gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
658652 Posts in 26378 Topics by 3745 Members - Latest Member: oncetoseeyou June 05, 2020, 05:46:51 AM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: 1 [2] 3 Go Down Print
Author Topic: The first time The Beach Boys used the 8-track recorder  (Read 1358 times)
DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2020, 11:18:49 AM »

So I listened to see which tracks have the "step fades" on the '60s vinyl. Unfortunately, my copy of Pet Sounds seems to have been "helped" in mastering (as was the Steve Hoffman Pet Sounds CD, which I also just listened to), so I'm not totally sure on what I'm hearing on the PS tracks. Summer Days is more obvious.

Here are the tracks (not inclusive) that I would say were mixed at Columbia:

Amusement Parks USA
Salt Lake City
California Girls
Let Him Run Wild
You’re So Good to Me

Wouldn’t It Be Nice
I’m Waiting for the Day
God Only Knows
I Know There’s An Answer
Here Today
I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times


Add Summer Means New Love and I'm Bugged at My Ol' Man to that, but I don't think I Know There's an Answer was a Columbia mix. That one session-wise never left 4-track at Western. You got all the other 8-track songs though, very well spotted!

Yeh unfortunately no way to tell on the tracks that end vs fade!

I’m a bit iffy on some of the PS tracks, not sure I’m hearing the step fades on “I’m Waiting for the Day”, but I think so. I’ll listen to “I Know There’s An Answer” again, but it does sound like step fades. I try to keep an open mind - is it possible that the 4-track tape was taken to Columbia at some point and mixed there (possibly as part Of another season)? That kind of thing
Logged

DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2020, 11:23:11 AM »

I don't think it was much of a problem to sync things back in 1965. All it takes is a varispeed control on one machine, and calibration tones on one track out of 4- and 8-tracked tapes. If the standard tape recorders had no varispeed control, any qualified recording engineer would be capable to install one.

And putting a reduction of vocals from 8-track into the overall mix on 4-track wouldn't have been much of a problem, if ever needed. Exact sync is a necessity when different instrumental tracks must be aligned.

It was not that easy lol. As the saying goes, if it were that easy, everyone would have been doing it. And for two of probably the most famous examples of tape machine sync issues on two of the most famous albums of the 60's and beyond worked on by two of the best recording engineers of all time, there were the issues Geoff Emerick trying to sync the machines to mix the orchestra back into "A Day In The Life" which they could not do 100%, and Roy Halee joining together two 8-track machines to record Simon & Garfunkel on songs like The Boxer.

It wasn't so much getting them in sync from the start - If you were lucky you could mark the tape and get them locked in manually by chance. But regarding mixing those tapes, where you had to stop and start, and going back again later where you had to sync them again...the machines were not consistent, the voltage may not be consistent from Monday to next Wednesday, and if you kept them running some of those motors would start to - as they called it - "drift" which meant slight variances in the speed would cause problems.

So I'd wager that as of 1965-66, considering what was available and how it could be done if it were done at all, syncing up 2 tape machines in any kind of reliable way was not easily done, and if it was there would be no way to keep them consistently "locked" during the process.

Yeh I think I missed this comment ... Additionally, no they could not bounce around the deck unless they bounced *everytning*. This is because frequency response  in 1960s multi-tracks was poor in sync. I mean, they could but no one would do that as a standard process.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:23:58 AM by DonnyL » Logged

SaltyMarshmallow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 154


View Profile
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2020, 11:30:36 AM »


Yeh unfortunately no way to tell on the tracks that end vs fade!

I’m a bit iffy on some of the PS tracks, not sure I’m hearing the step fades on “I’m Waiting for the Day”, but I think so. I’ll listen to “I Know There’s An Answer” again, but it does sound like step fades. I try to keep an open mind - is it possible that the 4-track tape was taken to Columbia at some point and mixed there (possibly as part Of another season)? That kind of thing

Certainly possible as other 4-track songs in the Smile era were taken to Columbia, but in the case of I Know There's an Answer the final overdub session at Western was the very last session for anything on Pet Sounds.
Logged
DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2020, 11:44:52 AM »


Yeh unfortunately no way to tell on the tracks that end vs fade!

