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Why exactly was the panning of first Beatles albums that way???
Old 24th September 2011
  #1
Gear Head
 
ipizzo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Why exactly was the panning of first Beatles albums that way???

Well, that.
Why do they put drums, guitar in one side and bass and voice in the other???

THANKS!
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #2
Lives for gear
 
camerondye's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Because it sounds good. Remember stereo was brand new...the rules are always changing and back then there weren't rules yet.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Well,

Waaaay back, there werent many panning options. You basically had 3 choices: hard left, hard right, or center.
Old 24th September 2011
  #4
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
They had karaoke in mind - just kidding, the reality was that they knew no better, because those were very early days for stereo. Stereo singles were mostly played in mono anyway. AFAIK the first Beatles albums were recorded on two-track machines, so probably it was more practical to record voice on one channel to minimize instrument pickup.
Old 24th September 2011
  #5
Gear Addict
 
van Overhalen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The first LP's were never meant to be released in stereo.
They were meant to be released in mono only.
George Martin made the decision to record the voices and instruments on two separate tracks, so that he could balance them easier later in the "mix".
Later it was decided (by their american record company I think) that the early records had to be released in stereo as well.
And the only way for a stereo release was instruments on one and vocals on the other side.

Later records were released in stereo as well but mono was always the format that got all the attention and energy. Stereo was only a fast job afterwards since it was considered a gimmick at the time and nobody had stereo equipment at home. There were no - drums, bass and vocals have to be in the middle, guitars panned left/right etc - standards like there are today.
Engineers just were creative with stereo and fooled around a bit.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by van Overhalen ➑️
They were meant to be released in mono only. George Martin made the decision to record the voices and instruments on two separate tracks, so that he could balance them easier later in the "mix".
That's actually correct, but most of the world never really gets the whole understanding of how those days were. GM wasn't the only one tracking like that. Most everyone did that before a final mono mix. Although some were lucky to at least have 3-track there early on. I think GM was still limited to bouncing between two twin tracks to build stuff for awhile there.

I'm also sorta remembering that the later twin track releases even surprised and annoyed Geroge Martin. As I remember, he didn't know about the plan or sign off on it.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
A lot of records were done like that in those days. I was just listening to a Mammas and the Pappas CD the other day, several of the songs were like that.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Not sure about the first couple of albums, but after that I believe a lot of it was down to the way the Redd desks were configured which only allowed either hard left or hard right panning which didn't leave many options as they were only working with four tracks.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
Magic Alex's Avatar
Most of the answers here are correct to an extent... but mainly, as previously stated, stereo was new, so the rules weren't yet set.

Secondly, it was a track count issue. They took some tracks and had to bounce to make room for others.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 
intolerance's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I believe Geoffrey Emerick still cringes when hears those mixes in stereo.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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Marcocet's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Yep. The Beatles themselves were never involved in the stereo mixes. They put their voice in for the important one (mono) and then GM would go do the stereo mix on his own at a later date.

Does that make the mono mixes more authentic? I don't know. But they're certainly different, especially for someone who was raised on stereo CDs.
Old 24th September 2011
  #12
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipizzo ➑️
Well, that.
Why do they put drums, guitar in one side and bass and voice in the other???

THANKS!
The first Beatles album was mono, there was no panning at all.

It was recorded on a 4-track recorder and when someone wanted to do a "stereo" version, there is not a lot you can do with only 4 original tracks that were only ever designed to be a mono recording.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
van Overhalen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle ➑️
I'm also sorta remembering that the later twin track releases even surprised and annoyed Geroge Martin. As I remember, he didn't know about the plan or sign off on it.
AFAIK he was quite shocked actually.
He absolutely hated that the music was presented that way.
And off course they did it without his approval.

I always loved it because you can hear so deep into the recordings...
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by intolerance ➑️
I believe Geoffrey Emerick still cringes when hears those mixes in stereo.
I am starting to as well.

Don't get me wrong.....
Huge beatles fan.
But, when we listened to the stereo versions after spending a couple of days with the mono ones, it is really hard to listen to.
Actually, I can't stand to listen to it.
I never thought I would say that.
Old 24th September 2011
  #15
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by camerondye ➑️
Because it sounds good. Remember stereo was brand new...the rules are always changing and back then there weren't rules yet.
Nope, you got it all wrong. There was no multiple- tracks like today's.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Guru
A better question is why everything is panned the same way now days.

