AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” With a Marshall YJM & The Schaffer Replica (Audio/Video Update)

Baffling the cabinet to try and prevent my bad sounding room to reflect too much

05 Mar AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” With a Marshall YJM & The Schaffer Replica (Audio/Video Update)

You know me (at least a bit) and therefore understand that not too long has to pass for me to go back to my personal holy grail, that being the “Back in Black” sound. But I attempted this time with a slightly different ingredient (a few actually) this including a new (bought used) Marshall YJM (Yngwie Malmsteen signature amp) and – in the recording process – a Peluso P67 microphone, supposedly being an “inspired by” microphone – a clone of a Neumann U67, basically. My own vintage Neumann U67 in fact is being checked as it started to saturate at medium volume – something it is not supposed to be doing, and with a vintage microphone of this caliber (considered by many as “THE” microphone) I better take good care of it. Updated Audio/Video Version on our Server

I had started for curiosity playing the rhythm track on my older set of G12Ms “blackbacks” (as opposed to greenbacks, these are supposedly the same speakers, only produced in the mid to late 1970s, a time that seemingly was short of green plastics – only difference being the colour!), as I am always willing to put my previous findings to test in time (and sometimes, this has caused me to review my own findings) but this was not the case. As soon as I placed the two microphones – one vintage Neumann U87 and the Peluso P67 on the lower two speakers of my Marshall B cabinet loaded with the G12M “blackbacks” and hit record, I realised something was off. This something, provided I placed the microphones correctly (which I think I did, simply following what I had learned from the great Tony Platt who used this technique himself on all of Back in Black: you put them at the same distance – roughly 3 cm – from the grill cloth, paying attention to not having them out of phase, and pointing to the general direction of two different speakers) was excess brightness/mid frequencies. I found myself having to massively cut such excess (trying to) from within the EQ console emulation, and I noticed immediately that I was trying too hard: this is definitely (I learned, in time) not how it was done back then, and at least not with/for AC/DC albums. We must always keep in mind that the set of people who worked with/for AC/DC during all of this time since the early days, has always been comprised of great minds and skills. So despite I am sure they always tried “whatever works” to cut the right sound recording AC/DC, we also know by now that excess EQ was never used, not even early on. And by excess EQ I am talking about taking out (or even worse, having to add) decibels upon decibels of HMFs or LMFs (the two mid frequency ranges you commonly find on EQ consoles). Didn’t work. So I knew right away that I had to go for what I thought had been used extensively on Back in Black, i.e., Celestion G12-65s. Re-placed the microphones on the bottom speakers, higher side of them to prevent booming, with the microphones capsules at the same distance from the grill and placed half on the centre cone cap, half on the ring around it (to try and capture at the same time some brightness and some body, with both microphones) and went again.

