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What makes up that "70s sound"?
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #31
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nebelfrau's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassica ➡️
If only it was that simple.

I think playing and also culture. This is just my observation, but it seems the great virtuoso players of the 70s actually had fun too - went out, took drugs, travelled, loved playing, enjoyed life and had 'something to say' in their playing.

Nowadays the disciplined virtuoso players are bedroom bores who have all the licks and chops but make the most utterly tasteless music (with a few exceptions of course).
Modern musicians with any true artistic credibility have opted to skip the learning and use technology. That's where the 70s sound has been lost, in my opinion.
Playing and virtuoso? Maybe. Also consider that the decade just also had it's own style. A musical evolutions, if you will. For instance, a lot of rock bands from the time were more inspired by music that was decades old (blues) and inherently made their own style out of it. Which lead to a plethora of other genres. Also, music hadn't been made insane yet. More experiments were accepted then than now. Because it hadn't happened. More ground to break, as it were. Consider the stylistic difference between a band heavily influenced by LSD (Pink Floyd) and a band that found it's sound because their guitarist was missing bits of fingers (Black Sabbath). Two vastly different takes on blues inspiration from two bands that started roughly the same year (pending your view of "starting"). The 70s were a crazy time and a lot of good stuff came from it.

If anyone thinks that music then is better than music now is not looking hard enough. The spirit is still alive, it's just being drowned out by all the other crap that, unfortunately, can be spread to 10,000,000 people with the click of a mouse. And since it's overtly pushed in our faces, we the consumer are now the quality control, not labels.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
johnnygri's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? ➡️
You will need vintage players with vintage instruments, in vintage rooms running through vintage mics and pres, into vintage mixers and outboard, recorded on vintage tape decks running tape with vintage formulations, then mixed by hand with vintage outboard to a vintage 1/4" tape machine running another vintage formulation, then sent to a vintage mastering engineer who mastered it with vintage outboard and then cut it with a vintage lathe and it was then plated in a vintage plating plant and then sent to be pressed in a vintage pressing plant.
If the next Waves OneKnob plugin does that, I'm buying it.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #33
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpsiegel ➡️
...I don't think you can make across the board assumptions about the players being better...
That really depends on early '70s vs. late '70s. The folks who got record deals in the early '70s definitely were better. They weren't any more talented but they were typically far more experienced performers and the competition they had surpassed in order to get their financial backing was far more challenging.

Unfortunately there has been a steady decline in the number of paying gigs that has continued to this day. I don't think there is anywhere near the real opportunity today that there was in the early 1970s. My sincere wish is that we can do something about that. The answer is not ever cheaper recording crutches.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #34
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
That really depends on early '70s vs. late '70s. The folks who got record deals in the early '70s definitely were better. They weren't any more talented but they were typically far more experienced performers and the competition they had surpassed in order to get their financial backing was far more challenging.

Unfortunately there has been a steady decline in the number of paying gigs that has continued to this day. I don't think there is anywhere near the real opportunity today that there was in the early 1970s. My sincere wish is that we can do something about that. The answer is not ever cheaper recording crutches.
Sad but so true...

if I read articles like this one
Faust: Hans Joachim Irmler,
especially the part about the budget -wow, impossible today.
500000 D-marks were a lot of money at that time.

Last edited by MoteOfVoid; 18th September 2012 at 03:34 PM.. Reason: One zero to much ;)
Old 18th September 2012
  #35
ozy
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ozy's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample ➡️
What do you think are the key ingredients for the 70s sound? Is it tape machines? The instruments used? The studios? The engineers? The musicians? The music? The drugs? All of the above?
They dedicated to making music the 2 hours a day currently spent by musicians and producers on Gearslutz.

2 hours a day x 5 years = a guitar player could learn playing a mean piano as well, or perfect his singing, or dig into production techniques, or study new scales and harmonies, or visit places and find news flavours and meet people...

All of it would make for a better guitar sound when he went in the studio.

Let's shut the internet down and see what happens to music.

Here I go.

Old 18th September 2012
  #36
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample ➡️
We all know music from the 70s has a distinct sound (much like music from any decade really). What do you think are the key ingredients for the 70s sound? Is it tape machines? The instruments used? The studios? The engineers? The musicians? The music? The drugs? All of the above?

