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Author Topic: Most up-front BB lead vocals vs. most buried BB lead vocals  (Read 4797 times)
CenturyDeprived
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« on: August 13, 2015, 02:48:29 PM »

Listening to Do it Again (original 20/20 mix), it struck me how Mike's lead (at least on the first verse) is rather buried and low in the mix. It sounds kinda cool like that, but I wonder if that was an intentional creative choice, or more of just something that inadvertently happened during quick mixing.

Another example of a buried-sounding vocal would be Dennis' Cabinessence vocals, which almost seem like a secret "easter egg" type of thing. Hard to qualify them as a lead or a backing vocal, since they could almost be considered either.

Contrast with songs like Girls on the Beach, where the lead vocals are so up-front that the backing track almost is a little afterthought and not all that audible at all.

What other examples of both can everyone think about? I'm curious what people think were the reasons for artistic choices like these that were made. Obviously, a vocal band like The BBs would want to showcase their vocals proudly and loudly, but it's intriguing because it wasn't always consistent.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 03:47:29 PM by CenturyDeprived » Logged
petsoundsnola
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2015, 03:29:16 PM »

Time to Get Alone - Carl's lead vocal is very low to my ears.
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keysarsoze001
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« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2015, 05:59:52 AM »

The lead on "Wild Honey" is pretty low to my ears.
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Gerry
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« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 08:02:46 AM »

Carl on "Sweet Sunday Kind of Love"
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« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 08:04:05 AM »

Meant to add that it is somewhat low, sorry.
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2015, 08:05:36 AM »

Here She Comes. Ricky is buried very low on the lead. The backing vocals and Blondie's counterpart are much higher.
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2015, 09:31:37 AM »

Frankly, almost all of the leads on Smiley Smile sound like the mic is halfway down their throats, but it kind of goes with the overall fly-on-the-wall sound of the album.
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2015, 05:01:02 PM »

I know it's from a quickly mixed acetate, but I always wish Dennis' vocal on "You Are My Sunshine" was more pronounced and out front.
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Steve Latshaw
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2015, 12:18:34 PM »

I always thought the BG vocals on the WILD HONEY album - and the 1973 BEACH BOYS IN CONCERT album were mixed way too low.
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 10:08:59 AM »

On Wipe out I guess I hear only Brian´s vocals (beside the Fat Boys).  Right ? Why are the other BBs not involved ?
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 10:36:35 AM »

On Wipe out I guess I hear only Brian´s vocals (beside the Fat Boys).  Right ? Why are the other BBs not involved ?

Mike is on there as well.
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Joel Goldenberg
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« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 10:40:21 AM »

On Wipe out I guess I hear only Brian´s vocals (beside the Fat Boys).  Right ? Why are the other BBs not involved ?
I believe AGD's co-written Beach Boys guide implies that Brian was the only BB on the recording.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 10:53:37 AM by Joel Goldenberg » Logged
bonnevillemariner
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« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 11:06:19 AM »

Listening to Do it Again (original 20/20 mix), it struck me how Mike's lead (at least on the first verse) is rather buried and low in the mix. It sounds kinda cool like that, but I wonder if that was an intentional creative choice, or more of just something that inadvertently happened during quick mixing.

I've always wondered this too.  That track sounds horrible to me-- like a recording of a recording of a recording.  If it was a creative choice, it's one that doesn't resonate with these ears.
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« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 01:22:30 PM »

Always felt Carl's lead on The Trader was a little too low on the first half of the song. 
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« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 02:16:16 PM »

like a recording of a recording of a recording.

That's exactly what it is, in fact.
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« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2015, 05:15:47 AM »

Mike on "All I Want To Do". Quite soft.
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2015, 04:08:15 PM »

COMMENT:

Maybe I can shed some light on this topic since I was there. Personally I like to be able to understand the words without straining my ears, but other factors come into play for some of these songs.

Dennis will try to bury his vocals because he doesn’t think he’s a very good singer and gets embarrassed when he hears himself under the “microscope” of a studio monitor during mixdown. I have fought with him many times trying to convince him that his vocal was too low.

Carl likes to think of vocals as instrumentation. “Voices as instruments” as he called it. This has resulted in mixes where the lead vocals were hardly audible, like most of 20/20. The lead we mixed in Do It Again (the lost stereo mix) was somewhat higher than the re-mix. Can’t give you a reason there. I have played around with 20/20 and it is really very hard to bring the vocals out in a re-mastering, but stand-by. I have developed a technique (sample – see below) that may bring out the vocals somewhat.
 
Many of the songs you cited were mixed in the days when Altec Lansing Monitors were in use. These monitors tended to stress the vocal component of a mix, which means that when reproduced over today’s speakers with a more flattened response curve, the vocal is suppressed – just by the tonality of a modern speaker.

I have finished re-mastering Friends and you will find much improvement to the original. That study-video will be out early next year. You can sample the improvement at my website by clicking on the radio-button labeled [ FRIENDS (album) “Passing By” and other song samples ] for a taste of what to expect. If you like “in your face” vocals, wait until you hear the re-master of Little Bird.

Hope this helps …


~swd    http://swdstudyvideos.com 
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 05:23:32 PM by Stephen W. Desper » Logged
Custom Machine
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« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2015, 07:26:26 PM »

Thanks for your enlightening comments, Stephen.

As a fan going back to the beginning, back in early 1969 when I first got home with 20/20 and put it on my turntable I was both surprised and somewhat dismayed at how buried in the mix many of the lead vocals were. It was obviously done on purpose, and since the BBs were declining in popularity I figured they were looking for a change with a less vocal-centric sound. And I was quite pleased that buried leads were not the case at all on the following album, Sunflower.