Baffling the cabinet to try and prevent my bad sounding room to reflect too much

Baffling the cabinet to try and prevent my bad sounding room to reflect too much

It really strikes me how I had to keep on lowering the volume of the amp. In the past, if you remember, I used to think that Angus (and Mal) recoded their guitars in the studio rolling off their guitar volume for rhythm tracks, just like we are used to seeing them do live (Angus specifically). Wrong. I now think was wrong for the most part. While I think this might still have happened at times back then, this was definitely not the main rule. The main rule being – quite the opposite – having the volume of the guitar on 10, and using the pickup at its full potential thus dialling in the sound differences from song to song from the amplifier settings/different microphone positions. Also, the tone knob was often used especially in the early days, both for rhythm tracking and solos on Angus’ part. But I am now more and more convinced that the volume of the guitar was more often than not, on 10 for both brothers.   So provided the guitar was set right with volume and tone both on 10 for this track, I started rolling off the amplifier volume – a Marshall YJM attenuated by my beloved Aracom  PRX150-DAG and not the built EPA, which at the low attenuation settings I use my amps at, does not sound as good as the PRX150-DAG (notably letting the amplifier drive much less and making it darker sounding) – from 6 to… 3 and something. Amazing. I mean, do you – yes, you reading this – remember how many times we heard read about AC/DC using the amplifiers at 11? Wrong. So wrong… so refreshing to learn for good – once more – that it wasn’t true, especially in the studio! Tony Platt had stated this clearly in several interviews, too. But you know, one thing is to read about it, another thing is working on it yourself. And remember this, it’s always nice to try to record yourself. It teaches us how to play consistently. One thing is playing and listening to ourselves as we play; quite another is playing while recording ourselves, and then listening back. You will only understand what I am talking about if you do this yourself. And if you trusted me so far, you will trust me even more discovering that the best way one guitarist can learn how to play his instrument is by consistently and constantly recording themselves and listening back. Record, play, listen. Repeat. But I digress. Finally, it started to sound right. I noticed I also had to roll the mids to 3 and treble a both further than 5, at around 6 (needed the treble). Presence was 0 and bass was 8. This cut the sound. It was almost amazing to play at these settings with the microphones well placed. It seemed to me to really be there with the band; something I started feeling only a handful of years ago, when I really became serious about my covers (serious fun comes only from a serious approach, I say). I still had to intervene some from the EQ Emulation (removing mids both on the HMF range and the LMF range). Add some compression (that was likely only added while mixing/mastering the actual album and that serves me the purpose of adding simulated air movement to my speakers), tape delay to further thicken the sound (ALWAYS used with AC/DC!) and a tape emulation to further squash slightly my sound. That was that. For the solo, I used exactly the same settings and microphone positions (although Tony Platt hadn’t!) and just added the Schaffer Replica® to the chain. For me, it was instant Angus Young on Back in Black. There are definitely three different types of solo sounds on Back in Black (at least three) and to my current knowledge and experience, these are:   – Angus playing through the Schaffer-Vega Diversity (SVDS) on a 1959 Super Lead Head – Angus playing through the SVDS on a 50 watts head (1987? JTM45/50?) – Angus playing without the Schaffer-Vega Diversity bits and pieces in a different location   This particular sound seems to be the first of the three, just like the title track (Back in Black). However, at least with the YJM, I didn’t have to drive the amp up to 7. 3 Was more than enough. It’s amazing what the The Schaffer Replica (TSR) can deliver to get this sound right. It’s just “it” with no effort. I barely had to EQ anything.  Just added a tad of reverb. The TSR wasn’t even maxed out, just companding at 10 and boost 3/4 (could have chosen even less probably). Since this particular solo seems to be slightly dark sounding, I thought I didn’t have to switch speakers types, and left the G12-65s on. To my years it sounds just right.

avatar
Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

I like Geetars!

33 Comments
  • avatar
    SRVYJM
    Posted at 08:28h, 22 January

    I don’t see a video link at all here. I’d love to hear/watch this but where is the video?

  • avatar
    Tommi F
    Posted at 19:29h, 25 April

    Great looks on that modified SG! I love the look of the stock lyre vibrola as well, but with the stop bar and those Schallers that SG looks as Angus’s number two kickass live guitar…
    Just had bought my first vintage gear yesterday: a late 70s Marshall (Superbass but modified to Angus’s 96+ live tone by Eugen Torscher of Barock). I also had the Chance to play one of his vintage SGs- it was a 1964 Standard and stock- and it felt like it was playing “from itself”. The feeling on those vintage guitars is just so incredible!!!
    Of course, great playing as well Fil! 😀
    All the best

  • avatar
    30CalGunner
    Posted at 02:29h, 20 March

    Hey Fil! Great job once again! :) I know you are always leaned toward getting Angus’ sound but do you ever plan on trying to recreate any of Malcolm’s album sounds? We don’t get to see the firebird too often haha!

    • avatar
      30CalGunner
      Posted at 02:38h, 20 March

      Another reason I ask is because it’s never a clear answer anywhere online what Malcolm exactly uses and It would be cool to actually have some solid documentation on here on what Malcolm actually uses. I think you have done a very good job with achieving Angus’ sound. We now know a lot of what Angus has used on most albums thanks to you :)

  • avatar
    lapata19
    Posted at 04:17h, 14 March

    WARNING TO THE SOLODALLAS COMMUNITY: THE FOLLOWING PICTURE IS REALLY WEIRD
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/t1/21543_291243261962_622521_n.jpg

    • avatar
      AngusRudd1019
      Posted at 09:26h, 14 March

      haha, I have seen that photo more than once.

    • avatar
      KyleSG
      Posted at 18:13h, 14 March

      looks like slash lol

  • avatar
    sellen
    Posted at 16:50h, 06 March

    Epic sound and playing!!!

  • avatar
    Guillotine
    Posted at 00:51h, 06 March

    Hey Fil, I just came across this. Not sure if you’ve seen it yet, but it’s pretty cool. Features an SVDS.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ngqHFu9qQc&list=UUUlQ5_cOlcuOnSXrE7hQebA&feature=c4-overview

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 10:32h, 06 March

      its a pro 63 modified by me 😉

  • avatar
    sellen
    Posted at 12:46h, 05 March

    The video want play :(

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 20:22h, 05 March

      It will now, I uploaded an updated version (audio and video re-processed) on our own server 😉

  • avatar
    Jake
    Posted at 22:42h, 27 February

    Fil, you should have uploaded this to your Vimeo instead of YouTube!

