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Clarity and depth of the 70's vs DAW and hard drive: Is it possible... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 19th November 2009
  #361
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Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Exactly. I haven't much hope for the internet because it's economic model is carrying narrowcasting to the extreme. Narrowcasting or "the long tail" is the problem, not a solution.
Maybe the Superbowl is our only hope? This year Pete Townshend will be doing his windmill for billions. McCartney, Aerosmith, etc. you gotta love it. thumbsup
Old 19th November 2009
  #362
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Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
It's really more than just that, but I understand what you mean.
(only my opinion of course)

How something is recorded can be the difference of it sounding good,
a nice capture, or it can give the music a strangely beautiful feeling.
Clean and intelligible is one thing, but does the sound make sense with the music. Duke Ellington's music makes so much sense because of the sound, and John Frusciante's first solo record makes sense because of how it sounds. Frusciante's record wasn't well recorded, and shouldn't have been. Ellington's was perfect.

I myself like to think about Brittney Spears (just an example) making a record at Daptone Studio, where a warm and worn, old school analog sound could put some Blue Velvet in her pop song formula . That would make sense muscially/sonically to me. Her new song 3 is sexy, but the production is not. It NEEDED to be recorded like a 70's porno, that would have made sense, and even made the song MORE provocative. But that idea was probablly never considered, because they were trying to do something well recorded.
like I say, there's just well recorded music and badly recorded music
Old 30th November 2009
  #363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
I think it's pretty clear that the biggest influence that drugs had on the music industry was not necessarily on the musicians, but on the audience. So you had an audience that was interested in listening to serious, extended pieces of music and willing to pay for that. In which case, the music industry, like any other, will give the audience what it wants.

The audience today is very different from that, and so the music industry tries to give them waht they want.

I'm sure that there are plenty of artists today who are doing just as many drugs as in the 80s, but they weren't/aren't putting out Wish You Were Here, because the audience wasn't/isn't as interested in that kind of music. Well, MGMT is a young band kind of is doing that.
I think you'll find that it's just the 'underground' music has changed - where before it was found in the more pop/rock/jazz forms, now it is largely in Electronic Dance Music.
Largely, the crowd at underground electronic events are on drugs and are very happy to hear long, meandering songs that they've never heard before.
They're prepared to give them a shot, whereas most pop music is written for the 3.5minute brigade - to hit you and topple you over.

For my money, depth is missing in alot of this music, despite its length (and I say that as an avid listener/follower/DJ of underground house music) and that's largely due to the smashing it gets at mastering (and already in mix, from under-experienced engineers) and again at performance (limiters and multiband compression on many FOH systems at clubs). There are certain producers that are still mixing with space, and I've expressly chosen to DJ with vinyl in a time when many have moved away, because I enjoy the masters more. The engineers are forced to work within the medium's limitations, and as such, I get a little more dynamic range.

My favourite music to listen to was that of the mid-late '70s and a little of the early '80s (the Lexicon 224XL might be digital but it is still aural sex)... Henry Lewy's work with Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny - Bright Size Life and many others spring to mind as awesome examples of this era.
It was about space - from real rooms, but also from great arranging... musicians knowing what they were doing and impulsively playing (I imagine many more charts were played with a chord-chart only - the musicians interpreting a little more freely) and experience - the engineers of the '70s by and large knew about the physics of recording and it was a crutch for them to lean on.

Anyway, that's enough ranting... My point is that there are still people willing to listen to exciting, spacious music - you've just got to make it.
Old 30th November 2009
  #364
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Clarity and Depth of the 70's???
I'm rather interested in the clarity and depth of the 50's ! vs DAW & hard drive.
that period to me got some of the most amazing sounds recorded, you know when they rightfully used the words High Fidelity ....
Old 30th November 2009
  #365
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 View Post
Clarity and Depth of the 70's???
I'm rather interested in the clarity and depth of the 50's ! vs DAW & hard drive.
that period to me got some of the most amazing sounds recorded, you know when they rightfully used the words High Fidelity ....
.....enter Les Paul and his wife heh

If anyone can beat the vocal sound on those recordings you're doing very well indeed. And some of that **** was in his kitchen.
Old 30th November 2009
  #366
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraVibe View Post
What is the recipe of the great clarity and 3-dimensional sound of the 70's? Modern recordings with big budgets sound muddy and shallow and when you crank up the volume...it gets even worse...you know what I mean!

