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Listening to cd's on my iPod and then came the Beatles...Weird!
Old 8th February 2009
  #1
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James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Listening to cd's on my iPod and then came the Beatles...Weird!

Oh my God it's like they just invented the pan knob and the boys were hittin' the bong too hard.

The strangest most distracting experience. Vocal hard left, drums hard right with guitars and bass kind of somewhere else not sure. I think the first song I heard was Taxman, man it was weird sounding.

That music is better on a stereo not headphones.
Old 8th February 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
Colonal J's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That is funny, although I never listened to The Beatles over Headphones, I have noticed the hard panning.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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vernier's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Those recordings were meant to be mono ..they were recorded mono, and only later when the record label wanted a stereo version, they had to go back and deal with it.

But the hard panned mixes are like surround ..better than the boring safe stereo spread that has become the norm, imo.
'
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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ScumBum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I read somewhere that mixing boards back then only had three positions you could pan to . Hard Left , Middle , Hard Right . The pan knob could only click to these three positions . Which explains why alot of old mixes where so extreme .
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier ➑️

But the hard panned mixes are like surround ..better than the boring safe stereo spread that has become the norm, imo.
'

I'll respectfully disagree with that.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
A lot of music from that time is very similar. Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland' is all over the place in terms of panning. Can't remember which track it is but the mix engineer is constantly moving his vocals all over the stereo image. I personally quite like the way that they used to do this. Just remember which side the vox are on if you're sharing earphones with someone on a long journey!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
.

yeah, james - zep 2 was a harsh example of that, as well...

i was in a music store a few years ago which had the stereo field spread across the whole store,
and at one point the rhythm section just totally fell apart...

lik WHOOOOAa - where'd the freeking bass and snare go...???....wtf???
....and why are the vocals and guitars constantly appearing and disappearing??..

funny.

however, on my mono tape recorder (in 6th grade, back in the 70s) - the **** rocked...

.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadsweeper ➑️
A lot of music from that time is very similar. Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland' is all over the place in terms of panning. Can't remember which track it is but the mix engineer is constantly moving his vocals all over the stereo image. I personally quite like the way that they used to do this. Just remember which side the vox are on if you're sharing earphones with someone on a long journey!
The title track and 1983 come to mind.

In general the use of the stereo field on that record is one of the main reasons I first turned a knob. I personally appreciate being left or right as opposed to centrist any time.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sqye ➑️
.

yeah, james - zep 2 was a harsh example of that, as well...

i was in a music store a few years ago which had the stereo field spread across the whole store,
and at one point the rhythm section just totally fell apart...

lik WHOOOOAa - where'd the freeking bass and snare go...???....wtf???
....and why are the vocals and guitars constantly appearing and disappearing??..

funny.

however, on my mono tape recorder (in 6th grade, back in the 70s) - the **** rocked...

.
Yeah the sh*t does rock!
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
which explains why panning is not as important as we sometimes believe. as long as it's there and it's good, who cares.
Old 8th February 2009
  #11
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
Oh my God it's like they just invented the pan knob and the boys were hittin' the bong to hard.

The strangest most distracting experience. Vocal hard left, drums hard right with guitars and bass kind of somewhere else not sure. I think the first song I heard was Taxman, man it was weird sounding.

That music is better on a stereo not headphones.
As we all know from the various memoirs from those involved, for most of the Beatles' history, the mono mixes had all the care put into them and the stereo mixes were an afterthought. Stereo was slow coming to most teenagers in the UK. But even here in the States, until the mid-late 60s, singles and the mono mixes for them were the primary focus of everyone's attention in the rock world.

As is often discussed, most big budget projects were recorded to 3 and later 4 track machines in that era, doing a stereo remix from 3 tracks where one track has the entire rhythm section, another track has the lead and back up vocals, and another has the horns, strings, and lead guitar (for instance) didn't always offer a lot of options.

If you want to hear some nasty stereo, check out the original stereo releases of the early Byrds albums. (IIRC, stereo versions of the first few albums weren't even available for a while.)