Everyone plays it safe and boring.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
theeverettdale's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Actually I think that occurred when Geoff and Ken were using this new stereo width plug-in. By the time they realized what happened they had already printed, so they grabbed their favorite summing mixer for the mono mix.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
theeverettdale's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
A better question is why everything is panned the same way now days.

Everyone plays it safe and boring.


I think the old stereo mixes are great! I especially love the Zombies album the Geoff worked on! the typical modern mixes are SOOO boring and predictable!
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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turk sanchez's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
A better question is why everything is panned the same way now days.

Everyone plays it safe and boring.
What he said^
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #20
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Ward Pike's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I've read interviews with Paul McCartney and others, done back in the 80s, where Sir Paul stated that the technology they had to work with was much lesser than that available on the left side of the pond.

Would that explain why many mid-late 60s records from the Beach Boys and Hendrix had a lot more creative panning and track placement?

I'll admit the first time I listened to the Beatles records in "stereo" , as a kid in Junior High around 1980-81, I was very underwhelmed.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
Back in 1965 my folks got a new wizz bang component stereo system, new at that time. It was built into a 9' cabinet with 2 12" Soundcraftsmen speakers with horns and tweeeter level controls. It had a reciever and a Sony 250 tape deck. (That was a good reason I'm here).

The low end was quite good and I heard something new too, high frequencies.

The Beatles 1965 stereo issue Rubber Soul was amazing on that system. I could hear everything, the instrument panning was new and great, I loved how vocals were on one side, I could pan over to the other and study the guitar parts. It sounded deep and wide, nothing like it at that time. I recall the album notes mentioned new vinyl cutting technology for a better disc than what Capitol had done before.

Low frequencies were summed to mono as was done on all vinyl records to keep the needle in the groove. That limit is now gone with CD's, but few have taken advantage of it. The rest was wide as they could do, even with only -20 db crosstalk on the cartridge, it was WIDE!

That record was a technological breakthrough, something most don't understand unless they were there. After that, America was hooked, everything was stereo.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Another example of the pioneer stereo days is the Stones "Satisfaction."
Wild panning.

You have to remember what the general public were listening on in the early and mid 60s--, victrollas and "suitcase" models with the turntable and fold out speakers. Old scratched up 45s played with a filthy stylus...rock and roll had begun.
Old 24th September 2011 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
a lot of early Aretha Franklin, too

My first machine was a 4 track and even when I was planning for stereo, I did not feel I had the tracks to 'burn'. If it was a choice between having the 'stereo spread' or having a track available for creative overdubbing ideas, the stereo went out the window.

When you only have 4 tracks, they are "too valuable" to use another track for anything other than a "mix element".

You could pan "the band" into stereo to balance out the guitars and center the snare etc. But that would use up 2 of your 4 tracks, leaving you with only 2 tracks for overdubs. So people would put "the band" onto one track and have 3 tracks for overdubs. That extra track made a big difference in keeping something separated, like the backing vocals from the lead vocal, etc.

Some guys still pan a few mixes like this. Jon Brion comes to mind.

As long as you are not sitting too close to one speaker, I think this kind of panning can sound great, and it never really 'bothers me'. Jim is right, people are too conservative about it these days.
Old 30th September 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
The odd panning in the early Beatles' records is a consequence of the wiring of the REDD.51 desk used for mixing. According to the REDD.51 handbook, the console was designed with stereo recording of symphonic, opera and oratorio music in mind. The orchestra was recorded in stereo on the first two tracks of the tape. Tracks 3 and 4 then were reserved for spot balance of solo instruments or orchestral sections. The console had four tape replay inputs on faders 1, 2, 7, and 8. Tracks 1 to 4 were routed to these four faders usually in order. Track 1 to fader 1, track 2 to fader 2, track 3 to fader 7 and track 4 to fader 8. The console had four sub-group faders, called Main faders. For stereo mixing Main faders I and II were usually used. Main faders I and III were hard-wired Left, Main faders II and IV were hard-wired Right. For stereo mixing, faders 1 and 7 (tracks 1 and 3) were routed to Main fader I, and faders 2 and 8 (tracks 2 and 4) were routed to Main fader II. Hence, contents of track 1 (drums and bass) and track 3 (lead vocals) ended being panned Left, contents of track 2 (guitars) and track 4 (lead vocals) ended being panned Right. However, one could narrow the panning of either fader pair 1 and 2, or fader pair 7 and 8, by using a stereo width control called spreader. This meant that the orchestra could be recorded in stereo on tracks 1 and 2, and the soloist vocals or instruments, on tracks 3 and 4, could be brought to the centre of the stereo image by using the spreader control. This was usually the case of the early Beatles' stereo mixes. For instance, on Beatles for Sale and Help!, tracks 1 (drums and bass) and 2 (guitars) are panned left and right respectively, and tracks 3 and 4 (vocals, lead instruments and percussion) are panned almost to the centre. The first two LP's were recorded on twin-track, with rhythm group on track 1 and lead instruments and vocals on track 2. Since, track 1 went into fader 1, and track 2 into fader 2 of the console, track 1 ended being panned left and track 2 ended being panned right. According to Recording the Beatles, for the third LP, 4-track recording was relatively new to the Beatles sessions and tape tracks were filled in the order in which they were recorded. Then when mixing for stereo the hard-wiring of the REDD.51 console made some wierd stereo positioning of instruments that did not please George Martin, so the LP was mixed on a REDD.37 console with full panning on all faders.