  • avatar
    Jake
    Posted at 22:41h, 27 February

    Video will not stream in the UK :/ Boy I can’t wait to leave this country!

  • avatar
    lautmaschine
    Posted at 04:26h, 27 February

    This video is no longer working in my country. Also, I just added a switch on my 1987 that allows me to toggle between shared and split cathode on v1. Fil, I am wondering if Angus used a JTM45 or JTM50 for solos on this album. Both of those amps use a shared cathode, which gives the less edgy, fuller bodied tone.

    When playing rhythm I go with split cathode (1987 Lead and 1959 Superlead style), then for solos, I switch to shared cathode (JTM45 / 50 style). Right now I have to flick the switch at the back of the amp, but I might build a footswitch for this in the future….

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:43h, 27 February

      Will re-upload on our own server in hours – thank you. Now, I don’t know the answer to your questions, and those would be the “next step”. To have an answer for those, I mean. I don’t think they were caring about the split/shared cathode at the time (early 1980-ish) but they surely do now.

      Let me rephrase your question: did they use 50 watts heads on Back in Black (and onward) for leads (and maybe even other parts) and if so, what type of 50 watters?

      We do know they did, because Malcolm says they did in some interview (“we used a 50 watts on some solos on Back in Black for added warmth”).

      I don’t think it was on either YSMANL or BinB though. On most of the other tracks yes, quite possible. However, I may be entirely wrong. What I “think” now is completely a byproduct of me trying all of my amps on a given part and trying to match the sound. So it may be that I don’t have a certain amp and won’t get that sound to match. The “amp-type” I don’t have is the infamous JTM45, because I have had a few and ended up hating them all in those times when everyone and their dog were saying Angus was JTM45 all the way, with no particular attention to the timeframe, sound etc. All you’d find on the net was that kind of crap, and I’m talking about 15-20 years go. It’s one of the reasons solodallas.com exists now: to fight back that shit (laughs). Couldn’t take no more of non-accurate statements made by bystanders. I have tried with my JTM50 replica (from Metro) to get some solo sounds for both BinB and FTATR, but I don’t think it cut it well enough. For FTATR, I think all of the solos were done with a 50 watts head, and I got the results you can hear with my 1972 Marshall 1987 head (it sounds great). I think the “warmth” Malcolm speaks about was (is) the added bass freqs, more (way more) compression, less headroom. With the addition of the /SVDS/TSR you are kicked immediately in that direction. PROBABLY the TSR (SVDS) also makes it almost less important exactly what head was used (which is why they care more about it now; without a boost, they need to hand pick the solo heads more carefully), as long as it is a “50 watts” (most of the 50 watts Marshall heads will compress, drive and sound fat and bassy when kicked).

      This is what I know as of today. I’d be so grateful if we found out more about the “dilemma” of the 1987 versus JTM50 versus JTM45 thing. As in, when did they start to diversify among such 50 watts heads? Early on, or later on? I’d be tempted to say they did diversify later on only. Like a sort of sophistication that simply couldn’t be there before, if you know what I mean.

      • avatar
        lautmaschine
        Posted at 16:38h, 27 February

        Awesome reply Fil.. Makes sense to me. I’ve got three switches on my 1987 that allow me to go from Lead to Bass/JTM spec (i.e. split cathode switch, tone stack switch and bright cap switch), so it’s a lot of fun to experiment and mix and match.

        The only evidence I’ve seen of Angus using small box JTMs is in the 90s and later in the 2000s during the BI tour. They were under the stage units almost definitely used for solos. I’m sure you’ve seen these same photos.

        I will have to start mic-ing techniques. Right now I only have an SM57 and a U87 knock-off. Thanks again

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 17:39h, 27 February

          The switches idea is great but how do you compensate for the absence/existence of the GZ34 rectifier?

          Let’s keep in touch on recording, big subject!