As far as Mike's lead on Do It Again, yeah, it sounds like he's singing in a reverberant chamber and miked from a distance, but the way that vocal is recorded is absolute perfection to my ears. I can't really explain why in any definitive terms, other to say that I can't imagine the song sounding better recorded any other way. It was one of the things I instantly loved about the song when I first heard it, and still do today.

Stephen, it would be great to hear details concerning how you recorded Mike's Do It Again lead. Wonder if that original stereo master is buried in a landfill, or will some day miraculously show up.

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DonnyL
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« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2015, 07:43:43 PM »

COMMENT:

Maybe I can shed some light on this topic since I was there. Personally I like to be able to understand the words without straining my ears, but other factors come into play for some of these songs.

Dennis will try to bury his vocals because he doesn’t think he’s a very good singer and gets embarrassed when he hears himself under the “microscope” of a studio monitor during mixdown. I have fought with him many times trying to convince him that his vocal was too low.

Carl likes to think of vocals as instrumentation. “Voices as instruments” as he called it. This has resulted in mixes where the lead vocals were hardly audible, like most of 20/20. The lead we mixed in Do It Again (the lost stereo mix) was somewhat higher than the re-mix. Can’t give you a reason there. I have played around with 20/20 and it is really very hard to bring the vocals out in a re-mastering, but stand-by. I have developed a technique (sample – see below) that may bring out the vocals somewhat.
 
Many of the songs you cited were mixed in the days when Altec Lansing Monitors were in use. These monitors tended to stress the vocal component of a mix, which means that when reproduced over today’s speakers with a more flattened response curve, the vocal is suppressed – just by the tonality of a modern speaker.

I have finished re-mastering Friends and you will find much improvement to the original. That study-video will be out early next year. You can sample the improvement at my website by clicking on the radio-button labeled [ FRIENDS (album) “Passing By” and other song samples ] for a taste of what to expect. If you like “in your face” vocals, wait until you hear the re-master of Little Bird.

Hope this helps …


~swd    http://swdstudyvideos.com 


I really like how you used present tense when talking about Dennis and Carl's production philosophies ... Makes me feel like "20/20" is a contemporary record, and you guys are still making recordings together.
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Sound of Free
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« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2015, 09:56:43 PM »

COMMENT:
Dennis will try to bury his vocals because he doesn’t think he’s a very good singer and gets embarrassed when he hears himself under the “microscope” of a studio monitor during mixdown. I have fought with him many times trying to convince him that his vocal was too low


It seems like one time this wasn't the case was (Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again. His vocal is very prominent, especially in the chorus. It's terrific.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2015, 04:08:06 AM »

COMMENT:
Dennis will try to bury his vocals because he doesn’t think he’s a very good singer and gets embarrassed when he hears himself under the “microscope” of a studio monitor during mixdown. I have fought with him many times trying to convince him that his vocal was too low


It seems like one time this wasn't the case was (Wouldn't It Be Nice To) Live Again. His vocal is very prominent, especially in the chorus. It's terrific.

One would assume WIBNTLA is a 2012 mix.
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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2015, 05:23:55 AM »

COMMENT:
Dennis will try to bury his vocals because he doesn’t think he’s a very good singer and gets embarrassed when he hears himself under the “microscope” of a studio monitor during mixdown. I have fought with him many times trying to convince him that his vocal was too low


Stephen, I could probably find this information myself if I looked hard enough but I've always marvelled at the second salvo of "my my my"'s (here at 0:47) in "Forever". Who is singing this? I've always assumed it was Mike for some reason. Whoever it is, it's almost as if he's jumped out of the speakers into the room to sing it. Is there a story behind this? Or somewhere online where I could find it? Thanks in advance.     

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tokxcbu_Uo
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Stephen W. Desper
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« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2015, 09:41:42 AM »

Quote
Stephen, I could probably find this information myself if I looked hard enough but I've always marvelled at the second salvo of "my my my"'s (here at 0:47) in "Forever". Who is singing this? I've always assumed it was Mike for some reason. Whoever it is, it's almost as if he's jumped out of the speakers into the room to sing it. Is there a story behind this? Or somewhere online where I could find it? Thanks in advance.     

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tokxcbu_Uo


COMMENT:  I've always liked that line too.  I believe it was Carl singing.

You might check out this song in Recording The Beach Boys - part one, which you will find as a study-video at my website, http://swdstudyvideos.com
     ~swd
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JK
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« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2015, 10:57:14 AM »

Quote
Stephen, I could probably find this information myself if I looked hard enough but I've always marvelled at the second salvo of "my my my"'s (here at 0:47) in "Forever". Who is singing this? I've always assumed it was Mike for some reason. Whoever it is, it's almost as if he's jumped out of the speakers into the room to sing it. Is there a story behind this? Or somewhere online where I could find it? Thanks in advance.     

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tokxcbu_Uo


COMMENT:  I've always liked that line too.  I believe it was Carl singing.

You might check out this song in Recording The Beach Boys - part one, which you will find as a study-video at my website, http://swdstudyvideos.com
     ~swd

Thank you, sir. I've been to your website before and remember being blown away by "Cabinessence"...

I've bookmarked the study-video in question and am reading it in stages. What a labour of love! I was looking forward to buying your book but this is the perfect alternative.       
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« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2015, 02:13:43 AM »

Most buried? How about Dennis's "Truck Driving Man"?  Grin
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