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1975 soundboards vs. all others


pujols05

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Just learned a new soundboard for the 1975 Baton Rouge show has surfaced, which has prompted me to ask a question that has been on my mind for some time.

I live for '75 soundboards. I have most of Zeppelin's soundboard recordings, and, to my ears, the 1975 shows are, far and away, the best in terms of sound quality. Why is that?

The '73 and '77 shows, for me, all sound a bit...flat and/or narrow. Any one know, or have theories? Maybe some would disagree with me, too.

I would say the soundboards from the '80 tour are better than '73 and '77, too.

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pujols05,

that's an interesting question, one that I have noticed as well. The '75 SBDs do have a depth and clarity that explains why some folk on these boards have discussed whether some of the '75 tapes could've been multitrack recordings (the general consensus is probably not, except for Earl's Court). I also enjoy the '75 shows chiefly because I love the setlist and vibe of the band on that tour.

Whatever one may think of tapes from other years - and there are pro-quality ones from nearly every tour - the '75 tapes have a particularly excellent quality for analogue soundboards. Kudos to the sound guys for capturing everything so clearly on that tour. Must've had a good tape machine.

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Besides 75 the best sounding SB's for me are the incomplete recordings of Orlando 71 and euro 73.

Adore the 75USA soundboards and agree with you on Orlando, but Essen 73 drives me nuts!

No bass whatsoever, if i ever wanna hear it i have to listen to the audience tape.

Is there a version that rectifies this problem??

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pujols05,

I also enjoy the '75 shows chiefly because I love the setlist and vibe of the band on that tour.

I'm with you on that. '77 has its moments, with SIBLY (what, only three times in '75?) and Ten Years Gone, but '75 nails it for me.

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Some 'soundboard' recordings come from the monitor mix board so imbalances will most often be present. For front of house (what the audience hears) soundboards, the balances and sound of the tapes aren't necessarily a reflection on the tape recorder itself. Since the recording is what is actually coming out of the PA system, that's what you get. The engineer must shape the sound to the acoustics of the hall, arena or stadium to get a balanced, rich sound. If the venue is such that the bass, for instance, comes through loud and clear then the mixer will not boost that instrument up in the overall FOH mix, hence the lower level of bass on the straight mix soundboard tape. This also applies to any of the instruments and voices.

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Umm.. a strait off a board recording .. that is, if you just buss a 2 track signal to a 2 track tape machine will sound in many way's different then the sound coming out of the main PA speaker's at the show. Most PA's (but not all) are set up in a dual mono set up, so you can't get a true stereo signal from them. I wasn't at any of Led Zeppelin's show's (I'm to young) so I can't say for sure how those where run but, it was in that time a general practice to run mono signals to the PA so you get good coverage in the entire house. A lot of places are still set up this way as it give's you a loud and broad projection across the whole room.

Then you have the time based processors that are (even in the mid 1970's) truly stereo on the out-put side. So, if you just buss the main left-right's or dual buss the mono mix out's to a 2 track in, you never know what you will get. The type of mixer can give a color to a sound too, this is one reason a lot of live recording's aren't real. They'll record a hand full of show's,take it back to the studio find the best take's, keep the best part's and re-record the whole thing. A mobile studio can help some but there are some thing's you can't do with out rerecording.

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I should have been clearer.  What you hear on the FOH soundboard tape IS what is going through the PA.  BUT that's not exactly what you hear in the venue.  As I'd said, if for instance, the bass is particularly loud and coming through without much amplification in the venue, it won't be as loudly mixed into the Pa.  SO you WILL hear loud bass in person, but that won't be as loud on the tape.  This is especially apparent in a SMALL club where the drums are particularly loud so won't be as loudly mixed into the FOH PA.  So when you hear a tape coming directly off the soundboard AS it's mixed into the PA speakers, the drums won't be as loud.  I hope I've been clearer this time.  I've done many PA mixes and made many soundboard tapes and this is how they come out.

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LarryD...That's why I hate recording strait off a FOH buss, I'd rather use a small format recorder and a stereo pair (2 microphones) set up at the mix position and go from there. I think I tried doing a main buss tap one or two time's, after I heard what I ended up with I just never tried it again.

Unless I can get a direct out of each channel and have a mixing board (and room) all to myself, I don't like tapping into a FOH board's main buss for recording. B)

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Most likely these 1975 soundboards were recorded on the Showco mixing board by a guy named Dick Hayes. He also

taped all of The Who's 1975/1976 U.S. tour concerts on simple cassettes. From what I heard though, if he ran out

of blank cassettes, he would record over existing shows! A Who roadie, who roomed with Hayes on The Who tours, is

known to have about 5 of these recordings and is auctioning them off to private bidders. Look for more of these

'75 Zep soundboards to appear!

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