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Why did Eddie's sound change so much from 1984 to 5150?

Messages
54
After not being able to listen too VH for probably 20 years, I've recently been on a huge VH binge, mostly focusing on the 1984 era (the pinnacle of his tone IMO).

Today I listened to 5150 all the way through and apart from the obvious, it almost sounds like a different band. What happened to make such a huge change? Different producer?

Eventide micropitchshift.
 
Messages
54
After not being able to listen too VH for probably 20 years, I've recently been on a huge VH binge, mostly focusing on the 1984 era (the pinnacle of his tone IMO).

Today I listened to 5150 all the way through and apart from the obvious, it almost sounds like a different band. What happened to make such a huge change? Different producer?


Eventide micropitchshift
 

gregmusi

Member
Messages
26
Yep.

Just listen to the ISO guitar tracks.

I've heard it's not a chorus - just an MXR phase90 at about 7% mix with the dry signal. ;)
Actually it was an Eventide H910 harmonizer. Very subtle in the mix, but more prominent on the isolated tracks. You can hear a pretty good demonstration of the 910...
 
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rolsen

Member
Messages
2,064
Last minute or so of the vid above is pretty spot on! If you've ever played around with this while mixing, the effect does seem to subdue within the context of a mix. Dated sound, though.
 

JPH118

Member
Messages
2,758
Just for fun, I listened to VH1 this morning on my hifi (B&W 603s with a Marantz for anyone into that sorta thing), then jumped to a few cuts from Fair Warning, 1984, and 5150... the biggest difference wasn't really the guitar tone (although the chorus was def prominent on 5150), but the amount of Michael Anthony's bass and type/amount of reverb in the overall mix. "Unchained" could fit on VH1 perfectly with the deep thumpy bass and dark plate verb all over everything, but 5150 was night & day... paper thin, barely audible bass, bright digital verb trails, and very little depth. 1984 was a bit of a happy medium between the two extremes, but i'll take VH1 & FW anyday over the rest.

there was an old recording studio joke about recordings getting brighter/thinner after an artist found some success... sniff sniff...
 
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3,814
I don't have the time or patience to sift through all 13 pages of this thread, but I will agree that his tone on 5150 was awful... definitely a huge step down from 1984... on 5150, his tone was too clean, and there was too much chorus... but this is what I can recall from the last time I heard that record, which was many, many years ago. to be fair, its one of my least favorite VH albums... to the the question: "what happened to Ed's tone on 5150?" I will answer that with: "the 80's happened to his tone."... maybe it took a few albums for him to fall victim to vile pit of 80's production, but it eventually happened.

having tone as flawless as what you hear on the first few VH albums, I cannot for the life of me understand why he would want to mess with that formula at all. if I was able to achieve THAT tone (VH1, VH2, W&CF, FW), my quest for gear would be over.
 
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mikebat

Member
Messages
10,898
VH was a phenomena until 1984, and afterwards they were a popular rock band. That still beats the hell out of everyone here on TGP, but the proof is on the listening.

His tone went from inspirational to “what to avoid”. Gear, tastes of the day and trying to do something new sometimes works against you.
 

somecafone

Member
Messages
4,218
there was an old recording studio joke about recordings getting brighter/thinner after an artist found some success... sniff sniff...
Andy Summers mentioned this in his book.
It was in reference to the entire band hating the production on one of the records.
I wanna say it was Ghost, but may have been Zen.
 

John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,741
That's because they were Van Halen and they were coming off the back of their most successful album. The question asked was, critique 5150 as if it was the FIRST Van Halen album, not the 7th. No way 5150 would have been as big as it ended up being, and not a chance in hell would it have been a game changer like VH1.
Opinions vary...and it's an exercise with no real answer anyway.
 

cr7r9

Member
Messages
341
No. Impossible. According to TGP the tone is in the fingers.
:rotflmao
As if people actually subscribe to that theory. Give Eddie Ritchie Blackmore's Strat & rig. It's going to sound like Eddie playing through Ritchie Blackmore's Strat & rig, not Van Halen 1.

