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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Best sound quality of a 70s prog album?
    Posted: February 25 2005 at 02:09
Part of my daily prog-listening rituals include scrutinizing every single little nuance in the mix.The tone of the bass, the tone of the tube amps, and tube plate reverbs, tape delays, the space given in a mix, etc.

99.9% prog albums of the 70's were cut at +4 so they all had the same opportunity to sound good.

Your mission is to declare what you feel is the best recorded 70's effort. You do not have to be partial to your favorite band, just what you think has the best captured defined tones.

My vote right now currently goes for that Jumbo album from 1973- the one that has "Specchio" on it. Every song is chrystal clear in production, and the bass tone throbs yet still cuts through the sharpness of the lead guitar, and the muddynes of the organs and mellotron. And the vocals sit in the middle just perfectly, but seem almost pushed back in a strange effort. That was the balance- but also as far as tones go, I haven't really heard better. Particulalrly the bass drum and bass guitar, amazing how it sounds and is given so much definition and clarity. It sounds like everything in the signal chain has tubes in it, even down to the crashing cymbal. I dont know if was those good discrete consoles or what, but even Alan Parsons could have used a tip or two from these guys and their engineers.

Now tell me what you think is the worst 70's effort? I stress 70's, because that was a time when recording an album was a whole hell of a lot more challenging than it is now.
My least favorite mix is Arachnoid, 1978. Amazing songs, but the midnset/trend of mixing in some parts of the world at that time makes one think they were all asleep at the wheel. Couldn't they have tried to give the bass drum more definition? Still an awesome vibe from the mix, just doesnt read well on paper.

cheers
john
  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 02:58
how about rush farewell to kings?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:24

I found late '70's/early '80's recordings to be dreadful..Not all but most,no body to them like a good early recording has...I, as an ElP fan don't think their recordings were as good as they ought to have been,especially 'Brain salad surgery'

As i mentioned in an earlier thread i found early EMI recordingd to be superb ie: late Beatles,early Harvest labeled Floyd..Abbey road of course..I do find good Deram recordings too...But it all depends on what you define as good Quality..Digitally re-mastered analogue recordings which tend on digital thin-ness or the original 1st pressings which have so much analogue body ithem they make me melt..

 

You can totally forget about a CD mastered version...Total destruction of the original recording..

 

Got to have a real system to realise this of course...

 

 



Edited by Karnevil9
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:30

PINK FLOYD - "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON"

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:35
I think the reason late 70s recordings suffer from "lack of body" as you put it is that all major studios moved up to 24 track and 48 track (two slaved machines) which tends to translate into (less width per track) so the sound wont be as "big" or "fat"  but I dunno, I actually usually prefer the "fake" sound of the late 70's. Its a real trip, and my studio has all late 70's equipment. Including an 8 track, a 1978 discrete console, and all sorts of goodies. The best sound I've ever recorded though is this--

My friend's 1973 EB-3 Gibson bass into my 1959 Wurly tube amp (original tubes) into my 1978 M15 console into my 1978 80-8 8-track reel-to-reel. I had to step out of the room cause the sound was so emotional. thanks for playing all! keep it coming!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:37
Originally posted by Fr3dMc Fr3dMc wrote:

how about rush farewell to kings?


hey now were talking! Thats some pretty amazing tracking going on there. I remeber being 15 and listening to the reverb on the left hand side of the vocal for "closer to the heart". I wondered two things:
1) why does the reverb sound so different than anything I have ever heard before? and
2) how do they get the reverb only on the left hand side???? well 3 years later I now finally foiund the answers!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:38

that lack of body you speak of adds to the quality of the music...70's prog rock its not over produced like the music of today..and it really adds to more of a pure listening experience i guess...the way the music actually sounded..rather then how the producer wanted it to sound

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:39
Originally posted by Jethro Fish Jethro Fish wrote:

PINK FLOYD - "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON"



apparently all the drum tracks were bounced, now thats utter talent.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:40

bounced?

