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Audio Refugees • View topic - 60s Recordings

60s Recordings

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60s Recordings

Postby Steve Ison » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:24 pm

I spoke to a friend today and he was saying how they never used to put compression on anything individually when recording then but used to just put compression on in the final mix...
Anyone know if thats true or not..
Either way i'd love to know how to get closer to those kinda warm ultra-atmospheric sounds they got then
Was listening to Strawberry Fields and A Day In The life...
I mean apart from the obvious that the songs are astonishing,the whole sound is soooooo beautiful n atmospheric too
Infact almost anything from the 60s i love the sound of..
I really think thats part of the appeal for me
Any tips on how to get closer to that'd be appreciated :)
Keepin' it unreal
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby Steve Ison » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:28 pm

Was just thinking from listening to loads of 60s stuff why the vocals 'sit' so beautifully and sound so organic in the mix was 'cos they used the same reverb for everything-feeding in small amounts for some instruments/vox etc-more for others and only maybe eqd things differently-So the vocal sounds really part of an organic whole
Thats just my thought-Dunno if thats true or not
Maybe someone here knows?
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby cjdenecia » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:06 pm

I don't really have any knowledgeable answers to your questions steve. in fact, I have not studied a lot of the older rock recordings in a long time but I do think you've hit on some of the reasons we find some of those old records so sweet in sound.

the first being compression and how it was used and there was after all, a sort of compression used far more back then than today - the faders. mixing engineers didn't use automation - or at least not for mixing like they can/do today. a lot of mixing was doen by quick thinking well studied fast fingered folks. mixing across a huge console was like playing an instrument in and of itself. getting levels right by ear with your 10 fingers and toes doing the compression and expansion work.

tape headroom was imperative. you oversaturate one of those old 2" tapes to much and you had a mix you couldn't use. but yeah, because of that and the engineers work, you had far more dynamically wild songs. end compression? yeah but I think in those days it was accomplished more by warmer yet noisier hardware. and even more eq work and a very keen ear for it.

and verbs? the hardware available didn't have 300 presets with a thousand variables. it was a lot more restricted in choices and much of it was actually accomplished with the rooms used. and mic placements. loads of bleed over from mic to mic, room to room even. the hardware itself was just gaining some acceptance engineers were only just learning by common sense and out of the box thinking and experimentation ... some stuff really worked. a lot didn't.

but yeah, you're right - and it carried well into the 70's with the idea of keeping the verb settings and sounds very much the same but maybe using varying amounts. in the 70's, I look to mutt lange with def lepard as a mixing whiz. yeah, he did still over do much of the berb he used - and the slapbacks, echos and chorus sounds. but he was also a master of multiple part tracking (layering - a natural chorus). quite honestly, between his DL work and his shania twain (wife) work, he's a brillient SOB. if there's a single producer I know of that I'd like to try to emulate in result, it'd be him. minus 90% of the large room verb.

but you're getting in - study the classics, the ones you look to for providing the best possible sound. and george martin? a complete genius. he had that ability I strive to attain - the ability to hear it all like we, as listeners -hear. it's a gift. we all hear so many things individually, the drums - even the kit stereo placement, the bass with it's low tone and thump, the guitars and keys and the single vocal parts - but the listener generally hears them as a cohesive set of sounds they can't completely identify. they just know if they like it or not - and most often don't care that it's the snare they hear so well or that it's the bass keeping them grounded and grooving. sometimes, they don't even know there's an acoustic guitar in the mix but they'd miss it if it were gone. and they wouldn't know how to grab onto a harmony any more than a woman wants a man to know they're feeling but can't or won't put it into a tutorial.

it's all a big question mark.

btw - great thread idea, I hope many take part cus there's a lot we can all learn form studying and adding to this ...
you can't handle the truth.

nor do you want to ...
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby HUD » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:21 pm

very interesting topic...
I hope to return, but in the meantime....
As I returned across the lands I'd known
I recognized the fields where I'd once played
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby Chris K. » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:50 pm

could be because they were using gear like the Neve 8016
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby Jay » Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:48 am

Prunes!
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Re: 60s Recordings

Postby KODAJYNX » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:07 pm

I saw this the other day, love the subject, just didn't have the time to post anything that day.

Just to add my two cents to why those recordings sound so good[mostly] is concistency [hope that's spelled right]. there are some instances where things got outta hand, like on the NUGGETS box set, alot of that stuff was recorded in someone's garage on that day's equivelant of the boom box. just set up and play, get a take that sounds good, run it down to the pressing plant.
But as far as the stuff that just sounds so good you can't not like it, from my research, and yes, I do read about this stuff. Is most of your larger name bands had one studio they worked out of, such as the Beatles, you mentioned George Martin, cj. He used the Abbey Road Studio itself as an instrument. He knew how everything, in every place in that room was going to sound. The few times the Beatles recorded elswhere, like Olympia for "baby, you're a Rich Man" or the 'Let it be" Album, mostly recorded live in a basement and on a roof top, these recordings just sonically did not live up to the standards set up at Abbey Road. Martin, didn't know the room well enough at Olympia, and Phil [the gun just went off] Spector mixed and according to Paul, totally screwed up the" Let it Be" fiasco. The point being, that if there truly was a Fifth Beatle, it wasn't Martin, or Brian, or Yoko, or any one else, it WAS the Abbey Road studio itself.

Motown had it's own studio. Every mic, Every amp, every drum was in the exact same place every time an act went in there to record, no matter who it was. And to the person that said Tape compression wasn't the answer, those engineers pushed every track as far into the red as they would go. That's why those Motown/Atlantic 45's sound so frigging loud and good.

Booker T. and the MG's were the "band" at the studio they worked [can't remember the name] they are the band on every record outta that joint, only reason we know who they were, is because somebody was smart enough to hit record one day while the band was jamming waiting for the next "big name", and the world got "Green Onions" which they tried and tried to re-record properly, but never could get it right. So a demo of a jam becomes a #1 hit.

Muscle Shoals, of course had the Swampers,which we all know thanks to Ronnie Van Zandt, of course Skynyrd played well enough, they didn't need the House band, but Al Kooper, the producer, Like Martin, knew that room inside and out.

The third Paul Revere and the raiders Album, starts a sound that stayed with them till the early 70's. Again, Mark lindsay knew that room like his own house [and anyone that laughs at me, because I love the guys, screw ya. They were America's answer to the Beatles, and were on TV almost everyday for 3 solid years, they just didn't have a George Martin to push them] If you think Reservation is the only song they had, look again.

There is so much more , but that's my opinion. as far a Mutt Lange, another genious. you mentioned DL and Shania, cj, but you left out AC-DC, until he took over the reigns starting with Highway to Hell, you have to admit, while the songs were cool on those earlier albums, the production left much to be desired

we won't even get into how Elvis, Perkins, Lewis, Cash...etc recorded those early songs with nothing but their balls and sweat and talent to back them up. If you woulda asked Sam Phillips about compression, he'd a thought you were an alien.

And as always, a good song is a good song is a good song is a good song, no matter what the production.
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