          • avatar
            lautmaschine
            Posted at 19:14h, 27 February

            Haha. .. Yes I was thinking about rigging up something similar to what Germino does, but it’s more than just switching between tube and diode rectification, as plate voltage and tube bias are affected. And I’m out of room in my 50 watt small-box chassis… lol! I also don’t have a switch to go from Lead 1987/59 to Bass / JTM phase interverter output, although that would be easy to do. Instead, I just use caps that are between Lead and Bass spec (.047). I quite like them.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 20:24h, 05 March

      Uploaded now – sorry for the delay, but I have been having Mac OS X Mavericks issues only resolved today – I really wanted to reprocess this video and audio – you got it now, audio could be considered considerably better too now :)

  • avatar
    lautmaschine
    Posted at 01:04h, 20 February

    Interesting. I’ve been assuming Angus rolled his guitar Tone down (this is what I do with my vintage T-top and electronics — 500k pots on both vol and tone). One thing I find with the 4-hole Marshalls and those enormous bright caps they typically have (4700-5000pF) is that at lower volumes on the amp, you have very little bass…. Makes sense you are boosting your Bass to 8 to compensate. Also makes sense your pull back the Mids, as that control tends to push a fairly harsh upper midrange into distortion….

    • avatar
      Dries
      Posted at 09:43h, 20 February

      The SL’s with the metal panel bright caps of 4700pf are useless with the volume under 6 imo. From there on , they do wonders ! The bright cap adds that nice airy highs. Doens’t work well for Mal tones though. Get the best results with a 1959/1987 without bright cap ( and volume around 4-5).

      • avatar
        lautmaschine
        Posted at 04:34h, 21 February

        Do you mean you get best results for mal’s tone without the bright cap? I have a switch on my bright cap, and I pretty much need it on to get Angus tone

        • avatar
          Dries
          Posted at 08:17h, 21 February

          Angus tone = bright cap yes ! At least for the older tones. But Mal tones certainly not, or a small value ( ’68 era 500pf maybe ). But 4700pf is boosting too much, the amp can’t get growling cleans anymore, and that’s what Mal’s tone is all about.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 15:01h, 27 February

      Really Laut, it needs to be tried to believe it. And I mean, recording. Recording really throws in a different light to what we thought was done, and how it was done. Which is why – when I had the illumination – I started to buy (better: hoard) microphones. The right ones. Once you put the microphones in front of the speakers, you hear things differently, and this has a lot to teach us. I am convinced that part of what the brothers learned over the years was given to the recording process they went through numerous times in their lives. As opposed to bands that never really got into recording and were always handled by others, AC/DC tried to stay on top and get what they had in mind. It almost always shows. So I now *think* (and I may be proven wrong, or prove myself wrong as I already did several times with new findings, attempts, etc.) that in the studio, Angus would fully open the guitar volume. Not so for the tone; that has indeed been closed some countless times over the years on most of the early and classic AC/DC times (into the 1980s).

  • avatar
    lapata19
    Posted at 00:10h, 20 February

    Hi. I know it is a bit of topic but I’m really worried.
    I finally bought the Aracom PRX150-DAG. I was really careful to make everything work as it should. and let me say, for the first 2 hours, what a sound, what a piece of gear. I would never expect that from an attenuator, the way it reacts with the tubes is just amazing.
    However all the suddenly, the volume of the amp turned a lot down, and I could hear a very strange fuzzy tone, mainly when I turn the effects loop on. I checked and is nothing wrong with the attenuator. But I’m really scared. Does anyone know what maybe has happened?
    thanx

    • avatar
      lautmaschine
      Posted at 01:09h, 20 February

      Providing you were using everything properly (ie, didn’t run the amp without a load), the most obvious thing is power tubes. An attentuator basically works them harder (the candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long). A good tech should be able to confirm this in 5 minutes and the repair simply involves a new set of power tubes and biasing.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 10:49h, 27 February

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you: were you able to find what was wrong?

  • avatar
    KyleSG
    Posted at 23:46h, 19 February

    Awesome job! Yes I totally agree they played there guitars usually at least on volume 9-10 as I have a 70 SG and 79 2203 amp and the pickups read right in the range they are suppose to be for t-tops but unless I play 9-10 with volume on the guitar more so 10 it doesn’t matter how loud the amp is it just doesn’t quite cut through or have that spark to it and not colorful enough for AC/DC type sounds but when volume is on full on the guitar it Kills :)

    • avatar
      06AngusSG
      Posted at 01:37h, 20 February

      Although my SG is considerably newer,( I have a 2006 but the only thing factory left is the pick guard and wood.) I have to do the same results with my 2203.

      BTW Saw this last night. Fantastic Fil!!!

      • avatar
        SoloDallas
        Posted at 10:49h, 27 February

        So good to see you here :)

        • avatar
          06AngusSG
          Posted at 02:49h, 01 March

          Thanx Fil. Even though I haven’t been “active” I’ve kept tabs on things. It’s good that I can actually slow down some and have time to contribute again :-)
          I don’t know if Franz told you but I have some D.I.Y. stuff in the works for posting soon. 😉

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