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Discussion in 'Vocals' started by blesd, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. blesd

    blesd Guest

    I am looking to recreate the soft /warm sound of the beach boys vocals. there are new bands who create this exact vintage vocal effect (lansing-drieden). Check out the vocals on "the advancing flags" http://www.myspace.com/lansingdreiden (the vocals start towards the middle)

    This band is the closest I have seen to a modern day band who can achieve that Washy/ warm slightly distrorted sound.

    Can anyone help point me in the direction of equipment which will help me create this vocal effect??

    Your help is greatly appreciated.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, you don't get the Beach Boys sound without the Beach Boys. The gear that the Beach Boys used doesn't really exist anymore. The closest you lcan get with new gear is the reissue stuff by Universal Audio which many do not believe is the same but is as close as you can get. 610 mic pre, 1176, LA2A, LA3A the tape machines they used to record and master on. But I'd be willing to bet that just because you obtain the same gear, you will still be miles away from using it to get the same sound. The Beach Boys sound is about the source vocals and how thye were overdubbed/edited. They would sound about nearly the same even if they used just a Mackie.
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    The earliest Beach Boys recordings are a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Certainly the top-shelf analog gear at the time had a lot to do with it, but the rest......wow....where do ya start?

    Three of them were brothers: Brian, Carl and Dennis, and at least one of them was a cousin. (Al Jardine?) Plus, they all (including Mike Love) grew up in the same area (same dialect, you could say?). That kind of "Organic" blending combined with talent is hard to come by. (See: Carpenters, Jacksons, Osmonds, Cowsills and even The Carter family as well.)

    Brian was of course the genious in the group, and he took his inspiration directly from the sound and the harmonies of the Four Freshman. (You could also take some time and study those recordings as well, if you want to get to the REAL source of that sound.) If you read Brian's bios, you'll find specfic songs actually mentioned that he would work on, one harmony at the time as he learned his craft.

    They also had the famous/legendary "Wrecking crew" as their backup band for all of the early stuff, with Hal Blaine on drums, and many other legendary studio players. (You didn't think they'd let KIDs play the actual parts on a big-label debut recording, did you? :twisted: )

    I don't know how many tracks they had available, but I'm guessing a lot of analog tape bouncing (and related compression) went on, but with the highest standards available at the time for tape alignment and calibration. (Ditto for the Beatles recordings, which were often neck and neck with them. I forget which one was one-upping the other, but I know their releases were always competitive: Sgt. Pepper vs. Pet Sounds, etc.)
  4. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Musical genius: Brian Wilson

    Mike Love was the cousin.

  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Musical genius: Brian Wilson

    Mike Love was the cousin.

    Oops! Memory is the first thing to go. :oops: What was Al Jardine, then.....a neighbor? Buddy? Brother in law?
  6. blesd

    blesd Guest

    Thanks for the responses.

    I obviously realize the beach boys' sound is more about the actual beach boys themselves but I was referring to the treatment their vocals received. Which is Why i pointed to the Lansing Dreiden myspace page because its an example of a modern band who has a achieved stunningly similar vocals and I am very curious how they achieved that sound.

    Warm, Chorussy, Analog reverby, slight slap back, breathy, slightly distorted. Bass Freq significantly reduced etc etc.

    I realize that dissecting such a process, step by step, takes away from the magic which was a driving force in creating the vocals but again, I am trying to come as close as I can. And I have been purchasing piece after piece in pursuit of it.

    Can anyone confirm that the 610 mic pre's sound as good or anywhere close to the originals? Is there another vintage mic pre that may better suit accomplish this?

    Is the microphone as significant as the mic pre?

  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Yes, along with how many mics were used, where the mics were placed, the room it was recorded in, the multitrack tape machine it was recorded on, the desk it was mixed on, the 2-track tape it was mixed to, the gear used to master it for records, ect...

