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Soundgarden's Superunknown...recording info?
Old 24th February 2013
  #61
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

It's my pleasure. I'm pretty sure the Leslie was a Model 16 which is self contained and doesn't require another amp. It was amazing- it just had that sound. I don't recall how we mic'ed it- possibly SM57's.
Old 24th February 2013
  #62
Gear Nut
 

Michael, I have 2 of the 1058's from the same console.. Fletchers.
Mine have NO mic input transformers! (They are not in the module position and have to be taken put of the console frame and reconnected when racked)

Of course at times there is RF and they can't be used... But! When wired w/o the input transformers they are the hugest sound thing I have ever heard..

The gtr sound on My Wave. Is what made me want them. Bought them while Superunknown was on the radio hit after hit...

**** curious what do you think of 1053's?

Been meaning to hear those too..

Thanks for sharing! J
Old 24th February 2013
  #63
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

John-

I think your 1058's and mine are from the same console, as mine also came from Mercenary. Interesting that yours don't have input transformers- I thought mine didn't, as well. Very unique sound- lots of character, dark, but with a nice crunch up top and lots of girth.

I thought the 1053's would be interesting, but I never could find any use for them. The eq is very blunt and extreme which was novel at first but didn't do it for me in the long run. Much different sound than the 1057 or 1058.
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #64
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

One of the things that always strikes me most about this record --- and which is a hallmark of many records pre-80's --- is the sheer variety of tones and textures from track to track.

The drum sounds, the guitar tones, the vocal textures, the overall ambiences and aura of each tune... the record keeps moving continuously from one unique space to the next.

Hats off, too, to the sequencing of the record, another lost art imho. The flow of the tracks, the tempos and moods, the timing from the last crash of one track to the first downbeat of the next, it's all so artfully executed.

Did I miss the part where the console(s) were discussed? There's so much vintage dirt and color everywhere, but the mids and transients have such an ssl vibe and crunch to my ears. I'd love to know what desk was used and whether it was an automation uberfest or whether the arrangements did most of the heavy lifting in terms of movement and dynamics.

Thanks so much for your input here Michael, and for your body of work in general.


Gregory Scott - ubk
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #65
Lives for gear
 
Johnny Favorite's Avatar
 

Mr Beinhorn, just writing to thank you for being there and doing an amazing job, and thank you for being here.

One of my favorite rock albums ever, helped me through loads of strange times in my life, you guys worked magic there, it transports me to somewhere special and I`ll always be a fan. You rock.
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #66
Gear Nut
 
vito's Avatar
 

good stuff thanks for sharing.
what console was this mixed on?


also can we ask about Mofo, Ozzmosis, Mother's Milk and many others?

thank you so much
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #67
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cheu78's Avatar
Thanks for doing that back then... It changed my perception of musicality..
And thanks a lot for sharing allthe info here! Really appreciated!



Cheu
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #68
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doom64's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
A lot of the info here is inaccurate. I'll be happy to provide any information regarding this project since I produced it.

-Michael Beinhorn
No questions...just a huge compliment. Superunknown sounds f**king fantastic! It's a damn shame everything is hypercompressed from about 1995 onwards to the present. Shinedown...RHCP...ugh give my ears a break!

I honestly want to take a Chris Vaughn stick ("Walking Tall") and beat some sense into record labels/producers. Rock music needs room to sound loud!! Screw the lowest common denominator laptop jockies.

I heard "My Wave" on the radio about 2 years ago. It sounded fantastic. So I got the album and loaded up some tracks in my DAW. Oh man, look at all that open space for the tracks to breathe!
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by vito View Post

also can we ask about Mofo, Ozzmosis, Mother's Milk and many others?

thank you so much
I'd like to add Mechanical Animals as well!
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #70
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Everbeatz View Post
I'd like to add Mechanical Animals as well!
I'd love to know about that one; that's a really interesting sounding record. A lot more sparse arrangement-wise than it appears on first listen. Lots and lots of vocal layers though!
Old 24th February 2013
  #71
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

Thanks everyone- I really appreciate the kind words.

Sequencing a recording was really important back then- we used to labor over it just to get the right flow. The song sequence really has to feel right in order to keep listeners engaged. Of course, this is much easier to do if you have a strong group of songs to select from and I feel that Superunknown was blessed in that regard.

