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The "sound" of Caribou Ranch...
Old 6th February 2009
  #31
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex ➑️
I have become so obsessed with the records that were made at the legendary but now defunct Caribou Ranch, that I wanted to add a post about it to contribute to my side of the argument of TAPE VERSUS DIGITAL recording and how it relates to my views as a engineer, producer, and mastering engineer.

The records made at Caribou to me are the sound of tape and are the golden era of 70's and 80's recording. I just can't get enough of the etherial quality of the records that were made there. Do a search for the albums that were recorded at that studio. Amazing. Then listen to the sound... they all have this great analog magical beautiful quality about them.

Songs like Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me..." or Chicago's "Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry." It's unreal... and IT IS THE SOUND OF TAPE. For me, records like this support the argument for tape. Just listen to the sound of the voices blending. To me personally, it screams vibe and art. Also, the Neve 8028 they used was a huge part of the sound they had up there... if you look at the video closely, you can see it. Once again legendary.

I think people are curious about the "Tape" sound and the "Neve" sound. The music recorded at Caribou is that sound. That's just my two cents as an engineer, producer, and most of all music fan. So for all the new engineers out there that need a bit more of a history lesson, get real and pick up some of the BIG records. Then you will see the light. Brilliant!

Best,

J.A.M
Metroplex Mastering
Dallas, TX
Metroplex Mastering

YouTube - Chicago - Feeling Stronger Every Day
You don't suppose your favorite Chicago and Elton John Caribou tracks had anything to do with the fact they were recorded by two of the hottest gigging bands on the planet, with top-flight musicians who'd been in those groups for years? The Elton John band in particular at that time was just a crack touring outfit that also happened to be great in the studio. I don't want to rain on your obsession, but do you really think Caribou was the only place "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me?" would have been an immortal track? Don't get me wrong, I love Rock Of The Westies too, but "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" is one of the best songs ever written. It's even an immortal song when George Michaels sings it. I also think Gus Dudgeon would have been up to an equally fabulous production anywhere it was recorded. So you can convince yourself it was all that particular Neve and the house Fairchild or whatever, but you may be tripping. . .
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #32
Gear Maniac
 
Todd Loomis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex ➑️
Could you post some sound clips? How did the board sound compared to what you thought it would sound like?
Back then, I had very little experience recording at all... and little experience mixing... I don't think I really had a grasp on how special the board was. I had heard stories about it, but it sort of went in one ear and out the other at the time. Looking back now, I realize what an experience it was to work on it. I don't mind posting a link - it's just the end half of an old song anyway. It was done by a band called "Decanonized" that I was playing guitar for at the time... the track is called "Dancing".

Here it is:

http://www.thetwilightgarden.com/dec...ncing_clip.mp3

Like I mentioned earlier... the recording was done on the Neve 8016 that was originally at Caribou Ranch studio. The board somehow ended up at the University of Colorado at Denver where I was studying music engineering at the time. I believe it had 1066 preamps in it. We recorded to DA-88 tapes... it was mixed through a different board a bit later (maybe a Euphonix, but I can't remember).
Old 5th March 2009 | Show parent
  #33
Lives for gear
 
studio1117's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have a complete gear list used toward the end of Carribou if anyone is interested in what they were using. Most of it was carry over from the early days. a lot of Urei stuff, mm1100's, mm1200's and studer. EMT plates, typical Neumann setup of KM84's U87's etc. Quite a bit of eventide stuff (phaser,flanger 910's and 949's) actually a bit of Orban stuff, Weird huh? And as Todd said...a lot of wood and shag carpet.
Oh...remembering more now. Cooper time cube, early Kepex stuff, JBL 4311's. and by the end a NEVE 8078...which is buried out there. Couple of pretty famous piano's.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #34
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
i had to join this forum because of this thread as I am a big fan of the caribou ranch sound myself.

