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That "SWEET SOUL MUSIC" thread! Dynamic Microphones
Old 28th January 2018
  #61
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

We used pretty much the same setup for everybody. I used the Altec console preamps with parallel compression. At first we only had Fairchildren. Later we used Electrodynes and I'd sneak in my LA-3a. David would be between five to ten feet back and half the time he'd be dancing. The studio was designed for us by RCA. Reflections had a flat response. That movie really misrepresented him.
Old 28th January 2018
  #62
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Thread Starter
Big +1 on "Look Ma" no windscreen. I've never liked them either, I can really hear the difference.

Seems like KM84's run about $1K-1.2K now, cheaper than the K86 (2K+?).

Great posts (as always!). Another fantastic Motown vocalist was Levi Stubbs. My favorite leads from him were "Just Ask the Lonely"
and "Walk Away Renee".

BTW how did David R. "get mic'd" for a better vocal capture, when he was moving around (omni?)?

Chris
Old 28th January 2018
  #63
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It was cardioid with them moving around. The studio acoustics were a big part of it. Lee was my favorite singer.
Old 29th January 2018
  #64
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
It was a new Jazzmaster neck. Joe was the Michigan distributor for Fender. We even had a Fender acoustic which sounded dreadful. Joe also supplied the studio bass that James played until he took it out to a gig and it was stolen. (James called it a "pussy bass" while to him an upright was truly the "man's bass.")
"Pussy Bass" shall be the name of my next project... Thanks, Bob!
Old 29th January 2018
  #65
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Thread Starter
So overplaying that bass would equal "Pussy Galore"?

Yeah, Levi is my Soul Singer icon, for High Baritone. He would also been an incredible Verdi Baritone, had he been an classical opera singer. Unlike today, where some "Modern R&B" singers go crazy on vocal runs.

Chris
Old 29th January 2018
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
At first we only had Fairchildren.
Plural? How many of these poor orphan children did you have? I’ve never been in a room with ONE Fairchild.
Old 29th January 2018
  #67
Gear Nut
 
bigdig's Avatar
 

very cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmtech View Post
I went down that rabbit hole a few years back for a soul project. First time i'd tried anything like it.

Everything was recorded using old techniques and mics as much as was possible. Obviously budget limited us to some compromises in mic choice.

In the end the artist decided it was a little too vintage, so we decided to make it a bit more modern, with the vintage still there there as a flavour.. ala Amy Winehouse.


Here's the result. After a few years i'm still quite pleased with it as my first attempt at the genre.


I dig this alot. Care to elaborate more on the techniques you used to record it? Also, did you mix it as well?
Old 29th January 2018
  #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdig View Post
I dig this alot. Care to elaborate more on the techniques you used to record it? Also, did you mix it as well?
The session was about 3 years ago so my memory may be a little off on some things but i'll give it a try!

It was co-recorded with Gavin Glass (ex Lisa Hannigan band) and i produced & mixed it myself. I also wrote the brass.

There was no desk involved, everything was recorded thru 610s and 1073s.
I ran all tracks thru an MX5050 @15ips (7.5ips for the BV and bass i think) before mixing.


Drums - 64 Gretsch, heavily dampened.
Nady Ribbon mono OH.
Peluso U47 between kick & snare (ala Gabriel Roth)
AKG D12 E on the kick (about 2 feet out from the shell)
(+ a 57 on kick beater and snare to use as trigger tracks incase samples were needed, which were in the end).
I recorded a mono room but cant remember what it was, either way it was nothing too fancy and I think i binned it for the mix.


Bass - Fender Precision with flat wound strings.
DI & Ampeg BN15. (Only the DI was used in the mix)

Guitars - Fender Tele for the rhythm parts and some old gibson hollow body for the solo, possibly an L-4.
The Tele went through a vintage Ampeg guitar amp (straight rhythm parts) and an Epiphone Galaxie amp (tremelo parts). I probably used an MD409 on both.

The big old Gibson was a DI.


Brass - Bari, bone & trumpet.
I think i put an RE20 on the bone and a pair of Nady for the trumpet & bari.