I've been listening to English 70s rock bands non stop today and they all share this velvet crunchy smoothness. I especially noticed it on the drums, this nice soft kick and snare but that still punches through. The basses are draped in velvet, the guitars are crunchy yet clean. The volume seems generally lower compared to today, and I noticed the reverbs they use sound much different than rock recordings of today. They also use much more obvious panning I noticed (eg hard panning the drums left and vocals right). Perhaps this has something to do with it?

I mention rock here, but electronic music of that decade share similar characteristics.

Part of me wants it to be a simple answer, but I know the reality is probably more complex and involves interaction between multiple different factors.

Has anyone else given some thought to this? I'd be curious to hear what you think (especially those of you who were actually alive during the time to witness it first hand haha).
There's a thread on this subject every month or so..

1. everything was tracked thru consoles and onto tape
2. studios were often acoustically dead
3. production was relatively unsophisticated; you didn't parallel compress every single track, with surgical EQ, etc. that people do now
4. drum kits were treated with muffling
5. there was pretty much only one reverb in use (EMT 140)
6. people didn't use room mics (compressed or otherwise) like they do now, so the stereo image on the kit was generally narrower, and often in mono early in the 70s, and instruments were seldom double tracked like people do now as a rule. When was the last time you heard a contemporary rock record where a single guitar appeared without a double tracked copy in the other ear? Never.
7. Guitar overdrive & distortion wasn't as refined as it is today.
8. no perfect time-aligning.
9. there were certain fashionable styles of music playing in the 70s that define the sound

I don't think the specific musicians matter that much. Bernard Purdie is still alive, yet people still only listen to the recordings that he made in the 70s. Why? Because of the quality of those recordings--the production and the melodic/harmonic/rhythmic qualities. The reason why contemporary music doesn't share those same qualities is because they were already done before in the 70s, and people don't want to completely retread the past.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #37
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebelfrau ➡️
As time progressed, the signal path got cleaner and cleaner. Don't know who along the way decided the sound wasn't good enough/wanted more clean.
i worked a while for the company that took over the service for the neumann consoles and discussed that topic with the former neumann developers because i am much in favor of theire old consoles that sound way more coloured and jazzy than the newer models. They told me that mainly the soundengineers from the broadcast industry required cleaner desks because they hated that the desk added too much of its own sound to the signals they had to mix. By the german broadcast norm each module of a desk had to be transformer isolated from the others..so you had 10 transformers in the signal from input to output of the desk already. Resulting in a sound of the old consoles that reminds to a small room around the signals and very smooth transients.
Maybe not ideal for people that want a console that acts like a cable...
So Neumann followed the wishes of theese most money strong customers from the national broadcast stations and build cleaner and cleaner sounding desks. The last models from the late 80´s are very transparent/neutral sounding in comparison to the early 70´s consoles

I guess in other countries there might have been similar reasons.. even without the german broadcast standard that required so many transformers...
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #38
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🎧 10 years
Cocain, LSD, reffer and David Bowie.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #39
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioconsult ➡️
And also the room design in the studios..
I dont know when it has started to record drums in acoustical dead small rooms.. But many old records was done in one big recording room with the band together playing it in one take.. that makes things more alive sounding.. from the playing and the involved acoustics.
Anybody interested in vintage studios should visit Memphis Tennessee if you can get the chance. Seeing the inside of Sun Studios and Stax was very educational for understanding how recorded music changed from the 50s through the 80s. Rock & Roll / Soul / R&B not so much electronic...
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #40
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nebelfrau's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioconsult ➡️
i worked a while for the company that took over the service for the neumann consoles and discussed that topic with the former neumann developers because i am much in favor of theire old consoles that sound way more coloured and jazzy than the newer models. They told me that mainly the soundengineers from the broadcast industry required cleaner desks because they hated that the desk added too much of its own sound to the signals they had to mix. By the german broadcast norm each module of a desk had to be transformer isolated from the others..so you had 10 transformers in the signal from input to output of the desk already. Resulting in a sound of the old consoles that reminds to a small room around the signals and very smooth transients.
Maybe not ideal for people that want a console that acts like a cable...
So Neumann followed the wishes of theese most money strong customers from the national broadcast stations and build cleaner and cleaner sounding desks. The last models from the late 80´s are very transparent/neutral sounding in comparison to the early 70´s consoles

I guess in other countries there might have been similar reasons.. even without the german broadcast standard that required so many transformers...
While I can not vouch for the U.S., that does seem very reasonable because for broadcasters, they would need a very clean signal path as to not transmit all the hiss and static over the airwaves. Don't radio stations overly compress these days anyway?