Some producers say it is the musicians...no I don't think so, there are many great musicians all over the world now days. Some say it is the vintage analog consoles and gear, however, many big studios still use them. So what the heck is it?

1. Is it the tape

2. The analog consoles and gear

3. The engineers and the mix methods

4. Something else?

Can we get this sound with the best converters, preamps, a Daw a drive?

Is it possible?

I for one believe it had to do a LOT with tape.

A lot of engineers used to keep their meters in the red, so when it OVERLOADS (clips) the signal goes through the magnetic tape and that part gets saturated. Think of it like this:

You can draw a line with a black marker, but you can go back and darken the parts you want even more to accent the part, so overload was not a bad thing at all.

Now if anything clips above 7 db digitally, it generally sounds like COMPLETE ass, the tape didn't clip anything, it made it better.

Until they figure out how to do something like this, digital will remain digital.
Old 30th November 2009
  #367
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Quote:
And some of that **** was in his kitchen.
you're kidding right.
Old 1st December 2009
  #368
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Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post
you're kidding right.
eeehrgh, nope! He recorded that **** sound on sound style ( lil trick which he just 'made up' cause he needed it...lol) all around his house.

Les Paul & Mary Ford

Paul met country-western singer Colleen Summers in 1945. They began working together in 1948, at which time she adopted the stage name Mary Ford. They were married in 1949. The couple's hits included "How High the Moon", "Bye Bye Blues", "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise", and "Vaya con Dios". These songs featured Ford harmonizing with herself. Years later, in a conversation with Maxene Andrews of The Andrews Sisters, Paul said that his inspiration for Ford's vocals came from his earlier work with the Sisters.[citation needed]
Like Crosby, Paul and Ford used the now-ubiquitous recording technique known as close miking,[citation needed] where the microphone is less than 6 inches (15 cm) from the singer's mouth. This produces a more-intimate, less-reverberant sound than is heard when a singer is 1 foot (30 cm) or more from the microphone. When implemented using a cardioid-patterned microphone, it emphasizes low-frequency sounds in the voice due to a cardioid microphone's proximity effect and can give a more relaxed feel because the performer isn't working so hard. The result is a singing style which diverged strongly from unamplified theater-style singing, as might be heard in musical comedies of the 1930s and 1940s.


Anyone who can beat the vocal sound on that stuff is good! I guess a nice U47 (apparently), a well looked after Les Paul loved/modded tape machine and some vocal chords a la Mary will give someone a chance, but boy do they sound sweet!
Old 1st December 2009
  #369
I was listening to some old 70's tracks a few weeks ago and it remding med of this discussion.

I still think arrangement and maybe tape had a bit part, but the other is how dry everything was. Heavily muffled drums - snare - and also kick and toms with only a single head. That leave so much more space.

Combine that with the fact that ever keyboard instrument you hear was the actual instrument and not a sample or soft synth nad it really a very different sound.

I think tape and even tape his makes a very big difference when everything is dry.
Old 1st December 2009
  #370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraVibe View Post
We don't use any plugins, just using the DAW for tracking. We are recording only real instruments and micing cabinets, not even DIs. We have a studio but also using other studios for our recordings, for example for piano or just to get a different flavor.

My question is simple...

Anybody out there to save us from buing a tape machine?!!
Yes, one simple question...Do you have a tech?

That's one of the top 3 reasons Pro Tools exists.

Best of luck,
-soup
Old 1st December 2009
  #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
I was listening to some old 70's tracks a few weeks ago and it remding med of this discussion.

I still think arrangement and maybe tape had a bit part, but the other is how dry everything was. Heavily muffled drums - snare - and also kick and toms with only a single head. That leave so much more space.

