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Author Topic: jimmy page's compressor  (Read 13500 times)

maxdimario

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jimmy page's compressor
« on: February 19, 2005, 06:08:22 am »

Jimmy Page is quoted as saying he used an altair limiter on his acoustics, some say it's the BA-6a.

I hear an altec limiter. Sounds like the acoustic on the first records.

Davy Graham who is a fenomenal acoustic folk guitarist/singer sounds like he used an altec as well with maybe a tube km neumann.
Since Davy was a huge influence on page's playing it may be that page was inspired etc. etc..

Page sometimes talks in a way that the final consonants dissapear...
was it indeed an Altec he used?
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compasspnt

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2005, 07:19:02 pm »

Hey Max,

I personally am not aware of this compressor.  But remember, I only did a part of LZ3...obviously there were a lot of other acoustics on other recordings...this could be...

Maybe someone else knows?

Terry
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electrical

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2005, 08:57:15 am »

I don't know when he acquired them, but when I recorded acoustic guitar overdubs for Jimmy Page, he brought in a couple of RCA BA6A limiters specifically to use on them. While not being a fan of compression on acoustic instruments in general, I had to admit that they had an identifiable sound on his playing that was really nice, and I'm glad he did it.

He told a story about how he had mentioned these limiters to a wealthy Scandinavian studio owner, who promptly went on a buying frenzy for them, driving the prices up by double. I have heard this story repeated (and even mis-quoted in an article about him) as Jimmy being responsible for driving prices up. Just goes to show how little of the grapevine can be trusted.
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wwittman

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2005, 06:34:37 pm »

I know he's also said to Perry Margouleff that "all" his acoustic guitars were recorded with the Ba6a.

great compressor for acoustic guitars and kind of the 'poor man's' Fairchild 660/670 on vocals.
but I don't use it on much else, ever.
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William Wittman
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maxdimario

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2005, 04:25:35 am »

wwittman wrote on Tue, 22 February 2005 00:34

I know he's also said to Perry Margouleff that "all" his acoustic guitars were recorded with the Ba6a.

great compressor for acoustic guitars and kind of the 'poor man's' Fairchild 660/670 on vocals.
but I don't use it on much else, ever.



probably true for led zeppelin 4 period guitars, but on babe I,m gonna leave you it sounds like an altec.
could be something else, but not a ba6a I believe.
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zmix

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2005, 09:18:37 am »

Quote:

...babe I,m gonna leave you it sounds like an altec.
could be something else, but not a ba6a I believe.



it may be hard to tell on a mixed and mastered recording, the time constants of the BA-6a are not that different from the Altec. The texture of that RCA is pretty unmistakable, however..

wwittman

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2005, 11:32:58 am »

Well, was That track recorded at Olympic?
Really it should be the question, because odds are remote that they brought in anything the studio didn;t already have.
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William Wittman
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fishfry

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2005, 03:46:01 am »

Would somebody mind explaining to me in engineering-jibberish exactly what you're going for when you squash an acoustic gtr? While I love the sounds of the gtrs on the records everyone's referring to, I've never  really found myself wanting to compress an acou gtr, or been pleased with the results if experimenting.
The Ba6a is a somewhat slow, tubey,  vari mu. right?  What's the deal. Id use a limiter to catch peaks and bursts if I was tracking a lead-handed idiot, I guess. but most folks play one pretty darn evenly and it's not difficult to "warm up "an acoustic recording thru mic placement or pre amp choice.
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maxdimario

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2005, 05:40:37 am »

fishfry wrote on Wed, 23 February 2005 09:46

Would somebody mind explaining to me in engineering-jibberish exactly what you're going for when you squash an acoustic gtr? While I love the sounds of the gtrs on the records everyone's referring to, I've never  really found myself wanting to compress an acou gtr, or been pleased with the results if experimenting.
The Ba6a is a somewhat slow, tubey,  vari mu. right?  What's the deal. Id use a limiter to catch peaks and bursts if I was tracking a lead-handed idiot, I guess. but most folks play one pretty darn evenly and it's not difficult to "warm up "an acoustic recording thru mic placement or pre amp choice.



depends what you are going for.
if you want the acoustics to compete with heavy drums and guitars, you'll want to 'electrify' them with a compressor like a vari-mu design or 1176 etc.


Ba-6a is made with big pentodes and sounds quite different on the low midrange than altec, 176 or fairchild which are miniature triode driven.
the 176 uses the same gain reduction tube as the altec, so they sound similar but 176 is more complex (and complete).

I wonder if Olympic had altecs like EMI or urei 176 compressors..
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wwittman

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2005, 06:39:15 pm »

A bit of compression brings up the note after the attack and the space between the notes, or strums, which gives the guitar some depth and resonance that may not be entirely natural, but is PLEASING.

That's of course if you like that sound.

Clearly, if you look at it as "squashing" you're probably not on the right track to enjoying the effect.
Just my guess.
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William Wittman
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compasspnt

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2005, 08:27:03 pm »

fishfry wrote on Wed, 23 February 2005 03:46

Would somebody mind explaining to me in engineering-jibberish exactly what you're going for when you squash an acoustic gtr? While I love the sounds of the gtrs on the records everyone's referring to, I've never  really found myself wanting to compress an acou gtr, or been pleased with the results if experimenting.
The Ba6a is a somewhat slow, tubey,  vari mu. right?  What's the deal. Id use a limiter to catch peaks and bursts if I was tracking a lead-handed idiot, I guess. but most folks play one pretty darn evenly and it's not difficult to "warm up "an acoustic recording thru mic placement or pre amp choice.