I’m a bit iffy on some of the PS tracks, not sure I’m hearing the step fades on “I’m Waiting for the Day”, but I think so. I’ll listen to “I Know There’s An Answer” again, but it does sound like step fades. I try to keep an open mind - is it possible that the 4-track tape was taken to Columbia at some point and mixed there (possibly as part Of another season)? That kind of thing

Certainly possible as other 4-track songs in the Smile era were taken to Columbia, but in the case of I Know There's an Answer the final overdub session at Western was the very last session for anything on Pet Sounds.

Just listened again -- I'm definitely hearing the step fades on the tail of "I Know There's An Answer". The ones that I'm iffy about are "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and "I'm Waiting for the Day" ... though I think they just got some extra help on the mastering fadeout for these pressings.

Keeping in mind the only BB tracks w/ step fades are those I listed above - I think this suggests the step fades were a Columbia board thing (doesn't mean it's an 8-track mix of course). So this is making me wonder is something was done at Columbia in master preparation for Pet Sounds? This is the kind of stuff I'm curious about. Obviously, I think we will only ever have clues and puzzle pieces and theories.

I'm recalling now that ancient thread in which the experts were insisting it was impossible for an 8-Track to be at Western in 1966 ... and yet I was noting the photo of the Scully 8-track behind Brian in a fire hat :D ... definitely not implying you're doing that ha ... just that, I have to throw out conventional wisdom in some cases and just listen, personally.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:47:16 AM by DonnyL » Logged

DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2020, 12:10:51 PM »

Here's some youtube vinyl:

"Here Today" (one of the more obvious examples):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8RcYKzRSXE

"I Know There's An Answer":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MI5fSRJbeM

... keeping in mind, I hear a little fader help in both. It *could* be "I Know There's An Answer" has a quick fader drop, then the leader tape splice was cut a little early ... but still sounds a bit like a step fade to me at the very tail (will need to turn up loud).

... contrast with the smoother fade of something like Sloop John B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlt0ga9es8I

Also note the initial fade will be normal on the Columbia mixes, but you'll hear 1-3 "steps" at the very tail where dbs drop in larger increments before it fades to silence.

Opinions?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 12:17:01 PM by DonnyL » Logged

zaval80
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 52


View Profile
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2020, 12:41:04 PM »

I don't think it was much of a problem to sync things back in 1965. All it takes is a varispeed control on one machine, and calibration tones on one track out of 4- and 8-tracked tapes. If the standard tape recorders had no varispeed control, any qualified recording engineer would be capable to install one.

And putting a reduction of vocals from 8-track into the overall mix on 4-track wouldn't have been much of a problem, if ever needed. Exact sync is a necessity when different instrumental tracks must be aligned.

It was not that easy lol. As the saying goes, if it were that easy, everyone would have been doing it. And for two of probably the most famous examples of tape machine sync issues on two of the most famous albums of the 60's and beyond worked on by two of the best recording engineers of all time, there were the issues Geoff Emerick trying to sync the machines to mix the orchestra back into "A Day In The Life" which they could not do 100%, and Roy Halee joining together two 8-track machines to record Simon & Garfunkel on songs like The Boxer.

It wasn't so much getting them in sync from the start - If you were lucky you could mark the tape and get them locked in manually by chance. But regarding mixing those tapes, where you had to stop and start, and going back again later where you had to sync them again...the machines were not consistent, the voltage may not be consistent from Monday to next Wednesday, and if you kept them running some of those motors would start to - as they called it - "drift" which meant slight variances in the speed would cause problems.

So I'd wager that as of 1965-66, considering what was available and how it could be done if it were done at all, syncing up 2 tape machines in any kind of reliable way was not easily done, and if it was there would be no way to keep them consistently "locked" during the process.
Obviously the exact moment of starting both machines and the voltage control are important. I've found an example from another era - 10 years later - but the description does not involve anything unheard-of in the 60s (aside from 24-track machines, of course):
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showpost.php?p=14702368&postcount=168&s=cc5d0fc08b960aa6fcdaf1d15b66bb08

I have to look up Caillat's book, though, to check why they had to resort to manual syncing - with 24-tracks, how come they were not able to use some automated sync possibilities which existed already? Looks like they used up all 24 tracks.