Combine that with the fact that ever keyboard instrument you hear was the actual instrument and not a sample or soft synth nad it really a very different sound.

I think tape and even tape his makes a very big difference when everything is dry.

Apart from the mellotron which was a sampler, in all but name?
Old 1st December 2009
  #372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifted View Post
Now if anything clips above 7 db digitally, it generally sounds like COMPLETE ass, the tape didn't clip anything, it made it better..
I'm in no position to question your credentials, but I do ask - if you've had extensive experience with tape, you'd know that what you typed is an overreaching exaggeration, no?

Tape saturation definitely does not make everything better. I can't begin to type how many times I sat in dismay as I regretted hitting tape too hard on a pair of overheads, or upright bass, or anything for that matter.

Not to say I hated tape. Far from it. I loved it to death.
Old 1st December 2009
  #373
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillytheMTN View Post
It was very common in the 70s and by the bands you mentioned to use mind altering chemicals which greatly expanded creativity and perception. The drugs today aren't as prevalent or as high in quality. The depth in Pink Floyd's music was a direct result of the drugs they were ingesting and the new technology (echos, phasers, synthesizers) they were experimenting with. IMHO
I think this belief turned a lot of people into addicts. (No flame intended. I just believe this belief or possibly media promoted myth caused a lot of kids in the 70's and later to end up addicted, lives ruined and some flat out dead.)
Old 1st December 2009
  #374
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick_Mags View Post
Its hard to answer your question because it seems like when someone says something really logical you come back with "That's not what im talking about"

if you're looking for a fat "Tape Sound" then you need to record to tape or mix to tape. Yes music is lacking depth nowadays and not just in the musical sense but in the quality sense as well and that can be partly blamed for lots of reasons (Crappy Producers and Engineers, No sense of mic placement, and plugins and Etc...). A DAW is taking a snapshots of a real acoustic waveform and sampling it. Obviously if you use analog equipment you can capture that change in sound pressure perfectly, where as digital is sampling it so you can get a more real sound using analog equipment.

you talk about vinyl in comparison to today's widely used format (MP3)... There is no comparison its going to sound how the mix engineer intended to on Vinyl. MP3 is going to sound over compressed and like its missing something compared to a vinyl record.

Basically if you want that Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" or Zeppelin "Where the Levee Breaks" sound youre going to have to record with all or mostly all analog equipment to come close and since they used tape back then you would most likely have to replicate that sound. And even then you may not even come close because engineering back then was a lot different.

Is it possible to make a record with a DAW have depth and sound great... Yes with lots of Time, really good talent, really good production/ engineering. Is most music made that way nowadays, no.
Interesting points. I have to wonder if analog is mandatory for the vibe in question.

An earlier post mentioned the BBC series on YouTube "The Story of Bohemian Rhapsody".

So I went and listed to it. In parts 3 and 4 you hear Brian May playing, as well as isolated tracks from the original master. None of them are particularly stellar sounding. In some spots May sounds like he's playing the same sound as any number of garage bands have.

So maybe the analog gear does have something to do with it. I'd be the first to argue that it does. But at the same time, there's some body of knowledge about what sounds are going to work, as well as orchestration and composition, and studio techniques, that must be a the root of it, no matter what equipment is being used (assuming the equipment is of reasonable quality).

In short I believe it's some sort of studio knowledge, even if it's just "what sound for a track of type x will work here and how to get it" type of knowledge.

For example, I was messing around with a cheap mic and a voiceover. (Bear in mind I'm a total amateur.)... I decided to EQ it so that the overall response looked looked like a U87 with the low cut engaged... made a 100% difference in the impact of the track. Same trick made a big difference in how a track would stand up to distorted guitars as well.

A simple thing... roll of frequencies starting a 1000hz and lower... add an HPF at around 80hz-100hz and tailor the highs to have the same general hump around 9khz as a U87... and ta-dah... voice stands up.

(Of course my voice sux... but now I can hear it in a mix, LOL!)

