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60's Drum Distortion Clip
Old 25th January 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
60's Drum Distortion Clip

Lately I have been listening for distortion in some 60's pop music. There are many examples that are really interesting. There is one for which I have attached a WAV sample from I'm sure you know where (hope I can get away with this by the way.)

What I'm interesting in in this clip is in the kick drum, I think. Listen just past the snare drum fill and you'll hear several full-band fortissimo (really loud) hits. All the hits have a distorted sound. But on the 6th hit listen closely to the sound of the distortion in the drums...

What is creating that sound? I feel like it is the kick drum but it could also be a low tom or a combination?

Is it the sound of the drum signal overdriving the preamp creating some kind of distortion?

Is it just the sound of the drums hitting tape hard?

Limiting?

Is it something done in the mix?

In the master?

A combination?

Something else altogether not having to do with overdriving a preamp, compression or saturating tape?


All I know is that I really dig the quality of the sound and I would be interested to hear any technical thoughts on it. It sounds like more than the drummer just hitting the drums really f'ing hard. I would really appreciate any ideas on how it was achieved. I would be interested to know of the minimum recording chain that could possibly reproduce this distorted kick/tom sound on the way into a DAW. I would also like to hear any ideas on how to possibly approach recreating the sound using a clean and strong kick or low tom track in combination with processing and plugins etc.

Also, on the chance that this sound was not in the original release I do want to mention that I think that the version that I took this clip from may be from a modern re-master of the "II" album as the waveform has a 0.1dB peak in my DAW. I Don't know historically if older recordings peaked up there.
Attached Files

WLL kick dist..wav (4.29 MB, 1724 views)

Old 25th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Sounds to me like it is the snare drum rattleing when the kick hits, not distortion!!
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearaddict ➑️
Sounds to me like it is the snare drum rattleing when the kick hits, not distortion!!
Thanks for the reply.

Hey, anything is, possible but I really don't think that it's sympathetic sound of the snares though. Listen with headphones. I have heard this kind of crunchy drum sound of here and there and at times were it could not have been the snares in sympathy.
Old 25th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
TYY
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🎧 15 years
I've never heard the song before, but I agree that it sure sounds like snares rattling to me. I'm sure there's plenty of other compression/limiting/saturation going on at various stages, but I'm pretty sure that what you're hearing is the snares.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TYY ➑️
...but I agree that it sure sounds like snares rattling to me. I'm sure there's plenty of other compression/limiting/saturation going on at various stages, but I'm pretty sure that what you're hearing is the snares.
+1
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have heard this song in all its released versions including vinyl. It has always sounded like this. I've always noticed and loved this effect since the first time I heard it.

As far as I can tell, this is NOT sympathetic snare ringing. Everything on the track gets compressed and distorted at that point as the sum of all the instruments maxing out exceeds the tolerance of some piece of equipment in the mixing chain. The distortion adds incredible power to these hits. It sounds like the band is so loud it's just blowing up the whole system.

My instant gut feeling the first time I heard this was that it's tape compression. And that's what I still think. I think they were mixing this really hot to the master 2 track and ended up hearing it, liking it, and perhaps even pushing it to get more of it.

I think it's also possible that some kind of buss limiter is going into overdrive here.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarsBot ➑️
I have heard this song in all its released versions including vinyl. It has always sounded like this. I've always noticed and loved this effect since the first time I heard it.

As far as I can tell, this is NOT sympathetic snare ringing. Everything on the track gets compressed and distorted at that point as the sum of all the instruments maxing out exceeds the tolerance of some piece of equipment in the mixing chain. The distortion adds incredible power to these hits. It sounds like the band is so loud it's just blowing up the whole system.

My instant gut feeling the first time I heard this was that it's tape compression. And that's what I still think. I think they were mixing this really hot to the master 2 track and ended up hearing it, liking it, and perhaps even pushing it to get more of it.

I think it's also possible that some kind of buss limiter is going into overdrive here.
Exactly!