actually, the chicago VI album was the first chicago album to be recorded at the ranch, and it was recorded using the olive console that jwg brought with him from columbia recording studios in nyc where they recorded their first 4 studio albums.
i do not know what was used during the carnegie hall recording.
i am not sure when the neve console got up there, but the last chicago album recorded up there was XI in 77.

i enjoy the full bodied sound of caribou ranch recordings, it is dry and near.
still, i cannot really tell that i hear chicago vi was not recorded with the neve it has the same kind of sound - i would love to find out more about the other outboard gear and microphones used at the ranch.
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #35
RTR
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RTR's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
HAHA..Lip's Inc. recorded their I think!!!!
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #36
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KevWind's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
9000 not 10000

At the risk of being picky and anal the Invicta Records web site says "Caribou Ranch, in its idyllic setting nearly 9,000 feet up in the Rocky Mountains," as some one who lives at 8000 in the Rocky's, I've learned that every thousand feet over 5-6 really starts to add up ( in terms of getting oxygen in to the blood stream )especially while exerting ... What effect that might have on singing or recording.. I have no clue.. But that setting may very well have contributed to a positive attitude and focus !
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #37
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brill bedroom's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I've been listening to the recent reissue of Dennis Wilson's solo album that was done at Caribou and that's some really magical sounding music. His voice is somewhat ravaged throughout, but it really adds to the vibe, and the arrangements are pretty great.


YouTube - Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue (part 1)
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #38
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analogtodd's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, its over 9k feet, in Denver (5280ft) there is 1/3 the oxygen than at sea level.... you can REALLY feel 9kft!!!!

I've heard stories that they had little oxygen tanks in the tracking room, but I dunno...
Old 4th June 2009 | Show parent
  #39
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studio1117's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I heard that they had a hole in the roof cause there was always a lot of "snow" in that studio :-)
Old 10th September 2009
  #40
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
Consoles at caribou

THERE WERE ONLY 3 CONSOLES EVER AT CARIBOU RANCH! The first was the Olive console made in Canada. It was the first console put online in late 1972 and was online until December of 1974. Joe Walsh, Rick Derringer, Chicago, Madura, Weather Report, were a few of the records done on this console. PME Records - The Olive 2000 Console

The next console was the Neve that was just sold from Vintage King. It was a 8016. 24 input 16 track monitor. This console was only online from January 1975 to March of 1978

The last console that was in the fire was a Neve 8078. 1978- 1985 RIP

I feel sorry for the gent that bought the 8016 as it seems as if Vintage King states that all of the records were done on the 8016. How would you hook up a 24 trk machine with only 16 monitor returns

The Olive and the 8016 were the only survivors due to them being kept in another building. You can contact the ranch manager of the time John Carsello @ [email protected] to verify all of this.
Old 10th September 2009 | Show parent
  #41
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
OLIVE Console

Look at how far ahead Olive was with the first VCA automation package available, Dynamics on every channel (Gate, Compressor, 4 band EQ, 10 sends, just sick for 1972). Wonder where Neve and SSL got the idea from. This console was designed by Ed Mietner who designed the SACD format and Sonoma systems with 1 bit mega high sampling rates. He is still way above the curve in todays world. Olive memorabilia
Here are some cool pictures of the factory back in the day, ALL HANDWIRED WOW!
Old 4th October 2009 | Show parent
  #42
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Bob Johnston mentions new Caribou Records

In Montreal at McGill University, producer Bob Johnston mentioned a new label with James Guercio of famed Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado. Johnston wanted it called "United Nations", but we'll see about that! He mentioned 51 percent controlling interest to the artists, cost of retail cd built in to live show ticket prices via impending deal with Ticketmaster, so that every seat represents a seat sold, as the audience all receives a CD. Amazing guy, produced Dylan, Cohen, Simon/Garfunkel, Byrds, etc. Funny anecdotes that basically simmer down to working in perfect sync with Jewish American songwriters/musicians while simultaneously being screwed out of royalties, etc, by the Jewish American business men at CBS...
Old 4th October 2009 | Show parent
  #43
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Boschen's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisG ➑️
I grew up off Caribou Rd just down the road (dirt) from the Ranch. Nederland is quite a town, very quirky IE Frozen dead guy days.
Ned is quite the town, even today.