So I'd guess there's a bazillion such points of knowledge, admittedly many likely found through trial and error, and/or happy accidents... that simply each of us has to rediscover if we aren't lucky enough to have been there, or been mentored by those who were. Unfortunately, detailed, track by track studio logs probably don't exist.
Old 1st December 2009
  #375
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
I can't help but think it's entirely the gear (the instruments as well as the recording gear and every other part of the chain through to the mastering).

That may not explain the specific clarity in question or the music or the arrangement or artistic choices...but those aren't really the reason for the overall sound...

Is there any music from the 70s that doesn't sound like the 70s? When Queen does Crazy Little Thing Called Love, does that sound like the 50s? No, sounds like a 50s song recorded in the 70s...

If you took a picture of someone now with an old camera from the 70s, it would look like the 70s, wouldn't it? The same sort of coloration. No matter how you took the picture or what you took it of...
I'm not certain of that. Some ques of the era are going to be things in the photo, like cars and clothes, hairstyles, etc.

So perhaps it's both. The technology and the musical fashions of the time.

For example, sweeps and EVH style hammering wasn't prominent until 1978 and later (even though some Nashville players were doing both in the 60's).

Then as to technology, keeping with the above example, vibratos arms had been around since the 50's, at least, but the double locking version, not until late 70's early 80's.
Old 1st December 2009
  #376
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
It was that way because the folks who bought radio and TV commercials wanted entertainment to aggregate large audiences. Today they want to separate audiences into narrow demographic groups which cuts anything inspiring an emotional response out of getting enough exposure to develop an audience. The public hasn't changed but the infrastructure that exposes most people to new music has changed very much for the worse.
Along these lines, I've often wondered if the *last* thing the promoters want today if for a band to have the clout of a Zep or Stones.

I mean really, if you were an exec, with bottom line responsibility, do you want to deal with someone who wants the brown M&M's removed at each gig? Then you tell them know and they say, "well cya, we're [fill in big name here]..."

Nah, you want control. You want the artist to stay weak. Flavor of the week is one way to achieve it. Perhaps some of these other trends are too?
Old 1st December 2009
  #377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flmason View Post
I'm not certain of that. Some ques of the era are going to be things in the photo, like cars and clothes, hairstyles, etc.

So perhaps it's both. The technology and the musical fashions of the time.

For example, sweeps and EVH style hammering wasn't prominent until 1978 and later (even though some Nashville players were doing both in the 60's).

Then as to technology, keeping with the above example, vibratos arms had been around since the 50's, at least, but the double locking version, not until late 70's early 80's.
It's always weird when old threads come back (and I ain't talkin' 'bout Leisure Suits)...

what sort of BS was I spewing this time...I think I was talking just about the color, the sound quality, the fingerprint, of the 70s...if Van Halen had recorded in the early 70s, or 60s or the 50s, they would have sounded like the early 70s or 50s or 60s...regardless of any hammering...

if you took a picture of Paris Hilton with an old 70s Kodak Instamatic camera with those film things they popped in, and you developed it and printed it on to the same sort of paper, it would look like the 70s, no matter how she wore her hair or what clothes she wore...some sort of alien from the future...

if you record ancient music (like old Beatles songs for example) through an M-Box, it is ancient music with the color and sound quality of the 2000s...

if you record a fart through some old wax cylinder recorder...

I could go on and on...
Old 1st December 2009
  #378
Gear Head
 

Responding to the OP
I've played on a record that was recorded onto 2-inch tape through a neve console. I played a couple years later on an all digital record with better musicianship, better instrument tones, and more "classic" vibed songs, and the all digital one sounds more akin to a 70's recording than the all tape.

