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Thread: Getting *that* sound?

  1. #1
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    Getting *that* sound?

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    Ok, here's my deal...

    I'm getting ready to record my band. Our style is dirty rocknroll influenced mainly by bands from the late 60s to mid 70s. I've recorded some demos for the band in the past in my small basement "studio". The recordings have come out passable for demos but wont nearly be good enough for a finished record. I guess I could describe them as sterile, thin, flat, lifeless, etc.

    We recently recorded a couple songs in a local basement studio and the tones on the recordings came out sounding much better (for our style of music) than any results I had previously achieved. The room setup was similar, the mics were similar (with the exception of a nicer sounding mic used on the vocals) and the gear setup/mic'ing techniques similar to what I had done previously.

    The difference being that he had an old Teac or Tascam mixer - not sure of the exact model - and a couple of nice(r) preamps and compressors - UA comes to mind. The sound beat the crap out of that generic mackie/presonus sound I was getting.

    So I'd like some advice on some reasonably priced mixers, preamps and mics that will help me get that sound I'm looking for. I'm selling off some gear plus I'm expecting a bonus at the end of the month so I'll probably have about $1500 to $2000 to play with.

    Thanks!

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    the real question is was it the gear or was it the other engineers experience in audio engineering that made the diffrence?

    the next question was his room treated and is your room treated? How the room sounds makes a huge diffrence in the quality of your recordings
    I refuse to be the nice guy. Do you want to get better or have everyone tell you you're awesome?

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    gear vs engineer

    After watching him work I'm pretty sure it was the gear that made the biggest difference. He wasn't really doing anything different than what I would have done.

    The room was not treated. It was basically just a semi finished basement - all the concrete was covered with carpet or foam.

    It was a very simple setup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrettyMonster View Post
    After watching him work I'm pretty sure it was the gear that made the biggest difference. He wasn't really doing anything different than what I would have done.

    The room was not treated. It was basically just a semi finished basement - all the concrete was covered with carpet or foam.

    It was a very simple setup.
    Who was actually doing the work of guitar amp settings, Mic placement, Mic selection, eq, effects and mix decisions, you or him?

    Cheers!

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    One thing I want to add is that it's possible that some gear might overdrive/distort differently than others. My guess is that "prosumer" gear like 1980s Tascam mixers might have a dirtier sound when pushed into the red, compared to contemporary, high-end equipment.

    This is all speculation, but I'm posting this because you mentioned that your band is a dirty rocknroll band... friends of mine in similar bands intentionally and carefully recorded drums and guitar in the red. Did you see the levels when you were recording?

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    Aargh! I just typed out a big 'ol response and then lost it.

    Here are the key points:

    Ghost- we did amp settings and the engineer did everything else which I observed closely.

    Lo.fi- seems like me and your friends think alike. We asked for the recordings to be pushed pretty hard. Not super distorted but definitely on the edge.

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    So...

    Anyone have any suggestions for mixers, preamps & mic's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrettyMonster View Post
    So...

    Anyone have any suggestions for mixers, preamps & mic's?
    Are you trying to get a "garagey" sound or ... ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lo.fi.love View Post
    Are you trying to get a "garagey" sound or ... ?
    I guess you could say that. The modern sounds coming out of my modern equipment just don't seem to suit the band.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrettyMonster View Post
    I guess you could say that. The modern sounds coming out of my modern equipment just don't seem to suit the band.
    I would suggest something like a 1980s Teac or Tascam mixer, and ride the gain pretty high on the preamps to get the full color out of them with some added distortion. Tube pres for the mics - especiall the vocals - dynamic mics like Shure SM-57s for instruments (guitar cabs, snare and hihat). You could also try one overhead mic for the drums for that true 1960s garage sound.

    I'm thinking of 1960s recordings of bands like the Sonics, the Stooges, MC-5. I think the idea is to affect as much tube compression as possible and to misuse the solid state pres on the mixer to kind of top it all off.

    I mean, by conventional, contemporary standards, you're going to get a really, REALLY distorted and dirty sound out of it, but if that's what you're going for, then more power to you.

    Specifically, I have these recordings in mind:
    Sonics cover of "Have Love Will Travel"
    Wailers (Washington state, 1960s) "Out of Our Tree"
    Stooges - Shake Appeal

    If you really want to know more, I can email a friend of mine who played guitar in the Real Pills in Portland, Ore. in the 1990s-2000s.

    Good luck!

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