According to J.Pellillo, whom I worked for years ago at Boulder's now-dead 4th Stage Studios, and who worked as an engineer at Caribou during the golden years, the sound of their records came from knowledgeable staff taking full advantage of the studio's excellent gear to record very talented people in a gorgeous, almost ethereal setting.

He also told me they did lots of drugs, particularly cocaine.
Old 5th October 2009
  #44
Gear Addict
 
Philip S Bova's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex ➑️
I have become so obsessed with the records that were made at the legendary but now defunct Caribou Ranch, that I wanted to add a post about it to contribute to my side of the argument of TAPE VERSUS DIGITAL recording and how it relates to my views as a engineer, producer, and mastering engineer.

The records made at Caribou to me are the sound of tape and are the golden era of 70's and 80's recording. I just can't get enough of the etherial quality of the records that were made there. Do a search for the albums that were recorded at that studio. Amazing. Then listen to the sound... they all have this great analog magical beautiful quality about them.

Songs like Elton John's "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me..." or Chicago's "Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry." It's unreal... and IT IS THE SOUND OF TAPE. For me, records like this support the argument for tape. Just listen to the sound of the voices blending. To me personally, it screams vibe and art. Also, the Neve 8028 they used was a huge part of the sound they had up there... if you look at the video closely, you can see it. Once again legendary.

I think people are curious about the "Tape" sound and the "Neve" sound. The music recorded at Caribou is that sound. That's just my two cents as an engineer, producer, and most of all music fan. So for all the new engineers out there that need a bit more of a history lesson, get real and pick up some of the BIG records. Then you will see the light. Brilliant!

Best,

J.A.M
Metroplex Mastering
Dallas, TX
Metroplex Mastering

YouTube - Chicago - Feeling Stronger Every Day
I hear the sound of early Dolby A in alot of those records.

philip
Old 5th October 2009 | Show parent
  #45
Led
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Led's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had always heard 2 urban legends about Carribou - that one of the more troublesome multitracks was wheeled up a hill a pushed off a cliff, and of course the Caribou Girls. Both make me wish I'd been there.
Old 5th October 2009 | Show parent
  #46
Gear Nut
 
chess999's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
All I know is Chicago VI and VII have some of the coolest sounding recordings I have ever heard. Rich tape mojo, full of punch and life. If you don't know what I'm talking about then listen to the songs "Call on Me" and "Just you and Me". Hell just the opening hi-hat of the latter breathes like no digital recording or ITB mix I've ever heard before. Funny thing is, from the console history and dates posted above it seems those albums would have been recorded on the Olive console--not the illustrious Neve as these albums were released prior to 1975. Anyway, seriously listen to these 2 recordings in particular from the original wave format on your monitors or even your car stereo--truly amazing analog juiciness.
Old 5th October 2009 | Show parent
  #47
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jamwerks's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boschen ➑️
He also told me they did lots of drugs, particularly cocaine.
Ah, that must be the secret of the Caribou sound !!
Old 5th October 2009 | Show parent
  #48
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Led ➑️
I had always heard 2 urban legends about Carribou - that one of the more troublesome multitracks was wheeled up a hill a pushed off a cliff, and of course the Caribou Girls. Both make me wish I'd been there.

More info re: Caribou Girls, please.
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #49
Gear Maniac
 
lovespirals's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
listening to the lovely chicago 7 as i type this. to clarify what an earlier poster was wondering, chicago 6 was recorded on the olive while chicago 7 was done on the neve 8016. check out PME Records - The Olive 2000 Console as it clarifies which recording, just a handful actually, were done on the olive.
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #50
Lives for gear
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
wow wired? great record. I like dio last in line drum sound the best
Old 28th January 2010 | Show parent
  #51
Lives for gear
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by brill bedroom ➑️
I've been listening to the recent reissue of Dennis Wilson's solo album that was done at Caribou and that's some really magical sounding music. His voice is somewhat ravaged throughout, but it really adds to the vibe, and the arrangements are pretty great.