Logged
aeijtzsche
Honored Guest
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2874



View Profile
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2020, 12:58:50 PM »

I think the point is not whether it was possible, but whether it was worth the time and effort given the desired end result.  I can't imagine Brian sitting around for hours and hours doing sync takes, can you?
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8983


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2020, 12:58:57 PM »

Here's some youtube vinyl:

"Here Today" (one of the more obvious examples):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8RcYKzRSXE

"I Know There's An Answer":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MI5fSRJbeM

... keeping in mind, I hear a little fader help in both. It *could* be "I Know There's An Answer" has a quick fader drop, then the leader tape splice was cut a little early ... but still sounds a bit like a step fade to me at the very tail (will need to turn up loud).

... contrast with the smoother fade of something like Sloop John B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlt0ga9es8I

Also note the initial fade will be normal on the Columbia mixes, but you'll hear 1-3 "steps" at the very tail where dbs drop in larger increments before it fades to silence.

Opinions?

To further muddy the waters, unless this is bad info from years ago, didn't Brian oversee the final mix at Capitol's studio? There may be a difference in terminology used, but when Brian finally had the Pet Sounds album in the can, it was done at Capitol and the term used was "mastering", yet some descriptions also mentioned fades, and things associated with giving it a final mix.

Were some of these sounds perhaps coming from what Brian was doing that final night at Capitol when it was 100% finished?
Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
SaltyMarshmallow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 154


View Profile
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2020, 01:01:08 PM »

I hear it! Hmm, that's a puzzling one. Unless there was a session we don't know about between the IKTAA overdubs on April 17 and the album's final mastering on April 19 it pretty much had to be mixed at Western (or maybe April 17 session had the wrong location written down?), but I do definitely hear the step fade effect you're talking about and it sounds very similar to Here Today.

On the topic of that footage of Brian with an 8-track machine at Western (I was waiting for an excuse!), there's no way to know for sure but at this point I'm about 86% positive what we're looking at is the November 30 vocal session for My Only Sunshine. It's a session at Western with 5 Beach Boys present (everyone but Bruce is seen in the footage, and Dennis is holding the camera), very soon after the European tour (Carl's reading a German music mag), and everyone's wearing the fire hats that Brian would've had out only two days prior if this is the correct date. Van Dyke is also present in some unused stills which means it couldn't be one of those late-stage dates in June. Nov 30 is really the only session anywhere in the vicinity that fits the criteria for what's seen in the footage, and Brian bringing out his 8-track machine for a playback makes a hell of a lot of sense if they'd just returned from tour - they could be reviewing vocals from October, catching up on something Brian did while they were away (I'm in Great Shape was 8-track), or Brian could even be mixing down the Sunshine overdubs that'd hypothetically just been recorded (not sure what they were recorded on - waiting for someone to correct me and say it's 4-track). Maybe there was also a playback for Fire and he dished out the hats to get them all in the mood! Ton of possibilities for what they were doing, but it seems to be the only known date that fits and all things considered it fits very well.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 01:12:52 PM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8983


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2020, 01:03:20 PM »


Yeh unfortunately no way to tell on the tracks that end vs fade!

I’m a bit iffy on some of the PS tracks, not sure I’m hearing the step fades on “I’m Waiting for the Day”, but I think so. I’ll listen to “I Know There’s An Answer” again, but it does sound like step fades. I try to keep an open mind - is it possible that the 4-track tape was taken to Columbia at some point and mixed there (possibly as part Of another season)? That kind of thing

Certainly possible as other 4-track songs in the Smile era were taken to Columbia, but in the case of I Know There's an Answer the final overdub session at Western was the very last session for anything on Pet Sounds.

Just listened again -- I'm definitely hearing the step fades on the tail of "I Know There's An Answer". The ones that I'm iffy about are "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" and "I'm Waiting for the Day" ... though I think they just got some extra help on the mastering fadeout for these pressings.

Keeping in mind the only BB tracks w/ step fades are those I listed above - I think this suggests the step fades were a Columbia board thing (doesn't mean it's an 8-track mix of course). So this is making me wonder is something was done at Columbia in master preparation for Pet Sounds? This is the kind of stuff I'm curious about. Obviously, I think we will only ever have clues and puzzle pieces and theories.

