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Old 01-05-2018, 08:54 PM   #15
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Cool idea!

I was thinking of posting something similar, for the technical aspects of the recording sessions, and I'd put together some details for that. Maybe you can merge them with your project?

I see that a lot of the stuff I have here is already in your wikia, though it's presented in a different context. The context for it in my text file is to categorize recording techniques.

BTW, on this page: http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%27s_apartment

... the song titles for the quotes aren't provided (ex. "Billy Corgan"), whereas the song titles for the quotes about this recording session are provided (ex. Billy Corgan on "Starla"): http://smashing-pumpkins-recording-s...%93_Soundworks

Just a bit of format inconsistency between the pages. Also, that same inconsistency is present on some of the other pages.


Lots of recording technical details, and some song descriptions:

https://www.emusician.com/gear/signa...shing-pumpkins


Various equipment details:

https://web.archive.org/web/20030623...rever/gear.htm

https://web.archive.org/web/20030624...rever/list.htm


Adore tour rehearsals:

http://www.mtv.com/news/151748/smash...ummer-touring/



Also, this:
http://web.archive.org/web/200304152...o.com/forever/

I mostly haven't looked through it, myself, to see if there's a lot of good stuff there.



Here's some of the info I have for SD recording techniques.

BTW, let me know if you think this should be a separate thing. A wikia could be made detailing every aspect of Pumpkins tone, though I don't know if I'm up for making one.




Jeff T on the tape machine used for Siamese Dream:

"Ampex 456 30ips no NR. I believe the Studer was set up at +6 @185. We went through 40 reels of 2" between "B"Reels and safeties."



Jeff T on the console used to record Siamese Dream:

"It was recorded on a Neve 8068. The history of that board (at least 1/2 of the board) is that it came from A&R studios in NY and John Lennon recorded on it. I have seen the picture of Lennon behind it.
As far as the mix, Butch would know as I was not there."



Butch Vig on mixing Siamese Dream:

"The album was mixed at Rumbo in Los Angeles...the studio owned by The Captain and Tennille (the Captain used to practice fly fishing off the roof)....I think the console was a Neve VR."



Jeff T making a different comment (maybe a typo?) on the console used to record Siamese Dream:

"... it was a vintage Neve 8078. The mic preamps were 31102 which I understand to be the same as a 1084 without the line input. It was a 16 channel desk with an additional 16 added."



Jeff T: The entire record was recorded on dual 24track Studers. 1 track used for SMPTE and 1 for the click on each Master and Slave so 44 tracks total for the music. We did go to a "C" reel for the strings on Disarm but they were sub mixed and bounced back to the "B" reel.
The whole record was extremely tiresome as all of the master edits were blade edited...being a drummer himself, Butch wanted the drum tracks tight. I spent many hours editing the 2". The last 5 or 6 weeks on the record we worked straight through without a day off.




Recording Billy's vocals


Butch Vig, responding to a question about Cherub Rock and Hummer:

There's very little effect on Billy's voice, I think we used a little bit of Eventide harmonizer as a doubler, set to around 30ms.

Alan Moulder might have added a bit of room in the mix, but Billy and I didn't like reverb.

We did dbl his voice and add harmonies when we recorded the song.



Butch Vig:

I think we used an SM7 a lot...and I had an API Lunchbox that I used for vocals at that time for the pre...I would add a little air at the top, and usually cut a bit of mid around 800 hz.... And I probably used my Summit TLA 100 comp.
But I seem to remember Billy used a large tube mic on a couple songs...hmmmm



Butch Vig:

Siamese Dream is a very dry record, very little reverb used on guitars and vocals.
And we seldom used ambient mics on the guitars.

The one efx we used a lot on Billy's voice was the Eventide harmonizer, to add a slight double effect. Usually 20 or 30 ms delay, with about a 10 cent pitch offset.





Butch Vig on recording the guitars, and finding mic placements:

We would usually record the guitars with their full sound, then filter them through and eq, sometimes the Neve, sometimes the API...ahhhhh, I think they had some pultecs there...and even some of the guitars went through my Akai sampler.

I think we had 4 mics on the guitars...Jeff might remember...we'd make sure the phase was good, and then pick the best one or sometime 2 blended.

I had this trick I would do when setting up mics...I'd turn the amp on full blast so there is a lot of static noise coming from the speaker, then I'd put headphones on and turn up the mic level to the headphone mix really loud. Then I'd get down in front of the speaker and listen to how the hiss sounded. You can hear the top, mids, bottom in the headphones depending on where you move the mic, and I would place it where I thought I found the sweet spot.




https://www.emusician.com/gear/signa...shing-pumpkins

Vig says that proper mic configuration is what allowed the parts to congeal. Vig’s miking technique was as follows: Corgan would crank up his amp to full gain, and then set the guitar down. After boosting the headphones send on all the mics, Vig entered the room to move around the mics, using the phase-shifting hiss from Corgan’s guitar echo as his guide. According to Vig, an AKG C 414 produced the widest spectrum of sound, a Sennheiser 421 accented the midrange, and ribbon mics were used to obtain a smoother sound with quick, yet mellow, transients.