Making things just that much more interesting is the fact that the single versions of a rock albums were often badly squashed (the original loudness wars -- as labels vied to have the loudest single in the changer stack or on the jukebox). But the mono versions of the albums (when there even was a stereo version) sometimes had the best mix (unless one likes the wacky stereo that comes from trying to coax a stereo mix out of a three track production master that simply wasn't conceived as ever ending up in stereo).
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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dropblacksky's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A producer I often work for does a lot of classic-style 50's-60's rock, so we've done a lot of mixing with drums on left, bass on right...etc. Personally, I'm glad he seems to be over it, but it can be interesting and fresh to listen to at times...especially since 99% of people use the stereo space in pretty much the same way these days... (Drums across whole field, bass/vocals in center, guitars wide panned)

Agreed that it SUCKS to listen to with headphones, though.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
I read somewhere that mixing boards back then only had three positions you could pan to . Hard Left , Middle , Hard Right . The pan knob could only click to these three positions . Which explains why alot of old mixes where so extreme .
That's my understanding too,.. explains why a lot of the first recordings are so "stereo".
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Being a relatively early adopter [and evangelist -- everyone's worst nightmare, a 13 year old, monomaniacal technophile who just will not stop talking], I spent a lot of time listening to music releases designed to show off stereo.

They leaned to orchestral and jazzy big band -- when they weren't rolling a 47 car long freight train between your speakers -- and one label, Command Performance Records, started by big band leader Enoch Light, a studio and hi fi buff, apparently, made quality recordings their raison d'Γͺtre -- and filling the hole in the middle their grail quest.

The players were usually top flight studio guys (Doc Severinson, Dick Hyman, Tony Mottola, and others formed a fairly steady stable of players), the arrangements often a little longer on splash than, say, probing intellect, the playing jazz-y but disciplined.

Since they were generally tracking live, they opted to create a dedicated center channel using the third track of their recorder -- rejecting conventional stereo tracking (in large part) and resulting phase issues and going with the up front, super-clean approach some folks call multi-point mono.

Their marketing material could be a little tough to take. They liked to talk about how their revolutionary recording strategy created a virtual center channel, creating a much more satisfying stereo experience. By... getting rid of true stereo. heh

That said, it became an influential production strategy, and when multi-point-mono was hybrized to include stereo drums, the dominant modern paradigm was starting to fall into place.
Old 8th February 2009
  #15
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A LaMere's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
Oh my God it's like they just invented the pan knob and the boys were hittin' the bong to hard.

The strangest most distracting experience. Vocal hard left, drums hard right with guitars and bass kind of somewhere else not sure. I think the first song I heard was Taxman, man it was weird sounding.

That music is better on a stereo not headphones.
Haha... I've totally had this exact experience..
I LOVE the Beatles..
but agree that strange panning choices sometimes ruins music listened to through headphones.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
A lot of that strangeness was also just experimentation. There was no experience with it... it was new.

On the other hand, a few years ago I pulled out my Beach Boys Stack'o'tracks album and was wearing headphones when "Let him run wild" came on. If you aren't familiar with Stackotracks, it's just the instrumental tracks, IN STEREO! And that song, Let him run wild, was SO GORGEOUS in stereo even with no vocals. Very evocative, natural, and effective.

So at least in some cases, the recording was done with stereo capability and then mixed to mono. I mean, stack o tracks was released in like 1968 or so... hardly the golden era of stereo, but it actually sounds very cool.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadsweeper ➑️
A lot of music from that time is very similar. Hendrix's 'Electric Ladyland' is all over the place in terms of panning. Can't remember which track it is but the mix engineer is constantly moving his vocals all over the stereo image. I personally quite like the way that they used to do this. Just remember which side the vox are on if you're sharing earphones with someone on a long journey!
I think the difference is that on 'Electric Ladyland' the panning is intentional and not just a 'mono afterthought'. Listen to 'House Burning down' and the way the burning guitar moves across the spectrum. 'Moon... turn the tides' is absolutely mindblowing as well.

As a teen I used to stay up late at night and listen to 'Electric Ladyland' on headphones in the dark, it was an incredible experience as I really got the feeling of being inside the music. I love the panning on these Hendrix records and really think that it has become extremely boring and predictable in most modern rock/pop.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
I read somewhere that mixing boards back then only had three positions you could pan to . Hard Left , Middle , Hard Right . The pan knob could only click to these three positions . Which explains why alot of old mixes where so extreme .
I don't know about other desks then, but I believe the Abbey road ones had limited options on the panning.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Also, remember the context.

They hadn't been listening to 30 years of "kick/snare/vocal up the middle" mixes.

Think of where surround was 5-6 years ago (and arguably still to an extent today). There was no standardized stereo mix technique at that time, it was a new bear to tackle. Look at some surround mixes coming out lately: some are basically a fuller stereo mix with ambient things behind, some spread the band all the way around, having instruments come from behind, and some turn the whole image around 180 degrees.
Old 8th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Ngr
Gear Maniac
 
Ngr's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
they monitored their mixes in mono,
panning was only due to the premixes they had to do to deal with the limitations of the EMI 4 track tape machines.
first record that was meant to be stereo and featured a stereo recording of ringo's kit was Let it be.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Interesting how the use of headphones is the prism for this discussion of panning technique, both old and new.