The record was mixed on the same console it was recorded on- a 4000 G series SSL with Ultimation. I always recorded with the VCA's out because I like transients and I feel the VCA's obliterate them. The VCA's were deployed for the mix, fortunately, the record had transients for days and the VCA's didn't damage anything.

I tend to favor SSL's for recording- they do have a nice crunch to them, are still somewhat clean and interact really well with external pre's. Once in awhile, the board pre's are great for recording through, too. Some can be even more harmonically exciting when pushed hard, level-wise on the in and the out. On a few songs on Superunknown (I think 4th of July) the guitars were overloading the pre's and the console and made that awful intermittent crackling noise. We pulled the levels back but the sound wasn't the same, so we had to roll with the crackles and pops. It's fairly audible if memory serves.

Please feel free to ask whatever you want about this or other projects I've worked on. Hopefully, my memory is good and the information is valuable.
Old 24th February 2013 | Show parent
  #72
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Michael,
I love your productions and would like to thank you for offering all this great information!
If its not too big a subject change, I especially love the sound of the Bronx album you produced - would you be able to shed any light on how you got the guitar/bass/drum sounds on this please? I've tried for years to find info on this! Thanks, Matt
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #73
Gear Addict
 
4fmb's Avatar
This answered the main question I was going to ask -about the console used for mixing Superunknown.

Obviously so many great things about this classic album, but the drums and the guitars especially just continue to slay me. I really appreciated learning about your signal paths for those.

I know Brendan O'Brien did the mixing, but do you happen to know if either the drums or guitars typically got their own bus, and if so, what signal chain was used?

This is so cool to have you on here like this, and I want to add my thanks like others have for so many hours of listening pleasure courtesy of your oeuvre.

Mark


Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Thanks everyone- I really appreciate the kind words.

Sequencing a recording was really important back then- we used to labor over it just to get the right flow. The song sequence really has to feel right in order to keep listeners engaged. Of course, this is much easier to do if you have a strong group of songs to select from and I feel that Superunknown was blessed in that regard.

The record was mixed on the same console it was recorded on- a 4000 G series SSL with Ultimation. I always recorded with the VCA's out because I like transients and I feel the VCA's obliterate them. The VCA's were deployed for the mix, fortunately, the record had transients for days and the VCA's didn't damage anything.

I tend to favor SSL's for recording- they do have a nice crunch to them, are still somewhat clean and interact really well with external pre's. Once in awhile, the board pre's are great for recording through, too. Some can be even more harmonically exciting when pushed hard, level-wise on the in and the out. On a few songs on Superunknown (I think 4th of July) the guitars were overloading the pre's and the console and made that awful intermittent crackling noise. We pulled the levels back but the sound wasn't the same, so we had to roll with the crackles and pops. It's fairly audible if memory serves.

Please feel free to ask whatever you want about this or other projects I've worked on. Hopefully, my memory is good and the information is valuable.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #74
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

I remember working some overtime back in the days running a press, stopped the press locked the front door after hearing outshined for the 1st time, went to a local music store, walmart what ever I could find, bought the CD went back to work and played the CD many times before going home that night.

Funny I have heard a few people say that the snare sound of this album was horrible, maybe it is different, but it's the entire sound/mix and songs made this a amazing CD.

I'm in the Jesus Christ Pose........

I just realized I am talking about a different album, it really does not matter, I love all Soundgarden music, the best Seattle music by far.
btw, my fav song on that album was Fell on Black Days

Louder Than Love was a killer Cd as well.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #75
Gear Addict
 

Mr. Beinhorn, earlier in the thread you mentioned the drums on Superunknown were recorded to a 16-track Studer 827 and mixed from that as well. What was the rest of the band recorded to? I assume there were multiple machines synced up?
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #76
Gear Maniac
 





Old 25th February 2013
  #77
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

Matt-

The bass, drums were cut live for The Bronx record. We built a drum riser because I'd never tried one before and had a feeling it might sound good.

We used a fairly standard set up for close mics on drums. I like experimenting with more proximity mic's and had an array of CMV3's, a pair of CM51's and a Royer SF24 placed in select spots around the kit- as well as a pair of Neumann M250's which make a great starting point. Everything went into the 1057's.

