SH Spotlight Steve: Echo. Why so much and some history? BEATLES echo?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bob Lovely, May 10, 2002.

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  1. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member

    Location:
    Streetsboro, Ohio
    Dan Gooch mentioned to me on the CSN list about 5 years back that while he was working at Motown in the 1960's that he and the other engineers would prepare a special backing track for the Sullivan show. In the case of the Supremes...The instruments and Flo and Mary's voices would usually be canned, while only Diana's lead was live.

    It should be noted too that there were exceptions to the no lip-synching on the Sullivan Show. The Mamas and the Papas lip synched their first appearance completely (it would be impossible to recreate that sound live...that was a studio sound if there ever was one!). You can *barely* hear them singing along with and doubling the pre-recorded track in places. :)
     
  2. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member

    Location:
    Streetsboro, Ohio
    I should also note that they lip synched "California Dreamin" from their second appearance too. It seems the only time they did a live vocal was when Cass sang "Words of Love". Interesting also to hear that when they sang along with "Creeque Alley" - They loudly said "AmeriMan Express Card" over the American word...I guess you couldn't sneak in free advertising in those days...lol!
     
  3. Claviusb

    Claviusb A Serious Man

    Wow!

    Thanks Steve and David!
     
  4. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Senior Member

    Location:
    Streetsboro, Ohio
    One more thing, then I'll shut up. It's interesting to hear how the Sullivan orchestra would sometimes play ALONG with the track. At the end of "Creeque Alley" you can hear them do this cheesy outro over the track. ONLY in the 60's I guess...lol!
     
  5. Mark H

    Mark H Senior Member

    Location:
    upstate N.Y.
    This thread is an example of why this board is the best audio reading on the web. Thanks to Steve and all you other contributors also.
     
    margaritatoldtom likes this.
  6. DanG

    DanG On Green Dolphin Street

    Location:
    Florida
    Originally posted by Steve Hoffman
    Ah, Bob, I could write a book ;)


    Steve, that is a very good idea. You are uniquely qualified, and have great flair with the pen.

    Topics that come to mind:

    Background stories to all the stuff you've mastered.

    Stories about the people you've worked with.

    History of music (three-track, echo, polarity vs. phase, etc.).

    Your take on the technical aspect of mastering.


    I enjoy your writing style and would love to see you pen your masterpiece. Maybe with a co-writer? (I know a book is quite the commitment). Or perhaps the Steve Hoffman Forum FAQ might grow into a collection that will resemble this book, the first Internet book authored by SH, coordinated by HZ, collaboration by the forum. Wowza.

    Seriously, this stuff is the best. You gotta get it down, somehow!

    DanG
     
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  7. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I just re-read every post in this thread and LOVED every minute of it!!! Thanks for the re-up.
     
  8. Jtycho

    Jtycho Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Sam Phillips and that slap back echo yet (which I LOVE). Was that very original at the time Steve?
     
  9. Jtycho

    Jtycho Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    Agreed, but it can also be used to great effect with less main stream stuff, aka Joy Division.
     
    margaritatoldtom likes this.
  10. ElwoodPDowd

    ElwoodPDowd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Middle England
    Hey Steve, or anyone else who may know...
    just been listening to Pledging My Love by Johnny Ace - which was recorded 1954, i think. How did Johnny Otis get that sort of dreamy sound? Is it just room ambience? And is there a sort of slap-back technique applied to Ace's vocals? Thanks!
     
  11. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Location:
    Newport Hills, WA
    "Echo" is sort of a generic term now, spoken of by those outside the biz. Sets my teeth a bit on edge, when the effect being referred to is actually reverb (usually generated digitally, these days; most roome where recording is done don't have the luxury of an entire separate room to generate ambience.) The term became misused due to old-school reverb chambers being referred to as "echo chambers". Echo, to most musicians/engineers I know, is actually delay or repeats (digital or tape - example, the effect applied in the verses of Pink Floyd's "Us And Them" (a long delay with multiple repeats), or rockabilly-style slapback (usually a pretty short delay, one with maybe a slight 2nd repeat.) Another source of confusion arose with the practice of pre-delaying reverb, by printing the reverb bloom onto a tape delay (you can hear this on loads of Sixties British rock records; apart from the aforementioned early-'60s Beatles
    tracks, Fresh Cream, Jethro Tull's Stand Up and others have this echo/'verb hybrid applied.
     
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I don't know much about the history of Slap Echo. I know it was expensive (you needed TWO tape recorders), I know it didn't exist in the pre-tape era (for obvious reasons) but I've not heard it as an effect before the 1954 SUN era.

    Do we understand what it is? The delay caused by the time in between the record head and the playback head of a tape recorder, fed back through the console to blend with the "real time" signal.

    I'm sure studios discovered it by accident when they threw a dubber into record without switching a few knobs and got a surprise but I'm pretty sure they saw no use for it as an effect. After Sam Phillips started using it, it caught on and usually a combination of reverb and slap graced most records from that time on. Heck, the first Sinatra album on Reprise used it! Capitol never did. Columbia used it (along with EMI, UK) just as a way to delay the reverb, never as an effect by itself...
     
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I've never actually heard a good recording of that. Can you put one up for me to give a listen to?
     
  14. ElwoodPDowd

    ElwoodPDowd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Middle England
    here
     
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Well, that is slap and reverb with a very short delay. I have NO idea if the original release had that wetness on it or if it was added during the "HI-FI" era for re-cuts. No original tape exists..

    What does the original 78 sound like? Dry or wet?
     
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  16. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Here it is:



    Sounds like it was recorded like that. Neat. Radio Recorders, maybe?
     
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  17. letmerollit

    letmerollit Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Texas, USA
    A thread with 'Beatles Echo' in the title and no mention of Dave Dexter?? :laugh:
     
  18. applebonkerz

    applebonkerz Forum Resident

    Ahhhhh the echo of Eddie Hazel through an Echoplex on Maggot Brain :love:
     
  19. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    And yet, some of us have the same nostalgic feeling about that sound as some of you do for the Dexterized "I Feel Fine".

    I was just listening to Billy Squier's "In The Dark" yesterday, thinking, "That's quite a bit of reverb there."
     
  20. Grant

    Grant In holiday HELL

    Location:
    United States
    Good point.
     
  21. ElwoodPDowd

    ElwoodPDowd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Middle England
    Thanks Steve...according to net sources, 'Pledging My Love' was recorded at ACA studios in Houston in Jan 1954. Incidentally, he and Otis did record at Radio Recorders for a session in mid 53. Ace's first single from '52, 'Your Song' (rec. at WDIA, Memphis) relies on that same sort of vocal sound. I guess it was one of his recording trademarks:



    There's a book about him out there, I may have to read it...
     
  22. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Not to mention Rudy Van Gelder's extensive use of it on his early '50s sessions for Prestige, fortunately abandoned by around 1955 or '56. It added a distinctly lo-fi quality to the recordings.
     
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    I'm not entirely convinced that those little studios had echo chambers. I seem to remember that they were recorded dry and then the wetness was added in a redub at a large facility (most likely RR)..
     
  24. ElwoodPDowd

    ElwoodPDowd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Middle England
    Fascinating stuff! It would explain why a lot of Ace's recordings, despite being recorded in various studios, all share that distinctive vocal "wetness".
     
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Yup.
     
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