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Asking opinions of the engineers here: why are older recordings so often so much better?


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I think its absolutely essential - vital, even - to practice with a click. So that you don't need one to record And in my experience, if you want to "learn time" its equally essential to keep th

My "music sensei" (guitar/theory teacher, mentor, close friend) insists that everything changed - and not for the better - with the introduction of the click track.  The musicians may still be human,

Modern recordings have been processed so they fill all the frequencies and compressed so they are at nearly maximum volume at all times.  Further, they have been quantized or played against a click so

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3 hours ago, Easy Listener said:

One artist I recently rediscovered is Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Sure, some of the recordings seem to be influenced by the Wall of Sound, but some are truly amazing, as are the arrangements and the musicianship. There is a reason there are a couple of copies of that stuff at every garage sale and Goodwill in the country. He sold a ton of it. People liked it.

I have not figured out how to post videos beyond just including the link, but this is relevant, I think. It's called "Recording, '50s style: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q-scxybnp0

Carol Kaye told me that most of the players for the TB in the studio  were studio folks. She told me the name of the guy who played Herb Alpert's part but I don't remember his name.

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6 minutes ago, Telecruiser said:

Carol Kaye told me that most of the players for the TB in the studio  were studio folks. She told me the name of the guy who played Herb Alpert's part but I don't remember his name.

That would honestly not surprise me that someone else played his part. Come to think of it, wasn't he the trumpet player for The Committments? :D

Edited by Easy Listener
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3 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:

 

Q. What did the Pro Tools engineer say to the band after they played the worst take he’d ever heard in his life?

A. That will do... come on in. ;)

The punchline as I have always heard it is, "that sucked, come on in." 

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34 minutes ago, Telecruiser said:

Carol Kaye told me that most of the players for the TB in the studio  were studio folks. She told me the name of the guy who played Herb Alpert's part but I don't remember his name.

Sal Marquez.

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I am down with the new VST's, strings and all.  While they are an engineers nightmare, or can be I suppose, they are a song writers delight.  MIDI/usb/AIO etc...bring it on. 

Yes the click can be a culprit but #methinks maximum volume has timbre, accent, emphasis, force, inflection, intonation, modulation, resonance and tone color all but gone, feather touch, nah! 

Too bad, but I think it will make a come back somehow, I just wish the engineers would have walked out when the first customer paid for over driven compression.  There may be studio's that have gone back I don't know, it would be nice though.

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2 hours ago, Easy Listener said:

That would honestly not surprise me that someone else played his part. Come to think of it, wasn't he the trumpet player for The Committments? :D

Pretty sure it's him playing on the first couple of albums.   As time went on he got busy with touring and producing other acts.   He was cranking out those TJB records with a pretty simple formula at that point.  Just get it done quick and easy was probably the attitude, I'm sure.

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3 hours ago, Donny G said:

I am down with the new VST's, strings and all.  While they are an engineers nightmare, or can be I suppose, they are a song writers delight. 

Why? I never blame the tools :D

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I would posit a number of reasons:

1) As noted, because of costs and scheduling, etc. musicians were expected to come in, record and leave. There was a lot of Adrenalin in the equation that gets lost with multiple takes over multiple days in multiple locations that added spark to the performance.

2) Engineers knew how to mic and record instruments. Again with a nod to #1, they knew how to get the sound the first time because they knew the mics, the room and what they needed to get on tape.

3) Analog signal path. While digital is arguably "better" it is the impurities in analog that adds to the flavor.

4) Engineers with "golden ears." I spent many many hours in an analog studio and saw numerous recordings go to pressing. Because of the limitations of vinyl playback devices (record players) engineers had to create a pre-master tape that, to the uninitiated, sounds awful but once pressed into a record plays back magic. Today's engineers can pretty much record and mix how the final is expected to sound, so by "improving" the recording chain, we've inadvertently ended up losing the key ingredient to making a great sounding recording - a great engineer who knows what they're doing.

Phil: you folks covering NAMM this year?

Edited by Verne Andru
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"It was recorded in a single take, vocals and all, to an MCI 24-track, on a Trident board. No overdubs at all, and mix down consisted of putting all track’s faders at their signal to noise point and then pulling the final fade. No EQ was added during tracking or mix down, microphones were selected to complement each recorded track, and the bass was taken direct."

AKA multitracks don't need to be overproduced :)

 

 

Edited by RoadRanger
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An acquaintance of mine recorded this on a Mackie 32R - more details in the comments :). Short version - 6 mics.

AKA even cheap digital gear can sound amazing if you know how.

 

Edited by RoadRanger
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