    Find who did the Lansing Dreiden recordings and ask them how and what they did.
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I realize that dissecting such a process, step by step, takes away from the magic which was a driving force in creating the vocals but again, I am trying to come as close as I can. And I have been purchasing piece after piece in pursuit of it.

    I think these two sentences address the issue more than you may realize.

    And with all due respect, buying gear isn't nec. the answer either, but good luck with your quest, regardless. I hope you find what you're looking for eventually.
  9. blesd

    blesd Guest

    Yes Ultimately...I need to learn about all of these aspects as well. I guess I am starting with the most dynamically efficient.

    I am better off trying to get in contact with Brian Wilson than asking Lasning Dreiden. They are a mystery. An arts collective: musicians, sculptors, artists, writers, film makers, replete with the requisite gallery showings, Artforum writeups, film premiers and rock shows who call themselves a company (not a band) They don't do interviews face to face, The band who performs the music is different from the Members who record it. According to the group's website "all Lansing-Dreiden projects are fragmentary, mere stones in a path whose end lies in a space where the very definition of `path' paths."

    etc. etc.

    I appreciate your input and I see what you are saying here... but the fact of the matter is with each purchase I investigate... I learn more and more about my passion. I discover ideas, techniques and concepts I never knew existed... and the hunt enthralls me.

    I started with DAWs & plugins... And gradually I learned about vintage gear/sound. I came to learn that the culture behind 40's-80's music production is much more appealing to me then the era I grew up in. Its more personal and charming IMO.

    The underlying issue for me is that modern commercial music (for the most apart [especially in America] ) is too clean, formula driven and lacking in most every aspect from creativity to song writing, to sound production.

    So at the end of the day... I have and irresistible urge to create and inquire regarding retro production.
  10. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

  11. drumist69

    drumist69 Active Member

    Not trying to start the flames here, but I must say, upon listening to "Pet Sounds" a few years ago, recording quality aside...God, I found it to be one of the most annoying pieces of work I've ever heard...annoying in general, and totally un-engaging to my ears. Again, not trying to start anything...just my opinion! Sorry to piss ya'll off! ANDY
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you may also recall that the Beach boys were on the Capitol label and they used acoustic reverb chambers in that building. Can you say 77DX or U47? Mjgfuyukgkj? I didn't think so.

    Seen any good stairwells lately?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    WELL PUT, Blesd. I completely understand where you're coming from; you're absolutely right about the situation with MOST modern music around here. Not all, but certainly most. So much of it is dead and soulless, and volumes could be written about why such great gear is yeilding such lame and pointless music lately. Perhaps it's simply a case of too much available to too many, making it far to easy to regurgitate the same old nonsense. (How else can one explain most of what passes for top 40 these days??? Literally EVERY new female singer I hear sounds like a watered-down Mariah Carey or Christina Aguleira. Does anyone do anything DIFFERENT anymore?)

    But you've got the bug, alright, and the kind of passion that will make you succeed in this biz. (You may be surprised where this takes you, though...sometimes looking for one thing opens up a whole different place you didn't even know you were seeking.)

    Yours is the kind of passion and drive that I wish more folks had when they ask questions like: "Should I go to school for dentistry or try to become a record producer? Which school should I attend to do this?? I really like playing around with gear, and think this might be a great way to make a lot of money...." (And of course, if you've gotta ask, or if you think this is the way to get rich quick....sigh.....)

    Other times, folks want answers that can only come from within. As in your case: You already know the steps you must take - sometimes alone, at that - to find what you are driven to find, with no compromises.

    However you get there, at least you've got the drive and passion that's missing in so many other folks. Keep at it. Like many here (mods included) you're finding that those voices in your head MUST be listened to. :cool:
  14. blesd

    blesd Guest

    Great message Joe. It really means a lot to have you reaffirm everything like that for me.

