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Rumours

Postby Chaconne » Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:46 pm

I got the re -issued Rumours on CD - its a classic I never owned but knew well from it being over played by everyone else...

Anyhow. The sound on this is great, not the re-mastering - I dont have a vinyl copy at hand, but aspects of the original recording. Mick and John are not known as any kind of powerhouse in the same way as Keith Moon and Entwhistle of course - but the simple sounds and parts are so well recorded.
The drums are deep crisp and present, plenty of tone, and the bass sounds like its being played next to you.

So what I want to know is - whats happened? Why all this three parts for a bass drum, drum replacement crap, five re-amped / direct / not compressed / over compressed / dry bass parts in songs with over 100 tracks? I mean even in the article about recording Zeppelin at the O2 they talked of drum replacement. What kind of live engineer recorded them live in the past then - some kind of long dead Jedi?

It cant have been that hard to get such brilliant classic recordings - it seams it was standard practice once. Guitar, drums, bass, vox, backing. Done. Whats with todays bloated spongey mush?
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Re: Rumours

Postby Phil O » Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:57 pm

Chaconne wrote:It cant have been that hard to get such brilliant classic recordings - it seams it was standard practice once. Guitar, drums, bass, vox, backing. Done. Whats with todays bloated spongey mush?

It did take almost a year to record !!
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Re: Rumours

Postby Madman_Greg » Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:56 pm

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Re: Rumours

Postby Richie Royale » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:17 pm



I read most of that last night. These interviews are very insightfu; you would never know the trouble that goes into some albums or tracks. The impromptu DJing of the multi-tracks to get the original back following the shedding of the original Ampex plus the various micing options used, just in case they might want it, not because they needed it are quite eye opening.
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Re: Rumours

Postby Dave B » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:31 pm

I'm not suprised at anything any more when it comes to transfering analog to DAWs. I've heard all sorts of bizarre stories from mates..

Rumours didn't strike me as an amazing sounding album though - fantastically played and the arrangements were brilliant, but it had quite a 'soft' sound which didn't sit so well with me. Perhaps I should be listening to the remastered version.
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Re: Rumours

Postby Chaconne » Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:04 pm

I know what you mean by 'soft', but I think thats being used to hearing well worn vinyl copies. I felt the same with the recent Floyd CD's. They are 'soft' records, but again the clarity of each instrument is 'big'. Th drums sounds from the 70's seam more akin to 50's Jazz recordings in that each drum seams well tuned and toned and they just sound like its next to you.

Loved that SOS article though - its amazing how often the guys behind the desk start as naive noobs not really knowing what they are doing.
Good example of what my point was - the bass - 2 tracks amp and D.I, with the amp track often being recorded over! That lick from The Chain is possibly the most well known bass lick. How do I get a world famous bass sound? Decent D.I, decent desk amp. errr. Thats it.
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Re: Rumours

Postby James Perrett » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:36 pm

Chaconne wrote:How do I get a world famous bass sound? Decent D.I, decent desk amp. errr. Thats it.

You've forgotten the most important thing - a decent player :beamup:
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Re: Rumours

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:00 am

Chaconne wrote: decent desk


Seems the API wasn't actually that good, until it was being pushed hard.

"Richard and I nearly got fired," he reveals. "I think it took us about eight or nine days before we could get a sound that was good. Everything sounded like a miniature person was playing these miniature instruments, and we were just pulling our hair out. I'm sure Fleetwood Mac were going, 'What the hell did we do? We only tried out this guy Caillat on one mix. He certainly can't engineer.' Richard and I tried everything to make the sound bigger. We even taped two kick drums together out of frustration, trying to get some size and some beat out of them, but nothing would work, and finally I got pissed off. I said, 'Goddamn it, what the hell's going on here,' and I literally just started turning knobs, and within about five minutes of doing this on a track we were trying to cut, it was sounding great.

"Basically, I remembered that the APIs like the preamp to be opened up more, so I would bring the fader down as low as possible and crank up the input gain, and it seemed like that opened up the sound; that and +12 on every EQ channel. Once I did that, I started twisting knobs, and boom-boom-boom, it worked. The band walked in after we'd recorded this one song and they were like, 'Wow, so what was the last eight days all about? It just took you guys 10 minutes to get a killer sound."
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Re: Rumours

Postby Chaconne » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:31 pm

Thats great isnt it, imagine if that was now, and someone posted that on this forum..."help guys - I cant get a good sound and I really need to quick.."

"Tried turning up the amps and the EQ to +12 or summat?"

Facepalms follow.

"B.T.W who's the band?"
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Re: Rumours

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:05 pm

Indeed, think of the GS backlash if you posted that up there:

"It is an API and I think it sounds better with everything in the red"

"Amateur!!!" :tongue:
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Re: Rumours

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:55 am

I wonder if someone is pulling someone's plonker here about the eq etc? You know "tee hee, we'll tell those journos a load of rubbish and they'll lap it up.." Steely Dan are notorious for this.
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Re: Rumours

Postby Richie Royale » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:18 pm

These guys don't seem the type. Steely Dan are quite mischievous.
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Re: Rumours

Postby Chaconne » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:25 pm

Yeah, I know what you mean - it reads very 'cavalier' to say the least, all this just twiddled some knobs and stuff.

