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Author Topic: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?  (Read 19532 times)

Lee Flier

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2005, 12:45:53 pm »

Thanks for the reminders, Bill.  And in case anybody misses this point, the huge sonic differences between those recordings and the ones we hear today are still glaringly apparent even on MP3.

JGreenslade

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2005, 12:48:46 pm »

JJ's point about monitoring concurs with my thoughts – I suspect that the sheer bandwidth and power of modern monitoring has probably influenced "sonic evolution" more than anything (apart from maybe digital).

A few weeks back I was listening to a "live" Stax recording of Carla Thomas (don't ask me the name, it was brought round by a record dealer I know who puts temptation in my path). I still can't get over the sheer clarity of her voice - the detail and coherence was incredible by today's studio standards, let alone live 30+ yrs ago. You'll have to excuse my ignorance on Stax, but I even wondered if they had overdubbed crowd noise onto a studio recording because it was that clear and clean. If it was genuinely live the engineers must've been serious people...

Just to reiterate a point – Not only would a book from Bob O. sell quite nicely (rightly too), but I believe it could have a tangible positive influence on modern engineers. There have been times when I relayed techniques documented by Bob on the Internet to counterparts and their jaws hit the floor! One instance was the time I mentioned the 3 guitarists DI-ed through one monitor – "that’s so simple, why couldn't I have thought of that?". I guess the same old adage relating to composition / arrangement goes for recording techniques as well - the best ideas are "complex simple".

Justin
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J.J. Blair

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2005, 12:57:21 pm »

Bill, I always point to "KOB" and any of the Rudy Van Gelder recordings of that same era as being as good, if not superior to todays recordings.  Very simple ingredients: great players, great sounding instruments, great mics, great mic pre, a great sounding reverb and analogue tape.
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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

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magicchord

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2005, 01:01:21 pm »

Level wrote on Fri, 04 March 2005 03:01

Here is 1968. Still sounding good!!

Snip for educational purposes:

Blood Sweat and Tears 2nd Album...



I've always loved that song.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2005, 01:12:14 pm »

BTW, speaking of amazing sounding albums, who did all the 10CC records?  Terry, don't  tell me you had a hand in those, too.
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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

compasspnt

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2005, 01:29:08 pm »

J.J. wrote on Fri, 04 March 2005 13:12

BTW, speaking of amazing sounding albums, who did all the 10CC records?  Terry, don't  tell me you had a hand in those, too.


I think I worked on EVERY good record....oh wait, that's Bernard P.  Sorry.

No, I LOVE the 10CC, but wasn't involved.  Always wanted to do that huge overlayed backing vocal thing!
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vernier

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2005, 02:47:39 am »

quote "For the younger guys like me examples would be great as well..."

All the 8-track recordings of the 60's ..Creedence Clearwater, Steppinwolf, Buffalo Springfield, Doors, Crosby Stills & Nash, Simon & Garfunkle, Byrds, ..and all the rest. Then, starting in the 70's, transisters took over. The sixties (and earlier) mixes jell in a much different way.
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2005, 02:08:31 pm »

Sorry, none of those were done with tubes!

Ampex only made a handful of tube 8-tracks and another four or five of us made our own out of Ampex parts. The tube era was over by 1964 although some of us who already owned tube gear kept on using it until '67 or '68.

vernier

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2005, 02:56:36 pm »

Right ..recorders weren't tube, nor the consoles, sept for maybe Columbia and a couple others? ..I don't know, when did they switch over?
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David Kulka

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2005, 03:51:31 pm »

Bob, thanks for chiming in on the tubes vs. transistors point.

While the last round of tube gear represented a mature technology and the first waves of transistor stuff were a little primitive by comparison, I don't think this really accounts for the lesser quality recordings that I was referring to.  For sure, there were lots of bad sounding 60's and 70's records made on tube gear, and lots of great ones recorded with solid state.

I strongly suspect that the lesser quality recordings had much more to do with gear that needed repair or was being used incorrectly, gear patched in ways that it wasn't really meant to be patched, ground noise, mods and homebrew gear that didn't quite cut it, record levels set way too high or low, machines with their bias set for the wrong kind of tape or not set at all, wacky EQ settings, sloppy mic technique, etc. etc. etc.  In other words, human error.

As stated before, I think the industry grew up a whole lot during the 60's and 70's -- guesswork was replaced with more educated engineering, and better monitoring revealed problems that may not have otherwise been apparent.  Also, maybe better mastering systems and the advent of "hi-fi" forced engineers and studios to deliver better sounding product.

Of course, the above includes a lot of sweeping generalizations, and plenty of exceptions could be cited.  (To me, one glaring exception is Stevie Wonder's 70's albums -- Innervisions sounded fabulous; the next few didn't even come close.  Come to think of it, "Contract On Love" sounded pretty good too. Smile Who knows...)
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vernier

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2005, 02:11:18 am »

This must be David Kulka of "David Kulka's Studio Electronics" ..those UA Newsletters are awesome ..I can't stop looking at them!
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Bob Olhsson

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2005, 11:21:04 am »

David Kulka wrote on Sun, 06 March 2005 14:51

While the last round of tube gear represented a mature technology and the first waves of transistor stuff were a little primitive by comparison, I don't think this really accounts for the lesser quality recordings that I was referring to...
That generation of tube gear was mature but far more important, it was the last generation of professional audio technology that was designed on practically a cost no object basis for reliability. This was because there was still plenty of RCA and Western Electric gear around that had been intended to be leased to their customers rather than sold.

Maintenance of that gear had been at the manufacturers' expense and not the customer's, a BIG difference!

Level

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2005, 12:00:24 pm »

My huge studio in 95, everything (Console/multitrack/outboards) were leased but we still had a labor clause. This is when I got damned keen on slinging solder to the next level.

Sony under lease:

2000/day labor + expenses. Those guys would spend 4 days to figure out what was wrong and you told them exactly what parts needed to be replaced the first 10 mins.

632.00 for a "send module". Costed 12K labor. Fuck that.

You use it, you learn to repair it...no matter what. True engineering at its best.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2005, 01:49:25 pm »

Bill, I feel like such a hack compared to older generation guys.  Not only did they have to learn how to fix, they probably built it themselves in the first place!  "Let's see, I need to make something to limit the transients.  What if I use a variable MU device?"

Yeah, I can swap out caps, potentiometers and op amps, and even change a fuse!   I'm practically functionally retarded compared to Bill Putnam, Malcolm Toft and Tom Dowd.
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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

vernier

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Re: 60's and 70's records whose sonics weren't as good...what happened?
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2005, 09:41:26 am »

And custom consoles!  (pre-70's) CBS, Capitol-Melrose, Sunset-Sound, Heider, etc ..I'd like to know more about them.
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