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Dolby 361 Test Analog Processors (HW)
Old 6 days ago
  #1
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andersmv's Avatar
 

Dolby 361 Test

A friend of mine recently sent me a Dolby 361 unit to mess around with. This one came from Abbey Road Studios, so it's always been kind of a joke piece to throw in the rack and tell snooty people "I have gear from Abbey Road". You know how it goes...

I've heard about them being used on mix busses and what not to brighten things up a bit and tame the low end. Since I only have one of them, I plugged it into my Warm WA12 preamp. I hardly ever use that pre with ribbons because they sound way too dark and muddy through the WA12, so why not run my 1932 RCA through the Warm WA12 on a finger picked acoustic guitar (Something I would never do).

I included a clip of it with the dolby on and off. Not much to go on, but you can definitely tell what it's doing. The noise floor is a bit much, but I like what it did. Again though, this is not something I would typically use that mic for and I definitely would not run it through the WA12. I just thought it would be a good test of the 361 to see if it could fix a REALLY muddy sounding signal chain.
Attached Thumbnails
Dolby 361 Test-20190213_162648.jpg  
Attached Files

Dolby OFF.wav (5.98 MB, 269 views)

Dolby IN.wav (5.98 MB, 257 views)

Old 6 days ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
I think people tend to use those as a parallel when going for the "LA dolby thing." I know the Audio Thing "Type A" has a mix knob for a parallel.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
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Yep, still got my Cat 22 card with the Vocal Stretch mod. These were popular in the 80's. The signal is mixed back with the original on the board. Very cinematic.

Yes, there is 'something' that it does. The Lennon or Stretch mods were easily done.
Old 5 days ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1971 View Post
The Lennon or Stretch mods were easily done.
I'll google these tonight but if you have any links or additional info, I would love to learn more!
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Funny, a friend of mine picked up 4(!) for 40Euros All in pristine condition. I love to use them for vocs / drums / synths in parallel or whatever. Only be warned of te hi-end; can be a bit much..
Old 5 days ago
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pass-out View Post
Only be warned of te hi-end; can be a bit much..
Ya, no joke! The first thing I tried it on was a condenser on my Taylor acoustic. It was WAY too much! That's why I switched to the ribbon.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
I'll google these tonight but if you have any links or additional info, I would love to learn more!
I had my card modded. This is the online link for Voice Stretch.

A number of 80's record albums had this as an effect on the vocals. It was on bunches of records from artists like Journey, The Eagles, Ozzy Ozbourne, John Lennon, etc.

It is a vintage type sound effect used on movie/play soundtracks galore.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Dolby Cat 22 mod_2.pdf (498.6 KB, 19 views)
Old 5 days ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
Ya, no joke! The first thing I tried it on was a condenser on my Taylor acoustic. It was WAY too much! That's why I switched to the ribbon.
I almost asked if the clip was a Taylor...
Old 4 days ago
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I almost asked if the clip was a Taylor...
It's a 714 with a cedar top and it's getting older (At least 15 years at this point). So it's pretty mellow as far as Taylors go.
Old 4 days ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
It's a 714 with a cedar top and it's getting older (At least 15 years at this point). So it's pretty mellow as far as Taylors go.
Its got that Taylor sound...
Old 4 days ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Its got that Taylor sound...
Not sure if you're picking a fight, or giving a compliment

(I'm just joking with you)
Old 4 days ago
  #12
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andersmv View Post
Not sure if you're picking a fight, or giving a compliment

(I'm just joking with you)
Neither.
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
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If you scout the lists the Dolby Labs 360/361/362/365 frames can be very affordable. It would be a nice little trick up your sleeve if you like that kind of 1980's sound.

Dolby Labs was tided into limiting your car stereo, the home theater, your Walkman portable headset ,the local cinema, etc. It was everywhere and was the selection of choice to hear high quality audio. Yeah, Dolby knows where its at.