On the other hand, some nice 'pushable' pre amps and EQ's that dont sting, are the reasons people would seek out an old desk these days, and yeah maybe all that +12 was a bit casual, but I guess now in a relaxed fashion someone might say we just turned it up to 11 and that worked, meaning that some newly aquired bit of kit just seamed to do the trick.
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Re: Rumours

Postby sc1460 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:34 pm

You could do well to read "Perfecting Sound Forever" the chapter on "Presence". But I know exactly what you mean. I played a very different record by Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane c.1963 - stunning presence as if they are right in front of me, earthy bass, huge vocals, the drummer just behind them. Impossible to recreate that sound today in a bedroom or home studio no matter the expensive gear and the plugins available.

I also refer to a soul/fusion track by Pleasure c.1977 called "Joyous" - the snare is so lush and phat and soft, not splashy/spiky/lost in over-processed layers of drums and instrumentation. Before I heard it I didn't think it was even possible to record a drum kit like that! It would be impossible to recreate with samples today.

Productions today sound harsh, small and with no width across the soundstage whatsoever. Everything sounds like Nikki Minaj or Chazza Cole :-)

But bands simply dont want to sound like "Rumours" anymore. Rightly or wrongly they want to duplicate a sound they hear out there in mp3 land, one that is loud, that punches through cheap earphones that cost £1 to make, that drowns out traffic - and 2013 aint 1977 :-)

A few bands however still remain original, thank goodness!


Chaconne wrote:I got the re -issued Rumours on CD - its a classic I never owned but knew well from it being over played by everyone else...

Anyhow. The sound on this is great, not the re-mastering - I dont have a vinyl copy at hand, but aspects of the original recording. Mick and John are not known as any kind of powerhouse in the same way as Keith Moon and Entwhistle of course - but the simple sounds and parts are so well recorded.
The drums are deep crisp and present, plenty of tone, and the bass sounds like its being played next to you.

So what I want to know is - whats happened? Why all this three parts for a bass drum, drum replacement crap, five re-amped / direct / not compressed / over compressed / dry bass parts in songs with over 100 tracks? I mean even in the article about recording Zeppelin at the O2 they talked of drum replacement. What kind of live engineer recorded them live in the past then - some kind of long dead Jedi?

It cant have been that hard to get such brilliant classic recordings - it seams it was standard practice once. Guitar, drums, bass, vox, backing. Done. Whats with todays bloated spongey mush?
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Re: Rumours

Postby mjfe2 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:29 pm

Chaconne wrote:Mick and John are not known as any kind of powerhouse in the same way as Keith Moon and Entwhistle of course - but the simple sounds and parts are so well recorded.
The drums are deep crisp and present, plenty of tone, and the bass sounds like its being played next to you.

I agree. I can't believe how loud the bass is in "The Chain"; reminds me of Free's albums with Andy Fraser on bass. It takes courage to put the bass up like that and then EQ it so it doesn't drown the rest of the mix in mud.

I mean even in the article about recording Zeppelin at the O2 they talked of drum replacement. What kind of live engineer recorded them live in the past then - some kind of long dead Jedi?

http://www.performing-musician.com/pm/jun08/articles/ledzeppelin.htm This is a great article and if you scroll down you can read about how Zep's live sound was done back in the '70s. I sort of felt the same as you about kick samples being used on Jason's drums, but I also kind of respect it in that Zep were always great about moderning rather than getting stuck in the past e.g. look at John Paul Jones' modern bass rig. When he started working in Them Crooked Vultures, he was offered all these vintage amps by Josh Homme but he rejected them because he knew from experience how unreliable they were! I think this whole fetish for vintage sound we have (plugin emulations of tape, REDD consoles etc) kind of misses the point -- the music we love from the '60s/70s was often more about a certain attitude in the studio (tracking live, experimentation, being pragmatic when valves failed...!). The equipment itself seems secondary to me. All this is to say I think Zep maintained their core attitude at the O2 precisely through modernising their sound!
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Re: Rumours

Postby Richie Royale » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:34 pm

sc1460 wrote:
I also refer to a soul/fusion track by Pleasure c.1977 called "Joyous"
[/quote]

What a tune that is. I used to DJ it out frequently.
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Re: Rumours

Postby mjfe2 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:37 pm

Chaconne wrote:Yeah, I know what you mean - it reads very 'cavalier' to say the least, all this just twiddled some knobs and stuff.

On the other hand, some nice 'pushable' pre amps and EQ's that dont sting, are the reasons people would seek out an old desk these days, and yeah maybe all that +12 was a bit casual, but I guess now in a relaxed fashion someone might say we just turned it up to 11 and that worked, meaning that some newly aquired bit of kit just seamed to do the trick.


I agree about the cavalier attitude (by contrast we're too careful these days!). But I have read more than once about engineers boosting things with EQ more than we'd ever think was acceptable. e.g. in http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct08/a ... niques.htm Geoff Frost talks about visiting a studio in Nashville in the '60s where all their outboard EQ was permanently set to +8dB presence boosts, which seems unbelieveable. I've also heard similar things in interviews with Ken Scott (I think) talking about the Beatles asking for more top end when the board was maxed out, and Andy Johns saying don't be afraid to boost the HF by 6dB to get a mix suitably bright. I guess the key is to use a well designed EQ with proportional Q values that doesn't sound harsh when abused!
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