Budget Gear for Late '60s Soul Sound

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numberthirty
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Post by numberthirty » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:30 pm

As for "in the box", you could drop these folks a line -

http://www.ueberschall.com/en/product/143/Retro-Soul

and ask if the piano sets are full piano samples(assuming you hear something along the lines of what you want).

Seems like that particular set works with their particular sample player.

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Post by Blazemidnight » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:43 pm

My aunt and uncle do have an upright that never gets used... And thanks for the heads up on the Ueberschall sample player, numberthirty, I'm going to look into it a bit more.

Here's an attempt at that kind of piano sound. I used Logic and a cassette:

https://soundcloud.com/timid-soul/soul- ... st/s-15yNc

Lemme know what you all think.

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Re: Budget Gear for Late '60s Soul Sound

Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:23 pm

Blazemidnight wrote:Hello Tape Op Community!

This is my first post! I?ve got some gear related questions for you all. I?m trying to achieve recordings that are sonically similar to artists like Bibio, Adrian Younge and even the Daptone or Truth and Soul rosters.

If y?all ain?t familiar with Adrian Younge you gotta check him out. He did the soundtrack to the blaxploitation spoof ?Black Dynamite? and has a number of albums, collaborations with William Hart to Ghostface. I know he?s a user and advocate of authentic gear from the '67-73 time frame. Here?s an amazing instrumental tune by him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gq8M9w2Wwc

Here are some other tunes that have the kind of sound I?m looking for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AZUW6JNChg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc14WWNbm10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXDskgUc63Y

I?m looking to recreate these sounds with budget gear. I understand that achieving vintage tones begins a the front end: the player, instrument, room, mic and preamp.

So with that in mind here?s my current bedroom recording setup. Right now I use a Saffire 6 USB interface for tracking. Mic-wise, I primarily use an old Electro Voice RE10 and a cheap Radioshack electret mic from the 70?s. I plan on acquiring a few more old Electro Voice dynamics. I have a number of free tape saturation and vintage style plugins, like Massey Tapehead, Klanghelm?s IVGI, as well as spring and plate impulse responses for reverb.

Would a preamp be a worthwhile upgrade from my focusrite interface to achieve the sounds I?m after?

Would a reel-to-reel be a must for recording or using as a preamp? Or am I fine just using cassette decks and my computer?

Reamp box: worth it for processing audio with my guitar pedals?

Any top secret tips on capturing virtual instruments in such a way that they sound like more like their physical counterparts?

Thank you very much for reading my, admittedly, long ass post. Hopefully together we can gather some tips/suggestions for everyone that loves that dusty, soulful late '60s sound!
a lot of those example tracks you posted sound like ribbon type mics mostl..or i guess some dynamics too..or capacitors with the airy tops eq-ed out a whole lot..

listened to your work on soundcloud..sounds like you're doing a great job already..they really sound technically better than some of the references you posted..

Don't worry too much because it sounds great already..I do hear some of the virtual instruments don't sound exactly authentic..but basically you know eq and distortion what else can you do? reach out and borrow the real instruments..or find someone who will let you record them in their space..

the reamp box will make the use of pedals technically perfect but it might not matter..plenty of folks get by with no reamp and it still works just fine..

i like your cassette idea..try it compare it to not using it..you'll like one better !

RTR and cassette to a lesser extent..i notice a difference most dramatically on the drum sounds..but it's not going to make or break your sound by any means..

using an old spring reverb always screams classic tone to me and adds a lot toward the direction you want..you might be able to score cheap..seems like ebay prices for them are reasonable..

a cheap way to get an old chamber sound is setting up a speaker and mic in an empty room and recording the sound in there and mixing it back in..

space echo too..but not cheap now..I have an orban 418a stereo limiter that makes everything soft and dark and easy on the ears like in those examples you posted..it's really quite amazing what it does..but holy crap it used to command $300 and now one listed on ebay for 1300? YIKES..also mu tron bi phase..OMG..the price on those is way WAY up..the altec 1566a when i got it was cheap it's probably expensive now too..don't see any on ebay..it makes things sound like those old records for sure..

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Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:35 pm

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-OLD-VAC ... 2c89853f39

I have no idea about this specific thing here but things like this often impart some cool tone..other times not so much..but there are things like this out there still to be had cheaply..drawback is that they're often noisy but that's a subjective drawback

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Post by I'm Painting Again » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:38 pm

just came up with an idea this instant..

those ipod things for your car..the ones that broadcast your ipod on a channel so the radio picks it up..

feed a signal to one of those and have some old radio like a trans-oceanic or something receive it and record the output back into your mix..