For bass, we mic'ed up an Ampeg B15 and a '70's SVT into a Marshall bass cab with 200 watt EVM's. We split out into an Evil Twin DI. Pretty sure the mic's were AT 4047's, possibly a U47 on the B15 and I can't recall what else. All those went into 1058's.

The guitar was mainly a variety of Marshall stuff- some of Joby's, some of mine. I don't think we rented anything. We usually used 3 mics per cab- fluctuated between SM57's, AT 4047's, RCA BK5's and Royer 122's. Each mic went into either an API 312, a Neve 1058 or an Olympic Helios module.

Funnily- we recorded to a Sonoma 24 channel DSD recorder with Meitner I/O. I thought it was really fitting to record a punk rock band to the most hi-rez system available. Unfortunately, when it came time to mix, the SMPTE option in the DSD rig wouldn't work with an SSL. We wound up mixing in Pro Tools, which was a shame.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #78
dry
Gear Maniac
 
dry's Avatar
 

Wow this thread is renewing my faith in GS

Thank you for taking the time to share all of these details. It is doubly reminding me of how amazing making a record used to be and how great GS can be. Blown away by this thread. Makes my day
Old 25th February 2013
  #79
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

I didn't see any other submixes, apart from the drums which Brendan ran through a Summit Audio limiter. I don't recall any overall buss treatments on guitar or bass mixes- I think he had those submixes mainly for workflow.

As for everything other than drums, it all went to a Studer 827 24 track. At most, we had 2 machines going at a time and I'm pretty sure we did a bounced down submix for drums so as not to unnecessarily fatigue the 16 track reels.
Old 25th February 2013
  #80
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

I have to respond to what you said about record making being amazing. It pains me to know that anyone can have a mediocre experience making a recording and I need to say something about it.

I realize that the recordings you're asking me about were done 15-20 years ago when artists still had enormous recording budgets, so the scale isn't really relative anymore. Additionally, there is little- no money in recording these days. In spite of this, there has to be some way that you can find enjoyment and fulfillment in this work- because it's not just a utility. It's meant to give something back- not just to the audience but to every person who's doing it. If you find that feeling in your work, it's worth more than gold.

The only way this can happen is if you're able to take some time to get the best out of what you're doing and to constantly learn as much as you can about how you like to work. By saying that, I don't only mean learning the technical aspect, but from understanding what it is you're after and why. If you're open to examining this, you will never stop learning about or enjoying the process. It has the potential to be the most inspiring and wonderful thing you can ever experience- even in times like these. When I was getting my start, that feeling was virtually all I had to keep me going, but it was more than enough.

I felt compelled to say this, but it's so important to find greatness in everything you do. This is how you will distinguish yourself from everyone else who does the same kind of work as you.
Old 25th February 2013
  #81
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Arichlsss's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
I have to respond to what you said about record making being amazing. It pains me to know that anyone can have a mediocre experience making a recording and I need to say something about it.

I realize that the recordings you're asking me about were done 15-20 years ago when artists still had enormous recording budgets, so the scale isn't really relative anymore. Additionally, there is little- no money in recording these days. In spite of this, there has to be some way that you can find enjoyment and fulfillment in this work- because it's not just a utility. It's meant to give something back- not just to the audience but to every person who's doing it. If you find that feeling in your work, it's worth more than gold.

The only way this can happen is if you're able to take some time to get the best out of what you're doing and to constantly learn as much as you can about how you like to work. By saying that, I don't only mean learning the technical aspect, but from understanding what it is you're after and why. If you're open to examining this, you will never stop learning about or enjoying the process. It has the potential to be the most inspiring and wonderful thing you can ever experience- even in times like these. When I was getting my start, that feeling was virtually all I had to keep me going, but it was more than enough.

I felt compelled to say this, but it's so important to find greatness in everything you do. This is how you will distinguish yourself from everyone else who does the same kind of work as you.
Thx for sharing, I believe your spot on !

Thanks for making records... Yours are some of my favorite .... Super unknown was my fav for 5 or 6 years and remains in my top 3 rock albums of all time.