Also, that's a bummer the broadcasting market dictated what the studios had to do.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #41
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️

Unfortunately there has been a steady decline in the number of paying gigs that has continued to this day. I don't think there is anywhere near the real opportunity today that there was in the early 1970s. My sincere wish is that we can do something about that. The answer is not ever cheaper recording crutches.
I read Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight recently. It's interesting reading about how many gigs he played with The Experience, and how small they were. Mostly in theaters. In the book it says that all the gear, including the PA, fit in a Station Wagon.

It was also interesting reading about how building the Electric Lady studio cost over a million dollars ($5 million in today's money, give or take). And the building was already there.

So here's a question: Suppose there was a band that played 70's style music, and suppose they wanted to make a CD with a vintagesque sound. Assuming limited budgets, what would they do? Based on prior responses, it sounds like play together in a big room, and limit the use of EQ and compression.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #42
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by piper ➡️
I read Hendrix: Setting the Record Straight recently. It's interesting reading about how many gigs he played with The Experience, and how small they were. Mostly in theaters. In the book it says that all the gear, including the PA, fit in a Station Wagon...
I hope it also went into the years of professional experience he had before The Experience.

People's first bands were rarely successful and it was unusual to score a hit record before one's second major label "deal."
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #43
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
I hope it also went into the years of professional experience he had before The Experience.
It definitely does, but they aren't as well documented. The author discusses all the groups he played with prior to The Experience, and all the records he was recorded on, and his previous contracts. But with The Experience he is able to talk more about specific venues and touring schedules, presumably because of access to company records. Or maybe just because that's where most of the interest lies. I dunno.

But regarding experience (no pun intended) and practice, that is a definite necessary ingredient to being a good musician. My wife has been playing with a rock band for about a year. They're all experienced musicians, but they haven't really gelled as a group yet. Each person can play his or her own parts well, but they're not always together musically. To relate things to this thread, they mainly play 70's music.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #44
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
I hope it also went into the years of professional experience he had before The Experience.
I'd really like to hear some recordings from the Blue Flame -- the band he was in with Randy California just before the Experience. I read that Jimi wanted to bring Randy along to England as well against the wishes of Chandler (and Randy's parent's -- he was only 15).
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #45
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluegreengold ➡️
I'd really like to hear some recordings from the Blue Flame -- the band he was in with Randy California just before the Experience. I read that Jimi wanted to bring Randy along to England as well against the wishes of Chandler (and Randy's parent's -- he was only 15).
Jimi Hendrix (Jimmy James & The Blue Flames) - I'm A Man 1966 - YouTube

Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #46
Lives for gear
 
sameal's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➡️
It's not so much that they could as it was the fact that they had to.


i'd say this has alot to do with it.

i wasn't even thought of in the 70's unfortunately. and i feel i missed probably some of the greatest music i've ever heard because of that.

but musicians and engineers then were facing much greater challenges in all aspects of the production then we are now requiring much greater determination to get that final product and there expression.

i do feel on the reverb end anyway, they were using much higher quality boxes and plates.

i feel tape had a small impression on the sound however, nothing compared to what it took to get to the tape.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #47
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebelfrau ➡️
Also, that's a bummer the broadcasting market dictated what the studios had to do.
you cant say that.. the big broadcast consoles seldom found theire way into pop production studios when they was new.. half a million for a console? But there was definitely a trend towards a cleaner sound from valve times to now. As older the gear as warmer the sound seems to be a law.. See neuman summing amps.. the oldest model that is fully discrete build does sound warmer than the later models that first use discrete build opamps and than integrated op amps..
But all are good.. Than the upcomming digital recording also changed the sounds ideal aso..