I'm recalling now that ancient thread in which the experts were insisting it was impossible for an 8-Track to be at Western in 1966 ... and yet I was noting the photo of the Scully 8-track behind Brian in a fire hat :D ... definitely not implying you're doing that ha ... just that, I have to throw out conventional wisdom in some cases and just listen, personally.

A situation where both that film and a still photo as well existed under our noses for years without being noticed. When I spotted that in the background, it was one of those "holy sh*t" moments. And yes indeed, some "experts" couldn't get beyond what they were led to believe for years despite hard evidence. That film sort of up-ended conventional wisdom, along with the footage of Brian working the board at Columbia without having his hand slapped away.

I'd still like to find out who the dude in the gray windbreaker was in the Western control room... Grin
Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
zaval80
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 52


View Profile
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2020, 01:31:07 PM »

I think the point is not whether it was possible, but whether it was worth the time and effort given the desired end result.  I can't imagine Brian sitting around for hours and hours doing sync takes, can you?
Why would he? that would be a job for an engineer.

It's not that this scenario is in support of final mixing to 4-track at Western when an 8-track was available at Columbia.
Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8983


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2020, 01:31:48 PM »

I hear it! Hmm, that's a puzzling one. Unless there was a session we don't know about between the IKTAA overdubs on April 17 and the album's final mastering on April 19 it pretty much had to be mixed at Western (or maybe April 17 session had the wrong location written down?), but I do definitely hear the step fade effect you're talking about and it sounds very similar to Here Today.

On the topic of that footage of Brian with an 8-track machine at Western (I was waiting for an excuse!), there's no way to know for sure but at this point I'm about 86% positive what we're looking at is the November 30 vocal session for My Only Sunshine. It's a session at Western with 5 Beach Boys present (everyone but Bruce is seen in the footage, and Dennis is holding the camera), very soon after the European tour (Carl's reading a German music mag), and everyone's wearing the fire hats that Brian would've had out only two days prior if this is the correct date. Van Dyke is also present in some unused stills which means it couldn't be one of those late-stage dates in June. Nov 30 is really the only session anywhere in the vicinity that fits the criteria for what's seen in the footage, and Brian bringing out his 8-track machine for a playback makes a hell of a lot of sense if they'd just returned from tour - they could be reviewing vocals from October, catching up on something Brian did while they were away (I'm in Great Shape was 8-track), or Brian could even be mixing down the Sunshine overdubs that'd hypothetically just been recorded (not sure what they were recorded on - waiting for someone to correct me and say it's 4-track). Maybe there was also a playback for Fire and he dished out the hats to get them all in the mood! Ton of possibilities for what they were doing, but it seems to be the only known date that fits and all things considered it fits very well.

Here's the original thread where that film info first came out - others followed but this was the original. http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,10570.0.html

Just a few points to add:

Van Dyke wearing the firehat was not an unused still - He is in the same film, I just took a screenshot of him from another, slightly longer source for the same film. The other still photo of Brian, Chuck, and Van Dyke in front of the same 8-track machine was one I had from yet another source in my collection, and that was not from the same film or date. So the screenshots and the still photo were from at least 3 sources I used to capture them. I need to re-up them since Photobucket got all messed up a few years ago.

In the original thread the exact date of that German magazine was provided, Sept. 24 1966, which further lines up with the late fall timeline in several ways - more details at the original thread.

There's more detail that can be found on this board for those interested.
Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
aeijtzsche
Honored Guest
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2874



View Profile
« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2020, 01:40:29 PM »

I think the point is not whether it was possible, but whether it was worth the time and effort given the desired end result.  I can't imagine Brian sitting around for hours and hours doing sync takes, can you?
Why would he? that would be a job for an engineer.

It's not that this scenario is in support of final mixing to 4-track at Western when an 8-track was available at Columbia.

It's the sitting around, not the synching, that I think Brian would be intolerant of.
Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 154


View Profile
« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2020, 01:44:37 PM »

I hear it! Hmm, that's a puzzling one. Unless there was a session we don't know about between the IKTAA overdubs on April 17 and the album's final mastering on April 19 it pretty much had to be mixed at Western (or maybe April 17 session had the wrong location written down?), but I do definitely hear the step fade effect you're talking about and it sounds very similar to Here Today.

