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Where is that line?

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  • Where is that line?

    So I'm browsing the usual funk/soul type stuff and I tend to go by the year a lot. Like if you pull up a funk track from 1971, it sounds way different than one from 1977. Big difference in production.

    That got to me wondering. It was obvious when the shift to digital happened. But I think that the changes from say 1965 to 1975 were just as dramatic, but subtle in the context of that evolution.

    So when were the various shifts? Is it possible to say for example: In 19??, larger format tape came in, or better formulations; maybe mixers, mics, or other equipment made a major advance that year. ?

    When was that shift in the mid 70s? Is that as close as I can get? What is the big difference between recordings made in the early 70s vs the late 70s?

    [For "mic" spellcheck suggested Miss. For "70s", it suggested "**bleep**". Seriously.]

    <div class="signaturecontainer"><img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/snacks.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Snacks" class="inlineimg" /><br />
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  • #2

    Great question.  I got no answer but I can highlight the change - here's 1965 versus

    1973 versus 1980:



    nat whilk ii


    • bookumdano3
      bookumdano3 commented
      Editing a comment

      Opinions of shifts will vary. IMO from inside the studio, all sound from 1960-1969 was marginal at best.  Because of ANY of the accepted workflows.  Mind you, I'm not talking of the magic of great songs or whatever, but simply a look at the ability to tame (and not be a complete slave to) the technology if one wanted to.  From bouncing tracks to recording live with dozens of guys in the studio at once, to whatever tape configurations/custom consoles one had.


      For me and my own work.. listening to incoming work,  and my own yakking with others then, there was a quantum jump in overall sound "sonics" starting early in 1971.  Primarily due to a critical mass of guys getting multiple 16 track machines and reliable smpte sync... bouncing was no longer necessary to open tracks, so the quality of the captured acoustics was more of one-generation.


      At the same moment late in 71, I noticed lede rooms coming in and I for one, thought they were cool... as dry and totally void of ambience as the dead areas were... which in hindsight, a lot of us gravitated to.  So.. now you have less room in the mic and drier tracks which for SOME people (me included), meant a higher quality of mojo at the time.  In fact, the live side of an lede room imo was really not live sounding at all.  So, there wasn't really a lot of variance.

      I remember bazillions of R-E-P articles and discussions at that moment in time where the above topics were being jumped on by ... well.. everyone I would pick up on or know from R-E-P.


      1972-79 just moved forward with more extreme variants of the above sync/tape/room combination.  You also had reliable (for the time) console automation coming in during late 73  (which is when I got my hands on automation and thought I saw God).  That also, changed the mix approach away from eight have-drunk/stoned band guys having to work faders at mixes to remember where to move faders.


      Consoles moved from custom build to stock configurations between six or seven main companies around 72, and to me, ALL the stock consoles started sounding real good compared to a lot of what had been available earlier in custom-only builds  That helped change stuff


      So overall, I noticed a "smoothie" effect across everyone's output.  The above techniques made lots of stuff sound "alike" though... or "of its time in history". 


      The Philadelphia stuff of 72 or even something like McCartney's "Uncle Albert" in 71 were always examples to me of the effect of the new gear and the trading of engineer notes at R-E-P.  The music coming out of Philadelphia was WAY diff in sonics from the Philadelphia stuff of just 8 years earlier.  The sonics of "Uncle Albert" was WAY diff than the sonics of Beatles circa 64.  And on and on




      An interesting set of cool things happened in around August of 1979, that seemed to me, to completely shift what most were doing for the previous 8 or so years.  But that gets into another topic of "major shift".

      I personally enjoyed 71-79 a lot, having come from the frustrating studio limitations of 1958-1970.



  • #3

    When was that shift in the mid 70s? Is that as close as I can get? What is the big difference between recordings made in the early 70s vs the late 70s?


    I think the shift happened when they went from from 15 IPS to 30 IPS.

    Those early seventies records had a deep, rich, warm low end due to the natural low frequency bump of recording at 15 IPS. In the mid seventies a lot of records started to have a thinner more midrangy sound as they switched over to 30 IPS. 



    Attached Files


    • #4

      the stranger wrote:

       It was obvious when the shift to digital happened. But I think that the changes from say 1965 to 1975 were just as dramatic, but subtle in the context of that evolution.

      There seemed to be a large shift up in fuller frequency response and general higher sound quality between the late '60s and very early '70s, to my ear.  

      One thing to point out is that Led Zeppelin's first album, which was recorded in late 1968, is one of the fullest sounding, best recorded things around that time, and in some ways seemed to throw down the gauntlet for great sounding recordings that were really full and energetic and crackling with life.  

      This isn't to disparage the Beach Boys, Beatles, or Motown, who have outstanding and often ambitious recordings.  But the impact of the drums and depth that LZ's first album threw down is, especially in context, absolutely astounding. 

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      • the stranger
        the stranger commented
        Editing a comment

        Killer replies, guys. That was exactly what I had in miind. Any more responses from vets in that ear would be greatly appreciated.