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Clarity and depth of the 70's vs DAW and hard drive: Is it possible... Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 12th November 2009
  #181
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Tape

Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraVibe View Post
p_bro

Working on tape to force the artists to give their best...isn't giving your best! I understand where you're coming from but nothing should be "forced". I mean if using tape only for that reason is kind of silly...
I hate to break the silence, but yes you are hearing tape. ..This is the main reason why the old recordings had more depth, space and generally last the test of time.... Digital adds nothing dementionally or artistically to the source...And I know cause I been doing this 35 years AND I own tape machines and Protools and SSL's and Neves.and still listen to records... If anything digital adds sonic degration...

Today mastering wars have gotten sooooooo out of control, any fidelity thats left in todays recording are destroyed.....
Old 12th November 2009
  #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelAngelo View Post
I hate to break the silence, but yes you are hearing tape. ..This is the main reason why the old recordings had more depth, space and generally last the test of time.... Digital adds nothing dementionally or artistically to the source...And I know cause I been doing this 35 years AND I own tape machines and Protools and SSL's and Neves.and still listen to records... If anything digital adds sonic degration...

Today mastering wars have gotten sooooooo out of control, any fidelity thats left in todays recording are destroyed.....
then how come ive heard - and worked on - modern digital recordings that sound amazing. Last I heard the best recording of the Stars Wars soundtrack was all PT and Radar. LOTR sounds incredible too.....
Old 12th November 2009
  #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
And weren't some of those mostly just him overdubbing over himself? I.e. the antithesis of how the 70's vibe was supposedly largely different from the modern vibe, e.g. live musicians playing together in the room.

That's a good catch, and Stevie played all kinds of instruments, one of my favorite drummers. But I think alot of the drums and bass and some other things where captured live, maybe even with Stevie on the kit. Once the initial groove/feeling was established, more tracks layered in.

Speaking of Stevie Wonder, the greatest thing I've ever seen muscially was on a youtube video of him playing drums and singing live when he was @ 18 or something. Actually, he's singing in this concert hall with his band, singing probablly one of his hits at the time to an audience of people on the floor below the stage raiser. After he finishes his vocal, one of his bands mates walks him up to the drumset, and takes the drummer place without deadspots in the groove.........and proceeds to put on a FREAKIN DRUM CLINIC!! LOl! Just SO much fire/spirit in his delivery. Doing triplets on the kick with a killer back beat and some seriously outrageous tom fills.

He took a drum solo (3-4 minutes ???..!!) , maybe on the fly, infront of hundreds of people live, to a pop song.......

If you can find this video, watching it is a healing process.

Oh yea, although I've never used 2" tape myself, all of my favorite records where done with it as ONE of the variables in the finished product. I think it's the ovious secret to this whole 70's business.

Steelyfan
Old 12th November 2009
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
And weren't some of those mostly just him overdubbing over himself? I.e. the antithesis of how the 70's vibe was supposedly largely different from the modern vibe, e.g. live musicians playing together in the room.
I don't know how it was recorded. Apparently the multitrack masters for Superstition are out there and some people have them...16 tracks comprised of 8 clav parts, 3 drum mics (2 overhead, 1 kick), 1 moog bass, 2 horns, 2 vocals. If you get them you can listen for bleed! I know Stevie didn't play the horns. Not sure about the drums though.
Old 12th November 2009
  #185
Quote:
Originally Posted by ltemma74 View Post
I didn't read the whole thread but wanted to offer Stevie Wonder as an example of an artist who I think achieved great clarity and depth in his recordings in the early 70's. I personally love the recordings of Superstition and Higher Ground and they only sound better to me as I turn them up. The extent to which this has to do with the arrangements, the room(s), the performances, the gear used, the available technologies and the people involved is of course debatable.

I had to throw some props over in his direction. Those recordings rock my world.
Readers need to know those recordings were done with an extreme attention to details. The most advanced gear available was used. The goals were transparency, not colors. Every new and advanced piece of recording gear and instruments were used and many also modified for his particular application.

It wasn't your average 70's "let's make a record" session. It was science meeting art to achieve the "Higher Ground".

To this day that approach has not changed. The same Hohner Clavinets and Rhodes pianos are still there and used, but they also have been tweaked to "keep up with the times". Steve still takes Numero Uno Clavinet on the road for every live show, it's the same one he played Superstition on and other hits. He has 3 more but Numero Uno has some custom preamps and EQ circuits in it that he loves more than the others which are standard preamps with circuit mods. Mick recently had them all re-covered so they look brand new now. They are black instead of grey.
(For interested readers, those mods have been posted over on the clavinet web site).

Every time I work on them it's like seeing an old friend. I usually pause and think, what a piece of history, it will end up in the Smithsonian some day. Some days my job is really cool and I'm infinatly thankful for those opprotunities I've had.

