The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
American Recording Company question Condenser Microphones
Old 24th May 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
American Recording Company question

Hi all,

I was wondering... what board would they have been using in 1970 in the American Recording Company studio in Studio City, California? I can't get over the sound of an obscure album that was recorded there at the time.

Thanks.

Andrew
Old 25th May 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
Anyone?
Old 25th May 2012
  #3
Isn't it more likely to be the sound of the players/instruments/rooms/mic positioning than the board?
Old 25th May 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Crash's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew montreal View Post
Hi all,

I was wondering... what board would they have been using in 1970 in the American Recording Company studio in Studio City, California? I can't get over the sound of an obscure album that was recorded there at the time.

Thanks.

Andrew
What is the "obscure" album that you mention?
Old 25th May 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Isn't it more likely to be the sound of the players/instruments/rooms/mic positioning than the board?
Without a doubt. The room and mics also... as for instruments and performance, I'm talking about a tone that's on everything on the album. There is something in it's clarity and hmmm.... how to say... strength that I love. I'm also curious about their reverb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash View Post
What is the "obscure" album that you mention?
The album is Metamorphosis from Iron Butterfly. Especially the track "Soldier In Our Town". The arrangements are maturely sparse and held back.
Old 25th May 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 
mikeyman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Isn't it more likely to be the sound of the players/instruments/rooms/mic positioning than the board?
NOT REALLY THE PRODUcTION WILL SOUND LIKE THE CONSOLE...
Old 25th May 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
jmikeperkins's Avatar
American Recording Company (also known as American Recorders and American Recording) was a popular studio for hard rock in the late 60's. Steppenwolf recorded "Born to Be Wild" and the rest of their first album there. The studio was owned by Richard Podolor who was also an engineer along with engineer Bill Cooper. According to Mix Magazine's Classic Tracks Podolor and his father built the console themselves and it was solid state. I found another reference to the studio which said the console had large rotary faders. It is possible the console contained some UREI components because Polodor mentions buying LA-2A's and some other gear directly from Bill Putnam (Langevin pres were also popular then). One strange thing about American Recording in the late 60's was that they used Syncron mics (along with Sony C37's and Shure 556 mics). In the 60's it was not uncommon for studios to build their own consoles so each of those is unique. So are the Syncron mics. Because of that, it would be hard to exactly duplicate the sound they got. That studio made some GREAT sounding hard rock records in the late 60's - early 70's, so they knew what they were doing.
Old 26th May 2012
  #8
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
Thanks for the response.

Syncron mics? Just read up on them... first single FET mic ever manufactured. Syncron was an original equipment manufacturer for Fairchild. Very interesting history. Supposedly there's still a studio where the original manufacturing facility.
Old 26th May 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Analok's Avatar
This is an intriguing thread, Andrew - Thanks!! Now I need to locate a copy of Metamorphosis
Old 26th May 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
Yeah... it's one of the forgotten gems. There are some pretty sound-out tracks... for me it's easily the best stuff they ever did. "Stone Believer" is another outstanding track.

Interestingly, there are alot of late sixties bands that made more straight forward rocking albums up till around 1969/1970 and then decided to try and expand... sometimes with great success, sometimes not. The Amboy Dukes' Marriage On The Rocks: Rock Bottom for example... produced by Eddie Kramer. There are so many insane ideas on that album, it still blows me away. Totally ignored.

All that being said, these days I can't stop listening to Grizzly Bear. How did I miss them?
Old 27th May 2012
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyman View Post
NOT REALLY THE PRODUcTION WILL SOUND LIKE THE CONSOLE...
Erm...judging by your posts, I think I've got a bit more experience than you in this! Of course the board will contribute, but don't you think the individuals involved would have more input?

Otherwise every ssl-recorded album would sound the same, surely....?

I'm afraid you're rapidly entering my "bigger mouth than experience" list!
Old 27th May 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
I think we was joking, no?
Old 20th October 2012
  #13
Gear interested
 

from Bill Cooper

You can see a picture of American Recording's board in the 70's at the website americanrecording.com. The picture was taken in 1975 when they were recording two albums for Black Oak Arkansas. It was electronics designed by Bill Parr and Richie's dad Mike Podolor. It started with 8 channels with large rotary knobs and was added to every 6 months until it finally ended up as shown in the picture. It was very unique. Our next studio in Calabasas had a Trident A Range 40 channel - in our opinion the best sounding production console ever made. And yet the old board had certain features and sounds that were even better. It was a three channel board with separate on/off switch, gain control, and panning for each bus. There were 10 Langevin passive EQs with and in/out switch and a gain control for the "in" position. Nowdays every console has EQ in/out switch but when you EQ something and then toggle the switch back and forth you will probably like the "in" position because it sounds louder. We used to match the loudness with the gain control and then switch back and forth and see what the Eq was really doing. I have not seen that feature on any other console. As to "Metamorphosis", we were trying to do something different with Iron Butterfly. Doug Ingle, the singer and main songwriter, was much more talented than "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" suggests. Our two favorite songs on the album were "Soldier In Our Town" and "Slower Than Guns". Those songs were mainly Ron Bushey on drums and Doug, me and Richie Podolor doing every thing else. A prior post was correct... it's not the equipment that makes the record sound good (it helps) but it is the song, arrangement, production, engineering... what everyone brings to the table. That can't be taught and is magic when it happens right. A really good musician, producer, or engineer can make anything sound good... just like a good photographer can take a picture of a rock and make it interesting - the way the light hits it, an ant crawling up the side, a raindrop splattering as it hits... Gear is wonderful - but it is only one part of the puzzle. Why is one record compelling to hear and the next one isn't. Thanks to this forum for showing interest in something we did.
Old 27th March 2016
  #14
Lives for gear
 