One of the neumann developers i talked to was one of the original guys that did it allready in the 1930´s when audio technology still was the brand new rocket science. He told me that at first they havent use measurements as refference so much..rather trying by ear to optimize the circuits for a natural sound. Before music was consumed mostly live beeing within one room with the musicans.. They wanted to get that sound out of transmission chain. Transport the concert in the living rooms. Some of theese old valve radios have a very good sound.. they are actually great for hip hop.. at least the models from the late 50´s early 60´s that have an extended bassrange to cope with the upcomming rock music..

Than with the first transistor circuits some of the broadcast engineers complained because for them the new transistor amps appeared rather cold in sound..so they tried to have them as close to the former valve modules as possible. And indeed..some of theese first generation transistor modules sound more valve than modern valve equipment.

But after that first transistor modules listening refference wasnt an issue for them anymore.. only technical data to be superior there in the competition with the other companies. less distortion = cleaner sound..

so an evolution from natural warm sounding devices rather desgned by listening reference towards most neutral perfect technical data devices.

Now where the digital production is all clean and only produces nasty artefacts warm coloration is in high demand again.. at least for music production.. And people that are after a vintage sound probably would benefit from an old discrete build or valve console more than from tape saturation.. maybe.

I would think a combination of an vintage console and producing on tape is most responsible for the sound aspects the OP describes..
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #48
Thanks for all the good info everyone, I've learned a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa ➡️
There's a thread on this subject every month or so..

1. everything was tracked thru consoles and onto tape
2. studios were often acoustically dead
3. production was relatively unsophisticated; you didn't parallel compress every single track, with surgical EQ, etc. that people do now
4. drum kits were treated with muffling
5. there was pretty much only one reverb in use (EMT 140)
6. people didn't use room mics (compressed or otherwise) like they do now, so the stereo image on the kit was generally narrower, and often in mono early in the 70s, and instruments were seldom double tracked like people do now as a rule. When was the last time you heard a contemporary rock record where a single guitar appeared without a double tracked copy in the other ear? Never.
7. Guitar overdrive & distortion wasn't as refined as it is today.
8. no perfect time-aligning.
9. there were certain fashionable styles of music playing in the 70s that define the sound.
This is all good info, thanks.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #49
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Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample ➡️
Thanks for all the good info everyone, I've learned a lot.



This is all good info, thanks.
Interesting list. #2 Studios went out of their way to control ambient reflections, but that was part of the industry..you had to go there to record and long before the notion of doing that in your house appeared. Control rooms had a "live end" and a "dead end". An engineer, a second engineer (ususally riding the two track and placing microphones, etc. ) and a producer.

#3.. I think of Italian cuisine on this one... no need for overloading the recipe with a bunch of stuff. Just use fresh quality ingredients. Possibly something to say about some of that old tube stuff...perhaps not. I listen to some of that old Beatles suff with George Martin and I hear lot's of magic in the production, but also out of tune guitars and sometimes things compressed too much. However the material transceded it all and then the end result became the cake that was baked.

#5 Plate reverbs were the order of the day. I'm not sure when Lexicons started to emerge, springs were in there too. Doubling of tracks happened,, but with many recordings,,so much was "live off the floor".

$7 Ask Jimmi Hendrix about guitar overdrive...or the Canned Heat for that matter. But when "Boston" hit the scene, I think some things started to change in terms of where that could go, and it generated a whole new saga.

But really,, think about Deep Purple "Machine Head" people experimenting with sounds and processing them....an evolution.....similar to science or physics....cumulative building blocks of knowledge and experience. Like Rosin on the bow of a Cello.
Old 19th September 2012
  #50
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Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Check out Lou Reed's "Transformer" "walk on the wild side" listen to the opening bass line....most of you have very high quality speakers....It's a very remarkable sound. That whole record is extremely well produced. "perfect day" Some good stuff
Old 19th September 2012
  #51
Gear Maniac
 
Kelly Cameron's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
70's...