On another note, one of his dreams or goals is to become a great jazz pianist. He adores Herbie Hancock as Herbie is a friend and often is seen hanging around Steve. Steve is very self consious about that and always had self doubts about that ability and skill. He can play very well but I believe he could master that if Herbie just showed him more stuff.
Still, it's interesting to show that even the great Stevie Wonder has self doubts about himself. Yes, he's human, but he does walk on Higher Ground.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades

Last edited by Jim Williams; 12th November 2009 at 05:19 PM.. Reason: more stuff...
Old 13th November 2009
  #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post

I guess much of the 70's thing is the vibe of the era, life playing, analog equipment and tape. It doesn't sound "hi-fi" to me, but it has depth of its special sort.
I think what you did shows that with the music you can recreate 70s music, but you can't really create the sound with digital stuff...not that you can't do good stuff...just won't sound how you wish it would!

I'm guessing that you could have used any plugins instead of "Neves", or any other emulation, and it really wouldn't sound any different.
Old 13th November 2009
  #187
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
I'm guessing that you could have used any plugins instead of "Neves", or any other emulation, and it really wouldn't sound any different.
I would have to second that. I've gotten more mojo out of analog guitar pedal e.q's on snares or bass guitar than anything a mouse could click.
Not that digital e.q's aren't useful, but for FEEL......no.
Old 13th November 2009
  #188
Gear Nut
 

So many great posts with so much useful and valuable information!

Many people here agree that there is something magical with the 70's sound. In how we can reproduce it, there are many different reasons and opinions, also we cannot really generalize about methods, productions, and talent...it wouldn't be fair I guess.

Whether the digital sound, the DAW, PT, Nuendo, Logic etc etc, converters, plug ins and the hard drives can do the job, I am still not convinced. I am not an engineer nor a producer, I am writing songs and play some instruments...my ears decide what is "good" and what is "better" as this might be very subjective as well.

Yesterday I realized something maybe not significant maybe even funny:
When I have inspiration, a melodic idea, I record it either in my voice recorder in my phone, or in small digital recorders that journalists use (people often think I am nuts when I do it walking down the street). Anyway, in the past (or when my phone is broken) I recorded ideas in small tape recorders or tape decks. Well everything recorded in the tapes (usually just a voice and a guitar) sounds much better...I am biased OR is it is the tape...heh

Anyway, yesterday with some friends we listened to many tunes, old and new and we all agreed that the old ones sounded much better even in the CD form. Among songs like: George Thorogood, "One Bourbon, one scotch, one beer", White Stripes Ball" and Queen "Another one bites the dust" we noticed that the the two first song were as loud and maybe "1 Bourbon" even louder but with much more dimension and pleasant color. The White Stripes song was more flat. It has some vintage mojo though! Someone in this thread mentioned that they use only vintage gear to record and it got me curious. Queen was not as loud as the other two. SO WHAT'S UP WITH MASTERING!? The loudness war and all that...I think it can be done. What about old albums that are remastered. any info on that?

Bob Marley sounds so good!

Recently I started to buy old amps, preamps with mojo, cabins, instruments (these days I am about to buy a vintage Ludwig drum kit) and noticed that my sound improved in every step...but then again maybe this is just what I like!

But how many people really like that sound? Are there any younger people that dig, enjoy that sound. Or are we just a small bunch of us, and mostly the ones that we are in this recording trip? Maybe to the brand new generation (I am not so young ) this sounds just like old, out-modded, hissy and not very busy and not so bright! Anyway, I will not change my preferences to suit the trend, I am not so professional yet...not even at the first step of the business part of music.

If that sound will be competitive and satisfy radio air is another story...but maybe people can listen...
Old 13th November 2009
  #189
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For me it's not about trends or what's hot, or what is nastalgic in terms of sound. It about fidelity, fidelity turns me on, beautiful recordings turn me on, not professional. That's why some kid with an acoustic guitar can play something he recorded on his computer using a cheap mic with some silly interface and it makes you tremble, it has a feeling to the sound. He might have gotten lucky, but he captured "something" that sounds special. Even with digital gear........it makes U2 sound like plastic surgery gurgling out of Wal-mart overhead speakers, that **** just sounds fake.(excuse my french). Not because it's pompous pop music from superstars, but because you have to listen through crystal chandeliers to hear what instruments are being played. .......

It just so happens that most of that "special sound" for me resides in older recordings, where a rooms a room and a mic's a mic. Not about gear or technology or what speakers are now capable of capturing, but about enchanting sounding audio regardless of anything else.

