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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Mic Preamp used in classic bluegrass/country recordings of the 1960s & 70s


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/363743

KD Banjer - Posted - 05/05/2020:  09:44:13


Hi Everyone,

Does anyone know which microphone preamp was used in the classic bluegrass and country music recordings of the 1960s and 1970s?

I was speaking with a recording engineer friend of mine, and he mentioned that in the 1970s, he believed that the classic country music recordings (recorded in Nashville) used a Neve 1073 preamp (which was popularized after it was released in 1970 in the UK).

Does anyone have any other info about what mic preamp the major Nashville recording studios of the 1960s and 1970s used?

Those recordings (especially in the 1970s) had such a unique recognizable sound.

Thanks for any thoughts or input you might have.

KD Banjer - Posted - 05/05/2020:  10:40:26


Here are some interesting comments/info that I found from audio enthusiasts on the internet:



 



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...ntry.html  )



"First, have everyone play together in the room, don't try and get seperation, try and get all the players comfortable so they can hear each other. This style of music has a lot of interaction between players so it's vitally important everyone hear each other. Also, the bleed of the instruments into all the mics I believe is part of the sound. When country started to sound bad was when they started going for that really dead, total-separation-between-instruments sound, in my opinion."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...lbum.html )



"From what little I know about how it was done.....talking here about The Original Carter Family, Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, etc.



One mic. No headphones. No close micing. The mic was usually a Ribbon. RCA 77 or 44. The preamp was tube. The room was often live.....old church, barn, etc. No punching-in. The performers were loud and knew how to work a mic. The mic was ususally placed about chest or neck high about a foot or two from the singer."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...lbum.html  )



"No condenser mics. Use a ribbon or a decent dynamic. A lot of the Hank Williams, Carter family, and Jimmie Rogers stuff was recorded in somebody's living room, not a fancy recording studio. The quality came from the performers, not the equipment. No phones, one mic, and make it enjoyable. Record, listen back, adjust mic (or musicians) as necessary, record again, repeat till it's all balanced."



###



(from:  )



"



The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"



It's one of the most amazing sounding records around.



The players are all incredible, and the whole thing was done live to two track at Woodland Sound in Nashville in '70 or '71.



But they close mic'd almost everything and I think just about every mic on that session was a Neumann U87."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...lbum.html )



"I personally feel the artist was right to do a one-take type thing. the carter family didn't spend 3 weeks in the studio, they got a couple takes per song at the most (according to their biography)."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...um-2.html )



"This is what works for me:



vintage analog recorder

vintage tube pre

RCA ribbon

natural room ambience

vintage instruments (all of them)



If you substitute anything, it won't sound right."



###



(from:  gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...sing.html )



(about "Nashville Vocal Processing," in Nashville in 2011:



"Popular preamps for vocals in town are a Telefunken V72/V76, Neve 1073/1081's, and the Martech MSS-10. There are also a lot of UA 610's, API's, and Trident preamps in studios as well. Microphones are usually of the vintage variety, U47's/U67's/ELAM 251's. The Tube Tech CL-1B is very common in town, as is the GML 8900. Most studios have a LA-2A, Distressors, DBX 160's, 1176's/MC77's, and Neve 33609's. I'm sure they get used on vocals as well.



Just about every studio has a Lexicon 480L and a PCM70'. Most have a plate reverb. Quad has a great chamber. Lots of Eventide H3000's."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...sing.html  )



(regarding equipment used in Nashville recordings in 2011:)



"Some love 251, others the C800G...some the U47, and I have worked with the Brauner KHE that was owned by a very busy producer in town. I imagine he used it a lot.



Pre amps.....i've seen the 1073, Gordon!!! (my fav), UA stuff, Mastering Labs pre, and even Hardys for vocals. It depends n whcih engineer is calling the shots that day."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/low-end-th...ding.html )



(Re: "Good vintage sounding mic for Country recording")



"That old vintage country sound? Like the classic old country recordings that came out of Nashville in the 60's? The sound of those studios (RCA and Bradley's) had more to do with the sound of the recordings than the mics. Not to mention the musicians themselves.



Most of that classic sound was recorded with RCA ribbon mics into tube preamps, and they were recorded to tape, not digital, and those are definitely big factors in the sound. The old classics don't have much going on over 15k and not much low end either.



If you want to sound like the old classics, you also have to keep in mind mixing styles of that era. For example, all the drums are tucked way in the background. And everything is drenched in reverb. Nothing is overly bright, overly present, or in-your-face (like today's music)."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/high-end/6...itar.html  )



re: "Best Mic for Old-Time Country Voice + Guitar"



"Johnny Cash, George Jones, and Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams all have been recorded through U47s . On he stopped loving her today, a U87 was used. Earl Scruggs has been recorded through a U67."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/high-end/6...itar.html )



re: "Best Mic for Old-Time Country Voice + Guitar"



"I've auditioned many mics on George Jones, and the older U87s with the cream colored PC boards ( and in good shape) are a really great match. Some of his older work is an M49"



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...ound.html )



Re: "That Classic Country Sound"



"Yes ...the equipment is largely it, along with the instruments of the era (50's and 60's). Consoles were custom built, mostly from studio in-house techs. Based on old radio consoles, the preamps were tube, (theres still a few around today from that era, RCA, UA, Telefunken, etc). As for eq, most consoles didn't have it. When needed, it was patched in, either a passive, two-knob shelving, like 100 hz and 7 or 8 khz, with a couple switches to change those settings to something like 40 hz, and 3 or 5 khz. And some studios had a Pultec, or even racks of 'em. And they used filters, high and low-pass. This, along with the mics of the day, and analog recorders, gave it a sound. There are great musicians today, and there were great one's then, but the records sound different, don't they."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...ning.html )



Re: "Your favorite vocal microphone(s)/pre's for Classic COUNTRY Crooning?"



"I spent a number of years in Nashville assisting on sessions for various country artists ranging from old school to new school. The mic I saw more often then anything else was the Neumann u67. Different pres, different comps and EQs, but most often, a U67."



###



(from: gearslutz.com/board/so-much-ge...ning.html )



Re: "Your favorite vocal microphone(s)/pre's for Classic COUNTRY Crooning?"



"Old Neumann u67, U77, or U87. Old Telefunken V376 mic pre. Same set up I would use for most any vocal. To make it more "classic" country sounding you would compress the vocal, add some sort of reverb that sounds like a live chamber, and bring the vocal level up in the mix more than you normally would for a rock record. A lot of classic country was mixed to sound best on a juke box or an AM radio station and the key is getting the vocal front and center so the listener can understand the lyrics clearly.



I went and looked at the Mix Magazine Classic Tracks web page and on the Merle Haggard "Mama Tried," which was done at Capitol in L.A., they used a U67 on the lead vocal. On the George Jones classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today," recorded in the legendary Quonset Hut in Nashville, Billy Sherrill used a U87 for George's lead vocal. The "classic" country sound is more about the arrangement and the production than it is about the gear. There is no special "country" sounding mic."



###

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