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Tubey, Sparkly 70's Sounds ala N. Young, T Rex Condenser Microphones
Old 27th January 2009
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Tubey, Sparkly 70's Sounds ala N. Young, T Rex

Probably going to get yelled at for such a general thread, but here goes.
I'm chasing the sound of drums and acoustic guitars from the early 70's as heard on records by Neil Young and T Rex, even a little Zeppelin as well.

I'm looking for that sparkly, overdriven but not exactly distorted overhead sound on drums, and the acoustic sound that I can only describe as if the guitar were playing through a shiny, crystal pillow!!!

Acoustic guitar references would be:

Mystic Lady-T Rex
Heart of Gold-Neil Young
Over the Hills and Far Away-Zep


Drum sounds would be:

Rock On-T Rex
How Many More Times-Zep

Now, I know what you're gonna say: it's Bonham, or it's Bolan, it's the kit, etc. I get that. But, there's is a common sonic sound to these things, a sparkliness that I've never achieved that I can't quite place. It's really crystal sounding, without ever sounding harsh, etc.

Is this tape? Is this C12's on everything? Is this LD tube condensers? Is there a way to approximate some of this sound with a modern pair of tube SDC's?

Crane Song Phoenix is not the answer I'm looking for, by the way...what's the analog solution plz....

Would love to hear any and all thoughts....I think. Thanks all.

b
Old 27th January 2009
  #2
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

I've posted here wanting info on Trex drum sound but never got much info .

My guess is vintage LDCs going through a console with analog EQ boosting some highs to tape . Thats how you get that sound .

Out those getting a vintage LDC or a colored LDC like the Pearlman would be a good start .
Old 28th January 2009
  #3
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
“Heart of Gold” was the second song we cut. Teddy, Ben, Tim and Kenny played on it. I used a [Neumann] U87 on Neil's voice; a [Neumann] KM86 on his guitar; drum overheads were KM86s, snare most likely a [Shure] SM56, hi-hat a 224E; bass was direct; we had a KM86 on Teddy's guitar and an 87 on steel. We were recording to 2-inch 16-track Scotch 206, 30 ips, no noise reduction. The console was a Quad Eight 20×8×16. No compressors were used. I hand-rode his voice, which meant I had to learn the song and anticipate his moves. The vocal effect on Neil's voice is 15 ips tape slapback, and it is on the multitrack.
From this article. These were state of the art recordings. None of that old noisy tube stuff.
Old 28th January 2009
  #4
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(This is going to seem like a flippant reply, but it's not):

It is everything and it is nothing.

I've long since learned that no one -- or more -- piece of equipment gets you "there". Do you ever have times when you use the same mic, pre, eq, whatever, as always and all of a sudden, you are astounded by the sound? That's it -- it's just random. So without going into further babbling, I would just say put up the mics and twist and tweak until it sounds like you want. You may be surprised with what you can achieve with what you currently have!
Old 28th January 2009
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OKden View Post
From this article. These were state of the art recordings. None of that old noisy tube stuff.
Excellent. KM 86's, eh? Cool article. Amazing how something so timeless could happen in such a random way in terms of personnel..

Thanks!

b
e
n
Old 28th January 2009
  #6
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JQ127's Avatar
 

I love the guitars on The Slider and Electric Warrior-great stuff.
Old 28th January 2009
  #7
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badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio Addict View Post
(This is going to seem like a flippant reply, but it's not):

It is everything and it is nothing.

I've long since learned that no one -- or more -- piece of equipment gets you "there". Do you ever have times when you use the same mic, pre, eq, whatever, as always and all of a sudden, you are astounded by the sound? That's it -- it's just random. So without going into further babbling, I would just say put up the mics and twist and tweak until it sounds like you want. You may be surprised with what you can achieve with what you currently have!
thumbsupthumbsup

So true. But ... I guess it's part of being human to search for that holy grail ... and I'm not gonna swim against the tide. Anyway, to rephrase the above Zen wisdom poster, although this is going to seem like a flippant reply, it kind of isn't: if you really want that epochal vibe, try taking shedloads of drugs, especially acid. I have a friend (hello Patrick!) who lived through the late sixties and early seventies in proper style. Back then, anyone who was anyone took quantities of "illegal" substances on a scale that dealerships nowadays have learned are counter-productive to repeat-sell on a commercial basis. So, to the OP, you ain't gonna get there till you've really been there, that's all I'm trying to say. Good luck trying, however.
Old 28th January 2009
  #8
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vernier's Avatar
Yes, its because it was tape and analog equipment. And also, trained engineers like Roy Baker, Elliot Mazer and Ron Nevison.