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:47
Originally posted by Fr3dMc Fr3dMc wrote:

bounced?



well, I dunno I could be wrong, but I know for sure they were bounced down/reduced. They probably had a 2 inch 16 track machine, and used 14 or 15 of those tracks for drums and the other two for metronome or bass guitar maybe. The rest of the band is playing with the drummer (mason) via bus routing systems, so nick can hear everyone but hes the only one being focused on as far as recording is concerned. Then they take those drum tracks, mix the living sh*t out of them and then master them or "bounce'" them down to two tracks (stereo), and return the stereo mix of the drums somewhere in the middle of the 16 track tape (tracks 10 and 11 possibly, 10 panned hard left and 11 panned right). Then they have 14 tracks left to work with, with 15 tracks of drums crammed onto two tracks or one stereo track. i really hope that wasnt confusing
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:50

whoa....sorry i'm to stoned to understand....you sound like you know what your talking about..lol

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 03:58
Originally posted by Jethro Fish Jethro Fish wrote:

PINK FLOYD - "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON"


Watch the documentary "Classic Albums: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon" to see what Alan Parsons and the boys did production wise to this seminal prog work. My special favourite is the tape looping around a metal pole, in order to produce the cash register sounds in the wanted 7/8 time.
Marmalade...I like marmalade.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 05:17

Genesis - A trick of the Tail and Wind and Wuthering had brilliant production.

I never really appreciated the production on A farewell to Kings until I got the CD. The vinyl distorted terribly towards the end of the sides, and to be honest I will always prefer Hemispheres both in terms of the music and the production.

I love 70's production generally. It was more 'honest' than 80's and beyond. The instruments were recorded as they should sound, and not processed and messed around with. I love the production on selected Led Zep albums, especially Presence and Houses of the Holy.

Ultimately bored by endless ecstasy!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 05:31

Cluster One

Watch the documentary "Classic Albums: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon" to see what Alan Parsons and the boys did production wise to this seminal prog work. My special favourite is the tape looping around a metal pole, in order to produce the cash register sounds in the wanted 7/8 time.

The great thing about early recording is what the boys used as effects,like what you mentioned Cluster with the cash till effect...All this type of stuff that Floyd were masters at by the way,put no signature on the sound quality at all.Later productions were dosed with effects units & being multi tracked to death,resulting in a very norrow sound stage compared to early recordings..Who gives a stuff about crystal clear CD type sound production...We want natural full width analogue sound as it was intended in those days & sound far superior to me

 

You listern carefully to say ELP's first album on vinyl..you'll notice more space around instruments,drums are more forward,you can heare every nuance in Gregs voice,it's a big sound...Compare this to 'Brain salad surgery' the recording is no where near as good vastly compressed beyond belief...That advancement in recording & multi tracking for you..

Not!

& that was only '73...after all it was a very advanced album for the time.



Edited by Karnevil9
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 05:49

Originally posted by Cluster One Cluster One wrote:

Originally posted by Jethro Fish Jethro Fish wrote:

PINK FLOYD - "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON"


Watch the documentary "Classic Albums: The Making of the Dark Side of the Moon" to see what Alan Parsons and the boys did production wise to this seminal prog work. My special favourite is the tape looping around a metal pole, in order to produce the cash register sounds in the wanted 7/8 time.

 

Yeah, I have it on DVD. It's great!

All the best,
Per

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New cd: Salva "Left to burn", out now
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www.progressrec.com
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www.salvaband.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 05:50
Ambrosia - Somewhere I've Never Travelled and Kansas - Leftoverture where revelations to me when they were first released.

Do 'The Stanley' otherwise I'll thrash you with some rhubarb.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 06:00
Originally posted by Man Erg Man Erg wrote:

Ambrosia - Somewhere I've Never Travelled and Kansas - Leftoverture where revelations to me when they were first released.


ambosia is amazing...not familiar with that album in particular, but the one from 1975 with parsons on board.