On the topic of that footage of Brian with an 8-track machine at Western (I was waiting for an excuse!), there's no way to know for sure but at this point I'm about 86% positive what we're looking at is the November 30 vocal session for My Only Sunshine. It's a session at Western with 5 Beach Boys present (everyone but Bruce is seen in the footage, and Dennis is holding the camera), very soon after the European tour (Carl's reading a German music mag), and everyone's wearing the fire hats that Brian would've had out only two days prior if this is the correct date. Van Dyke is also present in some unused stills which means it couldn't be one of those late-stage dates in June. Nov 30 is really the only session anywhere in the vicinity that fits the criteria for what's seen in the footage, and Brian bringing out his 8-track machine for a playback makes a hell of a lot of sense if they'd just returned from tour - they could be reviewing vocals from October, catching up on something Brian did while they were away (I'm in Great Shape was 8-track), or Brian could even be mixing down the Sunshine overdubs that'd hypothetically just been recorded (not sure what they were recorded on - waiting for someone to correct me and say it's 4-track). Maybe there was also a playback for Fire and he dished out the hats to get them all in the mood! Ton of possibilities for what they were doing, but it seems to be the only known date that fits and all things considered it fits very well.

Here's the original thread where that film info first came out - others followed but this was the original. http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,10570.0.html

Just a few points to add:

Van Dyke wearing the firehat was not an unused still - He is in the same film, I just took a screenshot of him from another, slightly longer source for the same film. The other still photo of Brian, Chuck, and Van Dyke in front of the same 8-track machine was one I had from yet another source in my collection, and that was not from the same film or date. So the screenshots and the still photo were from at least 3 sources I used to capture them. I need to re-up them since Photobucket got all messed up a few years ago.

In the original thread the exact date of that German magazine was provided, Sept. 24 1966, which further lines up with the late fall timeline in several ways - more details at the original thread.

There's more detail that can be found on this board for those interested.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up! Would that other photo be the one where Van's giving Brian a shoulder rub? Couple of possibilities for that are Wind Chimes on October 5 and H&V Great Shape on October 27, both of which are Western sessions with Chuck that Van Dyke was present for and are both confirmed to have used Brian's 8-track machine.

So for uses of that thing we've got October 5, October 27, mystery American Band footage session (more likely than not November 30), and I'd bet Brian's solo session for Wonderful vocals on October 6 too. That's the date ascribed to the mono mix and the parts present would necessitate 6 tracks of a tape (instrumental, 2x Brian lead, 3 individual backing vocal overdubs). I'm not sure what the official equipment situation was by June, but by my count the two versions of You're With Me Tonight done over there would've been 8-track too.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 01:45:58 PM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8983


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2020, 02:50:24 PM »

I hear it! Hmm, that's a puzzling one. Unless there was a session we don't know about between the IKTAA overdubs on April 17 and the album's final mastering on April 19 it pretty much had to be mixed at Western (or maybe April 17 session had the wrong location written down?), but I do definitely hear the step fade effect you're talking about and it sounds very similar to Here Today.

On the topic of that footage of Brian with an 8-track machine at Western (I was waiting for an excuse!), there's no way to know for sure but at this point I'm about 86% positive what we're looking at is the November 30 vocal session for My Only Sunshine. It's a session at Western with 5 Beach Boys present (everyone but Bruce is seen in the footage, and Dennis is holding the camera), very soon after the European tour (Carl's reading a German music mag), and everyone's wearing the fire hats that Brian would've had out only two days prior if this is the correct date. Van Dyke is also present in some unused stills which means it couldn't be one of those late-stage dates in June. Nov 30 is really the only session anywhere in the vicinity that fits the criteria for what's seen in the footage, and Brian bringing out his 8-track machine for a playback makes a hell of a lot of sense if they'd just returned from tour - they could be reviewing vocals from October, catching up on something Brian did while they were away (I'm in Great Shape was 8-track), or Brian could even be mixing down the Sunshine overdubs that'd hypothetically just been recorded (not sure what they were recorded on - waiting for someone to correct me and say it's 4-track). Maybe there was also a playback for Fire and he dished out the hats to get them all in the mood! Ton of possibilities for what they were doing, but it seems to be the only known date that fits and all things considered it fits very well.