Yes, obviously I agree and feel strongly that it is something more than snare ringing. As you pointed out, there is a ton of distortion in the bass and ryhthm guitar. There are indeed plenty examples of Bonham's drums being overdriven on other recordings anyway. This is just one instance that I found very beautiful. This part of the song is just amazing and I think that the fact they pushed it so hard with the recording equipment really added to it. Anyone that listens to it really give it a try on headphones and I think you should hear something more than snares. Additionally, there are a lot of examples in 60's music of distorted kick drum so it's not like it would weird for the kick drum in a Led Zeppelin track to be distorted anyway, guys. It's the high point of the track to boot.

Still, even if it was the snares, how can I record a kick drum and get that sound? I don't now have the kind of equipment to be able to do this on the way into Logic. I just have an Apogee Duet at the moment and as nicew as it is for clean tracking I can't really get any color out of it as far as I can tell.

I'm just looking for a 2-channel recording chain and I want to lean toward something were I can get this kind of overdriven sound with sculpting options on the way into Logic. I can do allright with plugins, Vintage Warmer is nice, but I want a real preamp and limiting chain. I am looking at getting perhaps a Chandler TG-2 and also one of the Chandler limiters/compressors but not sure which on yet.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
If you really really want this sound, get a tape deck. You could even do this with a good cassette deck. Take your kick track and run it very hot into the cassette deck. Keep pushing the levels and listening back until it's distorting the way you want it. Then dump that cassette recording back into Logic and line it up with the original track. Reel-to-Reel tape decks are probably going to do this even better. If you're after that exact thing that zepplin is doing there this is what you need.

You can also get some kind of tube device and try overdriving it. That can come close, but it probably won't splatter in the same way.

Vintage Warmer can sort of do this. But you should demo these two plug-ins to see if they'll do this special thing. I have both and I think they might:

Virsyn TAPE
SPL TwinTube

By the way, I knew which song that was going to be before I even played your audio file. The first time I noticed that effect I just about lost my mind and sat there playing the track over and over. I think that's Eddie Kramer and Jimmy Page working together to create a mix. Search online and you can find one or both of them talking about that mix. I've read the discussions but don't recall the details.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
The VTAPE Saturator is pretty nice. There's an audio demo on the site of a drum kit track looped 7 or 8 times with more saturation each loop. For anybody interested, here's the link. As saturation increases with each loop the kick gets nicer and nicer. You can start to hear a similarity to the file I posted.

http://www.virsyn.de/Demo/VTAPE/Satu...ompression.mp3

Interesting how the plugin seems to effect the kick more than anything...

I tried a little on my own drums tracks to achieve the same quality with the Vintage Warmer on a room mic but could not quite get there as I think I don't actually know enough about how that plugin and indeed compression/limiting works in the first place. And of course Vintage Warmer has so many controls and possibilities that I haven't really wrapped my head around how to use it for what I want yet. My attempts invariably end up way over the top in a bad way. I'm learning though... If I come up with something I'll post my own example in comparison to the VTAPE clip.

Thanks for the tip, MarsBot!
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
I'm one of the few that think the Vintage Warmer is overrated. It can do its own thing I suppose, but I really don't hear anything like a tape sound out of it, and I'm always surprised to see people make that association.

I'm all about 60s sounds, and I think, for alot of VW users, they're really referring to a more modern idea of a "retro" sound. E.g. as a special effect to sound lo-fi on one particular part. I tend to go for 60s sounds all the way across the mix.

I haven't tried VTAPE, though I'd like to some day...

I use and recommend Voxengo's Tape Bus, and I think it can get that sort of tape distortion crunch on the loud kick.
Old 26th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jook ➑️
I'm one of the few that think the Vintage Warmer is overrated. It can do its own thing I suppose, but I really don't hear anything like a tape sound out of it, and I'm always surprised to see people make that association.

I'm all about 60s sounds, and I think, for alot of VW users, they're really referring to a more modern idea of a "retro" sound. E.g. as a special effect to sound lo-fi on one particular part. I tend to go for 60s sounds all the way across the mix.