Kansas- leftoverture right? 1977? When I first heard "magnum opus" I almost couldnt believe it was 70s. The snare sounds like, well much more advanced than the typical snare sound of the day, along with the guitar tones. Impressive mixing
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 06:16
Originally posted by Karnevil9 Karnevil9 wrote:

The great thing about early recording is what the boys used as effects,like what you mentioned Cluster with the cash till effect...All this type of stuff that Floyd were masters at by the way,put no signature on the sound quality at all.Later productions were dosed with effects units & being multi tracked to death,resulting in a very norrow sound stage compared to early recordings..Who gives a stuff about crystal clear CD type sound production...We want natural full width analogue sound as it was intended in those days & sound far superior to me

 

You listern carefully to say ELP's first album on vinyl..you'll notice more space around instruments,drums are more forward,you can heare every nuance in Gregs voice,it's a big sound...Compare this to 'Brain salad surgery' the recording is no where near as good vastly compressed beyond belief...That advancement in recording & multi tracking for you..

Not!

& that was only '73...after all it was a very advanced album for the time.




I hate to start flame wars, so dont take this offensively but I sort of disagree with what you say. You are absolutely correct, the less width per track results in less space per track and more noise floor per track. On the other hand, plus 4db is +4, aint no way around it. Sure brain salad surgery might sound thinner for the individual tracks, but that's the price you pay for having so many overdubs. I'll take the overdubs because, its still +four and each instrument still has its own space compared to what they are doing now. I usually prefer late 70's efforts, because the snare usually sounds a lot weirder, and the bass tones by the late 70's seemed almost "modern" due to natural technical progression, but still very primitive sounding , so that I like.

Relayer is the same exact way.My mother bought me the re-released one, that has an original 1974 studio run through. You will instantly notice that the drums are louder, and the bass is clearer and guitar is easier to hear compared to the actual mastered version. My mom said the same thing, that she preferred the "run through" version because things sound more "full and garage-like" in her own words, and true it does, but there are less instruments in the mix. The stereo buss wouldn't allow Yes to keep that same volume on drums with all those reverb sends and synth overdubs, along with mellotrons/orchestrons and all sorts of other crazy stuff going on. So when you hear the mastered version, the drums are lower and so is the bass, but this is how it has to be. Its absolutely worth it.

these days they are cutting CD's so much louder than vinyl, so much more that the lathe probably wouldnt even cut the record/vinyl and if it did, the record would probably start to catch fire or melt because 0 db fullscale is just absolutely silly. With these new advantages you'd think that things would sound better, but they don't. Its all about the tubes man.

EVERYTHING was build better in the 60s and 70s. They couldnt help it. It doesnt matter how sophisticated your medium is, running your bass directly into a console is going to yield marginal results. These days, for some reason, even if people do use 1176 tube compressors and all those exotic pre- amps, it still comes across as "bland" sounding. Not everything in the signal chain is 70s these days, which is a BIG problem for me. Unfortunately, I never got to see the 70s (and I really do mean that crying face)

If you buy a fener jazz bass from 1975, it will sound better than a fender jazz bass from 2005. There is a very real reason why, and it has to do with the wood being of higher quality, and that was before all the good 1000+ year old trees were taken (ever notice that maple on those 70s basses is much more yellow than now??). Everything was just flat out higher in quality, and people wanted to move on for whatever silly ass reason. Digital is STILL an immature technology in my eyes, and just recently learning about the only Tape manufacturer Quantegy being shut down made me want to kill someone. Im not a violent person, but I will smash a computer loaded with "PRO" tools if I have to. Recordings these days just flat out suck, and its so sad to know that new yes albums sound worse than OLD yes albums. Whats going on here folks? nobody cares anymore.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 06:20

BEST

Pink Floyd - Animals

 

WORST

Genesis - Nursery Chryme

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2005 at 06:35
KC: lark's tongue
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