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Goldstar Studios - How Records Used To Be Made

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DonnyThompson, Jan 13, 2016.

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  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    This is a cool video that probably only engineers, producers and musicians would find interesting, as it acts as a sort of "fly on the wall" as to how records were once made...

    A room full of musicians, engineers sitting at a console (likely a tube model in those days), with AE's placing mics on real instruments, setting up go-bo's, rolling tape; with a producer calling all the shots...

    The first vid below shows out takes for one of the most iconic pop records ever made, from 1963, "Be My Baby", by The Ronettes, produced by Phil Spector, and an early hint of what his "wall of sound" would eventually become. You can hear Spector giving directions, along with the engineer (most likely Stan Ross, Goldstar's house engineer and part owner) "slating" the tape with an audible take number.

    The second video is the commercial release of the song, as it was intended to be heard, in mono.

    While Spector worked at several different studios, Goldstar was his "home base" studio; he loved the echo chambers there, and these were to become a very big part of his "sound". Dave Gold, one of the partners of the studio, designed the chambers himself:

    From wiki:
    "The studio was renowned for its echo chambers. according to Gold, who designed the chambers after years of research and experimentation, they were built in an area of about 20 ft (6.1 m) x 20 ft and were complementary trapezoids 18 ft (5.5 m) long. The walls were thick, specially-formulated cement plaster on heavy isolation forms. Entry into the chambers was through a series of 2 ft (0.61 m) by 2 ft doors, and the opening was only about 20 in (51 cm) wide and high.[2]"

    Goldstar is also known as the first studio to use intentional Flanging (for effect) for the first time on a commercial recording, as well as implementing the first use of a radio transmitter in the control room, so that mixes could be broadcast to car radios just outside, so engineers and producers could check for "radio sound":

    "Gold Star was responsible for what is believed to be the first commercial use of the production technique called flanging, which was featured on the single "The Big Hurt" by Toni Fisher. Another of Dave Gold's innovations was a small transmitter that allowed him to broadcast mixes so that they could be picked up on a nearby car radio, which was especially important to recording artists in the era when AM radio was the dominant broadcast medium.[3]"

    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Star_Studios

    Goldstar was famous for hosting many other famous recordings, too - The Beach Boy's Pet Sounds album, The Righteous Brother's "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", most of The Monkees recordings, several lbums from Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Sonny and Cher's "And The Beat Goes On' and "I Got You Babe" ...

    The engineers here on RO will notice the classic pieces of gear; the Pultec EQ's, the now vintage custom-made tube recording console ( also designed by Dave Gold), the Ampex tape machines...

    Musicians will notice the session players - the now famous Wrecking Crew; Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye and Tommy Tedesco are shown in several shots.

    Goldstar hosted countless sessions for huge hits and artists during its 34 year run (1950 - 1984), having the same location on Santa Monica Blvd near Vine St. in Hollywood the entire time it was operational.
    The Who, The Band, The Ramones, The Association, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Tina Turner, Neil Diamond, Meatloaf and Neil Young were just a few of the many famous artists to have recorded there over the years.

    Alas, as with so many of the big studios of their time, Goldstar is gone now.

    "Shifting economics caused Gold Star to close its doors in 1984, as newer technology allowed bands to make their own recordings. Several months after the studios were vacated, a fire destroyed the building. A mini-mall was later constructed on the site."

    Enjoy. :)



     
  2. opacheco

    opacheco Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Do you know what Mixer Console used or designed Dave Gold for?, Do you have any information about?

    Thanks
    Opacheco
     
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  3. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    Hyde, England
    Great stuff. I do wonder sometimes though if we look backwards a bit too much. For the sake of what does get done these days. Do we hark back a little like the switch from sail ships to powered, or horse and cart to car. It was a time we have lost, it’s sad but true. But exciting times are here and we can learn to still make great music.

    Tony
     
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  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

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    Jul 2, 2002
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    77 Sunset Lane.
    personally, i think tape recorders and all that went with them were a lot more fun to use than computers are.
     
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  5. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    Judging by izotopes AI based approach, and AI in general, we wont be doing the operating on computers, computers will be operating themselves.

    I feel like being a mixing/mastering engineer is becoming obsolete, and tracking will be done by the artist, then "fixed" by the AI, which will edit and choose the "optimal" sounds. Acousticians won't be needed because of room correction, and when auto-mix is we wont even need tuned listening systems. We can trust the algorithm has done well...

    Ive really started thinking seriously about making my hiatus a retirement from professional audio. It seems obsolete. I may just be a hobbyist or just a consumer of end product. Maybe its time to get into real estate...
     
  6. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    Hyde, England
    @kmetal Kyle,

    while I agree AI and machine learning in general are making more inroads into our lives, it’s not the total story. I personally use all of iZotopes products, while they are fantastic, I still make choices around the starting (smart choices) the software make.

    I see them as just a new tool, where they really help me is my missing frequency hearing. The results are more consistent, but still reflect my artistic production choices. They are imho shortcuts in a busier more crowded environment. Lack of formal training and multi million dollar special studios has been with ya a while now. We just keep evolving. You’re not done yet mate :).

    Tony
     
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  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    77 Sunset Lane.
    that's never going to happen. electronic"correction" is snake oil. at best, results may be optimized at one specific location in a room at a the cost of degraded playback quality. once again i'll say this. no processing ever improves a signal. all you are accomplishing with processing is altering the signal. the best path is the simplest / shortest one. the shortest path to good recording rooms is size. even a cube will sound good when recorded in if the cube is large enough. a room needs to be large enough to attenuate reflections and to allow low frequency wave formation.
     
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  8. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Distinguished Member

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    I don't think it does a bad job, the master match did a remarkable job on a warren huart video, where he set a commercial song he mixed, to match the actual big money analog master, and it was crazy close.

    I think since it does such a good job already, what it is to be an audio engineer is going to look very different. Im not sure what that is gonna look like. We have gone from emulating the classic studio in the box, to the next step.

    Maybe next step is the human audio interface where we plug our brains into the cloud and what we hear in our head is printed on disc.

    I agree. There is no substitute for physics. Im just not sure for how much longer people will invest in thousands for treatment, or tens of thousands for purpose made builds. Acoustics is a niche to begin with. Maybe these things will do the opposite and actually spark interest, but im not so sure.

    Imho the next step is realtime networked audio where people collaborate on tracking and mixing over a skype style thing, and all access the same virtual mixer/daw. I think with the AI handling more and more technical stuff, the human collaboration will come back into swing.
     
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  9. Bald English

    Bald English Active Member

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    These kind of things always fill me with a mix of joy and sadness, much like the Sound City documentary. Still, time only travels one direction and the way forward...is forward!
     

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