Vocals
A mix between the U47 and the Nady ribbon for the lead parts.
And i think i had a Gefell 563 on the BV.


Hammond
I think we just had a couple of 57s on the Leslie.


As far as the mix goes, it was all done ITB. I tried to keep it to analog modeled pieces of the era (or close) as much as possible.
UAD Oceanway & 140 were used for verbs along with various springs (Great British on the LV).
Soundtoys decapitator got a work out on most parts, especially the Ampex 350 model.
Waves J37 also came in very useful, especially to crunch up the kick a little.


Here's the original demo that the band sent me. You can hear the differences in where we took it, if thats your kinda thing.
EL&TA - Reason demo by numuproductions | Free Listening on SoundCloud


I think thats everything that i can remember

I hope the info is of some use to you

Last edited by rhythmtech; 29th January 2018 at 09:03 PM..
Old 29th January 2018
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I'd take an 86 or an 84 over almost anything but a 67. The way they take eq in a mix without a need for de-essing is wonderful. The 84s and 86s must be shock mounted. We used Shures because they were cheaper than the Neumanns and sounded better.
Did you mean a Shure SM86?
Old 29th January 2018
  #70
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Model A53M.
Old 29th January 2018
  #71
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Coates View Post
Did you mean a Shure SM86?
He's talking about the shock mount.
Old 31st January 2018
  #72
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bgood's Avatar
I really dig the soundtoys altec emus... Radiator and lil radiator... Instant vibe. The slate tube preamps and the kush version are both cool to round off the edges and give new stuff that vibe...

I reamp VIs through the ua610 mkii a lot too.

Bob's mentioning of the la3a was the final sign from the gods for me to pick one up. Thanks a lot, bob lol
Old 31st January 2018
  #73
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I was disappointed with the reissue LA-3a. My first was serial number 170-something.
Old 31st January 2018
  #74
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Thread Starter
IYE Bob... How often were a Shure 57/545, or EV 635a ,used in place of a Neumann for the lead vocal at Motown? Chris
Old 31st January 2018
  #75
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bgood's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I was disappointed with the reissue LA-3a. My first was serial number 170-something.
That's why I don't own one currently. I picked up a UA reissue a couple years ago but it didn't act like I remembered old timey ones did so I traded it. I've got a couple pals that have picked up the Golden Age comp-3a and they swear it's a more faithful clone. I have my doubts, but, it's so cheap I think I'll order one.

In plugin land, I've been pretty impressed with Black Rooster Audio's LA3A. It feels more like an actual elop than the old waves CLA or the uad.
Old 31st January 2018
  #76
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
IYE Bob... How often were a Shure 57/545, or EV 635a ,used in place of a Neumann for the lead vocal at Motown? Chris
Never that I saw! I did use my own SM-53 for vocals on "I Just Want to Celebrate" because I'd brought Pete into the control room to sing lead with the speakers and wanted it hand-held to reduce the need for compression. The band was so happy with the results they insisted on immediately gathering around it to do their backgrounds in the control room too. The bleed actually enhanced the sound of the track much to my surprise.
Old 1st February 2018
  #77
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Thread Starter
Thanks-I love that song! Also I think Pete's voice is still incredible. Chris
Old 1st February 2018
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Never that I saw! I did use my own SM-53 for vocals on "I Just Want to Celebrate" because I'd brought Pete into the control room to sing lead with the speakers and wanted it hand-held to reduce the need for compression. The band was so happy with the results they insisted on immediately gathering around it to do their backgrounds in the control room too. The bleed actually enhanced the sound of the track much to my surprise.
How does hand held reduce the need for compression?
On another post, you’ve said that adding distance from a vocalist to a mic reduces the need for compression, so aren’t these two ideas at odds?


Cheers!
Old 1st February 2018
  #79
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Most singers know how to move a mike to even out their volume.
Old 1st February 2018
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Most singers know how to move a mike to even out their volume.
I think you should insert “,after hundreds or thousands of live performances,” after the word “singers”.
Singers without microphone experience can do bizarre things with a handheld mic. (That is not intended as sexual innuendo).
Old 1st February 2018
  #81
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Thread Starter
It's expected as this year progresses, that I'll be getting involved singing with a couple of the top local Classic R&B/Funk bands (also a Reggae Band too).