Here's the original thread where that film info first came out - others followed but this was the original. http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,10570.0.html

Just a few points to add:

Van Dyke wearing the firehat was not an unused still - He is in the same film, I just took a screenshot of him from another, slightly longer source for the same film. The other still photo of Brian, Chuck, and Van Dyke in front of the same 8-track machine was one I had from yet another source in my collection, and that was not from the same film or date. So the screenshots and the still photo were from at least 3 sources I used to capture them. I need to re-up them since Photobucket got all messed up a few years ago.

In the original thread the exact date of that German magazine was provided, Sept. 24 1966, which further lines up with the late fall timeline in several ways - more details at the original thread.

There's more detail that can be found on this board for those interested.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up! Would that other photo be the one where Van's giving Brian a shoulder rub? Couple of possibilities for that are Wind Chimes on October 5 and H&V Great Shape on October 27, both of which are Western sessions with Chuck that Van Dyke was present for and are both confirmed to have used Brian's 8-track machine.

So for uses of that thing we've got October 5, October 27, mystery American Band footage session (more likely than not November 30), and I'd bet Brian's solo session for Wonderful vocals on October 6 too. That's the date ascribed to the mono mix and the parts present would necessitate 6 tracks of a tape (instrumental, 2x Brian lead, 3 individual backing vocal overdubs). I'm not sure what the official equipment situation was by June, but by my count the two versions of You're With Me Tonight done over there would've been 8-track too.

Yes, the actual still photo showing the 8-track at Western is the one where Van Dyke is standing over Brian seated at the board next to Chuck. For all the years I had that photo I never thought about the fact it was showing an 8-track at Western! Any other shots going around showing the fire hats being worn and that 8-track in use at Western - if they were the ones I clipped and posted and a lot of them apparently are - those are from two versions of that same silent film.
Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #40 on: May 15, 2020, 03:25:12 PM »

I think the point is not whether it was possible, but whether it was worth the time and effort given the desired end result.  I can't imagine Brian sitting around for hours and hours doing sync takes, can you?
Why would he? that would be a job for an engineer.

It's not that this scenario is in support of final mixing to 4-track at Western when an 8-track was available at Columbia.

We should consider  the mindset of engineers and studio personnel at the time: these are the same guys who wrapped adhesive tape around the deck’s capstan to modify the speed and said, “what are we gonna do with all these tracks?” When 8-track came in!

But even from a technical standpoint - we’re talking about studios with mono, stereo, and a 3-track or 4-track. Varispeed were not standard on any of the decks of the era, and I’ve seen very few modded for it. Syncing two machines together was unheard of because it doesn’t make practical sense to go through the trouble for two 3 or 4 tracks when you have to use one of the tracks for the sync signal. You’d just plan to get an 8 track if there was a demand, or use the resources to put together an 8-track from existing machines like Columbia did (using an Ampex 300 deck and 4 pairs of PR10/354 stereo electronics).
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 03:28:50 PM by DonnyL » Logged

zaval80
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 52


View Profile
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2020, 03:42:42 PM »

But even from a technical standpoint - we’re talking about studios with mono, stereo, and a 3-track or 4-track. Varispeed were not standard on any of the decks of the era, and I’ve seen very few modded for it. Syncing two machines together was unheard of because it doesn’t make practical sense to go through the trouble for two 3 or 4 tracks when you have to use one of the tracks for the sync signal. You’d just plan to get an 8 track if there was a demand, or use the resources to put together an 8-track from existing machines like Columbia did (using an Ampex 300 deck and 4 pairs of PR10/354 stereo electronics).

I never believed for a second that, given a 8-track was available at Columbia, a final mix would have been done with a 4-track at Western. I just pointed out that a scenario of syncing a reduction of vocals from a 8-track studio (obviously to nothing higher than a 4-track) and a 4-track with the backing track was not impossible, but obviously the "master" 4-track would require a varispeed control, so that the engineer would be able to control the sync by comparing reference tones from some kind of a metronome produced by both machines. The original idea, mixing to a 4-track at Western from an 8-track machine, wasn't something I offered.
Logged
DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2020, 06:44:36 PM »

Here's some youtube vinyl:

"Here Today" (one of the more obvious examples):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8RcYKzRSXE

"I Know There's An Answer":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MI5fSRJbeM

... keeping in mind, I hear a little fader help in both. It *could* be "I Know There's An Answer" has a quick fader drop, then the leader tape splice was cut a little early ... but still sounds a bit like a step fade to me at the very tail (will need to turn up loud).