I haven't tried VTAPE, though I'd like to some day...

I use and recommend Voxengo's Tape Bus, and I think it can get that sort of tape distortion crunch on the loud kick.
I'm absolutely all the way into 60's sounds as well - except for some modern country stuff that I do. I've heard everything about VW. I've been using it for a couple of months and so far I find that I really like it on any rhythm type of guitar passage. I track guitars through a Les Paul guitar and a Les Paul Jr. amp. I keep the volume knob on the cabinet at about 9 o'clock and if I need a little more complexity and fullness VW is just the thing.

Works great on the electric bass tracks that I deal with - though I have to say that the preset for bass is a little too off the hook.

I can't really get it under control on drums yet though.

It has a great sound on certain vocal notes, phrases and words. It really depends though. It's really easy to do too much across a vocal track.

I do like it on the 2mix though. I prefer it much much more than any of Logic's compression plugins for that purpose. In addition, it seems more reliable where peaks are concerned than any of Logic's metering.

It probably is overrated though and as I said I really don't know how to use it yet.
Old 15th July 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hes playing ghost 8th notes on the snare when the kicks strike.
Just try layer a real loose snare over the top of your kick and maybe high pass it?
Or some white noise?
or maybe try run the kick through an amp/ overdrive simulation and gate it.
Hope this helps
Dave
Old 15th July 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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tarnationsauce's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It sounds like someone was riding the faders to tighten the bass to the kick, or minimizing snare rattle and noise.
It sounds like a couple times they overshot a little while riding the faders, especially on the 2nd to last hit.
Old 15th July 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Kush Audio
 
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🎧 15 years
This kind of crunch is the sound of an analog circuit being overdriven, nothing more nothing less. You can get it in a lot of different places, but usually the place it happens most markedly in a mix like this is overloading an input strip on a console and/or overloading a summing amp, be it on a buss or on the whole mix.

The secret is to overdrive just a little bit at every stage: pre, tape, line in, insert comp, buss, mix buss, tape. You gotta learn to work the edge of the headroom on every amp in the path. Accumulated distortion the most effective way to the old school dirt we all love.

There are a ton of semi-pro, extremely affordable little consoles from the 70's/80's that will go a long way towards crunching your tone out in pretty sweet ways.


Gregory Scott - ubk
.
Old 15th July 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Alex Specht's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dizz1 ➑️
Hes playing ghost 8th notes on the snare when the kicks strike.
and the master bus / tape are being over driven.

this is not a kick drum fx but an effect put on 2guitars, bass kick, snare, hat

too much distortion, but that being said, it is not an annoying clipping type of distortion.
Old 20th July 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
The interesting thing about "Whole Lotta Love" is that the distortion on the mix becomes more prominent as the song goes along - it's pretty clean in the first verse compared to the last. Actually, it may simply be that from the break-down onwards the poor mix-bus is just being killed. A couple of interesting points - you can hear an edit going into the breakdown where the levels jump, but also there is some compression happening on the mix bus, as you can hear the recovery time between those hits you posted. Plus in the breakdown at one point the vocal gets really loud, pushing everything else down.

I also always wondered if when Plant is singing "keep-a-coolin' baby" and they hit the echo send really hard whether they actually meant to turn the panpot, as they were panning the vocal before that...the tape delay before the plate really distorts there (I think this was mixed at A&R in NYC, if I'm not mistaken).

dc
Old 20th July 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
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First hit or two catching the compressor off guard, causing it to clip (if I'm understanding where you're talking about).
Old 21st July 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Kush Audio
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny Caccavo ➑️
I think this was mixed at A&R in NYC, if I'm not mistaken

I don't know where it was mixed, but I know it was tracked at a half dozen demo rooms around the states while they were touring in '69. Or so says Page in 'Studio Stories'.

Demo gear = dirt!


Gregory Scott - ubk
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