YouTube - Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue (part 1)
When he wasn't partying he really had a great voice. He wrote many great beach boys songs in the late 60's early 70's too. Very underrated and overlooked talent. He lived in the shadows of his brothers.... too bad. He eventually became a really great rock drummer too. (rip)
Old 10th June 2010 | Show parent
  #52
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
"close-up" on great drum sound at the caribou.
(ISO-track from the recording of ChicagoΒ΄s "Scrapbook")
Attached Files

Scrapbook - Center.mp3 (4.73 MB, 1480 views)

Old 28th July 2010 | Show parent
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
There are several accounts of people that were not impressed with the Caribou equipment, one of them is George Massenburg when he did Earth, Wind and Fire there... also Elton John supposedly cracked a joke that he wanted to know if he could buy the tape machine (with a serious face), then followed by saying, yeah, I wanna buy it so I can take it up to your highest peak here and kick it over the edge!

- Milt
Old 28th July 2010 | Show parent
  #54
Lives for gear
 
dabigfrog's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Our studio Frogville, in Santa Fe is at 7000 feet and we get a great low end, kick n bass here. I suppose 2000 more feet could make a big difference though! (we're 6 hours south of carribou)

sometimes I see performers here sucking on an oxygen tank if they drove straight up from LA or Texas... so it does take a few days to acclimatized!
stike
Old 28th July 2010 | Show parent
  #55
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Man that Chicago video killed me. I miss music like that. Growing up Chicago and Elton were my first 2 musical loves.
Old 28th July 2010 | Show parent
  #56
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loopy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I like the sound of the Amy Grant albums recorded there.
Real natural sounding IMHO.
Old 28th July 2010
  #57
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex ➑️
I have become so obsessed with the records that were made at the legendary but now defunct Caribou Ranch, that I wanted to add a post about it to contribute to my side of the argument of TAPE VERSUS DIGITAL recording and how it relates to my views as a engineer, producer, and mastering engineer.

The records made at Caribou to me are the sound of tape and are the golden era of 70's and 80's recording. I just can't get enough of the etherial quality of the records that were made there. Do a search for the albums that were recorded at that studio. Amazing. Then listen to the sound... they all have this great analog magical beautiful quality about them.


<snip>or Chicago's "Hard for Me to Say I'm Sorry."
I don't know about that.

It was the beginning of the David Foster/Humberto Gatica era of Chicago and the introduction of synths heavily into the sound of the band. To me from Chicago 16 and on the band sound became more synthesized and more "digital/commercial" sounding.
Old 16th September 2011
  #58
Gear Head
 
stackatrack's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Caribou Ranch

Gus Dungeon told me personally that when he went to mix "The Bitch Is Back" and " Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me " at Caribou Ranch...The front speakers were completely blown up.He had to mix that album on the rear quadrophonic speakers. Gus was one of the truly great producer-engineers of the 1970s. He was a drum fanatic...right Nigel ?
Old 16th September 2011 | Show parent
  #59
Gear Head
 
stackatrack's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh Yea

Quote:
Originally Posted by stackatrack ➑️
Gus Dungeon told me personally that when he went to mix "The Bitch Is Back" and " Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me " at Caribou Ranch...The front speakers were completely blown up.He had to mix that album on the rear quadrophonic speakers. Gus was one of the truly great producer-engineers of the 1970s. He was a drum fanatic...right Nigel ?
Plus by the way......Caribou Ranch is so high up in the atmosphere it was quite difficult to get vocals done because of it. The Beach Boys recorded their BG vocals in L.A. on dolby A gear.....Then by the time they transferred & mixed, the Dolby's were turned off. Listen to that song and the front end of it. Classic Dolby encoded tracks. Present & bright for sure !
Old 16th September 2011 | Show parent
  #60
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The Caribou 8016 is at Prime Studio in Austria.
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