So when I was at the Bock booth (NAMM), I sang for David Bock with several different voice registrations. BTW part of the plan with these bands, includes some recording with multi-part leads ala Tempts/Sly & The Family Stone/etc.

Sometimes I may be singing Bari/2nd tenor/falsetto parts, within the same song,

David kindly explained, during our detailed conversation together, that I'd better have a really solid LDC microphone STUDIO technique-Versus depending on the AE to do any compression/EQ/etc. This was if I wanted to get a higher quality of vocal sound (he knew I'm finicky about results).

So I would encourage singers that fit my profile (around 200-300 songs total/per year locally onstage w/dynamic microphones), BUT their recorded singing has primarily been at home, depending on processing...

To really "up their game" when it comes to LDC microphone technique.
I know I need to!

Chris
Old 1st February 2018
  #82
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Thread Starter
So...

Are there some techniques/tips on how the studios like Motown & Sigma got the classic soul recordings "so together'-as if everyone was in the same room/same time performing?

I mean lots of current R&B sounds like "Karaoke meets Oversouling singer"!

Chris

P.S. I always thought it might be cool to record some Soul music, where
the musicians & singer(s) were in a semi-circle ala Don Was style.
Old 1st February 2018
  #83
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Sigma's Avatar
the drums , bass , 2 or 3 gtrs , piano/rhodes , congas were recorded all at once

the strings then horns were cut in the same room as tracking most times usually a few days later when all the albums raw tracks were cut

as were lead vox and bkg's

the musicians played together since their teens so when they sat down with a chord chart they would run it down and everyone found their "space" the musicians had a big impact on that cohesive nature

and again 9 -10 songs 3 days tracking 2 days strings and horns then bkgs and leads..then mix ...2 weeks from tracking till pressing
Old 1st February 2018
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
the drums , bass , 2 or 3 gtrs , piano/rhodes , congas were recorded all at once

the strings then horns were cut in the same room as tracking most times usually a few days later when all the albums raw tracks were cut

as were lead vox and bkg's

the musicians played together since their teens so when they sat down with a chord chart they would run it down and everyone found their "space" the musicians had a big impact on that cohesive nature

and again 9 -10 songs 3 days tracking 2 days strings and horns then bkgs and leads..then mix ...2 weeks from tracking till pressing
That’s about what I saw from the mid-seventies for Motown and other soul projects at Crystal in Hollywood. Slight differences... I never saw three guitars, and sometimes only one. My favorite guitar duo was Wah-wah Watson with Ray Parker jr. As the decade went on, the time from initial session to completion got longer. On the Motown projects they didn’t get much longer, but some other label work drifted to much longer. Adding synth overdubs, often with Michael Boddicker, could add a day or two.
I agree that a key thing was the rhythm section core, which was a nucleus of great individual musicians, each with a conductor’s sense of where things fit and where the air and spaces should be. They could run through a new song once, ask a few questions, make some notes and play the song release-ready on the next take.
So the equipment and engineer had to be ready to record with no fussing, fixing, or second guessing.
Old 1st February 2018
  #85
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

We used pretty much the same recording schedule at Motown. The songwriter/producer first met with an arranger. They wrote out any melodic lines the composer wanted and chord charts for the rest. Joe Messina would arrange the guitars telling the other guitarists what to play. The bass line was often written out in advance and then the player would improvise based on that melody. The producer/songwriter would then meet again with the arranger for the strings and horns. Brian Holland would generally record the backgrounds last in order to fill out any holes in the energy of the recording.
Old 1st February 2018
  #86
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
That’s about what I saw from the mid-seventies for Motown and other soul projects at Crystal in Hollywood. Slight differences... I never saw three guitars, and sometimes only one. My favorite guitar duo was Wah-wah Watson with Ray Parker jr. As the decade went on, the time from initial session to completion got longer. On the Motown projects they didn’t get much longer, but some other label work drifted to much longer. Adding synth overdubs, often with Michael Boddicker, could add a day or two.
I agree that a key thing was the rhythm section core, which was a nucleus of great individual musicians, each with a conductor’s sense of where things fit and where the air and spaces should be. They could run through a new song once, ask a few questions, make some notes and play the song release-ready on the next take.
So the equipment and engineer had to be ready to record with no fussing, fixing, or second guessing.
yeah my motto when i became chief engineer was "we can wait as long as we have to for the producers and musicians but they should NEVER have to wait for us" that and "every client whether the bus driver by day or patti labelle gets treated the same or your fired"