... contrast with the smoother fade of something like Sloop John B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlt0ga9es8I

Also note the initial fade will be normal on the Columbia mixes, but you'll hear 1-3 "steps" at the very tail where dbs drop in larger increments before it fades to silence.

Opinions?

To further muddy the waters, unless this is bad info from years ago, didn't Brian oversee the final mix at Capitol's studio? There may be a difference in terminology used, but when Brian finally had the Pet Sounds album in the can, it was done at Capitol and the term used was "mastering", yet some descriptions also mentioned fades, and things associated with giving it a final mix.

Were some of these sounds perhaps coming from what Brian was doing that final night at Capitol when it was 100% finished?

Yeh I think those stories of Brian making the final mix were what got to me wonder initially. I kind of assume at this point that “final dubdown” was something like just final preparation and sequencing of the tape reels.
Logged

DonnyL
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1783



View Profile WWW
« Reply #43 on: May 15, 2020, 06:48:38 PM »

But even from a technical standpoint - we’re talking about studios with mono, stereo, and a 3-track or 4-track. Varispeed were not standard on any of the decks of the era, and I’ve seen very few modded for it. Syncing two machines together was unheard of because it doesn’t make practical sense to go through the trouble for two 3 or 4 tracks when you have to use one of the tracks for the sync signal. You’d just plan to get an 8 track if there was a demand, or use the resources to put together an 8-track from existing machines like Columbia did (using an Ampex 300 deck and 4 pairs of PR10/354 stereo electronics).

I never believed for a second that, given a 8-track was available at Columbia, a final mix would have been done with a 4-track at Western. I just pointed out that a scenario of syncing a reduction of vocals from a 8-track studio (obviously to nothing higher than a 4-track) and a 4-track with the backing track was not impossible, but obviously the "master" 4-track would require a varispeed control, so that the engineer would be able to control the sync by comparing reference tones from some kind of a metronome produced by both machines. The original idea, mixing to a 4-track at Western from an 8-track machine, wasn't something I offered.

Understood
Logged

guitarfool2002
Global Moderator
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8983


"Barba non facit aliam historici"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2020, 09:41:32 AM »

Here's some youtube vinyl:

"Here Today" (one of the more obvious examples):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8RcYKzRSXE

"I Know There's An Answer":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MI5fSRJbeM

... keeping in mind, I hear a little fader help in both. It *could* be "I Know There's An Answer" has a quick fader drop, then the leader tape splice was cut a little early ... but still sounds a bit like a step fade to me at the very tail (will need to turn up loud).

... contrast with the smoother fade of something like Sloop John B

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hlt0ga9es8I

Also note the initial fade will be normal on the Columbia mixes, but you'll hear 1-3 "steps" at the very tail where dbs drop in larger increments before it fades to silence.

Opinions?

To further muddy the waters, unless this is bad info from years ago, didn't Brian oversee the final mix at Capitol's studio? There may be a difference in terminology used, but when Brian finally had the Pet Sounds album in the can, it was done at Capitol and the term used was "mastering", yet some descriptions also mentioned fades, and things associated with giving it a final mix.

Were some of these sounds perhaps coming from what Brian was doing that final night at Capitol when it was 100% finished?

Yeh I think those stories of Brian making the final mix were what got to me wonder initially. I kind of assume at this point that “final dubdown” was something like just final preparation and sequencing of the tape reels.

The missing piece in most if not all of this is - unless I just haven't seen it logged - there is no record of who did what we'd call the "final mix" on any of these tracks that went between Western and Columbia. The only indication we had for years of such a thing being done was what we're talking about, that description of Brian doing the final work and finishing Pet Sounds at Capitol. And with the discrepancies in terminology when some use the term "mastering" versus mixing, I now kind of lean toward Brian being there at Capitol for the Pet Sounds mastering after he had all the reels of the individual tracks that had received final mixes.

But who actually mixed down all of the individual tracks going back to when Brian first started to cut vocals at Columbia? All we have is an engineering credit, not who mixed or where it was mixed.