Listen again isolated..







I dont think was your basic humbucker through a strat tone, it is much fatter and warmer imo AND you have to remember he was ahead of the curve, not many people had that tone 35 years ago, i am not a fan of Sholtz tone (I respect his innovative work and unique tone, but its just a bit much for me) to me some of Eds tone just sounds like a freight train



:dunno
Those videos actually sound a bit compressed to me. So if you think that sounds good, it would be even better on the actual record
 
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cr7r9

Member
Messages
341
having tone as flawless as what you hear on the first few VH albums, I cannot for the life of me understand why he would want to mess with that formula at all. if I was able to achieve THAT tone (VH1, VH2, W&CF, FW), my quest for gear would be over.
It's a good point, but imagine being Eddie, someone very creative and out there, and having four albums sounding exactly the same. You'd get bored eventually. I mean the hole of Van Hagar sounds vastly different to Roth era. He probably just wanted a new direction, which is fine and he music was still good, even if it was more pop. Not sure why there's even an entire thread about it. He's the artist and he changed direction. Not like he sold out or anything, he was THE rock artist of the 80s.
 

JPH118

Member
Messages
2,758
Can we take a minute to collectively appreciate just how prolific these guys were in their prime?? Cheeseball cover tunes not withstanding, 6 albums in 6 years during the DLR era, with massive tours in between, so pretty much non-stop... nobody does that these days. The Beatles, Stones, and Led Zep come to mind from the past, not that I’m comparing any of them directly, but it’s that level of work ethic that really hasn’t existed since (that I can think of). I completely get why they would’ve been burnt out and ready for a change by 1984.
 
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3,814
well, like I always say... there may be certain VH albums that I love, and certain ones I don't, but the bottom line is... ultimately, I will listen to Van Halen regardless who is singing, just to hear what Ed is doing. they could have a new album with a goat handling vocals, and I will still check it out.
 

Blix

Norwegian
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,229
well, like I always say... there may be certain VH albums that I love, and certain ones I don't, but the bottom line is... ultimately, I will listen to Van Halen regardless who is singing, just to hear what Ed is doing. they could have a new album with a goat handling vocals, and I will still check it out.
Actually, here's a few that auditioned:
 

drod1985

Member
Messages
904
That damned pitch-shifting garbage he has become so enamored with.
*had become so enamored with. He hasn't used them in a live rig since 1998 or on tracks since 2004.

I honestly prefer the 5150 sound over 1984. Honestly my favorite tone of his is on, Balance.
I know, everyone will shun me now. lol
I way prefer both 1984 and Balance over 5150. The tone on 1984 is still pure Marshall, but seasoned with the modulation. 5150 is like they broke the mix knob on all their Eventide units. At least Balance is still big and ballsy and defined, 5150 (and OU812) are flimsy and thin in comparison.

Simple. Donn Landee was out of the picture.
Ted Templeman was out of the picture. Don Landee stuck around through OU812.
 

matt1969

Member
Messages
936
Listen to the ISO tracks.

The more time goes by, the more his guitar is swimming in buzzy pile of harmonizer, chorus bilge.
You can hear the pitch shift de-tune going on as far back as Fair warning. I think that's when he started doing that.
 

TopJimmy5150

Member
Messages
1,462
He just changed..he wanted to mix things up. If he just continued making VH 1 part 6,7,8,9 everyone would bitch about that. He kept everyone guessing for a long time and it was fun to watch until things got ugly.

If ya don't like it, don't listen. I don't see any point in complaining because he doesn't sound like he did when he was 21 years old. What a terrible way to pigeonhole someone.
 

goldtone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
513
Lots of good points here.

I also think it was due to his infatuation with proving to everyone that keyboards could be part of their sound. You add those in to a larger degree, and you have to change up your sound to make sme space too. If you read interviews with him from that time or about that time, he seems to bring up the keyboard thing quite often.
 




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