I feel like its all a matter of the original captured tone, the production, and the mixing. There are still quite a few bands putting out albums with a 70's vibe (anything by the sword, and Damnation by opeth, just to name a couple) but it isn't just a matter of the recording gear, its the entire process in my opinion.
Old 1st December 2009
  #379
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
.....enter Les Paul and his wife heh

If anyone can beat the vocal sound on those recordings you're doing very well indeed. And some of that **** was in his kitchen.
But then you're talking about the guy who invented multi-track recording in the first place! (Not to mention the modern electric guitar!)
Old 1st December 2009
  #380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flmason View Post
Along these lines, I've often wondered if the *last* thing the promoters want today if for a band to have the clout of a Zep or Stones...
Of course, they never wanted that. The end run around all of this used to be playing at local and regional venues, attracting a huge fan-base and becoming too important to not get local airplay.

The only thing that's ever been for sale in this business is access to pitching the artist's audience. This is what is sold to promoters, record labels, broadcasters and advertisers.
Old 1st December 2009
  #381
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vhaghar View Post
But then you're talking about the guy who invented multi-track recording in the first place!...
Actually not! Multi-track recording as we know it was invented by the film industry during the early 1930s although Caruso had done acoustical recordings to backing tracks considerably earlier. It was common practice at RCA Victor by 1940. In fact Les Paul made his first recordings in Hollywood at the old RCA Victor studio.

The first record to feature a vocalist singing with themselves was a huge Patti Page hit that topped the charts several months before the first Les Paul /Mary Ford release.
Old 1st December 2009
  #382
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Actually not! Multi-track recording as we know it was invented by the film industry during the early 1930s although Caruso had done acoustical recordings to backing tracks considerably earlier. It was common practice at RCA Victor by 1940. In fact Les Paul made his first recordings in Hollywood at the old RCA Victor studio.

The first record to feature a vocalist singing with themselves was a huge Patti Page hit that topped the charts several months before the first Les Paul /Mary Ford release.
I got the info of him doing some of the Mary Ford stuff in his house off a seemingly credible documentary I watched after he died. Have you got higher ranking info that says didn't happen that way, Bob? Just curious, as the picture of that has appealed to me a lot....hope it's not rubbish....seemed credible...they had pics of the U47 set up around his house and stuff.....
Old 1st December 2009
  #383
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He do doubt did the things in the documentary but he was by no means the first and he had undoubtedly been exposed to multi-track recording long before doing it himself.

Nobody's ever done a documentary about the history of multi-track recording that I'm aware of.
Old 1st December 2009
  #384
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
He do doubt did the things in the documentary but he was by no means the first and he had undoubtedly been exposed to multi-track recording long before doing it himself.

Nobody's ever done a documentary about the history of multi-track recording that I'm aware of.
thumbsup Seemed that way. And the vocal sound he got was AMAZING!
Old 2nd December 2009
  #385
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJGoody View Post
I'm in no position to question your credentials, but I do ask - if you've had extensive experience with tape, you'd know that what you typed is an overreaching exaggeration, no?

Tape saturation definitely does not make everything better. I can't begin to type how many times I sat in dismay as I regretted hitting tape too hard on a pair of overheads, or upright bass, or anything for that matter.

Not to say I hated tape. Far from it. I loved it to death.
There's tape tone and tape sautation. You can get the tone without the saturation. The clipping that tape causes is not as bad as digital, but it doesn't sound great the vast majority of the time.
Old 2nd December 2009
  #386
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
There's tape tone and tape sautation. You can get the tone without the saturation. The clipping that tape causes is not as bad as digital, but it doesn't sound great the vast majority of the time.
i agree
Old 3rd December 2009
  #387
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I agree too. It can actually sound pretty ugly. But I'm still 100% tape...

Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 3rd December 2009
  #388
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Hard clipping tape is an interesting thing, it's a lifeless whump, and it's all bottom. It's like the sound gets sucked down into the tarpit.

Digital, otoh, is all top and screech, and is overly alive with hash. It's like the sound is being electrocuted with charged razor wire.

Tape implodes into its bottom, digital explodes against its ceiling.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 3rd December 2009
  #389
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The clipping/saturation line between "usable" and "not usable" is much more forgiving (and allows for some creativity, even) with tape though.

Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 2nd January 2010
  #390
get one of these for the that "70s" sound mic pres and 8Chs of Analog Summing on a budget:

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