Not for nothing, but did you notice all the instrumental tracks on those 8-track tape boxes we have seen from Columbia seemed to have been sent to track 4?
Logged

"All of us have the privilege of making music that helps and heals - to make music that makes people happier, stronger, and kinder. Don't forget: Music is God's voice." - Brian Wilson
zaval80
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 52


View Profile
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2020, 10:48:58 AM »

But who actually mixed down all of the individual tracks going back to when Brian first started to cut vocals at Columbia? All we have is an engineering credit, not who mixed or where it was mixed.

It was easier back then, people did sessions and mixing in short time, procrastination would mean loss of money. There were producers who took hands-on approach and worked on their mixes, while everybody else just issued instructions to engineers. And if Columbia was that strictly union-governed, then obviously it fell to the engineer.
Logged
aeijtzsche
Honored Guest
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2874



View Profile
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2020, 11:31:23 AM »

But who actually mixed down all of the individual tracks going back to when Brian first started to cut vocals at Columbia? All we have is an engineering credit, not who mixed or where it was mixed.

It was easier back then, people did sessions and mixing in short time, procrastination would mean loss of money. There were producers who took hands-on approach and worked on their mixes, while everybody else just issued instructions to engineers. And if Columbia was that strictly union-governed, then obviously it fell to the engineer.

Well sure, but which engineer? 

We have the names of the two primary engineers Brian worked with at CBS.  And of course the usual suspects at United Western.  Can we assume that THE final mixes were just done immediately after the final vocals were added, same session and everything?  Did Brian leave CBS with a mono reel containing the mixes we hear on the final master?

And then, yeah, the issue of assembling the reel and cutting the master - was that at Capitol and who did that?  Presumably Capitol and CBS were on par as far as mastering suites went.  But did Capitol have in-house standards. 

And I'd also love some corroboration that Steve Douglas made Brian go back and remix everything after hearing the first "final product" because it was such an horrible, sloppy mix...
Logged
SaltyMarshmallow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 154


View Profile
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2020, 11:49:14 AM »

In the cases where mono mixes are dated (via the PSS box and known Smile reels) they're almost always the same as the most recent vocal session, so I assume Brian usually did the mixdowns right there and then after finishing a track and compiled them for an album later, and the mixing would've been done by Brian and whichever engineer was on hand for that session. Until the home studio era, when they started taking the tapes to other places like Heider's and ID Sound exclusively for mixing after a song might've already been completed at the house.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2020, 11:50:37 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
zaval80
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 52


View Profile
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2020, 12:15:04 PM »

Well sure, but which engineer? 

We have the names of the two primary engineers Brian worked with at CBS.  And of course the usual suspects at United Western.  Can we assume that THE final mixes were just done immediately after the final vocals were added, same session and everything?  Did Brian leave CBS with a mono reel containing the mixes we hear on the final master?

And then, yeah, the issue of assembling the reel and cutting the master - was that at Capitol and who did that?  Presumably Capitol and CBS were on par as far as mastering suites went.  But did Capitol have in-house standards. 

And I'd also love some corroboration that Steve Douglas made Brian go back and remix everything after hearing the first "final product" because it was such an horrible, sloppy mix...

The chief engineer, responsible for the particular session to the task given by the studio manager. There were assistant engineers, tape operators, maintenance engineers. Things like assembling the reel were something delegated to assistant engineers. Cutting the master with razor and a block - that was the province of a (very hands-on) producer or the engineer, not the job for lesser mortals.

After the session, an engineer did a reference mix (acetate or tape) for the client to take home. The final master obviously demanded more care, but the basics were the same: a producer either worked the board, or gave the instruction to an engineer until satisfied.

Obviously, preparation of finished master tape for reproduction on vinyl ("mastering") was an entirely separate job done by yet another specialist, mastering/cutting engineer. As the task of producer would be to handle the master tape to the recording company as per the contract, the later job most probably was not producer's responsibility.
Logged
aeijtzsche
Honored Guest
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2874



View Profile
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2020, 12:25:48 PM »

I could not possibly be more familiar with the process, yes.  I want names.  Valentin, Jerry Hochman, Don...did we ever learn his last name?  Which CBS engineer, which United Western Englineer, which Capitol engineer.  These were real people.  Specificity is the watchword here.
Logged
gfx
Pages: 1 [2] 3 Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.245 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!