peeps to clarify things. Thanks!
In the middle of this video there’s a still which shows Page and three others with the mic.

6 string acoustic
12 string acoustic
dulcimer
jugs

They are all wearing headphones and the mic has no wind screen
It’s outside and looks like they are recording

Google

led zep bron yr aur
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary View Post
I just can’t believe that Jimmy and Robert really recorded anything that way, without windscreens etc. Is that possible? Or is the photo just a photo, staged? I don’t doubt that they recorded outdoors, just that they had condensors without windscreens. I am now relying on your peeps to clarify things. Thanks!
I do a lot of outside recording and, even if this was an unnaturally still day and reverb added later, I don't believe this was tracked outside: there is no external noise, not least of sheep. But there is no need to assume that the photo was staged: it is entirely likely they recorded inside and outside there, but that most of this was simply to develop the songs. This is supported by a short account on the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/si...n-yr-aur.shtml

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
The outdoor recording, if it happened, was probably just to capture musical ideas, work-in-progess stuff and likely never made it to the mix. We'll never know for sure unless Messers Page and Plant follow this forum and chime in (almost everyone else involved with LZ III is gone now). As a side note, when the boys were playing outside Bron Yr Aur with their Neumann mics, I was probably mucking with my first tape recorder - a battery-powered Philips cassette with a dynamic 'pencil' mic, complete with plasic 'desk stand'. I guess that sort of technology was too crude for their purposes. I wonder where the Revox was - back in the cottage or out in the field with them?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
The outdoor recording, if it happened, was probably just to capture musical ideas, work-in-progess stuff and likely never made it to the mix. We'll never know for sure unless Messers Page and Plant follow this forum and chime in (almost everyone else involved with LZ III is gone now). As a side note, when the boys were playing outside Bron Yr Aur with their Neumann mics, I was probably mucking with my first tape recorder - a battery-powered Philips cassette with a dynamic 'pencil' mic, complete with plasic 'desk stand'. I guess that sort of technology was too crude for their purposes. I wonder where the Revox was - back in the cottage or out in the field with them?
Here's the pic cited by emenelton above: https://coub.com/view/e5u7q

There's a much better closeup...see attached

The guy with headphones on and harmonica is Robert Plant, but it's hard to discern any more than that....apart from confirming it's a LD Neuman mic (U67/87)

Songwriting then (and for many bands today) probably involved lots of jamming, drinking, talking, taking breaks, smoking stuff, a few more jams etc...probably with something like a cassette recorder or a reel-to-reel running at very slow (logging) speed: 1.75 or 3.75 ips to conserve tape. Maybe a Nagra ? Just to jot down audio ideas which would later be developed and recorded in the studio.
Today, the cellphone or Zoom/Tascam shaver replaces the tape recorder...

I don't think Led Zep ever released anything officially which was of less than studio quality...with engineers like Eddie Kramer and Ron Nevison the quality bar was set pretty high....and Page is a perfectionist too, when it comes to control over their legacy material !

That's not to say they weren't able to produce lots of studio quality product from a remote location like Headley Grange or Jagger's estate Stargroves of course, using the camouflage-painted Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.

For the mother-lode of info on that location and recording procedures...check this link: https://forums.ledzeppelin.com/topic...sessions-1972/

You can see a photo of Robert Plant recording vocals outdoors with the Stones' Mobile next to him, at Headley Grange on this page: https://thefatangelsings.com/2018/11...mobile-studio/


Here's a nice big version of the same 'outdoor Plant vocal' photo, definitely Neumann mics, either U67 or 87: http://nightflight.com/wp-content/up...RAFFITI-11.jpg
Watch out for planes overhead !

Finally...this being 2019, Headley Grange has been sampled...buy the plugin now ! >>> https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews...e-audio-grange
Attached Thumbnails
Zeppelin recording outdoors w/out windscreens-page-plant.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 04:56 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Of course, the Rolling Stones Mobile studio (uh oh...I can sense this thread is in imminent peril of being moved over to that "other sub-forum"...) now lives in Calgary, Canada...and seems to be in very good shape, complete with the Helios console: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4_BUIM7gY0

In this video >> it's in use in 1970 recording The Rolling Stones live, with Glyn Johns at the board: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNFvzWRuZqg

The caption for the attached pic runs: Robert Plant recording outdoors with the Rolling Stones mobile studio at Stargroves, Mick Jagger’s house, 1972. Photo by recording engineer Eddie Kramer.

So....maybe foam windsocks and Rycote 'zeppelins' are over-rated for outdoor use....?
Attached Thumbnails
Zeppelin recording outdoors w/out windscreens-robert-plant-1972.png  

Last edited by studer58; 4 weeks ago at 04:49 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
No need to move it over to the mobile & location sub-forum due to the fact that the OP is about recording outdoors. That said, if it started off as a mobile truck discussion, you know it would have been moved if the discussion didn't start there to begin with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Of course, the Rolling Stones Mobile studio (uh oh...I can sense this thread is in imminent peril of being moved over to that "other sub-forum"...) now lives in Calgary, Canada...and seems to be in very good shape, complete with the Helios console: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4_BUIM7gY0

In this video >> it's in use in 1970 recording The Rolling Stones live, with Glyn Johns at the board: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNFvzWRuZqg
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 View Post
I do a lot of outside recording and, even if this was an unnaturally still day and reverb added later, I don't believe this was tracked outside: there is no external noise, not least of sheep. But there is no need to assume that the photo was staged: it is entirely likely they recorded inside and outside there, but that most of this was simply to develop the songs. This is supported by a short account on the BBC:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/music/si...n-yr-aur.shtml

Cheers,

Roland
The BBC Wales (and other sources) have mentioned the "no electricity" factor for the Bron Yr Aur cottage, which would have been a real dampener on providing phantom power or running any sort of serious tape recorder (apart from something battery powered, like a Nagra or domestic cassette)

So it's likely they just gathered rough sketches there, and left the real 'location recording' to Stargroves or Headley Grange ?

Eddie Kramer, recording engineer gun for hire:

"In 1972 I was asked by Jimmy Page to come over to England and record some tracks for a new album. Zeppelin had rented "Stargroves" (Mick Jagger's country estate) along with the Stone's mobile. The tracks that I recorded appeared on two albums, "Physical Graffiti" and "Houses of the Holy". During the sessions we experimented with recording outside on the lawn to try to get a completely neutral acoustic environment devoid of any reverberations.

On the song "Black Country Woman" we tracked Jimmy and John Paul Jones playing acoustic guitar. You can hear birds tweeting in the background if you listen carefully…This photo of Jimmy and Robert rehearsing the song was typical of the bands adventurous spirit." ~ Eddie Kramer
Attached Thumbnails
Zeppelin recording outdoors w/out windscreens-page-plant-kramer-pic.jpg  
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