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Four track tape demo, critique welcome
Old 24th September 2019
  #1
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Four track tape demo, critique welcome

I recorded this in my studio a few days ago. I started by recording the bass guitar first, then overdubbed the drums, piano and guitar/synth in that order. I was able to fit guitar/synth on the same track by just combining the take; when the keyboard solo came up I put the guitar pick down, played the keyboard, then picked the pick back up and resumed the guitar. I thought this was important because all reverbs (and their easily detectable tails) were actually printed to the tape upon recording, and punch ins on the 3340 sound horrible anyway. The synthesizer in question is a Yamaha SY-1, this particular model purchased new in 1975.

I suppose the reason for the post is to get feedback about the audio. I don't have anyone or anything to bounce any ideas off of. I have no one to tell me if I'm veering out of control with a recording technique or not. After a while I can't tell if what I'm listening back to sounds wonderful, or like poop. I synced this video and audio in OpenShot, in Linux. The bass was purchased by the original owner in 1976, but probably made earlier. It's a jazz bass copy with both pickups wide open, by Penco. The piano is a studio upright, Kohler and Campbell 75th anniversary model from 1971. Mic'ed at the lid with it lifted up, with an EV 1777 mic.

Old 24th September 2019
  #2
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How fun. I enjoyed listening. My only critique is... something is out of tune. I can't tell if it's the synth or guitar, but the bass and piano sound ok. But, ya know what? It adds to the whole feel of the recording. I started on 3 track and then 4 track. I know how fun it can be. It makes you a better musician and engineer.
Old 24th September 2019
  #3
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@ SongJohn

Every time i click into one of your tunes I'm guaranteed a smile. I love how you approach your recordings and the tunes are always great.

I would imagine we have extremely similar taste in how we like a record to sound and the fun involved in getting there.

Old 25th September 2019
  #4
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rhythmtech - you sure look like a spitting image of my friend Tom! I feel honored that you remember me, and thanks for the great words. Sadly the sound in my head, I haven't gotten yet...I'm mostly talking about the bass guitar. Some of those old Muscle Shoals bass tones are so deep it's unbelievable. If anyone has tips on how they got their bass tones circa 1971, please let me know!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by GYMusic View Post
How fun. I enjoyed listening. My only critique is... something is out of tune. I can't tell if it's the synth or guitar, but the bass and piano sound ok. But, ya know what? It adds to the whole feel of the recording. I started on 3 track and then 4 track. I know how fun it can be. It makes you a better musician and engineer.
GY thank you. Your avatar is frigging killer. As for the tuning, good ears on your part. The piano is really out of tune. It actually sounds pretty ugly in the room and the hammers need re-shaping. I guess there's no point in even recording unless the piano actually sounds good, but just the task of tuning is daunting for me. Also, the guitar cannot be intonated, so it's out of tune in certain spots. The synth and bass, pretty sure were decently in tune. Sorry for the wordy response tho, just wished to confirm your suspicions about the disharmony
Old 25th September 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongJohn View Post
rhythmtech - you sure look like a spitting image of my friend Tom! I feel honored that you remember me, and thanks for the great words. Sadly the sound in my head, I haven't gotten yet...I'm mostly talking about the bass guitar. Some of those old Muscle Shoals bass tones are so deep it's unbelievable. If anyone has tips on how they got their bass tones circa 1971, please let me know!!
I spent a long time looking for the earlier muscle shoals bass sound for this artist. The production was to be overall modern/vintage but the rhythm section being the mostly vintage area, as I feel that this is where people hear and feel vintage tones the most in modern music ie Adele, Amy Winehouse etc.



I studied the documentary inside out, studied as much output from the Etta James era as I could,I found a specific player, got the right instrument, flat wound strings etc...

In the end I got nowhere near it... but using the techniques, i got it where I wanted. Turns out it wasn't really that sound that I needed, just one along similar lines that suited the song.

So after all the research, it ended up going striaght into a 610A preamp (with a touch off the high end) and then into 1176LN clone, cranked 300 on an MEQ-5 and that was it.
Old 25th September 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongJohn View Post

GY thank you Sorry for the wordy response tho, just wished to confirm your suspicions about the disharmony
Is it weird that it kinda makes the tune even better me?

Listen to the organ on this Lee Scratch tune, it's really shocking... but it wouldnt be what it is without it.

Old 29th September 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmtech View Post
Is it weird that it kinda makes the tune even better me?

Listen to the organ on this Lee Scratch tune, it's really shocking... but it wouldnt be what it is without it.

Damn Rhythmtech your drum sound is really reminiscent of Motown, bass guitar as well. Nice work. What kind of mics did you use? Overall a pretty good production. Do you work on music for a living? Merely a devoted hobby for me :-)

And yeah, that organ sounds ridiculously out of tune. Love it. A lot of low McCartney bass notes sounded out of tune back then too. This organ reminds me of the story where Pink Floyd has to use some generator in 1975 during the WYWH tour, where the B3 was so out of tune Wright had to just use the old Farfisa! Wonder what's going on to make Lee's organ so out of tune.

Also, he's using a 3340 machine, as opposed to a A-3340S. I believe the original 3340 have a much more vintage sound because of the frequency limitation in the heads. In 1976 the heads were changed over to a harder alloy.
Old 29th September 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SongJohn View Post
Damn Rhythmtech your drum sound is really reminiscent of Motown, bass guitar as well. Nice work. What kind of mics did you use? Overall a pretty good production.
I only just compiled the full set-up for a someone recently. The session was 4 years ago so this is to the best of my recollection.

Drums - 64 Gretsch, heavily dampened.
Nady Ribbon mono OH.
Peluso U47 between kick & snare (ala Gabriel Roth)
AKG D12 E on the kick (about 2 feet out from the shell)
(+ a 57 on kick beater and snare to use as trigger tracks incase samples were needed, which were in the end).
I recorded a mono room but cant remember what it was, either way it was nothing too fancy and I think i binned it for the mix.


Bass - Fender Precision with flat wound strings.
DI & Ampeg BN15. (Only the DI was used in the mix)

Guitars - Fender Tele for the rhythm parts and some old gibson hollow body for the solo, possibly an L-4.
The Tele went through a vintage Ampeg guitar amp (straight rhythm parts) and an Epiphone Galaxie amp (tremelo parts). I probably used an MD409 on both.

The big old Gibson was a DI.


Brass - Bari, bone & trumpet.
I think i put an RE20 on the bone and a pair of Nady for the trumpet & bari.


Vocals
A mix between the U47 and the Nady ribbon for the lead parts.
And i think i had a Gefell 563 on the BV.


Hammond
I think we just had a couple of 57s on the Leslie.


As far as the mix goes, it was all done ITB. I tried to keep it to analog modeled pieces of the era (or close) as much as possible.
UAD Oceanway & 140 were used for verbs along with various springs (Great British on the LV Afaik).
Soundtoys Decapitator got a work out on most parts, especially the Ampex 350 model.
Waves J37 also came in very useful, especially to crunch up the kick a little.


Quote:
Do you work on music for a living? Merely a devoted hobby for me
I'm trying to but our industry is very small with few studios. I also get a bit of work online, generally mixing... and I hope to have a proper website up soon, to try and expand that area as there is money to be made if the work is good.

In general audio probably makes up half my income and takes up far too much of my time.
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