Suggestions For A Soul/Lo-Fi Effect?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by rmccam, May 7, 2004.

  1. rmccam

    rmccam Guest


    I'm not sure if this going to make sense but...

    1) I'm making a record that I'd like to sound like an old 70's soul/R&B Vinyl LP. Outside of pop and crackles (and within ProTools), does anybody have any suggestions to create that effect?

    2) Also, any ideas on how to reproduce the sound of a 70's TV intro, kung-fu movies, etc.? I'm not exactly sure how to explain what I'm referring to but the music is usually pretty funky, and it's all kinda distorted, compressed, maybe mono? I'm not sure, I wasn't working in the 70's but I'd love some insight on how to achieve the effect.

    Thanks a million,

  2. BennisHahn

    BennisHahn Guest

    For an answer to your first question, try downloading Izotope's Vinyl. It's free and I think it comes in RTAS, VST, & DX. It's made to reproduce records and I think it sounds alright.
  3. slicraider

    slicraider Guest


    Check out a book called "Temples of Sound". You can read alot about both Motown and the Philly sound. Listen to the records. Get immersed in the music you are trying to emulate. Some vintage gear would help too.
  4. Bhennies

    Bhennies Guest

    If you have the Waves plugs- there are a few settings in the Q10 equalizer (telephone, Am radio) that might be a start for getting that raw tone. Try a low-pass filter, or high pass, or both, along with a tiny little bit of overdrive.
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I was "there" and I don't think that the recordings of the 70's were "lo-fi" at all. They were actually pretty good. By the early 70's recording technology had progressed to a reasonably good state. Quality was good and high count multi track was beginning to proliferate.. 16 track machines were becoming the norm and 24 track was in the wings.

    AM radio still was the main medium but FM was catching up fast. Mixes were more "midrangey" so they could punch through on AM and small TV speakers with much less emphases on the low end. Often engineers would roll off a lot of lows below 100Hz. They would compensate by boosting the bass instruments a bit in the 200 Hz regions (I still do this myself).

    Kick drum was not mixed as prominently as it is these days ... and was usually more "thumpy" or "poofey", not as hard sounding as today and almost never "tickey". Drums were often recorded with one overhead mic, a snare and kick mic .... if that.

    Most sessions were recorded live in one room, using pro studio musicians that had deep jazz and classical backgrounds like Barney Kessel, Tommy Tediesco, Billy Strange, Carol Kaye, Hal Blaine and the rest of the "Wrecking Crew" or James Jamerson and "The Funk Bros." ..... and that had a profound effect on the "sound" of those recordings. The sound and vibe of all those great players in one room was a large factor. Mics picked up spill and bleed in those small studios .... isolation was not as big a deal as it is today.

    Because many of those recordings were done with 16 or less tracks, it was often necessary to bounce tracks or to fill up one machine doing the rhythm and backing tracks and then mix that to a second multi track to facilitate lead vocals and background overdubs ... so the sound of tape compression comes heavily into play as a part of the sound of those records.

    So the question is, can we get those same sounds today on modern digital equipment? I don't really think so. The best thing to do is to emulate the playing of those old studio players and the syle of the recording techniques. Record several instruments all at once in the same room using great players ... and not worrying so much about isolation. Spill can be a cool tool if used correctly in a good sounding recording room. That will get you further than all the plug ins and "vintage warmers" in the world ... none of that stuff sounds like the real thing to me.

    The funny thing is, in the 70's, a lot engineers hated that coloration, tape compression and warmth that the recording, bouncing and overdubbibg process brought to the recordings and they "lusted" for colorless "transparent" sounding gear. One of the best things a manufacturer could say about a new mic, compressor or mixer was that it provided "transparent" sound ....My, how things have changed ...
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