Recent Recording Experience - Vintage Rules!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by GrooveWarrior, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. I have been in a "real" studio a handful of times in the 16 years I have been playing. Most of them have been newer and very nice. Saturday I went to record with the guy who used to be our praise and worship leader at church. We were at Jewel Recording Studio's in Mt. Healthy (Cincinnati), Ohio. It has been there since 1961, and I had never heard of it. It is owned by Rusty Cook, who is in the rockabilly hall of fame. Lonnie Mack recorded an album there, etc.

    Now for the good stuff. I walked in, and had a feeling that it would be a good experience when I saw an old Spectrasonic console, Studer 1/2" reel, and a 2" reel in the closet. We actually recorded to ADAT, so that wasn't as good, but not bad. I had always heard about vintage outboard gear and how great it was. Well, they had it in spades. Teletronics LA-2A (original - purchased new for the studio when it came out) compressor, 2 LA-3A compressors, 2 Pultec EQ's, a Lexicon 200 reverb unit, etc.

    I started talking to the engineer and told him I was really excited to see that he had an LA-2A, and that I had never heard one. He said, "you'll hear it today, that's what I'll use on your bass, and maybe some EQ from the Pultec." I was excited. I had brought my new Warrior signature 4, but had also brought my Fender Jazz with flats on it. I was fully expecting this seasoned engineer (mid '50's, has been in music since he was 15) to request the Fender. He said no. He said, "you get more tone out of a round wound string". He also said "I bet you paid a lot for that Warrior, let's see if it was worth it!"

    This was the first time I had recorded with the Warrior, so I was curious. I set it flat, then bumped the mid up a little, cut treble a tad, and bumped the bass a little. I rolled up to the MM style pickup just slightly. I was listening through the headphones as we recorded and it sounded good, but you know how phones can sometimes sound a little chorus-y, so I wasn't sure.

    I went back into the control room for playback, and was blown away!!!!! The Warrior through the LA-2A was incredible. The engineer said that it may be the best bass tone he has ever heard. We recorded a couple more songs (some I had never heard or played before, but had charts) and the bass sat really well. After the session, the engineer asked for my number in case he needed a bass player on any sessions. I was thrilled.

    Bottom line. Vintage gear is where it's at. I do recording in Garage Band just to noodle. There is no substitute for a real studio with tubes glowing and tape rolling!!!

    Just thought I'd share. Good time.
  2. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Good to hear about Jewel Recording Studio. My father lives about 2 blocks from there and I've always looked at the sign as I drive by, but never went in.

    I think one reason the old sounds better is that there are few options. A lot of the digital stuff lets us mess with sound in ways that we never have before...and add lots of FX together, not always for the best.

    But then.... there is nothing quite so nice as tape saturation. A good engineer can do wonders with that.
  3. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    There's just something about that old stuff. Back when I was getting my recording engineer education, in the years right before affordable digital recording really took off, I recorded a lot of my band's stuff in the school's main studio. Otari 2" reel deck, a couple of old Urei compressors, vintage tube mics, and bunches of other old outboard gear and instruments (including an ancient Fender Rhodes and a few vintage Moog, Oberheim, and Roland synths) acquired from a local studio that closed down. Loved it! For the life of me I can't remember what mixing board was in there though.