How many times making that album did you throw away part of a song and start over..... Like the drums grove just weren't right or the arrangement had issues?
Old 25th February 2013
  #82
181483
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
I have to respond to what you said about record making being amazing. It pains me to know that anyone can have a mediocre experience making a recording and I need to say something about it.

I realize that the recordings you're asking me about were done 15-20 years ago when artists still had enormous recording budgets, so the scale isn't really relative anymore. Additionally, there is little- no money in recording these days. In spite of this, there has to be some way that you can find enjoyment and fulfillment in this work- because it's not just a utility. It's meant to give something back- not just to the audience but to every person who's doing it. If you find that feeling in your work, it's worth more than gold.

The only way this can happen is if you're able to take some time to get the best out of what you're doing and to constantly learn as much as you can about how you like to work. By saying that, I don't only mean learning the technical aspect, but from understanding what it is you're after and why. If you're open to examining this, you will never stop learning about or enjoying the process. It has the potential to be the most inspiring and wonderful thing you can ever experience- even in times like these. When I was getting my start, that feeling was virtually all I had to keep me going, but it was more than enough.

I felt compelled to say this, but it's so important to find greatness in everything you do. This is how you will distinguish yourself from everyone else who does the same kind of work as you.
GS post of the century.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #83
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BB Bill's Avatar
 

Michael - I read somewhere that some of the drum room mics on Superunknown were pitched down a few steps with an Eventide and blended in with the originals, and that this added to the considerable size/depth/girth (insert adjective) of the drum sound. Any truth to this? I can't recall where I read it and it may well have been just internet hearsay.

While you are here, I want to complement you not only on the SG record but also Celebrity Skin, which I think is an equally great album. Any details you would care to share about the process around that album would be greatly appreciated, by all accounts it had its hiccups and controversies but it yielded the band their strongest album by far IMO. Did they have a clear vision of what they wanted beforehand - the slicker, glossier rock sound - or did that vision evolve as the sessions progressed? Was it a lot of work reigning Courtney Love in or was she focused throughout the process?

It's an incredible album, probably my favorite rock album from the 90s. It sounds so good. "Malibu" still kills me.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #84
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I love that Bronx record. Thanks for sharing.
Old 25th February 2013
  #85
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Please feel free to ask whatever you want about this or other projects I've worked on. Hopefully, my memory is good and the information is valuable.
Hi Michael,
I'm a mixing engineer in Paris, France, and a mixing teacher in a sound engineer school.
3 of your productions are in my top 10 productions (Superunknown, Celibrity Skin, Mechanical Animals) and I often ask my young students to listen to your great recordings !
So I am very glad for this opportunity to ask a few questions (and sorry 'cause my English is not so good ...)

As the previous post, I am a big fan of Superunknown and Celebrity Skin.
I really wonder how you produced these ones.

As an example, Hole's "Malibu" is awesome and I often refer to this mix before mixing a rock album ... !!
How did you record the lead voice and the "air" back-voices ? How did you mic-ed the drums ? And what kind of bass amp / mic / pre to get this bass sound ?
So many things to ask ...

thank you so much ,
best regards

Dan Champagne
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #86
Gear Addict
 
Avast!'s Avatar
Couple random comments: the rotating speaker was a Fender Model 16. Leslie made some black tolex models but this was an old Fender.

For an example of two contrasting drum sounds, listen to 'Like Suicide' (which is not a song about suicide). Matt starts off on the small kit, a '59 Gretsch gold sparkle 4-piece with brown cymbals and just a few mics. As the song builds, at a particular point, Matt stopped the take to walk across the room to the BIG DW orange kit with bright polished cymbals, and MANY many mics on and around it. It's a nice push to the song, which has already built it's dynamics and then takes another subtle leap out... =) The tape punch-in to the DWs is not apparent unless you're listening for it.

I -think- both Studers were 2" 24 track? [edit: I vaguely remember Studio X renting in some 16-track heads; Michael dreamt up the 2" 8 track idea very soon after...] Though it would've been brilliant to park the drum reel until mixing, I think they dragged both reels through every session for four months. : /

Head Down vocals... through a guitar amp, rather than a PA? I thought it was a little B12 fliptop driven pretty hard, but I could be wrong on that detail. There was a Shure Vocal Master system there. Chris said that if he was singing LOUD, then it -should- distort!