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Post by The Scum » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:56 pm

Get some funky old shakers and tambourines, and play them with conviction. Or some subtle and tasteful bongo work.
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Post by vvv » Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:48 pm

Sheep in Punk Clothing wrote:just came up with an idea this instant..

those ipod things for your car..the ones that broadcast your ipod on a channel so the radio picks it up..

feed a signal to one of those and have some old radio like a trans-oceanic or something receive it and record the output back into your mix..
I have one of these for using a Discman (headphone output - mebbe the same thing?) thru the FM radio ...

May have to give it a try.
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Post by Dr Rubberfunk » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:45 am

Always know when there's a thread I'll be interested in when the Shitty Is Pretty pdf starts getting hits off my web server :)

Some great tips from Gregg and Drummerman on getting more of that 'band all playing at the same time' vibe if you're tracking everything yourself one instrument at a time.

I've had some fun sticking a snare drum in front of a monitor, playing back the solo'd bass part (add other instruments to taste!) and recording the snare buzz. Mixed back in with the full track it gives a bit of that JB's room ambience in breakdowns where the drums might not be going full tilt.

As others have said, sounds like you're doing a good job with virtual instruments / re-amping etc
I got an upright piano into the studio a few years back and haven't had it tuned since moving it, with an old beyer dynamic hung down the back it's certainly got that shitty soul sound :)

Keep up the good work

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Post by Darlington Pair » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:27 am

You can still pick up things like the Shure M67 really cheap and once you beef up the power supply and do a few little tweaks they're perfect for what you're doing. I also have a pair of M267s that I really love and have become the cornerstone of my drum sound because I really love the limiter. I'm also a pretty big fan of band in a room/let it bleed recordings.

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Post by Blazemidnight » Fri Sep 12, 2014 5:21 pm

Thanks for all the feedback and tips everybody!

Dr. Rubberfunk I'm listening to your tracks on Soundcloud and they are awesome and very inspirational! I really love the bass sound you got on "Creek Walk" and especially "Sunset Breakup."

I you have any tips in regard to bass I'd love to hear it. I have a Fender Jazz Bass FYI. Any suggestion on strings (flat wound?), DI vs amp miking, compression ideas, etc.

Would love to hear your thoughts cuz your music is supremely funky!

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:28 pm

Re: "snare buzz trick;" that's so funny, Dr. Rub. I do some things like that too (adding "mistake/bad" sounds to tracks, especially with Gen. MIDI type sounds)... All the stuff we were told was "wrong," all the stuff we strove for years to get _out_ of our recordings, we wind-up putting _in_ on purpose to make pristine tracks sound more "real." I'm a big fan of sampled acoustic guitar finger/string squeaks as a realistic touch.

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Post by numberthirty » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:30 pm

Came across this -

http://www.imperfectsamples.com/website ... tpiano.php

While it might not totally nail what you want, it does have character.

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Post by Dr Rubberfunk » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:17 am

Blazemidnight wrote:Thanks for all the feedback and tips everybody!

Dr. Rubberfunk I'm listening to your tracks on Soundcloud and they are awesome and very inspirational! I really love the bass sound you got on "Creek Walk" and especially "Sunset Breakup."

I you have any tips in regard to bass I'd love to hear it. I have a Fender Jazz Bass FYI. Any suggestion on strings (flat wound?), DI vs amp miking, compression ideas, etc.

Would love to hear your thoughts cuz your music is supremely funky!
Thanks! Appreciate the kind words!
Bass on 'Sunset Breakup' is a Fender P-Bass with 14 yr old roundwound strings on it, which are getting pretty dead and dirty now. I don't think that's rust in the picture ...
ImagePBass Neck by Dr Rubberfunk, on Flickr
For that tune I'm pretty sure it was DI'd via a TL Audio 'Fatman' compressor. Which is also old, and needs a new valve, so consequently is noisy and dirty sounding and thus perfect for bass :)

The bass on Creek Walk is a Tokai EB3 style short-scale, with Rotosound nylon 'Tru Bass 88' flatwound strings. As heard on Macca's Hofner short scale bass for Abbey Road, loads of low end thump. I mostly play with fingers, but it does sound great with a pick too.

