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Author Topic: The first time The Beach Boys used the 8-track recorder  (Read 2040 times)
PickupExcitations
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« on: May 14, 2020, 03:13:12 AM »

I wanna know about the timeline.

The Beach Boys started to use CBS Columbia Square in the Summer Days (And Summer Nights) sessions, because of an early 8-track recorder. What was the first song they ever did that (using the recorder)? And what was the date? And The Byrds, who signed with Columbia Records at that time, recorded Mr. Tambourine Man in CBS Columbia Square slightly earlier than The Beach Boys' Summer Days (And Summer Nights), so did The Byrds use the 8-track recorder in that album?

In other words, were there any musicians using that 8-track to produce an album (or a song) before The Beach Boys did?
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2020, 07:00:54 AM »

Documentation is a bit sketchy, but the date would possibly be May 24, 1965, in a marathon session for "You're So Good To Me", "The Girl From New York City", "I'm Bugged At My Old Man", and "And Your Dream Comes True". However, Bruce has stated numerous times that his first vocal session with the group was for "California Girls", meaning it's possible that the later date given for that one (June 4) might really be the final mixdown date, and that their first use of the 8-track was really prior to May 24th. Smiley
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zaval80
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2020, 11:35:03 AM »


In other words, were there any musicians using that 8-track to produce an album (or a song) before The Beach Boys did?

Les Paul? The Drifters, “Save the Last Dance for Me”?

http://lespaulremembered.com/tom-dowd-and-the-8-track.html
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2020, 11:41:21 AM »

Bruce was already a staff producer at Columbia and recommended it to Brian because of its 8-track capability, so yeah, there would've definitely been other artists using it before the Beach Boys.

Just going over the dates now - wouldn't the first session at Columbia be the Summer Means New Love bump to 8-track on May 15? I know there was some ambiguity over that one though so I'm probably wrong, Summer Days isn't my area!
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2020, 11:57:14 AM »

I wanna know about the timeline.

The Beach Boys started to use CBS Columbia Square in the Summer Days (And Summer Nights) sessions, because of an early 8-track recorder. What was the first song they ever did that (using the recorder)? And what was the date? And The Byrds, who signed with Columbia Records at that time, recorded Mr. Tambourine Man in CBS Columbia Square slightly earlier than The Beach Boys' Summer Days (And Summer Nights), so did The Byrds use the 8-track recorder in that album?

In other words, were there any musicians using that 8-track to produce an album (or a song) before The Beach Boys did?

I doubt "Mr. Tambourine Man" was 8-track, but don't know for sure.

As Today are 3 and 4-track, Summer Days is definitely the first album that used 8-track. But 3 and 4-track track was still used on Pet Sounds, so it depends on the song. It seems Brian used Columbia when he wanted to stack lots of vocals.

C-Man - as we know the entire backing track was dubbed onto *1-track* of the 8-track master in these instances ... I've always wondered if they mixed the track from 4-track to mono at Western, then brought it into Columbia on a mono reel, or they actually brought the 4-track master and mixed it there. One theory I've had is that the "reference mix" often found on a single track on the 4-tracks of this era might actually be the mono mix transferred at Columbia.
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2020, 12:13:42 PM »

A strange one getting into late '66 is Brian occasionally going to Columbia for vocals only to dub the instrumental onto another 4-track for vocals rather than taking advantage of their 8-track recorder. Wind Chimes was handled like that (from both 4-track and 8-track session tapes), and I think Cabin Essence too?

This is just one example, but in the case of Good Vibrations it seems like Brian put the mono track together and overdubbed the cello/theremin parts on 4-track at Western, then 'dubbed up' the results to an 8-track tape at Columbia a couple of months later for vocals. Then when it came to the replacement organ bridge section, the "hum-be-dum" vocals were overdubbed onto the 4-track session tape itself, so that would've been mixed down (sans bass harmonica and backing vocals) and incorporated into the track edit at Columbia. I think the location for mixing tracks was flexible.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2020, 02:23:07 PM »

A strange one getting into late '66 is Brian occasionally going to Columbia for vocals only to dub the instrumental onto another 4-track for vocals rather than taking advantage of their 8-track recorder. Wind Chimes was handled like that (from both 4-track and 8-track session tapes), and I think Cabin Essence too?