As I learned to mix I spent way too much time between the cans.....my mixes were definitely of the 'safe stereo spread' variety.

It wasn't until I scored some decent monitors and began mixing in mono at low volumes a lot that my mixes started to open up a little and more creatively occupy the stereo field.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Paul McCartney told a story, in the Anthology I think, about being at parties or somewhere , and sitting by a speaker chatting with someone, and then saying, "oh listen to this bit", and then it comes up, but whoops, must be in the other speaker.

And of course, Lennon said he often preferred the mono mixes, specifically the stereo Revolution had all the guts taken out of it.

I wonder how many threads about The Beatles recordings there have been...they've got to be number 1, right? As usual. Even the flaws are worth talking about 40 years later.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Sqye's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny ➑️
Interesting how the use of headphones is the prism for this discussion of panning technique, both old and new.

As I learned to mix I spent way too much time between the cans.....my mixes were definitely of the 'safe stereo spread' variety.

It wasn't until I scored some decent monitors and began mixing in mono at low volumes a lot that my mixes started to open up a little and more creatively occupy the stereo field.
.



.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
mattssons's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Big fan of hard panning!

Just find that on some of this old songs it just gives a tremendous depth to the sound. My own little theory is that it works so well because of the spill/leakage so even if the drums are all hard left, the drum "spill" can be heard in the "right" piano for example as it was common to cut with whole band playing. /Toby
Old 9th February 2009
  #25
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Ha...

I always thought that the panning of 60's rock recordings were really interesting... Refreshing as well. And I feel like one can, through cutting the right or left channel on one's monitors, even gain additional insight into the sound/recording technique of various instruments through these extreme panned mixes. Also really interesting to hear how each channel sounds by itself and then how the sound changes (are summed) when put back together.

An additional upside... In some instances, it makes transcription a lot less hectic! Especially if you are doing EXACT, EXACT, EXACT transcriptions of parts. Turing off one channel allows one to, in some instances, isolate a particular instrument and maybe gather more of the details about the pitches and exact articulation etc. that was going on in, say, the guitars for example.
Old 9th February 2009
  #26
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kurt's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
Oh my God it's like they just invented the pan knob and the boys were hittin' the bong to hard.

The strangest most distracting experience. Vocal hard left, drums hard right with guitars and bass kind of somewhere else not sure. I think the first song I heard was Taxman, man it was weird sounding.

That music is better on a stereo not headphones.
That’s because of sound on sound recording technique. Record hard panned drums & bass, than guitars while transferring the whole to the next tape recorder. & So on & so on..
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Mastering
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScumBum ➑️
I read somewhere that mixing boards back then only had three positions you could pan to . Hard Left , Middle , Hard Right . The pan knob could only click to these three positions . Which explains why alot of old mixes where so extreme .
The other reason is: What else do you do with four mono tracks? Usually they were mixed in mono and then someone scratched their heads and tried to decide what to do to make it stereo with four source tracks. Then as it moved to 8 tracks, people still wanted to put ALL THE DRUMS on one track so they could experiment more. It wasn't until we moved to 16 track that stereo recording practices increased.

Some engineers, though, were very daring. Fred Weinberg did an incredible job with Joe Cuba's classic "Bang Bang Push Push" album that I remastered a couple of years ago.The 1966 source tape sounded just as fresh as new, it was in great shape and the sound does not come across as "fake stereo". I called Fred (who's still working today!) and he said that he made it a point to record a lot of the instruments in stereo and premix them (he had a lot of confidence in his blending ability) and that a lot of the performances were (as was the case at the time) real with little or no overdubbing, so the leakage also was stereo.

It's an amazing R&B-Boogaloo record, you all should get it!

BK
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
You mock the Beatles? You're going to Hell!
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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DJamesGoody's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
For me, creative panning is essential because it makes listening a more dynamic experience. Just like the Whole Lotta Love middle section, or listening to Hendrix in a store...... you'll hear an almost different song by walking from one side of the store to another.

I love that. Most folks are way too safe now..... listen to the early stereo Esquivel stuff, and marvel at the use of space.....

Different strokes I suppose.
Old 9th February 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I love bold panning choices. I wish more clients would let me get away with it.
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