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Old 21st November 2011
  #13
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Oh boy, where to start! I was one of the only two people who did all three jobs of mastering, mixing and tracking at Motown in Detroit so I had a pretty good overview.

First off it was a 70 Hz. 24 dB./octave high pass filter and it was introduced around 1967. Nothing earlier was high-passed and the mixers compensated for it in the mix typically by putting in an 18 dB/octave filter followed by a healthy boost at 60 using a Pultec. It was used primaraly as a means of making our in-house prototype masters done on a Neumann system match up better with the final production masters that were done by RCA using a Scully/Westrex system. It also covered up hum problems in the outside tracks of our 8 track machine.

The studio started out mono in Berry's sister's basement. (This was where the dirt floor was.) Berry would bring his musician friends in who had been customers in his jazz record store. They would record backing tracks that Berry and and a couple friends would edit and then take into one of Detroit's two recording studios to overdub vocals on. "Money" by Barrett Strong is probably the most notable example from that period. After he had some success as a manager/producer he purchased a photography studio near Detroit's advertising agencies and recording studios and converted it into the studio we now know as "Hitsville" where I got my start.

I'll write some more about this later.