This is just one example, but in the case of Good Vibrations it seems like Brian put the mono track together and overdubbed the cello/theremin parts on 4-track at Western, then 'dubbed up' the results to an 8-track tape at Columbia a couple of months later for vocals. Then when it came to the replacement organ bridge section, the "hum-be-dum" vocals were overdubbed onto the 4-track session tape itself, so that would've been mixed down (sans bass harmonica and backing vocals) and incorporated into the track edit at Columbia. I think the location for mixing tracks was flexible.

That's interesting. I wonder if there were practical considerations (i.e., the booked Columbia for the 8-track but it was down; Western was booked so they went to Columbia because they had a vocal dub workflow there, etc.).

At this point I'm not so much interested in *where* the tracks were mixed, so much as *how* that backtrack was transferred. Call me perverse, but it's interesting that they dubbed the entire track to one-track on an 8-track (less than half the width of a mono full-track - lesser sound quality) ... but the possibility that they did this 2-3 times is interesting to me. I wonder if this has anything to do with what you might call the "lo-fi majesty" of the 65-66 era on some of the final mixes. Also interested to know if Brian was more interested in getting that track mix locked in w/ Britz at Western vs doing it at Columbia from the 4-track, potentially w/ better ultimate sound quality.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2020, 02:37:17 PM »

Going by the tracksheets floating around for I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, Here Today and God Only Knows, the mono track seems to have consistently been allocated to track 4, same one used for the reference mixes on the original tapes. As someone who knows nothing about how tape transferring works... is that a coincidence or not?
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zaval80
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2020, 03:27:29 PM »

Probably a precaution, not to delete by accident.
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2020, 05:08:15 PM »

that track (mono) mix would want to be dedicated to either tracks 1 or 4, and the engineer chose 4 as a convention.  tracks 1 and 4 are in the outermost location on a tape.  because the track has volume during passages of vocals (to be applied) that may be quiet, putting the instrument mix at an outermost physical tape location minimizes the effect of cross-talk to an adjacent (vocal) track, which is always undesirable (it may be considered an unpredictable tell-tale that could conceivably contribute to phasings and other unknowns later)
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2020, 05:22:55 PM »

that track (mono) mix would want to be dedicated to either tracks 1 or 4, and the engineer chose 4 as a convention.  tracks 1 and 4 are in the outermost location on a tape.  because the track has volume during passages of vocals (to be applied) that may be quiet, putting the instrument mix at an outermost physical tape location minimizes the effect of cross-talk to an adjacent (vocal) track, which is always undesirable (it may be considered an unpredictable tell-tale that could conceivably contribute to phasings and other unknowns later)

That's a good explanation getting more into the sonics and physics of multitrack tape! What I was going to say is it was and has always (or usually) been the way you build up tracks in general, a lot of it to do with basic organizing and ease of working the mix and faders. My experience, for basic tracks you'd start with drums on the first few (like kick 1, overheads 2&3, snare 4, etc...), then bass, then guitars, then maybe vocals then ornaments like percussion, noises, etc. going up the numbered tracks. It just lines everything up. Every engineer has their own way, but that was usually standard especially mixing analog when I saw it.

So you wouldn't for example choose to start tracking on track 3, then leave 2 open, then do 1...it's too damn confusing. That's why if it were 8 track, you'd more often leave the higher track numbers like 7 and 8 open for bounces or reduction mixes.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2020, 05:34:21 PM »

A strange one getting into late '66 is Brian occasionally going to Columbia for vocals only to dub the instrumental onto another 4-track for vocals rather than taking advantage of their 8-track recorder. Wind Chimes was handled like that (from both 4-track and 8-track session tapes), and I think Cabin Essence too?

