famous songs/equipt. used

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by billblues, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. billblues

    billblues Active Member

    Apr 16, 2005
    need a thread that can be referenced.can only speak for myself but it would be enormously helpful in knowing some of the equiptment use to record famous tunes.have read behind the glass by howard massey and as a reference i have all the gear used in that book highlighted.it's just so great knowing just what gear in the right hands is truly capable of.keep it simple artist,eng,song title,known gear used where,how whatever.
  2. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Smithtown, NY
    Home Page:
    What billboard magazine used to do was post weekly the equipment used on number one songs in various catagories in a column called 'Studio Action'. They used to only post the console used, tape machine, tape type, monitors used, tracking and mixing engineers, and what studios were used. Sadly they discontinued that practice within the past couple of years ( or at least I have not seen it lately).

    They never went into which mic were used, mic pre, eq, compressors etc.... you were lucky to get that info if it was documented on the tracksheet or in recall docs included with the tracksheet and tapes. Getting gear documentation from mixes can be difficult enough because the info was not always kept with the master tapes, disks, etc.
  3. MistaG

    MistaG Guest

    Well, I'm probably going to take a beating for trying to make generalities but here goes.

    Historically, the chains for recordings you have grown to love are probably one of the following:

    Mic - Nuemann, 47, 67, 87, M49 or Telefunken versions plus others
    AKG C-12, Shure SM57 or SM7 But there are many more.

    Preamp - Neve, API, SSL and Trident but there are many more. The most notable here are probably the Neve 1073, used on many hits from Michael Jackson to Beyonce Knowles, or the 1084 but there are many other Neves that have produced hits. In recent years many brands of stand alone preamps have come in to use, too many to name.

    Compressor - Neve, API, LA2A, 1176, 1178, SSL and the Distressor but there are many more.

    This is about as close to a common list as you can make although once again, this list is not inclusive.
  4. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Most industry mags have at least one article per issue that has the engineer telling you that he used the same exact gear as the guy in the previous issue for the same things, as did the guy before that and the guy before that. Every once in a while someone does something different. In Mix magazine you can read about recording chains you may some day be lucky enough to see, let alone afford ;)

    "I ran the Manley Stereo mic into the Fairchild, then the Pultec (Serial number -002) using diamond plated ubergami cable made from the innards of a shooting star. Then we ran it through all 96 channels on our SSL 10000G++ from the future. It really opened up the sound since we had it in the anti-grav room, and had a real live ninja in there as well. You just can't use a modeled ninja, it has to be real"
  5. roguescout

    roguescout Guest

    Bravo to Mista and Cheese.

    Screw standards. Be innovative and pray for the best.

    The time is ripe.
  6. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Cheese, you slay me.

    Sound on Sound has a "Classic Tracks" section that someone here told me about when I wanted to find out how recordings were made. They are included here. Though not specifically recording chain oriented, sometimes they mention specific gear used.


  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I think it's great to read what the masters used, especially on some of the old vintage tracks. It's eye opening, and good reference to have.

    The Joe Meek story was a good one; I think it was the song "Have I The Right" that he recorded in his apartment back in the 60's, including having people stamping on the stairway to get the boots/handclap sound he was after, with such extreme, insane compression & distortion. Ditto for many microphone stories, preamps, etc. Sinatra, for example was legendary for walking into the studio (with the musicians and enineers ready to go) and simply banging it all out in one take. It's fascinating to ready how they did the original Star Wars SFX on a Tascam 3440, or that the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams" was done on a Tascam 80-8.

    But I hate to break it to you: It probalby wouldn't have mattered what they used, if the material was good enough. It's easy in our corner of the industry to over emphathize on the gear and not what's going on in front of the mic, or in the heads of the people creating the music. Was it the mic Sinatra sang into, or the man's talent? Did it really matter WHICH cheesy (by today's standards) reel to reel the sound desinger for Star War's used? Same with today's stuff...which preamp Sheryl Crow's engineer used, or which synth patch on the latest Moby song. If it actually comes down to a specific sound (vs content) then all you're doing is copying anyway.

    Personally, between all the finalizing and compression going on with most of today's "POP" Music, lack of real content is a big part of the problem we see, not which piece of gear will make a sure-fire hit.

    It's very easy to lose sight of the big picture here on this forum (That's what its' for, really....to dig deeply into the mechanics of it all). These are truly wonderful, marvelous times in that we have incredible and relatively affordable great gear in every stage of the signal chain. So much of what we call "Good" vs. "Bad" is borderline anyway.... the differences between some gear is simply features or servicability, parts, or even the way it LOOKS in a rack or on a stand. (Old fart complaining: Anyone who's not worked in the industry before 1990-95 has NO IDEA what kind of suffering engineers used to go through! :twisted: )

    Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to read up on every session and recording tip you can find - I love reading those stories too, and it's a great way to build ones chops. But I think it's a mistake to think that using this gear or that mic will make you a star or create the perfect recording. (If ONLY I had so and so's U87....or LA2A....or...)

    Find the right ARTIST with the right material, and then all of a sudden, your job will then magically be to just NOT screw it up. Gear then becomes simply a means to an end - not the end itself, and at that point, you'll find out how good an engineer you REALLY are.
  8. billblues

    billblues Active Member

    Apr 16, 2005
    thanks for all the responses.i for one am still learning my existing setup which is more than adequate for my needs[for now]but there's always gonna be the next mic,the next pre etc.other than forums and soundclips over computer speakers i have limited means for evaluation and ultimately, in my studio with my setup is the only way to truly evaluate a piece of gear.what a dilemma.i'm sure some of you have purchased gear without actually auditioning it in your studio.any suggestions are welcome
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