Jump to content

Led Zeppelin Studio Gear


Recommended Posts

I was wondering what Pagey uses in the studio to record the tracks (mics) because I just can't understand how he could make things so sparkling and "unique" in terms of sound.

If you listen to other bands from their era (it really was THEIR era) it just sounds so dull (there are exceptions ofcourse..).

So did he prefer smaller amps in the studio (like his supro in the early days) or did he go with his full-blown marshall amps? what mics did he prefer to record the drum sound (was it all sm57's?) and Jones' bass and Plant's vocals?

what kind of bass amp did Jones prefer in the studio environment, did he use other basses along with his Jazz?

maybe some other studio secrets in terms of producing?

thx !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple of people here have mentioned that Jimmy used some kind of effect on Bonham's drums - in the studio as well as live. I don't know if this is the proper word but it was a pre-treatment; the effect wasn't done afterwards during the mixing bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would love to see a photo of the 'Levee' session. There had to be a mic on the kick, no way that much punch is coming just from the overheads. Or is it? Haha

They recorded the drums in a stairwell at Headley Grange, for the spacious sound. But as for the specific micing, I dunno mate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would love to see a photo of the 'Levee' session. There had to be a mic on the kick, no way that much punch is coming just from the overheads. Or is it? Haha

according to a john paul jones interview, a new drumkit had arrived from ludwig at headley grange ,so he instructed the roadies to set it up in the hallway at the bottom of the stairwell untill bonzo arrived to see which room it would be recorded in(his old kit was already installed in one of the rooms which was being used for recording. bonzo arrived and started trying it out where it was JPJ was so impressed with the sound ( he ) decided to record the improv and put one microphone above the kit eight feet from the ground and a second twelve feet from the ground ,hanging in the stairwell,this was then used and created into 'Levee' later by adding all the other tracks, not bad for a practise session,one the the most sampled drum sounds ever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also important is those mics were compressed to Tape with either an 1176 or (I forget) depending on which Andy Johns interview you read, they put the signal through another metal disk echo machine and slowed the tape down slightly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also important is those mics were compressed to Tape with either an 1176 or (I forget) depending on which Andy Johns interview you read, they put the signal through another metal disk echo machine and slowed the tape down slightly.

thats great tech info thanks 'the more we share the more we enjoy'

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Urei 1176 is a good hint, since it was almost solely responsible for the great guitar sound on Black Dog. The guitars that play the main riff where going straight thru the compressor without getting amplified. B)

IMHO the great sound of Led Zeppelin is a great example for what makes recordings great. Great instruments and amplifiers with a distinctive sound played by very good musicians,. Plus great rooms and great mics, good compressors and consoles...

What´s also important is the uncommon use of tape machines. Many tracks on No Quarter or Celebration Day were slowed down after recording to produce a specíal sound.

For me the guitar sound on Celebration Day is the strangest and most fantastic guitar sound I´ve ever heard... :D

Oh, and of course there´s Jimmy´s secret way of mic placement...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Urei 1176 is a good hint, since it was almost solely responsible for the great guitar sound on Black Dog. The guitars that play the main riff where going straight thru the compressor without getting amplified. B)

IMHO the great sound of Led Zeppelin is a great example for what makes recordings great. Great instruments and amplifiers with a distinctive sound played by very good musicians,. Plus great rooms and great mics, good compressors and consoles...

What´s also important is the uncommon use of tape machines. Many tracks on No Quarter or Celebration Day were slowed down after recording to produce a specíal sound.

For me the guitar sound on Celebration Day is the strangest and most fantastic guitar sound I´ve ever heard... :D

Oh, and of course there´s Jimmy´s secret way of mic placement...

Could anyone go into more detail about his mic placement, I really think this has a lot to do with Zep's unique sound !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could anyone go into more detail about his mic placement, I really think this has a lot to do with Zep's unique sound !

not to mention the fact they all kick ass in what they do more so better then anyone else, no shit.

Take into the account the effects that might have been used on bohams kit or the reverb on the vocals, Theres many elements to zeppelins sound and to lable it to micing majorly is a pretty weak statment, yes the mics were all placed right but you have to have something for them to record.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not to mention the fact they all kick ass in what they do more so better then anyone else, no shit.