-Tape
-Tubes
-Big tranny consoles
-talent (you had to be able to play, and fans were actually waiting for the solo back then, good leads MATTERED)
-funky groove influence
-post 60's psychedelia production influence
-low output humbuckers!
-real keyboards
-leslies
-big deep snare drums

More warmth in the rawness? Great time thats for sure. Great music.


Sent from my MB860
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #52
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodsample ➡️
I wonder if someone today was to use the exact same gear as they did back then whether they'd end up with the same sound..
Check out Sharon Jones and Dap Kings if you have'nt. They're probably the closest I've heard to recreating that sound with the same equipment. Though its still missing something, idk, like the vibe is not totally there. I'm sure there's others today that use the same equipment too, thats just who came to mind first.

Another to check out is G Koop and O-Man on youtube. They use all of the old instruments, rhodes, clavinet, moogs, guitars, etc but record to pro tools I think, and imo they got the vibe down better than the Dap Kings who record to tape. Because they're better musicians I think, but coud just be personal preference
Old 19th September 2012
  #53
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Something I always find interesting is so many ppl say they like the old 70's/80s music better than todays music, but then when you have artists that play that style today, the same ppl say its not loud enough or the drums don't hit hard enough, lol.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Cameron ➡️
70's...

-Tape
-Tubes
-Big tranny consoles
-talent (you had to be able to play, and fans were actually waiting for the solo back then, good leads MATTERED)
-funky groove influence
-post 60's psychedelia production influence
-low output humbuckers!
-real keyboards
-leslies
-big deep snare drums

More warmth in the rawness? Great time thats for sure. Great music.


Sent from my MB860
This is so true..just reality. It made me think of this.....In the 70's ...all of those things had become standard skill sets. Really the pinnacle of that mode. it bled into far into the 80's as well. Forgive this analogy... but it's like the Jeep Cherokee...they just kept refining it it..perfecting it. But beyond that,, and back to what Kelley cameron posted...this was a bunch of methods and highly skilled people using them. Really, this was the art of recording, and it evolved and became something extremely effective that merged art and science. You don't get there overnight. Highly specialized skills in a few discrete disciplines. Very few people can be gifted composers and also exceptional producers and engineers. "no man is an island" not to be cliche... but some truth there.
Old 19th September 2012
  #55
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Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
One last thought.. Listen to Elton Johns "Madman Across The Water" listne to the title track of the same name. That goes back far beyond when I even thought about any of this. That track is the epitomy of skilled people crafting somes guys gifted voice with some other gifted guys songwriting capabilities.....the gifted voice and the talented songwriter are given variables in that equation,, but The silky perfection of that record required a gifted producer and engineer in order to make it happen. and wow. ( I don't listne tho this stuff often),,, this is sonic purity. The mix is art,,, the sounds are beautifully recorded, and it's a masterpiece. The crisp resonance on the vocals tell a story about someone that knows how to capture a great track, but also how to elevate it and let it shine. There are some really innovative techniques and recording vehicles used on that record. Some subtle ones used on the hit single "Tiny dancer" (that was in the same league as Rocket Man...pop hit's 101)
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #56
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Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
So...dug deep.....turned over a rock and found ABBA....Dancing Queen and SOS.... now if that isn't 70's please tell me what isn't?. You almost don't want to admit you love both of those songs...but resist peer pressure... let it go and succumb to the fact that they are both magical hits....There.. I said it. Not to mention the fact that the blond chick pretty much defined the European female paradigm... The arpeggio just before the chorus happens in SOS almost defies logic. it's a goose bump moment....but that whole thing with it's minor feel meets major chords has a lot to do with why it's a legend.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #57
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknobeam ➡️
Not to mention the fact that the blond chick pretty much defined the European female paradigm..
are you from simbabwe?
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #58
Lives for gear
 
Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Nah!.... I'm just a child of the universe.
Old 19th September 2012
  #59
Lives for gear
 
Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
But now I'm listening to Foreigner's first record....THis thread has stirred up the asbestos. And well.. that Foreigner album is no slouch... Some synths started to appear....Liking it.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Teknobeam's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Now it's Steely Dan's "Katie Lied" Transistor and a large sum of money to spend.

Bad sneakers and a pina colada my friend.

Ha! Laughfin at the frozen rain
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