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Old 03-06-2010, 04:11 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Sweden
Posts: 2,003
Default Faking a '70s production?

Jamming on my acoustic yesterday, and playing around with NuBiLe and SpinnerLE earlier today, I got really inspired to write and record a higly seventies-flavored progressive rock tune. Think mid seventies Kansas/Genesis/Jethro Tull, or some kind of unholy amalgam thereof. And by seventies-flavored I don't just mean musically, but in terms of production as well. I figured it might be fun to try and recreate a really retro sound, partly for the nostalgic value and partly for educational purposes, as I've never attempted anything like that before. Instrument selection is a no-brainer of course. But when it comes to recording and processing, I have no idea how to get the sound I'm after. Obviously I need to make digital recordings and sampled/virtual instruments sound like they're not digital recordings and sampled/virtual instruments, and I know there's a completely daunting amount of plugins out there designed to do this. Emulations of this or that vintage hardware, tape/tube saturation plugins and so on. The problem isn't really finding the right tools, it's knowing how to use them to reach my goal.

So, I would basically like some pointers on how to 'fake' a seventies sound with modern technology. Doesn't have to be 100% authentic -- I don't want to turn this into a science project -- but relatively close. Tips on specific plugins (within the free realm!) to use are very welcome, as well as more general advice on how to get in the sonic ballpark. I have a notion that strategic use of mic and room ambience IR's on sampled instruments might help alleviate some of that up-front, crystal clear modern sound, but I have yet to try this in practice.

I'm also kind of stumped as to how to get that characteristic seventies drum sound using pristine modern samples. Perhaps it's not even possible to get that dead-damped, flat sound of the era without setting up a drum kit the exact same way and sampling it? The right combo of eq, compression and gating might do the trick but OTOH I have a vague fear that it will sound silly rather than retro. Tips on drum samples that might fit the bill are of course very welcome.

Writing this I get a feeling that it might be interpreted as "wat plugs do u use to get a retro sound?" type of request, as if it was just a question of loading the right effects and boom, there you go. That's not my intention. I'm fully aware that gettting a vintage sound with modern equipment is a whole field of science in itself -- and TBH most of the debates about this emulation versus that vintage h/w goes waaaay above my head (or ears). I'm just interested in hearing people's takes on how to get a good seventies-esque sound, I'm not asking for a cut-and-dried formula.

Wow, I'm completely unable to make a long story short
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