You can somewhat chase down those sounds, but its a long road. Best to work directly with a Roy Baker, or equivalent, and also get to know the gear of that era inside and out.
'
Old 28th January 2009
  #9
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robot gigante's Avatar
All those sounds are a sum of many parts, so it's hard to say what parts you are missing just from interacting on the internet.

If you really do want instant access to those sounds, I'd try and hire an engineer that knows how to get them. Otherwise settle in for a lot of hard trial and error until you build the right skill set to do it, which may be fine to do.

One last thing- the last thing I want to be doing is recommending a preamp as a solution, but the TAB Funkenwerk V78 can be overdriven into kind of a sparkly crunchy sound which can be nice on drums sometimes. It won't instantly give you the sound of those recordings though!
Old 28th January 2009
  #10
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FireMoon's Avatar
Part of the answer to your question would be similar to asking a car salesman why you can;t buy a car with the handling and drive feel of an E Type Jaguar and yes it's Jag u ar .not Jagwar...heh

The salesperson would throw their arms in horror and start rambling on about traction control, abs, computerised management and why would anyone want to return to those days?

I however, understand exactly where you are coming from. What if they had todays monitors and recording systems what would really change apart from the bonus of the extended bass.? I suspect in our cases it would be ... actually nothing...

But that's not how things have worked. Digital gives clarity and no droopy tail off in the treble. Hear the pristine whack of every skin and cymbal captured for posterity in all its' full glory.. marvel at the upper mid *honk honk* of the snare drum as it *actually sounds*. in a room. Listen to how the cymbals fairly sizzle when you can hear them in their unbound glory. That's how they really sound so thats what you should be recording...

Only there are those of us who say... Nay.... Nay and thrice Nay.... Get the gone with you pure signal path. Your pristine reality doth offend my ears with its clatter and bellicose mid peaked chuffs... We seek the snare stretched so tight as to almost breaking point with the pack of 10 Marlboro( and only 10 Marlboro do it right) judiciously taped to the snare skin, recorded with but a smidgen of room to add some life. Clue here.. ignore the mics for the moment, important as they are, on the Neil Young album and consider it was. Mostly recorded in a barn and bales of hay make an excellent damped drum booth...

A rather excellent drummer friend once showed me a little trick to approximate the Bonham sound. Ignoring, you lay into the kit like a person possessed, you arrive at a suitably tensioned drum head and then turn one key on each head back a couple of notches.. so you have a slightly unbalanced sound, experiment with it and you will find a sweet spot where you get just the amount on *bounce* to the sound..

With the acoustic guitars...bare this in mind. Back then, as as a nipper myself in those days i remember it well, Guitar strings were no where near as *bright* as they are today. We are talking about a period when many guitarists use to, still buy a set of Banjo strings to obtain and unwound G string for an electric .

Now taking into account that strings are inherently brighter and the recording media is , for want of a better term, "differently biased" asre the frequency range. You stick those same mics on an acoustic and .........a very different sound... You could try a judicious roll off from about 1kHz on the acoustics that actually becomes a droop by the time it reaches 20kHz and use Elixir strings , which never seem to quite sparkle like other brands, even fresh from the pack...

Another thing to consider is this... back in the day many of the larger studios the engineer, producer would actually attempt create a whole series of *independent rooms* within the main room by having a couple of flunkies moving the acoustic screens round until the right balance was found.

Now there is a thought... for a piece of emulated software.... Yes the techno mages have waved their wands and given us... emulations of umpteen classic studio environments, but as yet... No flunkies with the screens that allow one to build a "room" within the room.... beam me up[ Scotty...
Old 28th January 2009
  #11
Man, I still stand in complete awe of the opening chord on 20th Century Boy. That'll make you a believer before the drums even kick in. I love the acoustic and drum sounds you ask about, but to me the secret to the t rex sound is more in the arrangement (which I don't hear as having much in common with Neil Young's sound). The over the top excitement is in the performance on these tunes and, of course, the lead congas are paramount.
Old 28th January 2009
  #12
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FireMoon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brill bedroom View Post
Man, I still stand in complete awe of the opening chord on 20th Century Boy. That'll make you a believer before the drums even kick in. I love the acoustic and drum sounds you ask about, but to me the secret to the t rex sound is more in the arrangement (which I don't hear as having much in common with Neil Young's sound). The over the top excitement is in the performance on these tunes and, of course, the lead congas are paramount.
I've got a sneaky feeling there is summat going on between guitar and brass in that opening chord... French horns can do a damn good approximation of a particular guitar sound and visa versa..