Take into the account the effects that might have been used on bohams kit or the reverb on the vocals, Theres many elements to zeppelins sound and to lable it to micing majorly is a pretty weak statment, yes the mics were all placed right but you have to have something for them to record.

although very correct in the ability to perform gets a great recording, if you listen to PJ Proby Three week hero album and Lord Sutch and Heavy friends album,L Z one album all recorded in !968 by Page/Jones/Bonham you hear totally different sounds, but it is interesting to note that Page was also the producer of L Z one .... go figure !!. B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides being very rude and crass you also couldn't be more wrong! Jimmy was very proud of his usage of mics and their placement to achieve unique sounds and tonalities.

it had a LOT to do with Led Zeppelin's sound on record.

Jimmy was a master at bringing out expressive tones and characters out of his recordings and played with this a lot in the studio; whether it was in a proper studio or the hall, stairwell of Hedley Grange or where ever....

A small example is that he felt that you should place mics farther away in the room you are playing in whereas most guitarists or engineers would place the mic as close to the speaker cabinet as possible. I don't doubt that he tried putting the mics in some very unorthodox placements to get some of his tones; some of those tones you just can't create through an amp and a few effects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Besides being very rude and crass you also couldn't be more wrong! Jimmy was very proud of his usage of mics and their placement to achieve unique sounds and tonalities.

it had a LOT to do with Led Zeppelin's sound on record.

Jimmy was a master at bringing out expressive tones and characters out of his recordings and played with this a lot in the studio; whether it was in a proper studio or the hall, stairwell of Hedley Grange or where ever....

A small example is that he felt that you should place mics farther away in the room you are playing in whereas most guitarists or engineers would place the mic as close to the speaker cabinet as possible. I don't doubt that he tried putting the mics in some very unorthodox placements to get some of his tones; some of those tones you just can't create through an amp and a few effects.

Exactly, It's been said Jimmy would mumble "Distance makes depth" in the studio when placing the mics where he wanted them to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ALWAYS use a distance area mic. Makes all the difference in the world, thanks Jimmy.

Here is a pic of the Urei 1176:

21c0_1.GIF

as seen on ebay:

UREI 1176 LN compressor limiter. 100 % Original and in excellent working order. This unit is serial #8452 which makes it the popular "H" revision. The 1176 has been a staple in recording studios since it's inception and has been highly regarded by generations of engineers. These units are AWSOME for vocals, guitars, drums, you name it and are many engineers top-of-the-list compressor. Front panel buttons allow for compression ratios of 4:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 20:1 and the famous trick of jamming all the ratio buttons down at once will yeild a remarkable in-your-face compression that has never been equaled (IMHO). I have owned this unit in my personal studio for over 20 years

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ALWAYS use a distance area mic. Makes all the difference in the world, thanks Jimmy.

Here is a pic of the Urei 1176:

21c0_1.GIF

as seen on ebay:

UREI 1176 LN compressor limiter. 100 % Original and in excellent working order. This unit is serial #8452 which makes it the popular "H" revision. The 1176 has been a staple in recording studios since it's inception and has been highly regarded by generations of engineers. These units are AWSOME for vocals, guitars, drums, you name it and are many engineers top-of-the-list compressor. Front panel buttons allow for compression ratios of 4:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 20:1 and the famous trick of jamming all the ratio buttons down at once will yeild a remarkable in-your-face compression that has never been equaled (IMHO). I have owned this unit in my personal studio for over 20 years

Damn!!! $2,200 a channel!

For me one of my favorite things about studio Zeppelin is each song sounds so unique. Many records you can tell everything was recoded in the same studio one song after another. Zeppelin were always moving about and trying new things and it makes the recordings a lot more interesting.

There are very few 'effects' on Bonhams drums. There is some flanging on Kashmir that Ron Nevison came up with but for the most part it's an excellent drummer who knew how to tune his drums in interesting sounding rooms with ambient mics and lots of compression.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ALWAYS use a distance area mic. Makes all the difference in the world, thanks Jimmy.