Superunknown represented the band's tastes/wishes/direction more than any of their previous records except for maybe Screaming Life. It was about a 4-month process, not a year. Almost a year if you include writing.

The first four songs were tracked, then the band packed up and did a short opening stint for Neil Young that fall. That's why MB and everyone had a re-set after those four. Some of the excesses were left behind and some were added.

The long and almost comical chain for Chris' vocals used 4 compressors and 4 EQ's. I don't know the exact patch, but it was something like U67 (67 not 87??) into a 1073 pre/eq, then an LA2A, then SSL EQ and dynamics, into a Pultec and 1176... or something like that. It made Chris sound like a singing robot, with every tooth and tongue amplified. Weird! I may have some of that patch mis-ID'd, but it's close... No pop filters, dang it, so going through Neumanns was a daily thing.
Old 25th February 2013 | Show parent
  #87
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Michael,
thanks so much for all that Bronx info - you have a great memory!
I love your work on this record as it has a great live feel but sounds really hifi and bright at the same time.
I'd always assumed the guitar tone was mainly Joby's AC30 as it sounds so 'chimey' in places,its a really great tone. Can you recall what chain of guitar/pedal/amp/cab was mainly used, was it a single amp for each take or a blend of amps?
I could quiz you about this record all day, sorry! Thanks again for replying
Matt

Quote:
Originally Posted by fexurbis View Post
Matt-

The bass, drums were cut live for The Bronx record. We built a drum riser because I'd never tried one before and had a feeling it might sound good.

We used a fairly standard set up for close mics on drums. I like experimenting with more proximity mic's and had an array of CMV3's, a pair of CM51's and a Royer SF24 placed in select spots around the kit- as well as a pair of Neumann M250's which make a great starting point. Everything went into the 1057's.

For bass, we mic'ed up an Ampeg B15 and a '70's SVT into a Marshall bass cab with 200 watt EVM's. We split out into an Evil Twin DI. Pretty sure the mic's were AT 4047's, possibly a U47 on the B15 and I can't recall what else. All those went into 1058's.

The guitar was mainly a variety of Marshall stuff- some of Joby's, some of mine. I don't think we rented anything. We usually used 3 mics per cab- fluctuated between SM57's, AT 4047's, RCA BK5's and Royer 122's. Each mic went into either an API 312, a Neve 1058 or an Olympic Helios module.

Funnily- we recorded to a Sonoma 24 channel DSD recorder with Meitner I/O. I thought it was really fitting to record a punk rock band to the most hi-rez system available. Unfortunately, when it came time to mix, the SMPTE option in the DSD rig wouldn't work with an SSL. We wound up mixing in Pro Tools, which was a shame.
Old 26th February 2013
  #88
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

Bill-

We never did anything with a harmonizer on the drums or rooms. It's possible we may have experimented with it over the first few days of getting drum sounds, but we didn't record anything that way.

Thanks, regarding Celebrity Skin. The band did want to make a pop record and I tried to envision what an updated version of pop records from the 1970's (Rumours, Magnet and Steel, etc) might sound like with more raw and aggressive- even synthetic sounds. With that in mind, I originally wanted Mark Stent to mix, but we spent 3 weeks with him and it didn't pan out.

I also began experimenting with processing guitars through synthesizers in order to get the kind of tones that would fit into this vision. Anything you got from the record is definitely intentional.
Old 26th February 2013
  #89
Fexurbis
 
fexurbis's Avatar
 

Arichlsss-

Out of every record I have ever worked on, Superunknown was the only one where no arrangement alterations were made on any songs. The songs came in and were cut as was. Chris would present his demos on cassette and there was always something great. A few days into tracking, he showed up with a tape that had "4th of July" and "Superunknown".
Old 26th February 2013 | Show parent
  #90
Lives for gear
 
BB Bill's Avatar
 

Thanks Michael.

How did you get the guitar sound on the opening riff of Celebrity Skin? I love that angry transistor-like buzz, and it complements the meatier guitars on the choruses perfectly.

Did Eric Erlandson do most of the guitar work on the record?
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