    I think I'll be hanging around these forums a lot more. ; )

    Thanks again.
  15. Tim Farrant

    Tim Farrant Active Member

    I think that sound has a lot to do with balance. In those recordings you won't hear the snare right out front and squashed to hell. The kick drum and bass don't have a lot of extension. It's all about the vocals - up front, perfectly balanced, with the band "accompanying". Modern music styles are the opposite, - always trying to tuck the vocal back into the mix and heavy mix compression. Listening to the Beach Boys, I doubt they even used a mix compressor - and if they did, it was certainly very light.

    Sure, the gear used had it character, but I see no reason why modern gear cannot do the same thing when used with the final goal in mind.

    But, I suspect a 24 track tape machine would help!

  16. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Tim, I agree with what you're saying here.....form follows function is another way to put it.

    Why does some music and style sound the way it does? Probably because it is/was a result of the "rules" of the time or era. Bach sounds like Bach because of the rules of counterpoint and the "equal temperament" that was new for its time. (A bit over-simplified, but still; the Well-Tempered Clavier was groundbreaking for its time, because previously, one couldn't play in certain keys because of the tuning used previously. BIG improvement there.)

    One can easily follow the "Sound" of classical music as it evolved from strict counterpoint up into "Modern" classical music as rules and styles relaxed, evolved and changed. (Ditto for the evoluntion of the piano and other orchestral instruments over the last three centuries.) Follow Bach through Mozart through Beethoven through Brahms to Stravinksy (ok, broad strokes, indeed!) and you'll hear what I'm talking about....

    I think this same concept holds true for why things sounded like they did in the 40's, then the 50's, and the 60's. The musicians and engineers were working with the tools available at the time. Most of them were as good as anything today, but the storage media (Tape and acetate before that) and non-existance of professional mutlitrack shaped how things got done.

    People REHEARSED and arranged more prior to recording, and more things happened organically, in FRONT of the mics before anything else happened. Gear was kept in top working order (ditto for the tape machines) and engineers knew that mic placement was crucial...hell, it HAD to be; they sure didn't have the kinds of EQ and DSP we have now...."Fixing it in the mix" was simply not possible afterwards. You got it right THEN and there, in the studio, not after everyone went home.

    I think what we heard with the Beach Boys and others may never be completely duplicated again, not exactly, anyway. The time and the era are long gone (along with Brian's mind, unfortunately) and people just don't work that way anymore, unless it's for historical or replication-style purposes.

    That's not so say great harmonies and great sound aren't worth pursuing, but trying to go about it exactly as it was done before will probably only make you frustrated and crazy. What I was suggesting in my previous post was this: You'll no doubt learn all you can about creating "That sound", and most likely, it will take you to new understandings and new places that you didn't expect when you started. This will make you a better engineer/musician/listener/producer, and it will further the knowledge base you use for everything else.

    Many great ideas, compositions, inventions and creations start out as one thing, and often end up in quite another place. It's the magic of serendipity and karma. Brian Wilson did it himself when pursuing "That sound" of the Four Freshmen, and then as these things go, a wonderful rivalry came about between the Beatles and the Beaach Boys. History shows what happened as a result.

    I wonder who the Four Freshmen were "imitating"....
  17. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Just came across this in another forum, and thought I'd pass it along here. You may need to register to read it, but it's certainly worth it.

    A VERY good look at what's going on now (technology-wise) and what's to come in the art world. It's not about recording music per se, but it's the same for all of the arts (Painting, video, etc.) IMHO, it ties in quite a bit to what's been discussed here about styles and technology.

    Check it out:

  18. I love these sort of topics. I think it may be the question : was it produced or was it just 'there' in the room? We all would love to have been there to sit in on the sessions and stand next to them to hear it live in the space. The phrase 'magic in, magic out' comes to mind.
    I like recording multi vocals on one track when I'm singing with a group. The communication on phrasing and alsorts of other nuances is just so much better, yes, perhaps at the cost of balance and control sometimes, but the performance is what matters.
    Compare it to other excellence such as the Carpenters, which is a produced sound.
    Both sounds were worked out thoroughly (I suspect) before they came close to recording it, and then the 'old school' techs and gear did what they did, brilliantly! Dave.

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