ImageTokai Bridge by Dr Rubberfunk, on Flickr
It's always had really dodgy neck relief and intonation, but I've finally had it set up this summer, and wish I'd done it 10 years ago. Doh! Can't remember if for Creek Walk it was recorded via the Fatman, or it whether it might have been via my bass-playing chum's Line 6 Bass Pod, seem to remember an Ampeg sim on there that sounded pretty good, so it might have been that.
Both tunes had some extra compression once in the DAW, and the bass is pretty forward in the mix on both tracks. I figure my 'Drummer Playing Bass' style is so terrible that mixing it upfront will fool everyone into thinking it's good :shock:

I have mic'd both basses thru a Fender Dual Showman and Marshall cab combo, using either an RE20 mic or a Beyer M81 dynamic and got some splendid vintage sounds. P-bass, Dual Showman and RE20 was the bass sound on 'Northern Comfort'
But actually played by a proper bassist 8)

Anyway, thanks for asking, sorry if that's too much waffle.
Gregg Juke wrote:Re: "snare buzz trick;" that's so funny, Dr. Rub. I do some things like that too (adding "mistake/bad" sounds to tracks, especially with Gen. MIDI type sounds)... All the stuff we were told was "wrong," all the stuff we strove for years to get _out_ of our recordings, we wind-up putting _in_ on purpose to make pristine tracks sound more "real." I'm a big fan of sampled acoustic guitar finger/string squeaks as a realistic touch.

GJ


Definitely, sounds silly sometimes talking about 'vibe' on the internet, but when you're trying to get a 'band feeling' when just tracking with yourself, those hard-to-define things that glue a recording together have become the thing I chase. Probably started when I was doing everything on a sampler and trying to work out what to put in the gaps between the sliced drum hits to make a rhythm groove better. 'Noise' was the answer ;) As well as cutting up vinyl noise and reverb tails, I loved things like the PSP Pianoverb - especially on drums - for that background resonance.

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Post by Dot » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:38 pm

Hey, Blazemight, diggin' what I'm hearing. I agree, that gear-wise, you're good. And it's really just a matter of continuing to explore and refine the techniques and getting into the right feel.

Here's a few things that came to mind:

As far as bass sounds and techniques, Google "carol kaye foam mute" and check out some of the articles, forum discussions and images you find.

On piano, I like what you got on your soul-piano-test. One thing I've found when using virtual instruments in a more retro vibe is to tuck them in behind in the mix. Turn the top-end EQ down some - like starting at around 12K.

Dr Rubberfunk mentioned "vibe," and thought it might sound silly talking about. But I think that's everything! Get into the vibe and the headspace of the players and the time you want to tap into. Think how those people thought, and feel how they felt. It's like going into different characters and personalities as you play different tracks.

Your drums sound great. If you ever want more of an old-school 70's snare, try boosting at 800Hz. [Example in MP3 below] It's that kind of snare that feels like a punch in the chest.

Cymbals. Get old Zildjians if you're ever in the market for more cymbals.

And keep playing with tape and emulators.

I play a lot of instruments, and have recorded "everything" on certain projects.

Just for for fun, since we're getting into the vintage vibe here, I produced a record for a client several years ago. He wrote the songs and sang. I did everything else. The record was all songs about golf. It was a fun project. And, like back in the day in studios, I didn't have loads of time to record it. And I think by doing things quickly it got a more authentic vibe. Each song was from a different genre. And it was important to really get that live feel of a band.

Here's one track where I was going for something that might have been heard on the radio in the late 60's - early 70's in a Chicago - Blood, Sweat & Tears type of sound.

I played everything on the track. All real instruments. Shakers were homemade. You'd be surprised at all the great shakers you can make using various containers with kosher salt or peppercorns inside.

The electric piano and organ were from a Korg Trinity. What took the longest was really getting the drum sound - especially the snare. I was tweaking on it until 3am. When I finally got the sound I was looking for, I cut the drums in one take on the first take. Most takes were first takes on all the various instruments.

MP3 is here...
http://www.prostudioreviews.com/mp3/home.mp3

It's a bit of a silly song, but it goes to show that it's more about the vibe, technique, and approach than it is about the gear. I had a lot of gear around, with many preamps and mics. But I actually just used an AKG 414TLS through a Focusrite ISA preamp on almost all the tracks. It was more important to focus on the playing and vibe while tracking, rather than dick around with the gear.

Anyway, I'm feelin' ya', brother. Fist bump to the single multi-instrumentalists tracking everything and getting a band vibe.

Here's the room when I was making the album.

Image
Last edited by Dot on Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Dr Rubberfunk » Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:51 am

Dot wrote: MP3 is here...
http://www.prostudioreviews.com/mp3/home.mp3

It's a bit of a silly song, but it goes to show that it's more about the vibe, technique, and approach than it is about the gear. I had a lot of gear around, with many preamps and mics. But I actually just used an AKG 414TLS through a Focusrite ISA preamp on almost all the tracks. It was more important to focus on the playing and vibe while tracking, rather than dick around with the gear.

Anyway, I'm feelin' ya', brother. Fist bump to the single multi-instrumentalists tracking everything and getting a band vibe.

Here's the room when I was making the album.

Image
That track is great! The world needs more albums about golf. Everything sounds spot on to me - loving the Bacharach style horns too. Good old AKG 414 really does sound great on everything :)

*fistbump*

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