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The Hollies Forum Index » Words and Music » Mixing/recording music -- today's stuff vs. early 70's
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SpartyScott Post subject: Mixing/recording music -- today's stuff vs. early 70's
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Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 661
Location: Gahanna, Ohio USA

You know, I think all this technology has done music a disservice. Compare a typical rock and roll song from today to a well-done work from about 35 years ago.

Specifically, consider the highly entertaining Hollies song Please Sign Your Letters.

Listen to the song on a good stereo system, or better yet, with headphones. Each instrument can be discerned and followed throughout the song, even the double and triple-tracked guitar parts. And even when the guys are singing in harmony and dominating the sound, you can still clearly distinguish each instrument. In short, the recording/engineering of that song was, as far as I'm concerned, perfect.

After listinging to Please Sign Your Letters once or twice, now hear any current rock and roll number, even (alas) the new album Staying Power. I can't really describe well what it is that I don't like about today's sound, I just know that you can't pick out and follow, say, a guitarist's work throughout a piece. Somehow, the sounds seem to combine together into a wall -- although I'm sure that I'm not describing it well. I don't mean this as a criticism of the Hollies, but rather of the music industry in general. Listen to something, ANYTHING that's current by any top rock and roll group, and see if you don't agree with me.

What's the solution?

Why not record on the old 8-track recording equipement that EMI used back then? Who needs all that production (or rather overproduction), anyway? Sgt Pepper was recorded on 4-track equipment, for crying out loud, and it's probabaly the best rock and roll album of all time. And the Beatles' Abbey Road and Badfinger's Straight Up take 8-track recording (at least, I think that those albums used 8-track equipment) to heights that no one today is reaching. Macca's fantastic Run Devil Run album from a few years ago used old style recording techniques and period equipment, and it sounds simply wonderful. Is it as simple as being analog rather than digital, and not filling up all the available tracks on today's zillion-track recording equipment?

Or, maybe I'm just tipping at windmills, and don't know anything (which is likely enough!)

OK, end of rambling discussion. I feel better for getting that off of my chest.
Cheers.
PostPosted:Wed Apr 19, 2006 14:45 pm
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carol7cat Post subject:
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Joined: 12 Aug 2005
Posts: 110
Location: BEDFORDSHIRE

I agree entirely.
When I was younger I used to go and see a lot of bands, playing and singing live with real musical instruments.
I would then go and buy the records and listen to the music and actually pick out the instruments that I enjoyed listening to and that was not that long ago!!!
What a blissful experience!!!!
PostPosted:Wed Apr 19, 2006 16:45 pm
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DistantLight Post subject:
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Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 371
Location: Germany

The sound that most bands go for today is a fuller sound, you described it as a wall and it's a good description. That makes it hard to distinuish between all the different parts. One reason for that is of course that today lots of bands overdo the overdubbing thing and add not two guitars but ten or twenty to make the sound fuller. I think albums like "Abbey Road" or "Romany" are perfectly produced and there are current bands (like for example the White Stripes) who go for a retro sound and only use old equipment for their records.
It's again a matter of taste. Some people prefer the new recording sound and some prefer the simpler older sound. I personally like the sound of the late '60s/early '70s the most.
PostPosted:Wed Apr 19, 2006 17:14 pm
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voxac30 Post subject: 4tracks



Joined: 10 Mar 2006
Posts: 3

Well i for one use my old 4 track tape machine and 'bounce' down to free up tracks,and it's still just as exciting to me now as it was when i first used it many years ago.I too love Bad Finger, and i am a BIG Beatles fan,i love listening to those old mixes through 'cans'you can her so so much.The book Abbey Road tapes takes you through track by track, everything the Beatles ever recorded there,and is a very entertaining read.
PostPosted:Wed Apr 19, 2006 18:25 pm
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holliesfan Post subject: Re: Mixing/recording music -- today's stuff vs. early 70's
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Joined: 17 Jan 2004
Posts: 519
Location: New Jersey, USA

SpartyScott wrote:
Why not record on the old 8-track recording equipement that EMI used back then? Who needs all that production (or rather overproduction), anyway? Sgt Pepper was recorded on 4-track equipment, for crying out loud, and it's probabaly the best rock and roll album of all time. And the Beatles' Abbey Road and Badfinger's Straight Up take 8-track recording (at least, I think that those albums used 8-track equipment) to heights that no one today is reaching. Macca's fantastic Run Devil Run album from a few years ago used old style recording techniques and period equipment, and it sounds simply wonderful. Is it as simple as being analog rather than digital, and not filling up all the available tracks on today's zillion-track recording equipment?


Is there even a slight chance that the Hollies would consider going this route on their next album? It would be interesting to hear that 60's sound again. Yes, I'm a big lover of that retro style. I like Staying Power but the retro sound seemed to have that clear and distinct ring to it. Hey, even if they did a track or two in that format it would be fun to hear. I realize that at the end of the day the lads will do what is in their best interest but even the slightest consideration might lead to some interesting inroads.
PostPosted:Wed Apr 19, 2006 20:29 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
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Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 928
Location: Dunfermline, Fife

Probably in terms of ease and lower cash outlay, it may be best to record with current technology...mind you there was all that technical stuff with the Buddy Holly record in the 90's...

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PostPosted:Thu Apr 20, 2006 5:39 am
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