This is just one example, but in the case of Good Vibrations it seems like Brian put the mono track together and overdubbed the cello/theremin parts on 4-track at Western, then 'dubbed up' the results to an 8-track tape at Columbia a couple of months later for vocals. Then when it came to the replacement organ bridge section, the "hum-be-dum" vocals were overdubbed onto the 4-track session tape itself, so that would've been mixed down (sans bass harmonica and backing vocals) and incorporated into the track edit at Columbia. I think the location for mixing tracks was flexible.

That's interesting. I wonder if there were practical considerations (i.e., the booked Columbia for the 8-track but it was down; Western was booked so they went to Columbia because they had a vocal dub workflow there, etc.).

At this point I'm not so much interested in *where* the tracks were mixed, so much as *how* that backtrack was transferred. Call me perverse, but it's interesting that they dubbed the entire track to one-track on an 8-track (less than half the width of a mono full-track - lesser sound quality) ... but the possibility that they did this 2-3 times is interesting to me. I wonder if this has anything to do with what you might call the "lo-fi majesty" of the 65-66 era on some of the final mixes. Also interested to know if Brian was more interested in getting that track mix locked in w/ Britz at Western vs doing it at Columbia from the 4-track, potentially w/ better ultimate sound quality.

What I can say from hearing this multiple times is that Brian preferred to mix with Chuck at Western. That's pretty much known and reported. Did he always mix with Chuck at Western? No. But I'm sure that was his preference.

The one mysterious part, even though I'm sure some have explained or tried to explain it, was how Brian would go back and forth from - say - Western to Columbia then back to Western for an example scenario.

We assume he'd track in 65-66 the instrumental basics and even full instrumental backing tracks at Western on 4-track. Then he'd go to Columbia to record vocals onto 8-track. Then, ostensibly he'd return to Western after laying vocals on 8-track to mix...with Chuck...on 4 track?

There are pieces of that scenario that are missing. Like, did he do a reduction mix of those vocals at Columbia, then come back to Western with one track of vocals having been bounced down and mix on 4-track with Chuck? How were the vocals bounced down to 4-track? Did he reduce both instruments and vocals down to 2 tracks at Columbia then come to Western with 2 tracks of a 4-track tape open to add more? Did they fly in vocal tracks from another machine, which would cause all kinds of synch issues if they could even synch the machines, which I don't think they did in 65?

Not as much on the tracks where we know what he did in these cases, but just in general: What was the standard practice when Western only had 4-track and Brian was layering vocals onto 8-track tapes at Columbia?

Maybe there is no stock answer, and it was done case-by-case. That may be the best answer since the documentation showing all of this may be lost in most cases, if it mattered anyway after they got a final mixdown in the can. But it's still interesting to ponder.

The only clue we have is after a certain point, at least maybe by late Fall '66 after Pet Sounds, we have that silent film of Brian and Chuck mixing something at Western 3 with an 8-track machine. Adding *that* element into the process, where Western also had an 8-track machine available, clears it all up.

But the mystery lies in those earlier Columbia sessions when and where we know Western absolutely did not have an 8-track, yet Brian was still going back and forth from Columbia's 8-track facility to Western's 4-track facility to make and mix these records.
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CenturyDeprived
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2020, 05:42:47 PM »


Did they fly in vocal tracks from another machine, which would cause all kinds of synch issues if they could even synch the machines, which I don't think they did in 65?


Could this be the cause of the slightly out of sync chorus vocals on California Girls? I can't recall specifics, but I remember an old late 90s (?) interview with Brian where he lamented not taking more time with those vocals to make them perfect in terms of sync.

I wonder if that was strictly a performance issue that could have been solved with more takes, or if studio tape/sync stuff could be a factor too?
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2020, 08:59:50 PM »

A strange one getting into late '66 is Brian occasionally going to Columbia for vocals only to dub the instrumental onto another 4-track for vocals rather than taking advantage of their 8-track recorder. Wind Chimes was handled like that (from both 4-track and 8-track session tapes), and I think Cabin Essence too?

This is just one example, but in the case of Good Vibrations it seems like Brian put the mono track together and overdubbed the cello/theremin parts on 4-track at Western, then 'dubbed up' the results to an 8-track tape at Columbia a couple of months later for vocals. Then when it came to the replacement organ bridge section, the "hum-be-dum" vocals were overdubbed onto the 4-track session tape itself, so that would've been mixed down (sans bass harmonica and backing vocals) and incorporated into the track edit at Columbia. I think the location for mixing tracks was flexible.