Regardless is your audio is flat and boring or loud and modern, does it contain any magic? Does it seduce or just impress?
Old 13th November 2009
  #190
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If you think recordings of the 70s sound better than relatively modern ones (at least before budgets got gutted)...you need to change your references for modern recordings. Or learn to better seperate sonics from music that moves you.
Old 13th November 2009
  #191
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On his very first productions in Detroit Stevie was miming his dream musicians for a given song and never merely trying to come up with the "right" part. If he could hear a compressor in the vocal chain, he'd always ask that it be removed. He pays amazing attention to every detail and will throw out any song or basic track he thinks isn't working in a heartbeat.

I recently saw a documentary about the making of Songs in the Key of Life and realized the enormous impact that working with and learning from Stevie during 1969-71 has had on the rest of my life.
Old 13th November 2009
  #192
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I think it has to do with the current regieme that thinks everything has to be stepped on so hard with a compressor.

also those tube consoles relly add something to it too. like the one that Frank Sanatra's engineer used (I think it was a UA610 console)
Old 13th November 2009
  #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by popmann View Post
Or learn to better seperate sonics from music that moves you.
Why do you want to separate the two? Good sonics in music has always been a factor in what music moves me. From when I can first remember hearing music.

Yes a great song can move you with poor fidelity. It is a great song. But some of the best fidelity I've heard is live with a band that can pull it off, and a sound crew that knows what to do, and that moves me the most!

Sometimes properly recorded music comes *close* to that experience, but much more rarely than it used to. If we are just talking about background music, then any old noise will do, I suppose. Nobody is really listening anyway, they are all too busy texting.
Old 13th November 2009
  #194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Nobody is really listening anyway, they are all too busy texting.
Is it really that much different at a lot of live shows these days? Texting and partying and stage diving and whatnot.
Old 13th November 2009
  #195
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But, if what you want is to recreate that sound...no, I'm afraid you won't be able to...or it will take a WHOLE LOT of compromises you're not willing to make.

Let me continue that thought...right now, you have a guitar. You like the way it sounds. You record it with a nice mic/pre to digital. Without arguing absolute subtlety, it comes back more or less sounding like that guitar. Now put on a 70s record and listen to a guitar track...sounds nothing like that. Guess what? It did in the studio. So, you're gonna need to make it sound like NOT your guitar, even though you like the way it sounds. You can't have that cake and eat it too. You can't want this modern high gain "wall o guitar" sound...with a 70s mix vibe.

I recently was screwing around with an old Eagles tune as a study in groove arrangment...anyway, when recording it, I thought I'd try to duplicate the original sounds as best (without detracting from the musical exercise)...while I learned a lot...I thought every track I laid sounded BETTER than the original. Did I play them as well? Hell no. But, they sounded better. Clearer. With more depth.

The White Stripes? Sonics? We're really going to use them as an example? Meaning, you're going to put up George Thorogood (wasn't that the 80s anyway?) and the White Stripes? Well, where's the modern Keb Mo record in that comparison? Or the countless blues guitar songwriters recording today? Johnny Lang? Chris Duarte? Susan Tedeschi?
Old 13th November 2009
  #196
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You separate it because they are not equivalent. And because you are, I assume, a part of making music. Without learning to separate sonics from material, how do expect to improve either?

One is mostly art with a bit of science...the other is mostly science with a little art. The science can be taught. Learned. Perfected. Talked about. The other? Not so easy.

And in a discussion that seems to be rooted in teh concept that a DAW can never produce "the sound" one is looking for...we're literally talking about fidelity. Otherwise the discussion is "will no one ever make music that moves me as much as 70s rock"...which is a fine discussion I will bow out of, since "rock" of about any era moves me mostly to turn the station.

If the question is "can I perfectly duplicate the sound of a full band in a nice room with millions in gear and a team of engineers who know what they're doing tracking to tape and mixing on an old API desk with my Chinese LDC, Fireport, and Cubase"--the answer is no, you can't. But, then again...big flaw, IMO, in using the White Stripes as a benchmark of modern recording. So, I don't think that's really the question being asked.
Old 13th November 2009
  #197
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All of this stuff is minutia compared to the differences in touch between different musicians.
Old 13th November 2009
  #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
All of this stuff is minutia compared to the differences in touch between different musicians.
Yes, there is that.
Old 13th November 2009
  #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
All of this stuff is minutia compared to the differences in touch between different musicians.
Right on point as usual.

thumbsupthumbsup
Old 13th November 2009
  #200
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narcoman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
All of this stuff is minutia compared to the differences in touch between different musicians.
yup
Old 13th November 2009
  #201
Besides the dirth of talent these days, there is no reason why that 70's sound cannot be done here today.

The key is to just avoid a computer. Digital storage is fine, we used the 3m 32 track digital to record Wonder's "Hotter Than July" in 1980 and it sounds similar to previous albums. It does not sound like a modern Pro Tools production.

This is a driving force in the return of the analog console and production techniques. People are getting tired of insect sounds.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 13th November 2009
  #202
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there's just well recorded music and badly recorded music
Old 13th November 2009
  #203
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
People are getting tired of insect sounds.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
I love insect sounds, as long as they're not squashed too death>

He he, I made a funny.