This won't be a technical answer, but I started compressing acoustics early on (circa Big Star and before) because we all thought that The Beatles must have compressed theirs...they didn't sound "normal" to us.  So we started using the UA 176 or the SpectraSonics on acoustics.  Later went to ADR (Audio Design Recording, maker of the famous Scamp Rack) ones, as we were doing R & D for them, testing new designs and reporting back suggestions.

I've almost never even thought about recording an acoustic guitar without a compressor since...

Terry
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Andy Simpson

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2005, 03:51:59 am »

I always thought the beatles had an 1176 on the '1 buss' anyway....hence all those intro's that are big and loud but go away when the singing comes in.....
Infact, I heard that it was permanently patched....even in tracking....maybe that's the way to get a good beatles mix, where every fader, EQ, and echo return is done as it suits the 1176.......

Wink

Andy
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maxdimario

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2005, 06:56:36 am »

andy_simpson wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 09:51

I always thought the beatles had an 1176 on the '1 buss' anyway....hence all those intro's that are big and loud but go away when the singing comes in.....
Infact, I heard that it was permanently patched....even in tracking....maybe that's the way to get a good beatles mix, where every fader, EQ, and echo return is done as it suits the 1176.......

Wink

Andy


An 1176?? what recording are you talking about??
strange application, they had better suited tube compressors around.

gotta get one of those beatle books.
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wwittman

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2005, 09:26:59 am »

(I hear Brian Kehew's footsteps sneaking up and about to say "I KNOW but I can't TELL you until my book comes out..." <g>)

but at the risk...

I doubt there's any 1176 in attendence at Abbey Road for the Beatles

If there was a go-to, use it for lots of things, or 'on a buss' type compressor it was likely the Fairchild
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William Wittman
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J.J. Blair

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2005, 10:01:53 am »

In almost every photo I have of the Beatles in the control room, you can see a Fairchild or two.  I can't see why the would want to use anything else.

BTW, which Altec limiter are we talking about?  The 436C?
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compasspnt

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2005, 10:51:34 am »

The 2 channels I have from the EMI Abbey Road Studio 2 console have compressors built in on each channel, and they sound GREAT.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2005, 03:41:21 pm »

I almost forgot!  Yes, I've seen the Abbey Road console and almost bought one of the stereo channels ten years ago, and they DO have built in compressors.  
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

thesoundguy

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2005, 01:33:38 pm »

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neve1073

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2005, 02:23:55 pm »

maxdimario wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 11:56

andy_simpson wrote on Thu, 24 February 2005 09:51

I always thought the beatles had an 1176 on the '1 buss' anyway....hence all those intro's that are big and loud but go away when the singing comes in.....
Infact, I heard that it was permanently patched....even in tracking....maybe that's the way to get a good beatles mix, where every fader, EQ, and echo return is done as it suits the 1176.......

Wink

Andy


An 1176?? what recording are you talking about??
strange application, they had better suited tube compressors around.

gotta get one of those beatle books.


I don't think 1176 existed when the beatles were recording. I'd guess it's fairchild.
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2005, 02:44:48 pm »

They existed but the EMI desks had an excellent compressor on every channel. Everybody had Fairchilds floating around outboard because they had been thrown out of the mastering rooms because they sounded so bad.

compasspnt

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2005, 03:58:38 pm »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Sun, 27 February 2005 14:44

They existed but the EMI desks had an excellent compressor on every channel. Everybody had Fairchilds floating around outboard because they had been thrown out of the mastering rooms because they sounded so bad.



Yup, exactly!
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Brian Kehew

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2005, 01:44:11 pm »

WWittman, as usual, was right!

The book is
http://www.recordingthebeatles.com
and it will have no information (directly) about Jimmy Page, but may answer your gear questions about The Beatles. 300 or so pages, many nice photos of studios and gear (even unseen Beatles pics), and a FULL chapter on just the outboard gear, most of which you have never seen in a photo.

There's a LOT of misinformation about EMI and the Beatles - a good example here is people talking about desks that were (by and large) a 1970's item. (FWIW - I have only seen TWO people in the world that actually have cassettes from the Beatle-used desk, although many claim to be. It's easy to spot, but I'm not allowed to say how...)

Please be careful about little tidbits of information you hear at this point... lots of mistakes there.
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wwittman

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2005, 04:23:55 pm »

Any of those lousy Fairchild 660s and 670s you guys want to give away, i am happy to take off your hands, so you can go back to your "superior" 1176s.


Really.
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William Wittman
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2005, 04:54:05 pm »

The "superior" mastering compressors I saw at EMI Studios in 1969 were custom EMIs I've never seen elsewhere. Here in the US, LA-2as and later LA-3as displaced a lot of Fairchilds. Everybody had bought them for the vertical/lateral setting but it turned out to be a sonic disappointment so they got moved into the control room. The 1176 was a popular track limiter. American desks rarely had built in dynamics modules unlike English. The only old tube limiter I ever got very excited about was the RCA BA-6a!

djui5

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Re: jimmy page's compressor
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2005, 04:59:39 pm »

wwittman wrote on Mon, 28 February 2005 14:23

Any of those lousy Fairchild 660s and 670s you guys want to give away, i am happy to take off your hands, so you can go back to your "superior" 1176s.




Yeah..if anyone's throwing out these "horrible sounding" compressors...please send a pair my way. I'll pay shipping Smile
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