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Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's Dynamic Microphones
Old 7th February 2007
  #1
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Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's

I've tried searching online, but it's really hard to find anything on Beverley's or Dynamic Sound of Kingston (if it was around back then) on what mics they used in their studios back in the 60's.

I imagine they couldn't afford Neumann mics, and since they tended to record music playing all at once, I'd guess that they were primarily dynamic. But I honestly don't have a clue.

Does anybody know?
Old 7th February 2007
  #2
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Interesting question.

I recommend you search here: http://www.interruptor.ch/cgi-bin/di...rd-topics.html

but please post here if you find anything.

I have some reggae/roots books, I remember there was something about mics (Studio One, Black Ark etc) used in them, but its thousands of pages, I will check back on this later, ok.
Old 7th February 2007
  #3
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Heheh. Ok I couldn't resist.. so I did a little research on the topic myself... Here's a 'best of' list, bus as I posted earlier, check the interruptor forum.

- sennheiser 421 in the liner notes of the 'story of jamaican music' cd's
- In the book "People Funny Boy" David Katz writes that Lee Perry used an AKG drum mic for vocals up to 1975.

A quick summary (from interruptor, not me, I'm too lazy):

Randy's : 'old school' sound with a large room, lots of 'space' to sounds but dry, not washy. Sounds like lots of leakage from each instrument and minimal mics on the drums - maybe 2 or 3 mics. Some photos show a Helios desk - famous UK desk for killer sound. Some early photos show some kind of custom or homebrew radio broadcast console. Big and Round

Harry J: Good sound but not that big open 'room' sound like Randy's, stuff like 'Natty Dread', 'Blackheart Man' (?), some Spear..Supposedly a Helios console.

Channel One: Killer drum sounds, sounds like lots of close mic drums, but yet some mic spillage so there's space in the sound. API console very famous for 'punchy' killer sounds. Ampex MM series tape machine famous for 'phat' sound. IN your face midrange

King Tubby: only voicing & mixing here, somehow the material from other studios come out of KT just sounding more up front and heavier, but more 'compressed' with less dynamic range. Probably because of successive tape generations & tape 'compression'...probably KT added EQ to spice up the whole mix etc..Custom 60's MCI console - precursor to the MCI 416 (famous for fat 'muscle shoals' early R&B sound.). Easy studio to identify due to the 'sound' and reverb. Big bass, ultra highs

Studio One: Classic style with big room , minimal mics, maybe 1 or 2 mics on drums, lots of instrument spillage. Photo I've seen of classic old US desk famous for killer sound - forerunner to Quad Eight, I forget the name at the mo'

Dynamics: big recording space, sound of
Stones Goat Head Soup, Grounation etc

Lee Perry: nuff said, recording space probably modelled on Randy's

Joe Gibbs: close miced drum sound, lots of seperation. The clincher is the JG reverb sound.

Tuff Gong (Mach I / Hope Rd.): 'Professional' sounding but quite thin, everything seperated, the dry hyper-controlled 70's studio sound that was the rage at the time...MCI 500 series (?) desk. Think albums like Survival, Uprising,

- - -

My own 5c:

Get some roots books on the topic! The Studio One DVD is nice too.
Old 7th February 2007
  #4
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7 Hz's Avatar
Nice topic!

I see 421's a lot in pics.

Lee Perry did indeed use an AKG D12 for vocals, apparently.
Old 7th February 2007
  #5
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Phil Cibley's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JesseJ View Post
- forerunner to Quad Eight, I forget the name at the mo'


Electrodyne maybe?
Old 7th February 2007
  #6
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Aside from mics, I remember seeing a Roland RE-201 as the ONLY visible outboard gear in the liner notes of one of Lee Perry's albums:-)
Old 7th February 2007
  #7
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Hz View Post
Nice topic!

I see 421's a lot in pics.

Lee Perry did indeed use an AKG D12 for vocals, apparently.
D12 is a great call. Also a killer kick mic.
Old 7th February 2007
  #8
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In the dvd "studio 1 story" which was offered as an extra with the Souljazz compilation bearing the same name, you can see Sir Coxon interviewed in the studio and showing some of the instruments used on so many of these amazing recordings including a battered Neumann Mic (U47?) which was Marley's favorite.

Souljazz compilations (the Studio 1 series) are incredible by the way...