I've never heard anyone quite nail the rhythm guitar sound on "Get it on" either . There's that greasy greasy shove to the underpinning riff.... oh and at about 1 min 30,..... that perfect yelp and guitar string scrape....
Old 28th January 2009
  #13
Deleted User
Guest
As for the T. Rex sound, I'm pretty sure I read an article a while back where the producer talked about the original sessions. One thing that stuck in my head was that he said he always had some 414's with him because they were his preferred drum mics. I think on the T. Rex sessions he mentioned having used them on the toms.

Maybe it was in the Mix online 'classic tracks' articles, I'm not sure... I was looking for info on Marc Bolan's vocal sound (still wondering if it was flanged or double tracked. Sounds like an ADT type thang to me.)

There ya go. 414's on the toms. That should do it. I'm sure the rest is child's play.
Old 28th January 2009
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
Part of the answer to your question would be similar to asking a car salesman why you can;t buy a car with the handling and drive feel of an E Type Jaguar and yes it's Jag u ar .not Jagwar...heh

The salesperson would throw their arms in horror and start rambling on about traction control, abs, computerised management and why would anyone want to return to those days?

I however, understand exactly where you are coming from. What if they had todays monitors and recording systems what would really change apart from the bonus of the extended bass.? I suspect in our cases it would be ... actually nothing...

But that's not how things have worked. Digital gives clarity and no droopy tail off in the treble. Hear the pristine whack of every skin and cymbal captured for posterity in all its' full glory.. marvel at the upper mid *honk honk* of the snare drum as it *actually sounds*. in a room. Listen to how the cymbals fairly sizzle when you can hear them in their unbound glory. That's how they really sound so thats what you should be recording...

Only there are those of us who say... Nay.... Nay and thrice Nay.... Get the gone with you pure signal path. Your pristine reality doth offend my ears with its clatter and bellicose mid peaked chuffs... We seek the snare stretched so tight as to almost breaking point with the pack of 10 Marlboro( and only 10 Marlboro do it right) judiciously taped to the snare skin, recorded with but a smidgen of room to add some life. Clue here.. ignore the mics for the moment, important as they are, on the Neil Young album and consider it was. Mostly recorded in a barn and bales of hay make an excellent damped drum booth...

A rather excellent drummer friend once showed me a little trick to approximate the Bonham sound. Ignoring, you lay into the kit like a person possessed, you arrive at a suitably tensioned drum head and then turn one key on each head back a couple of notches.. so you have a slightly unbalanced sound, experiment with it and you will find a sweet spot where you get just the amount on *bounce* to the sound..

With the acoustic guitars...bare this in mind. Back then, as as a nipper myself in those days i remember it well, Guitar strings were no where near as *bright* as they are today. We are talking about a period when many guitarists use to, still buy a set of Banjo strings to obtain and unwound G string for an electric .

Now taking into account that strings are inherently brighter and the recording media is , for want of a better term, "differently biased" asre the frequency range. You stick those same mics on an acoustic and .........a very different sound... You could try a judicious roll off from about 1kHz on the acoustics that actually becomes a droop by the time it reaches 20kHz and use Elixir strings , which never seem to quite sparkle like other brands, even fresh from the pack...

Another thing to consider is this... back in the day many of the larger studios the engineer, producer would actually attempt create a whole series of *independent rooms* within the main room by having a couple of flunkies moving the acoustic screens round until the right balance was found.

Now there is a thought... for a piece of emulated software.... Yes the techno mages have waved their wands and given us... emulations of umpteen classic studio environments, but as yet... No flunkies with the screens that allow one to build a "room" within the room.... beam me up[ Scotty...
Nice
Old 28th January 2009
  #15
Lives for gear
 
ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brill bedroom View Post
Man, I still stand in complete awe of the opening chord on 20th Century Boy. That'll make you a believer before the drums even kick in. I love the acoustic and drum sounds you ask about, but to me the secret to the t rex sound is more in the arrangement (which I don't hear as having much in common with Neil Young's sound). The over the top excitement is in the performance on these tunes and, of course, the lead congas are paramount.
Its all about the lead congas
Old 28th January 2009
  #16
Deleted User
Guest
Okay, so my memory stinks.

I found the article on T. Rex's 'Bang A Gong'. Of course it was Tony Visconti who produced it - how'd I forget THAT? And it wasn't 414's on the toms. It was U87's... As he says in the article "I used to insist on that." I guess all I could remember was that it was a mic I couldn't afford to use on toms.

A good read. On Visconti's site he aslo mentions using double tracking, flanging, phasing and ADT on Bolan's voice. Sometimes more is more!

Classic Tracks: T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)"
Old 28th January 2009
  #17
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ScumBum's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeBasement View Post
Okay, so my memory stinks.