Regards.
Old 30th September 2011 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq ➑️
a lot of early Aretha Franklin, too

Yes was just listening to her stuff the other night thinking about that... also Burt Bacharach produced stuff pre 1970 which has that quality...

I love it...I love the separation that it gives to individual instruments....and wish more music today had the balls enough to pan "traditional" or non-conventional by todays standards...
Old 30th September 2011 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by van Overhalen ➑️
The first LP's were never meant to be released in stereo.
They were meant to be released in mono only.
I know that's the conventional wisdom, and even George Martin says that, but it's a bunch of crap. The first Beatles album was released in stereo just over a month after the mono version, the second Beatles album was released in both formats on the same day - and I'm talking in England. So how could they have never been meant to be released in stereo?

I'm getting the dates from Lewisohn.

-Kirk
Old 1st October 2011 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
jmikeperkins's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's the drums being panned to one side that sounds so strange now that we have been conditioned to always put the drums in the center. One thing that really amazes me about the Help and Rubber Soul albums is the incredible warm sound of the giant 1" 4 Track Telefunken (either a T9U or a M10). The later Studer J37 is usually considered the classic Beatle tape deck, but as great as that machine was, it does not sound as good to me as the Telefunken.
Old 1st October 2011 | Show parent
  #28
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
A better question is why everything is panned the same way now days.

Everyone plays it safe and boring.
Not everybody!! Eric Valentine has done a few rad things. Joe Barresi does too. Jake Jackson can be pretty radical.... it's only boring old chart bound stuff that's "conventional".
Old 1st October 2011 | Show parent
  #29
Moderator
 
narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
Back in 1965 my folks got a new wizz bang component stereo system, new at that time. It was built into a 9' cabinet with 2 12" Soundcraftsmen speakers with horns and tweeeter level controls. It had a reciever and a Sony 250 tape deck. (That was a good reason I'm here).

The low end was quite good and I heard something new too, high frequencies.

The Beatles 1965 stereo issue Rubber Soul was amazing on that system. I could hear everything, the instrument panning was new and great, I loved how vocals were on one side, I could pan over to the other and study the guitar parts. It sounded deep and wide, nothing like it at that time. I recall the album notes mentioned new vinyl cutting technology for a better disc than what Capitol had done before.

Low frequencies were summed to mono as was done on all vinyl records to keep the needle in the groove. That limit is now gone with CD's, but few have taken advantage of it. The rest was wide as they could do, even with only -20 db crosstalk on the cartridge, it was WIDE!

That record was a technological breakthrough, something most don't understand unless they were there. After that, America was hooked, everything was stereo.
nice post!!
Old 1st October 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
wormburner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I also prefer the majority of the Beatles rekkids in their mono versions, as only Let it Be & Abbey Road are the 'true' stereo albums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmikeperkins ➑️
It's the drums being panned to one side that sounds so strange now that we have been conditioned to always put the drums in the center. One thing that really amazes me about the Help and Rubber Soul albums is the incredible warm sound of the giant 1" 4 Track Telefunken (either a T9U or a M10). The later Studer J37 is usually considered the classic Beatle tape deck, but as great as that machine was, it does not sound as good to me as the Telefunken.
Rubber Soul & Revolver are both dripping with chime. I'm pretty sure the Tele's freq curve is a direct contributing factor in that sound. The albums just sound....alive
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