[Ardour-Users] Parallel compression - Was OT: bus strain on computer resources

John Rigg au2 at jrigg.co.uk
Thu Dec 13 11:47:55 PST 2012

On Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 01:51:40PM -0500, Al Thompson wrote:
> On 12/13/2012 12:29 PM, John Rigg wrote:
> > Early Motown hits. It wasn't used for effect, but to keep the quieter
> > vocal parts high enough above the tape hiss on their DIY multitrack.
> >
> > John
> Hmm, I kind of doubt that it was ever even considered in early Motown. 
> I've read interviews with a lot of the players and engineers who were
> heavy in that scene, and it was a real factory-like atmosphere.  They
> didn't spend hour upon hour tracking or mixing.  Many were 1
> run-through, 1 take and out.  That, coupled with the VERY limited gear
> that was available at the time would tend to suggest that the reason for
> "fatness" on those tracks was more because of the analog gear and
> talented artists than because of any esoteric engineering trickery.

Bob Ohlsson described doing that, either in an interview or on a web
forum. I can't remember where, unfortunately, but I do remember the
procedure he described. Lead vocals were sometimes recorded to two
separate tracks, one normally and one heavily compressed with boosted
HF. As a result quiet parts of a vocal track would still cut through
an instrument-heavy (for the time) mix. The tape was too noisy to do
this on playback so it had to be recorded that way. (There's a
possibility I'm not remembering it correctly, but I'll see if I can
find it again.)

BTW I didn't claim this was done for "fatness" but to work around the
limitations of noisy gear. Technical trickery being used as a substitute
for talent came quite a few years later ;-)


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