That's interesting. I wonder if there were practical considerations (i.e., the booked Columbia for the 8-track but it was down; Western was booked so they went to Columbia because they had a vocal dub workflow there, etc.).

At this point I'm not so much interested in *where* the tracks were mixed, so much as *how* that backtrack was transferred. Call me perverse, but it's interesting that they dubbed the entire track to one-track on an 8-track (less than half the width of a mono full-track - lesser sound quality) ... but the possibility that they did this 2-3 times is interesting to me. I wonder if this has anything to do with what you might call the "lo-fi majesty" of the 65-66 era on some of the final mixes. Also interested to know if Brian was more interested in getting that track mix locked in w/ Britz at Western vs doing it at Columbia from the 4-track, potentially w/ better ultimate sound quality.

What I can say from hearing this multiple times is that Brian preferred to mix with Chuck at Western. That's pretty much known and reported. Did he always mix with Chuck at Western? No. But I'm sure that was his preference.

The one mysterious part, even though I'm sure some have explained or tried to explain it, was how Brian would go back and forth from - say - Western to Columbia then back to Western for an example scenario.

We assume he'd track in 65-66 the instrumental basics and even full instrumental backing tracks at Western on 4-track. Then he'd go to Columbia to record vocals onto 8-track. Then, ostensibly he'd return to Western after laying vocals on 8-track to mix...with Chuck...on 4 track?

There are pieces of that scenario that are missing. Like, did he do a reduction mix of those vocals at Columbia, then come back to Western with one track of vocals having been bounced down and mix on 4-track with Chuck? How were the vocals bounced down to 4-track? Did he reduce both instruments and vocals down to 2 tracks at Columbia then come to Western with 2 tracks of a 4-track tape open to add more? Did they fly in vocal tracks from another machine, which would cause all kinds of synch issues if they could even synch the machines, which I don't think they did in 65?

Not as much on the tracks where we know what he did in these cases, but just in general: What was the standard practice when Western only had 4-track and Brian was layering vocals onto 8-track tapes at Columbia?

Maybe there is no stock answer, and it was done case-by-case. That may be the best answer since the documentation showing all of this may be lost in most cases, if it mattered anyway after they got a final mixdown in the can. But it's still interesting to ponder.

The only clue we have is after a certain point, at least maybe by late Fall '66 after Pet Sounds, we have that silent film of Brian and Chuck mixing something at Western 3 with an 8-track machine. Adding *that* element into the process, where Western also had an 8-track machine available, clears it all up.

But the mystery lies in those earlier Columbia sessions when and where we know Western absolutely did not have an 8-track, yet Brian was still going back and forth from Columbia's 8-track facility to Western's 4-track facility to make and mix these records.

Yep these are the kinds of questions I haven’t seen many answers to.
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 03:48:54 AM »

Do we actually know Brian was going back to Western to mix anything he'd recorded at Columbia though?

I get the impression that anything recorded on 8-track at Columbia was mixed at Columbia, at least pre-Smile (although the surviving mixdowns from that era are also mostly dated to vocal sessions at CBS), and haven't seen any direct quotes to suggest that on earlier albums Brian ever took the tapes back to Western to mix with Chuck outside of him just being the named engineer most synonymous with the Beach Boys at the time.

There are a total of only 12 songs between Summer Days and Pet Sounds with parts recorded on 8-track - is there evidence for any not being mixed at Columbia?
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2020, 04:14:11 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.
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2020, 04:51:48 AM »

As far as I know, no 8 to 4 reductions for any Beach Boys tracks with vocals recorded at Columbia exist, and there's no suggestion that they ever did that for the purposes of mixing down somewhere else. There's a lone exception in a Bicycle Rider tape that was dubbed onto another 4-track for extra overdubs at Western but that doesn't fit the criteria here.
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2020, 09:01:10 AM »

I don't believe that any kind of manual syncing of two machines would have been done in 1965-67 on BB records/West Coast Studios.

