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Recording Techniques?


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I am doing a diploma in sound production and have chosen Led Zeppelins fourth album for an assessment,

I'm having trouble finding detailed information on the recording techniques used while creating the album.

Does anyone know any links that can help me??

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nikki, there is a Chris Welch book about the 4th album that goes into some detail about Jimmy's recording/production process, but I don't know if it's precise enough for your purpose. This online article from a couple of years ago is interesting, but not specific to the 4th record.

The Song Remains The Same: Behind The Board With Led Zeppelin

Santa Monica, Calif.

The Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter and the Producers & Engineers Wing presented a panel discussion with three engineers that worked with one of the most successful bands in the history of rock and roll, Led Zeppelin.

The evening examined the role of Andy Johns, Eddie Kramer and Ron Nevison in creating Led Zeppelin's body of work, and to present a board's-eye view of the band's history. The panelists brought together this evening represented a mind-boggling list of engineering and producing credits practically a three-man embodiment of the history of modern rock and roll. The evening was moderated by producer/engineer Ed Cherney, who, despite his own list of estimable credits (Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt), made it clear at the outset that he considered himself a "pisher" compared to his panelists.

Decades after having been recorded, the music of Led Zeppelin continues to evoke certain reliable descriptions: powerful, thrilling, awesome. And while monster rock tunes like "Kashmir" and "Whole Lotta Love" aren't usually thought of as the soundtrack to a lighthearted, rollicking good time, it was laughter and camaraderie that filled the air along with some high-volume playbacks of those songs at the panel discussion.

As the evening progressed, there were many light moments as Kramer and Johns exchanged impersonations of Jimmy Page and Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. But there was also a deep respect for the music every time a song was played to the audience as a point of reference, the three engineers seemed transported into a state of rock and roll bliss. Kramer pointed out that the innovative forward echo effect during the vocal break in "Whole Lotta Love" was a sheer accident he couldn't erase a reference vocal Plant had recorded, so he added reverb to it. Nevison revealed that John "Bonzo" Bonham's thundering drum sound of "Kashmir" was achieved by running the drum track through an Eventide phaser.

Johns spoke about one of any engineer's greatest challenges: overcoming the fear of working with a great band. "I started out with Zeppelin worried about how I might screw things up," he recalled. "But I learned quickly that the band didn't really care what I did they were more interested in arguing with each other. If I played back everyone's part loud enough, they were happy with me."

Page produced the band's records, and all three engineers recalled their collaborations with him fondly. "He had a remarkable sense of direction and focus," said Kramer. Nevison remembered Page's attention to the basic building blocks of Led Zep tracks. "He used to come in for playbacks and turn the guitar way down. At first I thought it was because he'd made mistakes. Then I realized he wanted to listen very closely to the drums. He knew that if we got Bonzo's track right, everything else would work."

The most heartfelt responses of the night came when moderator Cherney asked if the engineers had had any sense at the time that they were helping to create exceptional, historic recordings. "When I was in there working I was just focused on getting things right so that Jimmy didn't take my head off," said Kramer. "You just try to do your job correctly, which is to interpret the artist correctly, no matter what the recording medium is. We all brought different perspectives to the band's sound and had particular ways of working but essentially we were servants to the music. And it was amazing music."

"It was always Led Zeppelin, not us," said Johns. "If you put Eddie and Ron and me in a studio together, all you'd hear at the end of the session is hiss coming out of the monitors. The band created the magic. We were just lucky enough to catch it."

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