I found the article on T. Rex's 'Bang A Gong'. Of course it was Tony Visconti who produced it - how'd I forget THAT? And it wasn't 414's on the toms. It was U87's... As he says in the article "I used to insist on that." I guess all I could remember was that it was a mic I couldn't afford to use on toms.

A good read. On Visconti's site he aslo mentions using double tracking, flanging, phasing and ADT on Bolan's voice. Sometimes more is more!

Classic Tracks: T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)"
Thanks for the linkheh

U87s make sense for the toms cause those drums sound amazing .
Old 28th January 2009
  #18
Gear Guru
 
RoundBadge's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by benhallen View Post
I'm looking for that sparkly, overdriven but not exactly distorted overhead sound on drums, and the acoustic sound that I can only describe as if the guitar were playing through a shiny, crystal pillow!!!
other than a million other factors involved,like the great instruments/players,The only way ive gotten close to the old zep sparkley thing is a good sounding room,older type 69 helios pre's[usually w/various amounts of eq added..esp 10k] ribbon mics/older LDC tube mics to an old m79[which is a pain to keep up but sounds cool]
compression too,but source dependent
Old 28th January 2009
  #19
Quote:
Now taking into account that strings are inherently brighter and the recording media is , for want of a better term, "differently biased" asre the frequency range. You stick those same mics on an acoustic and .........a very different sound... You could try a judicious roll off from about 1kHz on the acoustics that actually becomes a droop by the time it reaches 20kHz and use Elixir strings , which never seem to quite sparkle like other brands, even fresh from the pack...
I was saying in (yet another) thread about the benefits of higher sample rates for improved high end, why do you want it? I seem like I'm rolling off or notching out the top on every track to get a sound that's warm but crisp. And I find myself engaging the TM-1's high cut most of the time as well, which rolls off above 7K or so (fairly gently it seems, not radically so.)

Admittedly I am going for a relatively vintage sound, but still it's not like it's dull by any stretch of the imagination, and I figure at 45 it's probably a little brighter than I'm hearing it anyway, which would tend to make me roll of less than would otherwise be the case to get to the same apparent place.
Old 29th January 2012
  #20
Gear Nut
 

I'm bringing this old thread back.
One thing that I never see mentioned when it comes to 60's/70's drum sounds is the drum hardware. The new stuff is all heavy duty, and immobile. Many drummers have a floating tom mounting system, blahblahblah, all in search of a "pure" tone. I know from playing a ****ty 60's Kent drum set as a kid, that the old stuff sounds different. If you see old footage of Ringo, you see how the whole kit is moving with him! I realize in the studio they were more stationary, but the drums and cymbals decay quicker, and the tones aren't so "pure" with the lightweight hardware of yesteryear.
Old 29th January 2012
  #21
Gear Nut
 
audioexmachina's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bannny View Post
I'm bringing this old thread back.
One thing that I never see mentioned when it comes to 60's/70's drum sounds is the drum hardware. The new stuff is all heavy duty, and immobile. Many drummers have a floating tom mounting system, blahblahblah, all in search of a "pure" tone. I know from playing a ****ty 60's Kent drum set as a kid, that the old stuff sounds different. If you see old footage of Ringo, you see how the whole kit is moving with him! I realize in the studio they were more stationary, but the drums and cymbals decay quicker, and the tones aren't so "pure" with the lightweight hardware of yesteryear.
Funny that yesterday I watched "One of these days" from "Live in Pompei" (Nick Mason had his birthday this week) and though: "..those toms are moving a lot!", expecially torward the end of the track. Here is the 1972 movie: Pink Floyd - One Of These Days (Live At Pompeii) [HD & Remastered Version] - YouTube
Old 29th January 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
There's no "tube sound" for his acoustic guitar on Heart of Gold. It's a U87 and a Quad Eight console. And no special tracking compressor just a good old fashioned fader ride. Same with his vocal. I have a vintage U87 and a Quad Eight, tracked to tape its the sound. It's a little pinched in the high mids which probably helped with that voice of his definitely a vintage 70s sound. And of course don't leave out Neil and his Martin.
Old 30th January 2012
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioexmachina View Post
Funny that yesterday I watched "One of these days" from "Live in Pompei" (Nick Mason had his birthday this week) and though: "..those toms are moving a lot!", expecially torward the end of the track. Here is the 1972 movie: Pink Floyd - One Of These Days (Live At Pompeii) [HD & Remastered Version] - YouTube
Yep. The main piece where I feel the lighter weight hardware makes adifference is the hi-hat. They just sound crappier (in a good way). The decay is definitely different.
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