I would also assume that "mixes" would have been done at whatever studio the final multi-track was created at. FYI - if you have the original 1960s vinyl (or a small number of other releases on cassette), you can tell which mixes were done at Columbia because they have "step" fades (at the very end of the fadeout, the track will fade in abrupt "step" fades that are maybe 2-3 db at a time). These were smoothed out on every CD release I've ever heard (the fades in general tend to go longer/smoother/sooner on CD releases). I believe this is due to the rotary pots on the board at Columbia. I went through this once, but don't remember the results -- will do it again soon.

I put "mixes" in quotes because I think we are all guilty of thinking in terms of modern sensibilities. "Mixdown" was not really it's own thing in the '60s IMO. It was simply the final "dubdown"/result of the process (remember live parts were routinely added during final mix). Most of the track was already "mixed" ... it was just kind of the final balancing of the multi ... after all, most of the track was "mixed" live. So "where are we gonna mix it?" would never have been a thought to Brian or anyone at the time IMO ... that said, I do feel that whether or not Chuck/Western chambers/etc were utilized on the track before heading into another studio would have been a consideration. And whether or not Brian wanted that mono dub as a final before heading in to do vocals ... I suspect he would have wanted the mono complete but who knows. Which is where I am thinking that 4th "reference" track was the actual mono mix of the track as it would be transferred to 8-track.
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2020, 09:20:24 AM »

Going by the tracksheets floating around for I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, Here Today and God Only Knows, the mono track seems to have consistently been allocated to track 4, same one used for the reference mixes on the original tapes. As someone who knows nothing about how tape transferring works... is that a coincidence or not?

Hmm interesting, doesn't mean much on the 8-track, but I suppose might be the crosstalk thing on the 4-track. Though I would personally think they would have put it on 2 or 3 since edge tracks tend to be more prone to drop-outs etc. TBH I think it was probably just a workflow/process thing, but not sure on that.

That said, it *MIGHT* support the idea that the "4th track" on the 4-track was actually transferred directly to 8-track master. A theory we should consider is the process was:

1. Record track at Western
2. Mix the mono dubdown to track 4 on the 4-track
3. Bring the 4-track to Columbia and transfer track 4. If they did not do it this way, they would have to had set up a mix/balance of the 3 tracks and make the final dub again (what Chuck and Brian already did at Western) *prior to recording any vocals* (notes below on why)
4. Add vocals to the 8-track

This would seem to be the most efficient way to work - though I would think they would have made a mono mix, then taken the 1/4" tape to Columbia. But why waste an extra reel I guess? The best sound quality would have been had by "mixing" the 3 tracks at Columbia directly to 1 track on the 8-track. This might have been done (that's kind of what I'm trying to figure out). This extra step would sacrifice the creative stuff/utilization of resources for some of the "track mix" at Western, and would also not be efficient use of part of the 3-hour vocal session.

One thing I can tell you they did *not* do -- is transfer all 4-tracks to the 8-track (as in 1-4, 4th track being the reference mix) and they decide later to mix the tracks together. This is because the track would be out of sync with either the vocals or the reference mix (the reference mix would already have been out of sync w/ the discrete tracks on the 4-track). This is due to the poor frequency response on the sync head of all 1960s multi-tracks (well until maybe 1968 or so).
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2020, 10:00:51 AM »

This Wiki article has a sensible description of Brian's working process:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_multitrack_recording

not without Wiki bugs, of course - "the 9-CD The Smile Sessions (2011) ", ah ha ha.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 10:04:16 AM by zaval80 » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 10:21:27 AM »

Going by the tracksheets floating around for I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, Here Today and God Only Knows, the mono track seems to have consistently been allocated to track 4, same one used for the reference mixes on the original tapes. As someone who knows nothing about how tape transferring works... is that a coincidence or not?

Hmm interesting, doesn't mean much on the 8-track, but I suppose might be the crosstalk thing on the 4-track. Though I would personally think they would have put it on 2 or 3 since edge tracks tend to be more prone to drop-outs etc. TBH I think it was probably just a workflow/process thing, but not sure on that.

