Golden era of hard rock recordings

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Occam, Mar 5, 2005.


  1. Occam

    Occam Member

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    There is something inherently magical about the hard rock albums of the 60's and 70's. A raw sort of purity. I've been thinking about it for awhile...with my own band's recordings and with my favorites Sabbath, Cream, Hendrix etc.... I think there are two things at play here.

    1) keep it simple stupid. I notice that they often don't have a ton of layers on the recordings...this more space to each instrument...toms especially sound better in this era

    2) the guitar and bass are often panned hard left and right and kept seperate from each other. I remember my first car...the speakers would sometimes cut out and I'd only hear the bass or the guitar.

    Gear of course plays a role but my band recorded on to 2" tape and used all high quality analog gear (much of it vintage)...but the big key is the spacing in the instruments. They're all clear and they all blend together perfectly. I think having too many layers and too much in both the left and right channels clouded things up a bit and I think this is very common in modern recordings. For some stuff this works great in others it doesn't. I ran guitars left and right but in the end instead of sounding more stereo it sounded more mono because I'm just everywhere in the mix. I think before we release our album I'm going to try to have it mixed with everything a bit more spread out and see how it sounds.
     
  2. TieDyedDevil

    TieDyedDevil Member

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    A few more things:

    1) A lot less distortion than is common in later years.

    2) Very few effects. Most effects were added during mixdown.

    3) Tons more dynamic range.
     
  3. saros141

    saros141 Guest

    Mixed by ear in realtime, not by eye and automated.
     
  4. riverastoasters

    riverastoasters Member

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    Me too. No, really. Also mastered by intelligent life forms.

    If you are recording a demo, some record companies want to hear performance and songwriting and don't need to hear quality recording. Other record companies really want to hear finished radio friendly product. If you only have one demo for both sorts of companies, it has to be good sounding. If you haven't mixed a bunch before you are better off with a pro. Not just any pro, either. You have to have confidence that he can produce the resuits you want.
     
  5. cameron

    cameron Member

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    The flipside of this is that the mono versions of some classic rock albums sound far better than the stereo versions.

    A friend of mine had an original mono LP of "Are You Experienced" and it absolutely blows away the stereo mix that we're all familiar with. The drums sound huge in mono, and the fact that the guitar and bass aren't panned to different channels fills out the whole band.

    When Phil Spector put together a boxed set of his recordings he went back to mono, and that set is a revelation, since all we'd heard on the radio for years were the lame stereo mixes of those tracks.

    Stereo bad. Mono good. That just about sums it up.
     
  6. tonedrip

    tonedrip Member

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    Also , live off the floor recordings (at least for the bed tracks) were the order of the day. This yeilded a certain magic (or quality) in itself, both in the feel and the recording (ie. mic bleed etc.)
     
  7. Rock Fella

    Rock Fella Member

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    what about..........damned good songs !!

    smoke on the water, black dog , strange brew, all products of what the thread starter deems a golden era.

    when i think about it, was there the emphasis on gtr masturbation as there is today and did they even care......i dont think so. give me a player over a noodler every time and perhaps thats one reason why songs from that era will stand the test of time in a way i think shred or self indulgent post 80s never will imho.
     
  8. Gerry

    Gerry Guest

    In a small interview for a music mag after Axis, Hendrix made an off-hand comment that "you really only need 4 tracks anyway...one to record the basic song, one for vocals, one for guitar solos, and one more for whatever else you might want."
     
  9. Impulse 101

    Impulse 101 Member

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    Not to throw water on the fire, but I hate the tom sounds from the 70's. The drums were pretty horrible in every way on most 70's rock recordings. Toms and kicks with a single head and lots of dampening.

    JT
     
  10. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    /me points at Queen, who pretty much broke all the 'rules' and still sounded pretty awesome throughout the 70s.

    --chiba
     
  11. Gerry

    Gerry Guest

    You're correct.

    I've got a recording of the Elvin Jones group from the 70s called 'Genesis', recorded by Rudy van Gelder at his studio, and the drum sounds are simply glorious :) .
     
  12. Occam

    Occam Member

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    Listening back to the James Gang Rides Again...some awesome tones on that album....especially the drums. I tune down my guitar a good bit and play baritones a lot but I don't like drums tuned down all that much...it seems like with today's sounds you get some massively compressed snare and a kick with super-sub frequencies that you can only hear well on sound systems with big sub-woofers. I like active, bouncy drums and I hear a lot of that in 70's music...now I'm not really considering all 70's music just the stuff I like so that may have something to do with it.
     
  13. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Actually, folks tended to tune drums down a lot more often in the 70's (especially the snare). Not commenting on the JGRA drums in particular, as i don't know the recording well.
     
  14. DrumTemp

    DrumTemp Guest

    You can thank the advent of individual drum micing for that "horrible" sound! Bonzo was the exception, of course, with jazz tight drum tuning, and both heads secure to each drum. Then, thanks to ambient micing, a BIG room, and a little compression = CANNONS! :dude
     

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