Alot of that european electronic music from the 70's sounds amazing, all those stangely wired instruments that looked like telephone company dispatcher
booths and all the crazy sounds they created that actually did sound like a world of insect life. The gear used to capture/channel those sounds to tape cannot be duplicated with digital gear. It just can't. I've listened to soo much of that stuff, and can honestly admit that I'll listen to birds chirping with some subtle oscillation from one note on a keyboard to add some muscial content for 2 hours because of the fidelity of the sound, not even about the music, it's the sound of the recording that turns me on.
Old 13th November 2009
  #204
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
I love insect sounds, as long as they're not squashed too death>

He he, I made a funny.

Alot of that european electronic music from the 70's sounds amazing, all those stangely wired instruments that looked like telephone company dispatcher
booths and all the crazy sounds they created that actually did sound like a world of insect life. The gear used to capture/channel those sounds to tape cannot be duplicated with digital gear. It just can't. I've listened to soo much of that stuff, and can honestly admit that I'll listen to birds chirping with some subtle oscillation from one note on a keyboard to add some muscial content for 2 hours because of the fidelity of the sound, not even about the music, it's the sound of the recording that turns me on.
This is where it gets interesting......with electronic music I'd say a large part of the 'performance' or the expression otherwise more in the performance is in the sound itself. The tone of it. That bit of lfo that keeps moving. Tiny things. That IS the music. Or at least large part of it.

Now.....how large is this part in 'non electronic', less abstract music?? I'd venture to say that it is larger than many give it credit for. The tone of something is a not inconsiderable part of its message. Not just the notes. Or how they're strung together. Played. The sound itself. This is where 70's gear with its undeniable signature on the tone of stuff has something to do with it. That **** has connotation value at the very least! Something Lenny Kravitz understood early. And unfortunatley forgot again....lol.....rant over......
Old 13th November 2009
  #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loaf View Post
there's just well recorded music and badly recorded music
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.
Old 13th November 2009
  #206
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelyfan View Post
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.
Same reason I get a bit pissed of when hearing the polaroid snare samples on Amy Winehouse.........fools! Wish they'd had the guts to keep the whole thing smokey and more rootsy and uncorrected. If not with her, than with who at all???
Old 13th November 2009
  #207
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
This is where it gets interesting......with electronic music I'd say a large part of the 'performance' or the expression otherwise more in the performance is in the sound itself. The tone of it. That bit of lfo that keeps moving. Tiny things. That IS the music. Or at least large part of it.

Now.....how large is this part in 'non electronic', less abstract music?? I'd venture to say that it is larger than many give it credit for. The tone of something is a not inconsiderable part of its message. Not just the notes. Or how they're strung together. Played. The sound itself. This is where 70's gear with its undeniable signature on the tone of stuff has something to do with it. That **** has connotation value at the very least! Something Lenny Kravitz understood early. And unfortunatley forgot again....lol.....rant over......

Bingo. thumbsup

As if the tone of one's voice isn't the real meaning of a message.

DRINKS ABOUND!
Old 13th November 2009
  #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Same reason I get a bit pissed of when hearing the polaroid snare samples on Amy Winehouse.........fools! Wish they'd had the guts to keep the whole thing smokey and more rootsy and uncorrected. If not with her, than with who at all???
Word.
Somebody's gotta call bull****. thumbsup

If the boats sittin still in stagnant water , it's gettin' ROCKED.heh
Old 13th November 2009
  #209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karloff70 View Post
Same reason I get a bit pissed of when hearing the polaroid snare samples on Amy Winehouse.........fools! Wish they'd had the guts to keep the whole thing smokey and more rootsy and uncorrected. If not with her, than with who at all???
Same with Alicia Keys. They did go the extra mile with some stuff, like old Hammond B-3's, old and new Rhodes pianos, Yammaha Grands, old Fender amps, etc. That's what they did on the No One sessions.

Then they skipped the 2" and ran it all into PT HD-3 boxes and then it sounds like it was fed through a soda straw.

All for nothing in the end. She could have used a Kurzweil and "No One" would have noticed.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 13th November 2009
  #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Same with Alicia Keys. They did go the extra mile with some stuff, like old Hammond B-3's, old and new Rhodes pianos, Yammaha Grands, old Fender amps, etc. That's what they did on the No One sessions.

Then they skipped the 2" and ran it all into PT HD-3 boxes and then it sounds like it was fed through a soda straw.

All for nothing in the end. She could have used a Kurzweil and "No One" would have noticed.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
lol....soda straw heh

Hmmm, strange **** that "extra mile first and then throw it all straight in the bin" stuff.....smells of a nice table full of 'decision makers' all trying not to be the 'wrongun'......just the one doing the right thing instead....oh, one can dream.....
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