That said, it *MIGHT* support the idea that the "4th track" on the 4-track was actually transferred directly to 8-track master. A theory we should consider is the process was:

1. Record track at Western
2. Mix the mono dubdown to track 4 on the 4-track
3. Bring the 4-track to Columbia and transfer track 4. If they did not do it this way, they would have to had set up a mix/balance of the 3 tracks and make the final dub again (what Chuck and Brian already did at Western) *prior to recording any vocals* (notes below on why)
4. Add vocals to the 8-track

This would seem to be the most efficient way to work - though I would think they would have made a mono mix, then taken the 1/4" tape to Columbia. But why waste an extra reel I guess? The best sound quality would have been had by "mixing" the 3 tracks at Columbia directly to 1 track on the 8-track. This might have been done (that's kind of what I'm trying to figure out). This extra step would sacrifice the creative stuff/utilization of resources for some of the "track mix" at Western, and would also not be efficient use of part of the 3-hour vocal session.

One thing I can tell you they did *not* do -- is transfer all 4-tracks to the 8-track (as in 1-4, 4th track being the reference mix) and they decide later to mix the tracks together. This is because the track would be out of sync with either the vocals or the reference mix (the reference mix would already have been out of sync w/ the discrete tracks on the 4-track). This is due to the poor frequency response on the sync head of all 1960s multi-tracks (well until maybe 1968 or so).



I guess one way we could confirm this is to see if Linett has ever compared existing 4th track reference mixes from the Western-originating multis to the instrumental track on the CBS multis?
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« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2020, 10:23:33 AM »

Going by the tracksheets floating around for I Just Wasn't Made for These Times, Here Today and God Only Knows, the mono track seems to have consistently been allocated to track 4, same one used for the reference mixes on the original tapes. As someone who knows nothing about how tape transferring works... is that a coincidence or not?

Hmm interesting, doesn't mean much on the 8-track, but I suppose might be the crosstalk thing on the 4-track. Though I would personally think they would have put it on 2 or 3 since edge tracks tend to be more prone to drop-outs etc. TBH I think it was probably just a workflow/process thing, but not sure on that.

That said, it *MIGHT* support the idea that the "4th track" on the 4-track was actually transferred directly to 8-track master. A theory we should consider is the process was:

1. Record track at Western
2. Mix the mono dubdown to track 4 on the 4-track
3. Bring the 4-track to Columbia and transfer track 4. If they did not do it this way, they would have to had set up a mix/balance of the 3 tracks and make the final dub again (what Chuck and Brian already did at Western) *prior to recording any vocals* (notes below on why)
4. Add vocals to the 8-track

This would seem to be the most efficient way to work - though I would think they would have made a mono mix, then taken the 1/4" tape to Columbia. But why waste an extra reel I guess? The best sound quality would have been had by "mixing" the 3 tracks at Columbia directly to 1 track on the 8-track. This might have been done (that's kind of what I'm trying to figure out). This extra step would sacrifice the creative stuff/utilization of resources for some of the "track mix" at Western, and would also not be efficient use of part of the 3-hour vocal session.

One thing I can tell you they did *not* do -- is transfer all 4-tracks to the 8-track (as in 1-4, 4th track being the reference mix) and they decide later to mix the tracks together. This is because the track would be out of sync with either the vocals or the reference mix (the reference mix would already have been out of sync w/ the discrete tracks on the 4-track). This is due to the poor frequency response on the sync head of all 1960s multi-tracks (well until maybe 1968 or so).



I guess one way we could confirm this is to see if Linett has ever compared existing 4th track reference mixes from the Western-originating multis to the instrumental track on the CBS multis?

Yeh I think I've floated that idea before. I would think it would be pretty easy to tell (especially if you listen for beginning/end tape sounds/mix variances etc) ... I kind of assume no one really cares much about it ha
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DonnyL
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« Reply #22 on: May 15, 2020, 10:26:49 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

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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2020, 10:42:39 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.
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SaltyMarshmallow
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« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2020, 11:05:36 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!
« Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 11:09:50 AM by SaltyMarshmallow » Logged
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