“You can’t have 40 guitars that are all full range,” says Vig. “There have to be places for them to fit. You could have low-midrange, or you could have everything scooped out with a high-pass that’s cut at 300 or 400kHz.”





Cherub Rock

Butch Vig: There are LOTS of guitars on Cherub Rock, most of them Billy's Strat going into his Marshall. The one sound that still gets my blood to a fever pitch is the sound that comes in on the chorus. The house engineer Mark Richardson took a distortion box out of a pedal steel guitar, and put it in a little silver box with input and output jacks, and it had the COOLEST white noise blast! Man oh man, I'd never heard a stomp box that did anything like that! We ended up using it on a bunch of songs. Billy still has that pedal somewhere in his archives.



Quiet

Butch Vig:

The intro is 3 or 4 short guitar licks that we ran into the K2500 and processed heavily.

We didn't use midi, so I had to "fly" the bits back to tape pushing the trigger button...it was tricky to get the timing right.




Today


Butch Vig on recording the intro: "Billy is a GREAT guitarist....some of the parts came really fast, others were a struggle: the intro for Today took a LOT of takes to get the perfect sound and feel. Remember, this is before Pro Tools, and that guitar is naked at the start of the song...I think we worked on that 4 bar intro for about 12 hours!!!!"




Hummer

Jeff T:

The sitar was a Coral sitar that belonged to a musician named Jeff Calder in an Atlanta band called the Swimming Pool Qs. We never recorded the real Sitar Billy brought in. I seem to remember Butch making a Loop in his Akai S-1000 but don't remember the details much. I think Billy played it through an amp to get the distortion.



Disarm

Butch Vig:

I think we used 1176 or dbx160 [microphones] on the acoustic...

Jeff, didn't you talk about Billy's acoustic earlier? I was not crazy about how it sounded...
it was kind of dark. It sounds good on the album, but we had to eq it a lot.

I also remember Billy wore a bracelet most of the time, and sometimes the mic would pick it up. I can hear it a little bit in "Spaceboy"...almost like percussion.

I can hear it distinctly on Gish in "Daydream".


Jeff T: "We had 1 violin and 1 cello player. We stacked them about 15 or 20 times and had to record to a "C" and bounce stereo pairs back to the "B" reel. I think we used a tube 47 or a Neumann FET 47 for the Cello and maybe a Sony C37a for the violin.
Nothing synthetic though, just many, many stacks."



Mayonaise

Jeff T:

The feedback guitar the you hear in the pauses in the song was a Kimberely. The pickups were so microphonic and we had Billy play in front of the cab. As a side note, it is also the guitar we used as a drum room mic on the song "Pissant" from Pieces Escariot.


Butch Vig on the number of edits done for the track:

I can explain why we did so many edits. In rehearsals, I was timing the band around 145 BPM (as far as can remember). When we tracked it, we used a click, and Billy though it sounded too fast. So we slowed it down to around 141 or so. After we recorded what I thought was the master take, I started to notice certain snare hits that dragged.
So I measured where the kick landed with a china marker on tape, then measured where the snare landed. The bars that felt good to me, were in fact around 145 BPM.
So Jeff and I went through and starting shaving any snare that dragged forward.
And we went in kinda deep! There were probably 200 edits when we were finished!
The song was recorded at 141 but ended up at 145!

After 200 edits I looked at Jeff and said "Is it Sweet?



Soma

Corgan’s gear was only part of the equation. The endless overdubs— at least 40 in “Soma”—are well-documented, but Vig says that proper mic configuration is what allowed the parts to congeal. Vig’s miking technique was as follows: Corgan would crank up his amp to full gain, and then set the guitar down. After boosting the headphones send on all the mics, Vig entered the room to move around the mics, using the phase-shifting hiss from Corgan’s guitar echo as his guide. According to Vig, an AKG C 414 produced the widest spectrum of sound, a Sennheiser 421 accented the midrange, and ribbon mics were used to obtain a smoother sound with quick, yet mellow, transients.

“You can’t have 40 guitars that are all full range,” says Vig. “There have to be places for them to fit. You could have low-midrange, or you could have everything scooped out with a high-pass that’s cut at 300 or 400kHz.”

The miking tactic seemed almost drum-like, which, given Vig’s musical expertise, is a fair assumption. “Maybe from me being a drummer, that’s an aesthetic I brought to the table that I didn’t even really understand at the time,” he says.


Butch Vig: I think Soma and Hummer had closer to 40 guitar tracks. Not all playing at the same time, but there could be 8-10 overdubs in one section, then another 8-10 in a second section, etc. A lot of times we would bounce them down...like in the ebow part, I think that was around 12 tracks mixed down to stereo.



Spaceboy

Jeff T: Mellotrons were notorious for their tuning problems. This was actually a really good one and it had 3 or 4 different tapes you could put in. I hesitate to call them cartridges because they were so big. The tapes were really old and some had been broken so they had less time and some notes did not work all of the time. You had to get in and adjust where the tape heads come in contact with the tape.
I do remember Butch was concerned with the tuning but Billy just wanted to get it done. Also the tuning on them was hit or miss with one knob that was hard to get in and stay in the sweet spot.

Last edited by he/she/it : 01-05-2018 at 09:14 PM.

 
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