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I Wish...

I was telling Dave Hawk ( @dvdhawk ) this weekend about one of my wishes. And that is that I wish I had the talent, knowledge and ability to design and build gear, ya know, boutique type stuff like opto and tube compressors, EQ'S, mics, guitar amps, ... Like Marco (@pcrecord) built his mic - and I know his came in the form of a kit, but even that is amazing to me. He ended up getting a mic he loves, and he has the pride of knowing that he built it himself.
Dave and I also agreed that we wished we had Boswell's (@Boswell) expertise, we're pretty convinced that he could design and build a great sounding Fairchild 660 knock-off with nothing more than a whistle, a stick, and an empty soup can...
I think I could learn the electronics end, but my eyes and fingers wouldn't ever cooperate anymore.
Anyway, just sayin' ...

Motown Recording Methods

I've been researching the methods and gear of the classic age of Motown.
One of the (many) things that jumped out at me as being interesting was the mics and methods they used for recording drums. Typically, they would use two U67's on the kit, with one placed in close proximity to the snare and upper rack Tom(s) with the other being place closer to the floor Toms, ride and upper crash cymbals. This in itself wasn't uncommon for that time, it was actually pretty similar to the way that Glyn Johns was Micing drums -what made it uncommon was that they used a RIBBON mic on the kick drum ( or what the called the "foot" mic in those days). Research has mentioned an RCA 44 for this purpose. I was taking to Dave Hawk (@dvdhawk) a few days ago, and he was as surprised as I was as to their mic choice for the kick. I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have used a dynamic, or even a condenser - they had plenty of both to choose from. Beyond the fragility of a ribbon mic, being in such close proximity to the kind of SPL'S that a typical kick drum would give off - and chancing the very real possibility of wiping out the ribbon in the mic, it seems like an "odd" choice tonally.
But... According to the engineers that worked those sessions, it was part of what defined the Motown sound.

Another cool Discovery was that they were using a Neumann tube console for tracking. Berry Gordy had visited a friend of his who worked at a radio/jingle production studio in Texas, (the name of the facility was "PAMS"), and Gordy loved the sounds they're getting, especially for vocals. He returned to Detroit, called Neumann, and told them he wanted the exact same model for his studio.
Interestingly, they didn't do much mixing on the Neumann desk, it was used primarily for tracking. For mixing, they used an Electrodyne desk, located in a building that was about a block away from the studio on Grand Blvd. I know nothing about either desk; in fact I've never even heard of Electrodyne consoles... Hopefully someone else here on RO might be able to provide more info.
@Kurt Foster @Boswell @audiokid @pcrecord @moonbaby @dvdhawk - or anyone else who might know...
I really need to take a day trip to the Hitsville studio museum on Grand Blvd ...I have no excuse not to, Detroit's only about 2 1/2 hours or so (three hours tops) from where I live now on the west side of Cleveland.

Mojave MA-1000 - MA-50

Mojave Audio Launches Signature Series Line.
This is all I've found.

October 27th, 2015

At AES, Mojave Audio is showcasing the new MA-1000 large diaphragm multi-pattern tube condenser microphone, the first model in the company’s new Signature Series line of products. Designed by Technical Grammy award winning microphone designer DAvid Royer, the MA-1000 features an original new old-stock 5840 tube, a 251-style capsule, and a custom-designed transformer built by Coast Magnetics. Among its notable attributes, the MA-1000 includes a remotely controlled, continuously variable polar pattern selector that is located on microphone’s power supply.

The MA-1000 also offers a switchable 15dB pad that facilitates high SPL recordings with no microphone distortion or preamplifier overload. This is particularly useful for close Micing electric guitars. Similarly, the microphone provides a switchable low frequency roll-off designed to reduce the excess low end created by proximity effect, the bass buildup commonly experienced during close Micing of vocals and acoustic instruments. The LF roll-off capability is also useful when Micing electric guitars where less low-end buildup is desired. The MA-1000 will be available in Q4, 2015.

And from the Twitter feed.

2 Incredible new mics from Mojave Audio!

How They Did It (dissecting the recording & mixing methods

I thought I'd start a new thread, discussing songs we like and dissecting the recording and mixing methods used that lent heavily to the ultimate sound of the song.

It makes absolutely no difference what songs you'd like to post - any style, any era, any artist.
The only criteria is to be willing to discuss the technology and/or production involved that was a dominant factor in how the songs sounds.

Here's the first.. The Beatles, Paperback Writer and Rain. I chose these because they were the first songs that they recorded after Lennon and McCartney had complained to Geoff Emerick and George Martin that American Soul music ( Stax, Motown, etc.) had more bass on their records than U.K. recordings did.

While the level of bass might seem to be considered as no big deal now, at that time ('66), it was a very big deal. I've read articles that tell of this bass restraint being used at that time as a way of insuring that the stylus/phono needle wouldn't jump on the record.

Other articles seem to lack any technical explanation, and instead point the finger at EMI Chief Executive Sir Joseph Lockwood, who ( by personal accounts) didn't like heavy amounts of low frequencies on any recordings.

If this is true, apparently he eventually capitulated, and gave The Fabs ( and George Martin) a carte blanche "give them whatever they want" indulgence, as a result of their huge success.

Another example of this, is that The Beatles were the only EMI act at that time who's engineers were permitted to place a direct mic on a kick drum, at 3" away ( no closer). Even though these same engineers worked with other EMI signed bands, no other acts were permitted this allowance.

