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Old Mixing Desk

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by TaySte_2000, May 13, 2002.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Back in the day (60's) there were some great song produced and we all crave the vintage gear that it was recorded on 60's jazz basses, b15 amps, but what about the mixing boards and reel to reel recorders used. What were the mixing desks and recorders found in most studios in the 60's would you use one today or is it better to record as much digitally as you can then add all the valve and faulty wiring sound to the recording later?
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Many studio boards back in the 60s were custom made. By today's standards they are quite primitive and don't have many channels.

    The first "name" boards were mostly from the UK: Neve, Trident.

    Old boards do have a unique sound. No you can't get that sound from digital plug-ins.
  3. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    You can sometimes rent those old boards. You should ask Spacegoat, he knows quite a bit about boards.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Just don't expect miracles to happen.

    Most gear of today sounds better and is more useable. And renting a Neve board for a demo cd is pure overkill IMO.

    Why repeat the past when there's so much new stuff that has almost limitless potential for new ideas?

    Sometimes I feel like I have to scream when I hear just one more "vintage J" sound. :(

    Sorry for the rant. :D
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I hear ya JMX, it's just that sometimes when you want a certain sound the only way to get it is to use old gear that makes that sound.

    A mellotron (keyboard) is a good example. Sure, modern samplers are technically much better, cheaper and easier to use but only a mellotron sounds like a mellotron.

    The other thing to keep in mind is a good sound is always a good sound. Just because other sounds have come along since then doesn't make the old one bad, ya know?
  6. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I respectfully disagree completely with the previous post (2 up actually). You'll find that the majority of high end studios are loaded with vintage gear and, in fact, taht's one of the major selling points for most studios. Obviously, recording geeks are fetishists about the latest technology as well, but any intelligent studio owner is going to advertise his Neuman mics, his Neve mic pres, his pultec and Fairchild compressors, all that suff and the reason is... (drum roll)... it sounds better than the modern crap. Of course, there's a ton of old gear that is just old, but a lot of it was manufactured to a much higher standard than todays mass produced gear. It's hand wired point to point, there aren't circuit boards between your signal and your tape (and most serious engineers still use tape at some point in the process unless it's not possible for budget reasons), and the really happening studios are realizing the possibilities of using old school gear in conjunction with pro-tools and all the other digital editing software that's out there.

    If you want a good bass tone, play through an Ampeg B-15 and mic it with a good old German mic, and lay it to one track of 2" tape with a bit of tape compression. Also split the signal with a high end DI, put it through a good compressor and put that on another track of your 2' tape- blend to tase and when you get a mix you really like, fly that over to pro tools if you must.

    Most modern gear is just trying to approximate what is already out there at a lower production cost. We live in age of marketing and advertising over substance and those who really use their ears have an advantage over those who believe the ads in gear magazines.
  7. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Corin, they make some really good "crap" nowadays as well. But it costs. And instead of buying that new $500,000 console with a dedicated tube pre in every channel strip :eek:, you can get an excellent used console for less than half of what that tubemonster costs. That's probably why many stick with the old stuff, which everyone knows works and sounds killer already. ;)

    I don't think I've heard anything recorded in the 60's, 70's or 80's that I think sounds better than some of the more recent recordings. Now, if every pro studio uses the same vintage gear now as they did back then, what gives?
  8. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I trust you'll forgive me for disagreeing with your last statement there, but that's a matter of personal taste. To my ears, a lot of modern recordings sound very sterile, over- processed and phony and don't hold a candle to some of the best recordings of the 60s and 70s which were cut on more primitive gear but relied on great songs and killer performances. That's besides the point, though. What I was pointing out is that a lot of the newer gear that people covet (and I'm thinking specifically fo the fab sounding Avalon gear and Summit mic pres and other really nice tone- shaping gear) is an attempt to reproduce the tonal characteristics of vintage gear, but add modern convenience and flexibility. I think that we're at a really fascinating spot in modern recording where people are realizing the potential of cool analog equipment for getting tones on the front end and the powers of digital gear to store and edit it. As much as I love the sound of tape (as far as I'm concerned, all bass & drums should be cut to 2" 16 at 15 IPS- and then taken to digital through good converters if neccesary), one cannot deny the amazing potential of digital editing and storage.

    What was I on about? Oh yeah, I think it's a cool time to be making recordings as we seem to be comfortable with using the best from both worlds. It's a big advancement, in my mind, from just a few years ago when everyone was recording everything all digital. I think there's a whole lot of music out there that will sound very flat to listeners in the very near future. Especially to all the poor bass players. It's hard as hell to get any excitement into a bass track as it is without having recording technology working against you.

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