Here is a pic of the Urei 1176:

21c0_1.GIF

as seen on ebay:

UREI 1176 LN compressor limiter. 100 % Original and in excellent working order. This unit is serial #8452 which makes it the popular "H" revision. The 1176 has been a staple in recording studios since it's inception and has been highly regarded by generations of engineers. These units are AWSOME for vocals, guitars, drums, you name it and are many engineers top-of-the-list compressor. Front panel buttons allow for compression ratios of 4:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 20:1 and the famous trick of jamming all the ratio buttons down at once will yeild a remarkable in-your-face compression that has never been equaled (IMHO). I have owned this unit in my personal studio for over 20 years

Thank you, Roka. Are you a producer yourself?

Does anyone know (or can make an informed guess) at what the guitar's compression ratio on "Black Dog" is?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:D

Thank you, Roka. Are you a producer yourself?

Does anyone know (or can make an informed guess) at what the guitar's compression ratio on "Black Dog" is?

and how that guitar gets another layer on every verse ? slightly different from the one before, absolutely stunning tone .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried to reproduce the sound with an Universal Audio 1176 (which actually is an Urei) and found out: I am not Jimmy Page (bummer). :rolleyes:

I think a load of compression also comes from the console/mixing desk they were using. And maybe they did something with the tape (speed) as well. They certainly didn´t care about clipping. B)

Ratio? Does somebody hear it? My guess would be 1:8 or 1:16.

Personally, I think even Jimmy is not able to tell the exact ratio they had used to record that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know they went into two 1176's (series) and I'm pretty sure they were both "all In" into a Neve (I think). They had a ton of trouble with the noise when they went to mix because this was before the days of automation. There are plenty of interviews on line where Andy Johns talks about it but he has a habit of recalling things differently at different times with regards to compressors, mics etc. And why shouldn't he, the guy has done thousands of sessions on teh biggest records of all time!

EDIT* to add that each part is triple tracked. So the chain is

Les Paul (#1) -> 1176 -> 1176 -> mixer -> Tape three times for the guitar riff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried to reproduce the sound with an Universal Audio 1176 (which actually is an Urei) and found out: I am not Jimmy Page (bummer). :rolleyes:

I feel your pain. I realised fairly early on in regards to playing guitar that I'm no Jimmy Page. Shattering, that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<

Thank you, Roka. Are you a producer yourself?

>

I don't know. I've been recording myself and others since 1990. My first deck was a Tascam 388.

Calling myself a producer might be giving myself more credit than I deserve. The best thing I ever recorded was for a band named BullRoarer, who went on to become USAISAMONSTER. I had a studio in a giant loft in Chinatown in a building with enormously long plank flooring. I recorded the band live, with barriers, and put an area mic about 10 feet in front of the band. When mixing with Ayal Naor we positioned this track in the middle, guitar on the right, bass on the left, just like how they were positioned in real life. This gave a strong directional sense to the instruments. For example, when the guitarist turned to his amp for feedback it would appear in the right ear and move toward the center. Same with the bass from the left. What blew my mind was how much bass Ayal was able to get from the area mic alone. It traveled right along the old planks and up the mic stand. Wouldn't have sounded half as large without the area mic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to be a producer in my next life. Things like what you're talking about - placing elements in the stereo field -- fascinate me. Berklee College of Music is offering a number of their music and production courses online now to non-degree students, but it ain't cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding Jimmy's amps in studio. He preferred small amps, most notably his legendary Supro Supreme (no, it wasn't a Thunderbolt). One mic on the speaker and, depending on the room, another anywhere from 20 feet away to hung up in a corner, whatever worked. He'd move them around for hours till he found the sweet spot. But he'd be the first to tell you that he had tons of amps and gadgets that he'd experiment with, and unless Johns, Nevison or Kramer kept detailed notes, there's no telling what he used on a given tune. Many of his effects were very subtle. Only a trained studio ear would even notice it was there at all. But as was said, he wasn't above plugging straight into the console and compressing the shit out of the signal if that's what got the tone he was after. :beer:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...