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Author Topic: archaic recording techniques make a comeback?  (Read 6044 times)

Offline steveidosound

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archaic recording techniques make a comeback?
« on: June 04, 2009, 01:05:06 PM »
From John Mellencamp's website -

"Meanwhile, more information on John's tentatively-titled forthcoming album "No Better Than This" has been made available. Recording will take place during the summer in Savannah, Georgia at the first African-American church in the U.S., as well as at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis and possibly the Brunswick Building in Dallas where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded. To achieve that vintage sound, John will record using a 1951 Ampex portable recording machine and only one microphone, requiring all the musicians to gather together around the mic. The entire recording and mixing process, then, will be in mono-and in the same manner as those classic folk blues recordings of the 1930s and '40s"


I am excited about this!
I found out through the Ampex list that it will be done on a  600 series Ampex portable "field recorder".
Some absolutely amazing stuff was recorded using techniques similar to this.
The older recordings mentioned at the end were of course actually recorded direct to disc, some on portable units from Presto and the like.

The thing is, I have lots of this sort of equipment and microphones and good rooms and friends that are acoustic artists in various styles.
And I think that for every step we have taken forward in quality with going to dead rooms, multi track and now digital, we have lost some essence of the sound they got when capturing all that sound energy from the room and the performance of the musicians all entering the recorder via limited micing with acoustic balance, simultaneously.

I think I am going to have to force my self to do the hard work necessary to restore some semblance of this sort of portable tape (and disc) recording equipment, both mono and stereo, and go out and make some of these types of recordings with it before I die.
Steve Williams

you don't want to know what equipment I listen to...

Offline ironbut

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Re: archaic recording techniques make a comeback?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2009, 07:05:05 PM »
I've got a whole pile of entries to the Ampex list I haven't read but I was keeping current when his manager or whoever, sent out the query about what equipment to use for such a project for an undisclosed "major artist" to use. I think that Mellencamp was one of the musicians that someone guessed.

I'm glad that he got hooked up with a nice machine (although I hope he has some technical support for the adjustments he'll need to make as he moves that machine around the country).  The suitcase version of the 600 was a machine that was suggested a few times.

I'm a big fan of the "location live recording" like the "Trinity Sessions" by the Cowboy Junkies and that "4 Generations of Miles" download that I just used at the CanJam event (folks just raved about that one!).
Since I do a lot of listening on headphones, having the sound of a real venue is fantastic and I really wish that more recordings were done that way.

So how long will it be before we see a "Recorded by Steven Williams" release on the TAS list?
steve koto
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Offline steveidosound

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Re: archaic recording techniques make a comeback?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2009, 07:27:37 PM »
I've got a whole pile of entries to the Ampex list I haven't read but I was keeping current when his manager or whoever, sent out the query about what equipment to use for such a project for an undisclosed "major artist" to use. I think that Mellencamp was one of the musicians that someone guessed.

I'm glad that he got hooked up with a nice machine (although I hope he has some technical support for the adjustments he'll need to make as he moves that machine around the country).  The suitcase version of the 600 was a machine that was suggested a few times.

I'm a big fan of the "location live recording" like the "Trinity Sessions" by the Cowboy Junkies and that "4 Generations of Miles" download that I just used at the CanJam event (folks just raved about that one!).
Since I do a lot of listening on headphones, having the sound of a real venue is fantastic and I really wish that more recordings were done that way.

So how long will it be before we see a "Recorded by Steven Williams" release on the TAS list?

Sigh... It's been in the works forever. It is coming down to soon or never.
I am such a collector, but hard to get motivated.
I have 2 of the stereo Ampex 601-2/602-2 portables (2tr. 7 1/2) , a 351 and a 354, the Ampex tube mixer, the portable cases for the 2 pro Ampexes, a late tube Magnecord Stereo  2tr. 15ips 10.5" machine, an early Crown tube machine with the same parameters, not to mention a late Presto and a late Rek-O-Kut portable lathe, several "shiny box" Chinese ribbon mics, a couple of Russian ones and a few similar origin tube condensers laying around...
Steve Williams

you don't want to know what equipment I listen to...

Offline riggler

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Re: archaic recording techniques make a comeback?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 05:45:34 AM »
Hi Steve,

I realize this is an old thread, but I was wondering if your were looking to sell any of your tape decks? I'm looking for a stereo tube deck. Really love the Ampex stuff. Please let me know!

I just found this forum, I have some cool The Who recordings on tape and an old Grundig deck that blew the main power transformer and a ton of caps...

Offline Ki Choi

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Re: archaic recording techniques make a comeback?
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 04:43:47 PM »
Hi Steve:

It's quite a list of vintage audio recording equipment list you have...  I should be sighing with you.

I am waiting for the Spring to come around here so that I can do the better-than-never Spring Cleaning... I had missed last year...  Sigh...

Ki
Ki Choi