1950's techniques, equiptment, and workflow

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THE_NIK
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1950's techniques, equiptment, and workflow

Post by THE_NIK » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:11 am

Hi all. I am research 1950?s early 60?s recording and studio techniques. I am planning to record a rock and roll session using only equipment and techniques in the late 1950?s. I may press a few records depending on how the recording turns out. I would love to know the specifics of recording back then including how session were set up and documented. I plan to use Protools as a tape recorder only. Can any one point to helpful information on this topic. Or do any of you have experience in the older techniques, equipment, and workflow.
Thanks
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kslight
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Post by kslight » Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:48 am

I also would be curious what version of Pro Tools engineers were using back then, and what computers it would run on?I can't seem to find any of this info.

:lol:

numberthirty
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Post by numberthirty » Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:03 pm

Without trying to be a jerk, there wasn't much to document when you were just putting a couple of ribbon microphones up.

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Post by The Scum » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:13 pm

Plenty of relevant info here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of ... _recording

8 track came about in 1957, but was an esoteric and rare thing. Like for the alien genius of Les Paul & Mary Ford.
3 channel was much more common through the 50's, but didn't allow overdubbing.

So limit yourself to 3 tracks (L-C-R), and do bounces if you need more than that.
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floid
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Post by floid » Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:08 pm

Minimal mics, premixing, one 'special effect' used to death b/c it's the only one available (prolly some iteration of 'verb/tape delay), signal paths going thru the least necessary number of tubes, transformers, and bounces to avoid signal degredation and encroachment upon an already limited dynamic range. Oh, and a control room/monitoring system that's really not quite so bad once you factor in the difficulty of capturing/reproducing the extremes of the frequency spectrum. We're talking ENIAC times...

good luck, sounds like fun! i mean it.
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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:21 pm

Sounds really fun.
You should be thinking about -
- very limited track counts (1-3 most likely)
- lots of pre-mixing of your minimal mic set-up (probably something like band mixed to track 1, vocal on track 2, and if you were lucky enough to have the extra track orchestra and children's choir on track 3)
- tape delay and chamber reverb (no plug-ins, a real room with a speaker and mic).

Beyond that, it's about capturing a real performance in the room.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:35 pm

Maybe someone will put up a link to my post from a couple of years ago-- podcast interview with Bob Olhsson (of Motown/Hitsville fame). The guy is a font of historical audio/media/music business information. Search for it here at the TOMB. If you can't find it, I'll dig it up later (bit of a pain for me to do it right now; I'm on an iPhone with buggy System 7.0)... If you dare to leave the safety of the TOMB and go over to the dark side (Gear Slutz), you could try posting your questions and see if he responds. He's a great guy and extremely knowledgeable...

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vvv
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Post by vvv » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:01 pm

It's right here.
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I'm Painting Again
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Post by I'm Painting Again » Mon Sep 29, 2014 11:05 am

you ought to try joining the ampex mailing list

http://recordist.com/ampex/

this is where many of our senior techs reside..I'd think many of them would be happy to provide you with information..

THE_NIK
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Post by THE_NIK » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:59 pm

I put a post on GS and Bob Olhsson has replied with some info

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Dr Rubberfunk
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Post by Dr Rubberfunk » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:25 am

I know you're aiming for Rock and Roll rather than Jazz, but this is an interesting article on recording Dave Brubeck at Columbia in the late 50's / early 60's. Some nice mic layout diagrams, insights into mic and instrument placement, and mixing too.

http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/prin ... er_and_son

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:47 am

Nice one, Dr. R. ... Thanks!

GJ
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Post by drumsound » Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:49 pm

Small amps, mic the room, use as little of everything (mics, EQs compressors, takes) as possible.

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frans_13
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Post by frans_13 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:10 am

A few years ago I dug up a set of the old BBC staff training manuals from the early 60s. As you can imagine, they are quite rare today. But they are full of all infos and procedure of how they recorded back then, orchestras, jazz... I think rockn'roll wasn't mentioned, but you still get all the details.

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Post by mrb » Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:54 pm

Having one or two recording tracks (often two mono decks ) doesn't imply recording everything with one or two mics. That's was my first idea of how 50's records were done but I've found that wasn't necessarily true.
I.e. Apparently Sam Phillips mixer had 6 mic inputs and he used at least 5 mics at once.
http://scottymoore.net/studio_sun.html


You might want to check this article for the early 60s techniques (overdubbing, "master bus" eq!):
http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/insi ... ck_nelson/

you can check the work of Mark Neill and Liam Watson. I think they are quite influenced by 50's and 60's techniques.
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