everything was aligned ..all channels mic to tape were checked and all headphones checked before they got in..and we just had a 1hr set up period so you can imagine the sweat on a rhytm or string/horn date,,there was only 15 minutes to strike the string setup and put up the horn set up and you had to weave around people talkng and coming and going LOL

on strings ..lol i cut the strings for the standing in the shadows of motown video ..it was strange as i could hear they flew the string mikes high at motown so i did that ..but with the sound of philly the strings were not just melodic they were percussive so we had the 87's like 3 feet off the deck of the violins and violas and the 451's or fet 47's about a foot from the bottom of the f hole of the cello's
Old 1st February 2018
  #87
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Just wanted to say that it's threads like this that keep me hanging around this forum. I love hearing firsthand accounts from those of you who were there when so much of the amazing music I grew up with was made. Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories!
Old 2nd February 2018
  #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
yeah my motto when i became chief engineer was every client whether the bus driver by day or patti labelle gets treated the same

on strings .
I worked with a maintenance guy when I was coming up who, when called about some technical problem, would walk into the studio, look at the staff engineer or second and ask, “What have you f...d up now?” In front of the client!
I wish I could say I fired him when I moved up, but he had already moved on. Studio owners and managers were sometimes very reluctant to fire some bizarre maintenance guys because they were so hard to replace. But allowing staff to insult staff in front of clients should never happen.

Speaking of hatreds, when I was a second, I grew to hate the string players. As I tried to set up in that sometimes very limited time between sessions, they would constantly scold me for being anywhere near their instrument, and always had to tell me how much their Stradivarius or like brand cost (and it was a very large amount). A few of them brought a lot of stuff that made it hard to move around, and every once in a while we would catch one of them moving a microphone.
Horn players were the opposite. Very easy to work with.
Old 2nd February 2018
  #89
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Never had that problem with the first violin section of the Detroit Symphony.
Old 2nd February 2018
  #90
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
I worked with a maintenance guy when I was coming up who, when called about some technical problem, would walk into the studio, look at the staff engineer or second and ask, “What have you f...d up now?” In front of the client!
I wish I could say I fired him when I moved up, but he had already moved on. Studio owners and managers were sometimes very reluctant to fire some bizarre maintenance guys because they were so hard to replace. But allowing staff to insult staff in front of clients should never happen.

Speaking of hatreds, when I was a second, I grew to hate the string players. As I tried to set up in that sometimes very limited time between sessions, they would constantly scold me for being anywhere near their instrument, and always had to tell me how much their Stradivarius or like brand cost (and it was a very large amount). A few of them brought a lot of stuff that made it hard to move around, and every once in a while we would catch one of them moving a microphone.
Horn players were the opposite. Very easy to work with.
dude we had a maintenance guy with a truly photographic memory ..he worked in a studio with a 4000 ssl for a few weeks before we hired him…i fly to larabee studios for a session and its a 4k i wanted to meter things differently ..assistant had no clue..their tech guy no clue i call up and he goes thru 8 or 9 steps and i got my metering without him skipping a beat.. BUT.. he came in with cat hair all over him and dirty clothes..gave him money to buy clothes..still wore dirty clothes..he'd chastise you in front of clients etc..smoked 3 packs of cigs just at the studio ..when he left sigma he moved to LA and worked at larabee..but they kept him in the TSD room LOLZ!!!..plus most tech guys are quirkey and always have something to say about another tech..you had your theoretical tech guys and you practical tech guys..it was like a day school

Last edited by Sigma; 2nd February 2018 at 02:38 AM..
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