I watched a documentary about jamaican music a while ago (i can't remember the title) and Robbie Shakespeare was talking about bass recordings and how they acheive this ultra deep sound by putting a mic in the back of the speaker cabinet (open back design, probably a fender cab?) you could see footages of him in the early 70's playing a jazz bass but also a honner violin bass!!! (actually there's a pix of him playing the honner in the Serge gainsbourg's album " Aux Armes etc...")
Old 7th February 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marumari View Post
Aside from mics, I remember seeing a Roland RE-201 as the ONLY visible outboard gear in the liner notes of one of Lee Perry's albums:-)
I remember seeing a Pultec EQ-P1 as well...

Anybody remember which desk was used at Black Ark?
Old 7th February 2007
  #10
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Hey this is really great I was already thinking of starting a topic on how to get that old reggea vocal sound. Nice to hear that they have used the akg d12 fro vocals some time. I have a telefunken m411 laying around somewhere it's the same mic but with a telefunken logo on it. I never tried it on vocals but I wil try now. Any toughts on what kind of preamp to use?
Old 7th February 2007
  #11
I assisted recording a Reggae album by the band Native at Dynamic Sounds in 1981. The engineer was Chris Kimsey. They had all MCI stuff and I recall seeing/using U-47's, U-87's and 414's.

They had the air con cranked up in there, I froze my ass off. I remember Chris telling me "I bet you didn't think you would need a sweater here in Jamaica, did you".

He had one. Try and find one in a store there. No luck. I would take my ganja breaks outside just to warm up.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 7th February 2007
  #12
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Hehehehe freezing cold in Jamaica Yeah I guess around the 80's they already got more hightech over there! There is a real difference between the 60's reggea sound and the sound of reggea productions from the 80's.
Old 7th February 2007
  #13
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7 Hz's Avatar
There is an old thread at https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/38413-what-desk-king-tubbys-console.html where I was asking about King Tubby's desck and stuff, one pic of him in the studio there, no mics.

Of course the thing to remember with him is he wound his own transformers and built EQ etc. And engineered some of the most kick ass mixes ever. And pioneered dub.

Here is another pic of http://www.jahtari.org/magazine/regg...dioSession.gif of apparently one of The Gladiators at a studio session - get that spliff away from the mic! It helps the tone you say? Ok, leave it be :-)
Old 7th February 2007
  #14
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No msg body
Old 8th February 2007
  #15
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Hi lozion Lee Perry started off with an Alice broadcast desk and then changed to a Studiomaster (cheap british thing) because he liked the name!
Old 8th February 2007
  #16
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spodniczka's Avatar
 

have you seen "the harder they come"? there's some "studio" footage in that movie. i couldn't recognize much of what they were using, though. in fact, does anyone know what studio they were at?
...great movie and even greater music.

cool thread
Old 8th February 2007
  #17
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Yeah, I just watched it last weekend. Pretty cool flick.

Everything in the studio they were using was pretty generic versions of mainstream stuff. Dynamic mics, Fender guitars and amps. The organs were probably Hammond or whatever was available at the time.

I doubt the console was anything like a Helios. It looked a bit like the old MCI console Elton John used in the early days though. But I probably say that cuz it was black.

Duh, what do I know?
Old 8th February 2007
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by baikonour View Post
In the dvd "studio 1 story" which was offered as an extra with the Souljazz compilation bearing the same name, you can see Sir Coxon interviewed in the studio and showing some of the instruments used on so many of these amazing recordings including a battered Neumann Mic (U47?) which was Marley's favorite.

Souljazz compilations (the Studio 1 series) are incredible by the way...

I watched a documentary about jamaican music a while ago (i can't remember the title) and Robbie Shakespeare was talking about bass recordings and how they acheive this ultra deep sound by putting a mic in the back of the speaker cabinet (open back design, probably a fender cab?) you could see footages of him in the early 70's playing a jazz bass but also a honner violin bass!!! (actually there's a pix of him playing the honner in the Serge gainsbourg's album " Aux Armes etc...")
yeah i remember reading some sort of interivew w/ coxsone's assistant, where he said that he'd replaced a busted ribbon in a mic with some OLD 1/4" TAPE, and they stuck that behind the bass amp.

.


my god, man.

that's some vibes right there, if that's true. old 1/4" tape in a ribbon mic.

where'd i put those tapeop ribbons? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
Old 8th February 2007
  #19
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Sid Bucknor

My good friend Sid Bucknor is Coxsone's cousin, and built Coxsone's first (one track) studio in 1963. He's lived in London for many years, and engineered zillions of UK reggae sessions in the UK in the 70s and later, after moving from Jamaica where he had recorded the cream of the local artistes.