" Paperback Writer was the first time the bass sound had been heard in all its excitement", said Geoff Emerick ( EMI engineer) in Mark Lewisohn's book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions.
"To get the loud bass sound Paul played a different bass, a Rickenbacker. Then we boosted it further by using a [=""]loudspeaker[/]="https://en.wikipedi…"]loudspeaker[/] as a [[url=http://="https://en.wikipedi…"]microphone[/]="https://en.wikipedi…"]microphone[/]. We positioned it directly in front of the bass speaker and the moving diaphragm of the second speaker made the electric current." https://en.wikipedi…"][9][/]="https://en.wikipedi…"][9][/]
source: wiki

I've included both the Mono and Stereo versions of these songs. There are many Beatles "purists" who believe that these songs should have never been re-mixed for stereo, and that mono was the way that these songs were "meant to be heard".

Paperback Writer, bw Rain, Mono:

Paperback Writer - Stereo:

Rain - Stereo:

Mix Advice

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Fairchild 670 - history and how it works

With the advent of classic gain reduction units in software/ plugin form, I thought I would start a series of threads explaining how these original classic units worked - kind of a "what makes them tick" series of threads, for those who are using emulations from companies like UAD, T-Racks/IK Multimedia, Waves, Bomb Factory, Steinberg, etc.

I believe that knowing how these original models worked, and what they were/are designed to do, will perhaps help those who are using the plugin versions of them to better understand them, and hopefully, to use them to their optimum.

The first of this series will show information on the Fairchild 670.

This is considered by many to be the "Holy Grail" of compressor/limiters. The 670 can be heard on thousands of hits over the years. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of its use - with both the real model and in plugin form, on "high energy" material and dance mixes.
As the years pass, however, they are becoming much harder to find. Those who have the fortune to have one generally guard it with their lives. For those who wish to own a real one - if you can find one - it can cost you upwards of $40k.
http://www.dreamhir… Dreamhire, an audio equipment rental company in NYC, has one in perfect working order. You can rent it for $235 per day... but unlike many of their other pieces, the 670 has to be delivered (locally to NYC only) and set up by a Dreamhire engineer.


The original design was created by http://en.wikipedia… Rein Narma

A respected design engineer, Narma had been hired by Les Paul to design and build Paul's first 8-channel mixing console. He developed several early limiter prototypes, eventually deciding on the design of what would eventually become the now-famous 670. This design was then licensed by Sherman Fairchild, who up to that point, had a company who's primary industry was building aircraft. Fairchild decided to create an audio equipment company, and he hired Narma as the company's first chief engineer.

The FAIRCHILD MODEL 670 incorporates two independent limiters on one chassis, which can limit either two independent signals, such as the left and right channels of a stereo signal, or the vertical and lateral components of the same. The latter is accomplished by first bringing the two stereo channels through a matrixing network, dividing them into their vertical and lateral components, limiting them independently, and recombining them through a second matrixing network into left and right channels.

Each half of the MODEL 670 uses only a single push-pull stage of audio amplification and an extremely high control voltage, with the result that the Automatic Gain-Controlled Amplifier never produces any audible or observable thumps. Contrary to most limiting amplifiers previously available, this unit has extremely low distortion and noise under all conditions, both as a straight-through amplifier and under maximum limiting conditions.

The attack time of the unit is made extremely fast in order to catch short transients, and the release time is made adjustable from 0.3 seconds to 25 seconds in six steps. Two of these have release times which are automatic functions of the program material, providing fast recovery for short-duration peaks and an automatic reduction with very long recovery time of overall gain should the program level remain high

Owing to the wide choice of attack and release time, as well as the automatic recovery feature, this unit can be used to limit program material severely without producing the audible thumps or pumping so often associated with limited program material. A remote limiting meter can also be connected to the terminals exposed at the rear of the amplifiers.

The MODEL 670 is designed to be placed into any normal line level circuit and can be set to have a unity gain at no limiting.

A radical departure from the classical limiter design, the 670 is characterized by the complete absence of audible thumps, absence of distortion and noise, and it is extremely stable over long periods of time.

The MODEL 670 is either 2 Independent Limiters, or by the flick of a switch, a Vertical-Lateral Component Limiter — all this enclosed within 14 inches of rack space.

Large vertical amplitudes on STEREO DISKS often produce processing as well as tracking problems. Large vertical amplitudes are produced by random coincidence of out-of-phase components in the two STEREO channels. At the time it was developed and built, the 670 was the only unit in production which could control both components (vertical and lateral) independently, and accomplish this with minimum loss of separation.

Many a short transient can pass through conventional limiters because of their slowness in attack. The MODEL 670 can produce full limiting effect during the first 10,000ths of a second.

Different program materials require different limiting action. By choosing the correct release time characteristic, even severe limiting can be made to be practically imperceptible. The MODEL 670 supplies six different timing curves, several of them making the release time an automatic function of the amount of limiting used.

The type of program material - as well as personal preference - dictates the use of either a limiter or a compressor. The 670 can be adjusted to work either as a compressor, (with a ratio of 2 to 1 and a threshold of 5 db below normal program level); or as a peak limiter, (with a compression ratio of 30 to 1 and a threshold of 10 db above normal program level); or it can be adjusted to operate anywhere in-between these two extremes. It can also be used as a straight-through amplifier, with no gain reduction.

Sources: Fairchild, Dreamhire


Reaper stock plugins vs. Waves vs. Pro Tools stock

*posted this also another location on here. Sorry if i posted twice. really do not know where to ask this question at.

I am investing in quality gear now since i have advanced in mixing and production. I simply have not tried any other mixing platform other than[=" Reaper[/]=" Reaper[/] and its stock plugins. I few free plugins by Modern:

I really need a straight forward answer to this question: How do Reapers stock plugins stack up to [[url=http://=" Waves[/]=" Waves[/] and Pro Tools stock plugins? Is there a notice in difference? How big of a difference and is it worth investing into?

I do not mind buying Waves Gold or Silver pack but i want to hear a difference in quality for sure.