andrew montreal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Cooper View Post
You can see a picture of American Recording's board in the 70's at the website americanrecording.com. The picture was taken in 1975 when they were recording two albums for Black Oak Arkansas. It was electronics designed by Bill Parr and Richie's dad Mike Podolor. It started with 8 channels with large rotary knobs and was added to every 6 months until it finally ended up as shown in the picture. It was very unique. Our next studio in Calabasas had a Trident A Range 40 channel - in our opinion the best sounding production console ever made. And yet the old board had certain features and sounds that were even better. It was a three channel board with separate on/off switch, gain control, and panning for each bus. There were 10 Langevin passive EQs with and in/out switch and a gain control for the "in" position. Nowdays every console has EQ in/out switch but when you EQ something and then toggle the switch back and forth you will probably like the "in" position because it sounds louder. We used to match the loudness with the gain control and then switch back and forth and see what the Eq was really doing. I have not seen that feature on any other console. As to "Metamorphosis", we were trying to do something different with Iron Butterfly. Doug Ingle, the singer and main songwriter, was much more talented than "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" suggests. Our two favorite songs on the album were "Soldier In Our Town" and "Slower Than Guns". Those songs were mainly Ron Bushey on drums and Doug, me and Richie Podolor doing every thing else. A prior post was correct... it's not the equipment that makes the record sound good (it helps) but it is the song, arrangement, production, engineering... what everyone brings to the table. That can't be taught and is magic when it happens right. A really good musician, producer, or engineer can make anything sound good... just like a good photographer can take a picture of a rock and make it interesting - the way the light hits it, an ant crawling up the side, a raindrop splattering as it hits... Gear is wonderful - but it is only one part of the puzzle. Why is one record compelling to hear and the next one isn't. Thanks to this forum for showing interest in something we did.
My God, have I died and just gone to heaven. I am once again in an Iron Butterfly's Metamorphosis listening period and I decided to come out here and see if anyone had added to my post... And none other than Bill Cooper responds?!? I truly can't believe that.

Firstly, Mr. Cooper... Thanks for all the great work over the years.

Indeed, gear is a small piece in the creative process. I have learned that over the years. It can certainly inspire but it is not the source.

I have been listening to Metamorphosis on and off for the past week. I discovered some live footage of the band from that period... Danish television I believe it was. It's a tragedy that that album is not spoken of more. In many ways it still feels relevant. There is a purity, honesty, and tastefulness that, in my opinion unlike their other albums, has not dated it.

I am curious about your approach in two moments on the album... The tone and space of Soldier In Our Town and the quieter vocal duo with the piano/bass/drum groove in Stone Believer. Both are pure eat candy. Anything you can share would be great.
Old 27th March 2016
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Cooper View Post
You can see a picture of American Recording's board in the 70's at the website americanrecording.com. The picture [...]
Thanks to this forum for showing interest in something we did.
Thanks to you for taking the time to fill us in! I believe many years ago [probably the 80s] I read an historical profile or remembrance of the studio and was definitely intrigued by the custom board. Some fine records came out of the studio. Thanks for everything!
Old 28th March 2016
  #16
Gear Nut
 
tuvanh25's Avatar
 

FYI Mr Bill responded 3.5 years ago... Maybe he'll check this thread and answer any questions in couple of years...
Old 28th March 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuvanh25 View Post
FYI Mr Bill responded 3.5 years ago... Maybe he'll check this thread and answer any questions in couple of years...
That's OK... I live beyond time and space.
Old 5th April 2016
  #18
Here for the gear
 
overdub's Avatar
 

Bill Cooper! I see it's been quite a while since you posted on this thread but ... man, it's been a long time...more than 40 years since I recorded with you and Richie. If you're reading this please give me a holler, I'd love to catch up. Some of my fondest memories as a recording artist come from working with you guys. Cheers to all!

Dub Campbell

BTW, fellow posters, there were no sliding faders in that studio...just great big, huge even, knobs!!! I love that!
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
jamesosullivan1 / Drums
31
Cosmic Closet / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
8
leddy / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
7
hollywood_steve / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
2

Forum Jump
Forum Jump