Sid recorded 2 Bob Marley albums, and has recorded so many reggae classics it's not true.. (Young Gifted and Black , - + over 40 classic reggae albums). Google him and see what comes up..sometimes his name might be spelled Syd

He is one of the veteran old-timer recording engineers whose talents have never in any way been given the recognition he so richly deserves... at some point I am going to make a serious attempt to put that right!

I will try and contact Sid and ask these mic questions, and post a reply here.
Old 8th February 2007
  #20
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Rock Steady!

Dude! Studiochap! that would be awesome please do!

I've been scouring the www to find out what Leslie Kong or other cats in the 60's reggae/rock steady heyday used for equipment.

I'm trying to match what they used, and I've come up with next to nothing for information.
Old 8th February 2007
  #21
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7 Hz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by studiochap View Post
I will try and contact Sid
Ooh get him on the forum, tell him he has legues of drooling fans here who will hang on his every word!
Old 8th February 2007
  #22
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Quote:
Ooh get him on the forum, tell him he has legues of drooling fans here who will hang on his every word!
Cheers to that!
Old 9th February 2007
  #23
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JesseJ's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Hz View Post
Ooh get him on the forum, tell him he has legues of drooling fans here who will hang on his every word!
Absolutely! A living legend!
Old 10th February 2007
  #24
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7 Hz's Avatar
Here are some photos
Attached Thumbnails
Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-desk.jpg   Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-drums.jpg   Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-drums-close.jpg   Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-guitar.jpg   Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-studio-floor.jpg  

Old 10th February 2007
  #25
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7 Hz's Avatar
These photos are from two album covers

http://www.discogs.com/release/851943
http://www.discogs.com/release/155368

The Java Java Dub one looks more 70's to me, but still close.

For sure a 421 on the snare there.
Is that a Unidiyne on the tom?
Whats that on the hat? AKG?
Looks like a U87 on the melodica (staged photo though), and I know that other mic I think (it's the one with the weird pressed grille with sharp angles, and funny tail fin 'heatsink' protrusions at the back... can't remember it's maker or model... AKG? Beyerdynamic?)

All fairly standard fayre anyway... loads of dynamics apart from the main vocal / melodica mic and maybe the hat? I think a lot more of the mojo is in the playing, the instrument tuning and setup, the rooms and acoustic treatment, and the tape machines and mixing desks.
Attached Thumbnails
Jamaica's Microphones in the 60's-studio-floor-closeup.jpg  
Old 10th February 2007
  #26
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CrazyBeast's Avatar
 

YES!

Quote:
Originally Posted by studiochap View Post
My good friend Sid Bucknor is Coxsone's cousin, and built Coxsone's first (one track) studio in 1963. He's lived in London for many years, and engineered zillions of UK reggae sessions in the UK in the 70s and later, after moving from Jamaica where he had recorded the cream of the local artistes.

Sid recorded 2 Bob Marley albums, and has recorded so many reggae classics it's not true.. (Young Gifted and Black , - + over 40 classic reggae albums). Google him and see what comes up..sometimes his name might be spelled Syd

He is one of the veteran old-timer recording engineers whose talents have never in any way been given the recognition he so richly deserves... at some point I am going to make a serious attempt to put that right!

I will try and contact Sid and ask these mic questions, and post a reply here.
Old 10th February 2007
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studiochap View Post
My good friend Sid Bucknor is Coxsone's cousin, and built Coxsone's first (one track) studio in 1963. He's lived in London for many years, and engineered zillions of UK reggae sessions in the UK in the 70s and later, after moving from Jamaica where he had recorded the cream of the local artistes.

Sid recorded 2 Bob Marley albums, and has recorded so many reggae classics it's not true.. (Young Gifted and Black , - + over 40 classic reggae albums). Google him and see what comes up..sometimes his name might be spelled Syd

He is one of the veteran old-timer recording engineers whose talents have never in any way been given the recognition he so richly deserves... at some point I am going to make a serious attempt to put that right!

I will try and contact Sid and ask these mic questions, and post a reply here.
Oh yes please!
Old 10th February 2007
  #28
Gear Maniac
 
Bassace's Avatar
 

cool thread more on this please
lee perry rocks
wasnt it the D112 (the old rectangular kick mic on vox) i have sung through this as well was kinda cool
Old 10th February 2007
  #29
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Bassace's Avatar
 

bump meant the D12E
Old 10th February 2007
  #30
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lozion's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by O.F.F. View Post
Hi lozion Lee Perry started off with an Alice broadcast desk and then changed to a Studiomaster (cheap british thing) because he liked the name!
Man, are you kidding me???
I used an old Studiomaster desk for a couple of dub mixes and then sold it to go ITB.
Had I known! Is it this model?

16-4a.jpg.zip

Great thread...
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