Budget Gear for Late '60s Soul Sound

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

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audio school
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Post by Blazemidnight » Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:49 pm

Ah man, thanks for the informative post Dot! Lots of good tips, from snare sounds to getting that vibe. And that tune you posted was amazing! I can't believed you played everything! It really sounded like Chicago was jamming in a room together. Great job and hell yeah, shout out to all the one-man-band recordists out there :)

And thanks for the detailed insight on your bass setup, Dr. Rubberfunk. I think its cool that you have some experience using samplers and stuff. I discovered soul music through hip-hop and definitely approach my music with the mindset of a sample-based musician.

I still make some sample-based tracks but lately I've been wanting to move away from it in favor of that handcrafted personal approach. Playing each instrument, coming up with my own chord progressions, experimenting with mic placement, etc. I'd love to create something so dope people would WANT to sample it. That's why Adrian Younge and Menahan Street Band are such an inspiration: they're creating original tracks that sound like they belong on a Tarantino flick or a Wu Tang record.

Anyway thanks again for all the info, guys.

alignin' 24-trk
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Post by mjt335 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:16 pm

This thread is amazing. Thanks, fellas.

I just picked up a Tascam 388 and in the process of picking up some mics, pre's, etc all with this same kind of sound in mind. I'll be hitting you guys up for some advice and will post tracks eventually when I get some stuff done!

genitals didn't survive the freeze
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Post by mjau » Mon May 11, 2015 1:43 pm

Too lazy to check the whole thread, and I'm sure it's already been said: EV 664! I used to tape one to the underside of the drummer's throne, and it made for a very cool, quasi old school drum sound.

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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Tue May 12, 2015 6:25 pm

I'll add my maple drum kit that's 20" x 10" x 12" x 14" with Black Beauty snare when it's set up all very muted sounds like many of those old records especially with a ribbon mic over it.

gimme a little kick & snare
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Post by alexevansohio » Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:41 am

seems like everyone's given you some pretty awesome advice. i'll throw my hat in the ring a little bit too.

great records come from great players. that being said, great gear helps a lot. an awesome set of drums will do so much more to take your retro drum tracks to the next level than any pre, mic or tape machine. I struggled for years to record drum sounds that I loved. When I finally got a great deal on a set of 1965 Ludwigs, everything suddenly fell into place. 60s or 70s Ludwigs, Slingerlands, Kents, etc often come up for sale decently cheap, and are worth every penny. Same with vintage Zildjians - you can still score mid-60s A's on the cheap, and that'll really get you on your way to some tasty Motown-y / groove-y drum sounds. Thin heads are important too - Ambassadors are cheap and tasty sounding.

bass wise - old flat wounds and a foam mute are definitely going to be your friends. as with everything, play with saturation and distortion - don't go crazy, but transformers and tape and all that adds noise that won't be present in your little digital setup, so experiment with small amounts of saturation and overdrive all over. Play with compressors with limited controls - this is not a job for an 1176. Try some LA2A emulations.

Keep your mic locker small but versatile. I'm a huge fan of old cheap dynamics - your RE10 is a great start. Some more mics of that sort, plus a good pair of ribbons (my Fatheads are still some of the best mics I've ever purchased). Be minimal and bold in your miking choices, and experiment as much as possible.

Finally, have fun. With this genre, musicians were the priority, and the technology was made to stay out of he way and let great players do their thing. Get some gear you like, develop some swiss army knife-type techniques, learn your room, and then just make some kick ass music.
Alex Evans
Freelance Engineer / Producer

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