At one point the Dolby Labs 362 jack broke and the frame is REALLY heavy in the rack, like 20 lbs. So I 86' ed it. Still got the cat22 cart.
Old 4 days ago
  #14
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Space1999's Avatar
 

The method started with the Dolby A encoder. Certain cards in the lows and the mids were removed leaving just upward expansion of the highs. If you didnt decode the program material then you were left with the “stretch” which is the boosting of the trailing off high end being boosted.
If you had this beast and the decoder strapped to your multitrack this is what Dolby’s idea was...

To use upward expansion on any quieter spots bringing up the low level audio past the noise floor. Then the decoder would lop off the noise leaving a much quieter and present program signal.

George Martin received one of the first Type A prototypes. He must have figured out this method because you can hear it on songs like Because and Sun King.
Later he passed the secret to someone in America while recording America oddly enough.

It has also long been my theory having reviewed John Bonham soloed drum tracks that Zep was using the encode only method on John’s drums. I think they left in some cards that you would normally pull out for the stretch because it was causing his whole kit to breathe and pump. Listen to the cymbal crashes in “Hey Hey” they have to be the longest cymbal crashes ever.

I don’t think Zep got ahold of the idea till later on because the track I first heard (which was put on this board and discussed) was for “Fool in the Rain”

A well known producer who I worked with crated his around in black boxes because he didnt want anyone to know his secret. So yeah, I have seen the A Types in action and it definitely has that Hi-Fi sound and makes for instant Fleetwood Mac or Journey background vocs. This producer would have it set on a summing buss and throw vocals and cymbals at it but by bussing it he could send whatever he liked to it and bring it back on a stereo pair.

The first time it was mentioned on this board, no one and I mean no one said a word. It was a closely guarded secret and plug-in manufacturers hadn’t re-invented everything and exposed all the secrets. There is or was a plug-in manufacturer that made the Dolby Type A stretch plug.

I have already said to much (cough,cough), I was never here in fact....

Pat
Old 4 days ago
  #15
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Found a plug-in called TYPE A from a company called Audio Thing that makes the emulation. You can also decide on 1 of four cards you can pull out. And that is the instant flexibility that you don’t get with the 361’s. On the original Type A you could just reach down and physically remove the cards you wanted to remove. The 361 manipulated cards are just set for high end.

Pat
Old 3 days ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Space1999 View Post
Found a plug-in called TYPE A from a company called Audio Thing that makes the emulation. You can also decide on 1 of four cards you can pull out. And that is the instant flexibility that you don’t get with the 361’s. On the original Type A you could just reach down and physically remove the cards you wanted to remove. The 361 manipulated cards are just set for high end.

Pat
The Type A plug from AudioThing is really great. I try not to overuse it, but when its right its super cool. I even used in on a jazz mix this summer. There was a song with brushes. I had a mono ribbon "alt" overhead. I liked the closer sound of it compared to the SDC for this ballad, but the brushes weren't translating right. I put the Type A on the ribbon track and it was perfect.
Old 3 days ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

I had a dolby A301 for many years. It never did anything all that fascinating to my ear no matter which cards were engaged.
Old 3 days ago
  #18
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I have 24 channels of SR, 8 channels of DBX and 2 channels of A inside a 363. Not sure if the card can be modded to do the enhance thing. There's a Jim Williams mod for the 363 that will make it spec out a little better, perhaps the same mod could be done to the 361, here;

https://www.americanradiohistory.com...EP-1991-05.pdf

Back in the 80s, I would play a friend's tapes he recorded at college without NR on an Otari through my Tascam deck with dbx. Damned if his tapes didn't sound a lot better with dbx decoding. Gotta recap some stuff first but gonna try it on DAW tracks. I know people use A as an encode only enhancer. I'm curious what decode only will do. There's a fella over at Tapeheads writing an app which is decode only for archival reasons. Apparently it's kinda tricky to do digitally and do it right. There are already apps that claim to do the job but they're not that good.
Old 2 days ago
  #19
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This page will explain it better.
And a nice chap will send you a pdf of instructions to mod your cat 22 card if you email him.

The Dolby Trick !

Denny
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