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Frank Black: Dog in the Sand

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Sonicanger, May 28, 2003.

  1. Sonicanger

    Sonicanger Guest

    Hi everyone,
    I am fairly new to recording, and while I was reading the liner notes of this albumn while listening to it yesterday, i found myself kind of confused. I saw that the entire alumn was done on two track. How exactly is this accomplished? there seems to be a good deal of sepearation and and excellent levelling of all instruments involved, yet with only two tracks, how was this accomplished....working on room sound quite a bit?...overdubbing?

    any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    This is how recording was done before Les Paul invented multitrack.. All the musicians, singers (and the drummer) :D were assembled in a studio at the same time, the engineer miced everything up and the recorded everything in one pass. Kurt
     
  3. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    I don't know the album you speak of, but two track recording can be done easily and economically with the right set of circumstances.
    Naturally room acoustics are important, but even with a bad room you can still make a good sounding recording. If you have the ability to separate all the instruments acoustically by putting evey one in a different room, and micing individually, this is best.
    I can tell you from experience that, if you know what your doing, you can two track live off the floor in one room and get a good sound.
    What it all boils down to is knowing a lot about mic placement, what mic to use, proper use of compression and gates, and most importantly, your mixing skills must be good.
    This is tough if you are inexperienced. Nothing is impossible.
    I suggest you get a hold of a 12 or 16 channel mixer, and a cassette deck. Get enough gates for everything and compression for all channels if possible, or just the more dynamic sounds like drums and bass guitar. Find a four or five peice band to practice on, and just do it. If you can, put the vocalist in another room.
    Listen to your mixes elsewhere, to find out what your mix sounds like on other systems, cars, tiny radios, walkmans, etc.
    You will find that after a few tries your sound will progress. While you are at it you will be getting some great fundamentals for multi track recording.

    P.S. You can even get a decent sound with only one or two mics placed properly, if the room sounds good.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Sonicanger

    Sonicanger Guest

    Hi guys, thanks for the propmpt replies
    . I have some rudimentary expeince in multi-track recording, and am just trying to absorb as much info as possible. I was just curious how the particulars of it were handled, as in was it only two room mics and paying a lot of attention to placement, group dynamics, etc. Just to make sure I understand, it seems that a number of mics are run through a mixer and recorded direct to tape.
    Is my understanding correct?

    Thanks Again,
    -Ed
     
  5. Dan Lampton

    Dan Lampton Guest

    Check out Mapleshade .

    Two track recordings, no compression, no EQ, only two mics, natural ambience, way cool. I would love to record this way, but it takes a quality space.

    The recordings this guy does are just incredible.
     
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    That's it. Everything done in one pass. If the engineer feels the need they may patch in some compression on a channel, or some eq.. Reverbs are mixed to tape. The whole thing is done live. Many great records were recorded in this fashon. When you work this way, spill isn't so much of an issue because you won't be turning individual elements up and down or replacing them. The engineers used the spill to their advantage. Sometimes they would only be useing 4 to 6 mics! In those days, most recording studios only had 6 or 8 channel consoles.. Many times the music would be recorded on one or two tracks, then this would be played back and rerecorded onto a second machine while the vocals were mixed in. Many of the early Motown recordings were done this way. In the early 60's 2 and 3 track tape was the standard. 8 track didn't come into widespread use until the mid 60's. Motown custom built their first 8 track in house. Kurt
     
  7. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Mr.Sonic. You are correct in assuming that multiple mics, through a mixer is a good way to do it. In recording, though, there are many more ways than one to skin a cat. Maybe, you could get TWO tape decks, and take a feed from a matched pair of mic's into the second deck. The more you experiment, the more you will learn. If you can, try recording in different places. Like a church, a bandshell, a backyard, garage, club, basement.
    Even with the same settings all of these places will give you a different sound. You will learn lotz about the effects of a room on recordings.
     
  8. vinniesrs

    vinniesrs Active Member

    Hey, Kurt. Have you ever listened to James Brown: Get on up? You can hear the kick pedal squeaking away like an angry mouse! :p
     
  9. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest

    I love doing two track on the fly. If I'm not shakin' like a dog crapping razor blades then I'm not happy. For real, I love the pressure of live sound and live recording. Get the old blood pumping, haha. Some of the best stuff I've ever heard was done two track. A good can of white grease will take care of that squeaky pedal cause WD40 ain't cuttin' it.

    Cheers,

    Kevin
     
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Steve,
    Back in those days, no one ever expected this music to last.. Everyone was waiting for the death of rock 'n roll.. The most that was expected was a record would chart for a couple months and then fade away .. They didn't realize we would still be listening and discussing it some 40+ years later. Also this stuff was mostly heard over AM radio which is even worse sounding than mp3 so no one could ever hear things like squeaks and choughs, dropped tamborines (Norwegian Wood/ Beatles) and often producers in the interest of economy let things pass like Paul Mac Cartneys vocal cracking on the line "was in vein" on the second bridge of "If I Fell". Of course, when George Martin re issued it in the Anthology, he corrected it.. I like the original better myself, I feel cheated when it doesn't happen... I guess I just got used to it... Kurt
     
  11. Pez

    Pez Active Member

    I love two tracks. Trick is you need a great band that can play live and like was said before a good acoustic space. I've recorded 5 piece bluegrass bands with only three mics. two small condensors in an XY and another large dia. condensor with three vocalists singing in harmony on the same mic (a U87). What really surprised me was the stereo blend on the vocals. It seems the XY mics picked up enough vocal that I could get the two outside singers coming through just fine in the left and right speakers. Get it to sound perfect before you commit it to your tape or daw. This is mixing before the fact. Put the banjo player out in the back yard if necessary. LOL. Give the band a lecture on dynamics if neccessary. This ain't gonna work unless the band has their act together. I guess in reality I'm using three tracks instead of two but the same principle still applies.
     

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