Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

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chibear
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Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by chibear » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:12 am

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by aj113 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:21 am

There might be no pitch correction, but that doesn't mean it has been comped from a thousand takes.

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chibear
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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by chibear » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:30 pm

Recorded in 1966, I doubt there were 1000 takes, or 100, or very likely even 10. I started working as a studio musician in '68 or '69. What is called 'comping' now was done via very tedious tape splicing then. More often than not the best of full takes were used. I never heard the term 'comping' until the digital revolution.
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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by aj113 » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:51 pm

chibear wrote:... I never heard the term 'comping' until the digital revolution.
I was working in studios from the early 80s, and comping was certainly ubiquitous then, so it's clearly not a digital phenomenon. Given that messrs Wilson were pursusing the boundaries of recording at the time of recording these vocals I'll stick with my claim. :)

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by outteh » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:54 pm

They were all great singers in their time and needed very little electronic assistance. If you look into the history of the their song making they really worked hard to achieve the vocal renditions. Agree there were several takes probably blended together and mixed to get the best sound. :D

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by chibear » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:43 am

I'm not saying that there was no multitracking or layering, in fact I and some of my colleagues perceived a lot more than 4-part harmony (one says there are 10 on some of the chords) in the video. Also when I started in the studio there was punch-in punch out capabilities, so we can assume that existed at the time of the recording also.

However, the point of the OP was that they had to sing in tune without electronic help.

The technological level of the industry at the time is explained HERE with a paragraph devoted to the Beach Boys multitracking techniques. To be noted is that the max size of an expensive machine was 8 tracks and I know from my experience with the medium that there were VERY few allowable tape to tape transfers because of the hiss issue (even taking into consideration that Dolby A, introduced in 1965 may have been in use)

Therefore you are limited to 8 tracks to comp, which, because of the technology available would be extremely difficult and time consuming to cherry pick notes or even phrases, even with the most sophisticated equipment (via leveling) , leaving splicing as the only alternative beyond 8 tracks

Adrian's off topic and Trumpian observation that "but that doesn't mean it has been comped from a thousand takes" Would require <> 125 8 track machines just to contain the sounds and even considering 'bouncing down', there were still only a limited number of bounces available due to the noise issue. I therefore also stand by my statements.
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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:06 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Epic!
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by aj113 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:27 pm

chibear wrote:...

Adrian's off topic and Trumpian observation that "but that doesn't mean it has been comped from a thousand takes" Would require <> 125 8 track machines just to contain the sounds and even considering 'bouncing down', there were still only a limited number of bounces available due to the noise issue...
'fraid not matey. You could do one thousand takes on one track one thousand times. After each take you keep what you want, bounce it over, then record over what you don't want with the next take. I worked on eight track for quite a few years. Not only can you comp using just one extra track, but you can punch in and out as often as you like on the main track. Wilson had this facility available, it would be unreasonable to think he didn't use/abuse it to the max, he was at the cutting edge at the time. Sure there was no autotune, but that didn't matter when you were spending six months on one song and you could do as many takes as you liked, until - even if only by the law of averages - you got the one you wanted.

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by chibear » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:28 am

OK enough of this. I will give you all the exploits of Super Adrian in the booth even though I only buy about 1/2 of it. My position is that in 1966 that the Beach Boys probably performed the 'miracle' of singing in tune without having to be saved by an engineer. Period.
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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by aj113 » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:52 am

chibear wrote:...My position is that in 1966 that the Beach Boys probably performed the 'miracle' of singing in tune without having to be saved by an engineer. Period.
Given the type of producer that Wilson was at that time, and given the technology available to him, I think it's realistic to assume that he used every trick - both in and out - the book in order to get what he wanted.

I mean the Boys were ok singers but they weren't exactly world class, it's the production that made them sound cutting edge.

I can't imagine Wilson - of all producers - saying something like "Well, we've got the technology to do unlimited takes until we get it right but we'll just do it in straight takes because otherwise I think it would be cheating."

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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by chibear » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:22 pm

Here is a section on the vocals and mixdown of Pet Sounds from Wikipedia:

According to Jardine, each member was taught their individual vocal lines by Brian at a piano. He explains, "Every night we'd come in for a playback. We'd sit around and listen to what we did the night before. Someone might say, well, that's pretty good but we can do that better ... We had somewhat photographic memory as far as the vocal parts were concerned so that never a problem for us."[153] This process proved to be the most exacting work the group had undertaken yet. During recording, Mike Love often called Brian "dog ears", a nickname referencing a canine's ability to detect sounds far beyond the limits of human hearing.[154] Love later summarized:

We worked and worked on the harmonies and, if there was the slightest little hint of a sharp or a flat, it wouldn't go on. We would do it over again until it was right. [Brian] was going for every subtle nuance that you could conceivably think of. Every voice had to be right, every voice and its resonance and tonality had to be right. The timing had to be right. The timbre of the voices just had to be correct, according to how he felt. And then he might, the next day, completely throw that out and we might have to do it over again.[155]

By the time of Pet Sounds, Wilson was using up to six of the eight tracks on the multitrack master so that he could record the voice of each member separately, allowing him greater control over the vocal balance in the final mix.[148] After mixing down the four-track to mono for overdubbing via an eight-track recorder, six of the remaining seven tracks were usually dedicated to each of the Beach Boys' vocals.[148] The last track was usually reserved for additional elements such as extra vocals or instrumentation.[29][nb 22] Vocals were recorded using two Neumann U-47s, which Dennis, Carl and Jardine would sing on, and a Shure 545 used by Brian for his leads.[150] Love sang most of the album's bass vocals, and necessitated an extra microphone due to his low volume range.[154] Some of the vocals were recorded at CBS Columbia Square, because it was the only facility in Los Angeles with an eight-track recorder.[145][148]

The album's final vocal overdubbing session took place on April 13, 1966, concluding a ten-month-long recording period that had begun with "Sloop John B" in July 1965.[156] The album was mixed three days later in a single nine-hour session.[54][nb 23] Saxophonist Steve Douglas recalls of the album's draft mix: "It was full of noise. You could hear him talking in the background. It was real sloppy. He had spent all this time making the album, and zip—dubbed it down in one day or something like that. [When we said something to him about it], he took it back and mixed it properly. I think a lot of times, beautiful orchestrated stuff or parts got lost in his mixes".[158] A true stereophonic mix of Pet Sounds was not considered in 1966 largely because of mixing logistics.[148] In spite of whether a true stereo mix was possible, Wilson intentionally mixed the final version of his recordings in mono (as did Spector). He did this because he felt that mono mastering provided more sonic control over the final result, irrespective of the vagaries of speaker placement and sound system quality.[148][nb 24] Another and more personal reason for Brian's preference for mono was his almost total deafness in his right ear.[159][nb 25] The total cost of production amounted to a then-unheard of $70,000 (equivalent to $520,000 in 2016).[126]
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Re: Before Autotune and Melodyne.....

Post by midimoose » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:12 pm

Many thanks for the detailed follow-up on "Pet Sounds". Regardless of how he did it, Brian Wilson's genius at composing and arranging vocal harmonies is magic. It certainly formed a part of my life's "soundtrack". The vocals only link you provided opened up many other songs/groups' vocals for study. Great stuff--thank you!
Another small piece of his vocal harmony work turned up in a 1989 Linda Ronstadt CD, (Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind), on a track called "Adios". Worth a detailed listen if you're a fan. Also, beautiful score and video from your 9-25 post. Enjoyed it immensely. Rick.
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