16 Oct 1976 Marshall Super Lead MkII & Back in Black – Update
Update of Saturday the 16th.
Brought the treble side of the Rhythm part down a tad. Replayed both solos, re-positioning the microphone, still only one microphone (I lack the second damn XLR jack, would you believe it? and I was too hectic trying the solos again).
Changed the equalizer settings for the solos slightly, see both new equalization settings.
Also, “bounced” Angus’ parts without the master track (i.e., you now can listen to me alone, rhythm and solos, no song).
Back in Black with the new settings, solos:
In order to get the amount of drive I needed (and that is heard on the record) I kept the loudness way down by using an attenuator, settings here were… all at 10! LOL. Except for presence that was still 0. All the rest, for the solos here, 10.
Parts ONLY (no original song):
New equalization settings:
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[singlepic id=401 w=1024 h=768 float=]
End of Update
So, the 100 watts head SL came in this morning.
I hooked it up immediately (photos later on).
Since this morning I’ve been working on BiB (again!) to try and get closer, and here it is for you.
I played the SL only (the NMV) today, to try it out. I don’t think there is such a difference from the MV Lead, there is, but not hugely so. I don’t know which one I’d favor, probably, both.
(by the way, I read on the Marshall forum that the differences between the two – technically – are as follows:
A few more additional differences are: the 2203 has an additional stage of treble boost, and an additional input gain stage. The voltage gain half of V2 has its cathode resistor set for lower gain than in a 1959 as well.
The pre phase inverter master volume in the 2203 is important as it will set the mix of overdrive between the preamp and phase inverter. In the 1959, the preamp is always wide open and the first stage to distort is the phase inverter, where you have to have the master cranked fairly high in a 2203 for the PI to distort)
from: Marshall Forum
Here’s the settings I used for the rhythm Angus part: presence 0, bass 8, middle 4, treble 6, volume I 8 volume II 0.
Now, on the guitar, volume was at 7 (pretty important).
For the lead, I “found out” that probably they set the head a little different:
presence 0, bass 2, middle 10 (!) treble 2, volume I 10, volume II 0
Surprisingly, I had to roll the guitar volume off to 8-9 for the solo, so no, it wasn’t full 10. I think Angus, on Back in Black at least (the whole album), has done this many times. You can hear that the guitar has a sort of texture to it which is typically not the full throttle guitar volume on 10, i.e. the typical harshness this makes. It’s creamy here and that type of cream, in my experience, only comes from rolling the volume down a bit.
Here’s both the equalization curves that I used. I think the lead curve (and/or microphone position) needs improvement, while I think I almost nailed the rhythm “tone” (whew).
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[singlepic id=399 w=1024 h=768 float=]
What REALLY makes a big difference, is the correct microphone positioning. I am going to have to change the microphone support as it’s circular and a pain to put close (as it probably should be) to the cone. I put it right on the cone for the rhythm, not off axis (as I thought) but right ON axis. Same for the lead, though that needs further experimenting.
Here’s the track (I played directly on the original Back in Black song, to try and listen to the actual equalization path and reproduce it):
Note: I also posted this stuff on the Marshall forum to have multiple ears listening to it and see can come out of this:
solocaliPosted at 08:01h, 17 October
thanks fil you helped me so much I found two 50 watt jmps and they are the same price 1 is a 1977 the other is 1976 is there a difference between the two?
dubsharaykoPosted at 23:58h, 16 October
I’m shocked… I can hardly tell you’re playing along to the record.
SoloDallasPosted at 00:01h, 17 October
Well I hope it’s a good thing 😀 😉
GoingDownOnTheWayPosted at 21:19h, 16 October
This is the result I expected from you!
As I said before: The non-master JMP will get you there, though the MV is just as great and maybe the right amp for other songs.
I got nothing more to say.
Keep on working and within the next update nobody hear any difference at all
SoloDallasPosted at 00:02h, 17 October
Thank you! I re-played the MV right after this, and started noting differences. They ARE different. I love ’em both 😀
headwhop26Posted at 20:20h, 16 October
Wow, this pretty much blows my mind! My brother just walked into the room and thought I was listening to the studio recording, if that means anything to you!
SoloDallasPosted at 20:33h, 16 October
Well, you were actually listening to the studio recording 😛
DriesPosted at 19:40h, 16 October
That’s the tone man. I’m looking for selling my 18W, and buy a nice JPM with a decent cabinet. Did a complete cover of ‘rocker’, it’s on youtube. Can you comment on it ?
SoloDallasPosted at 19:48h, 16 October
TERRIFIC cover. What did you use? Sounds terrific. GREAT timing. You are very, very good. Had no idea you were this good. Damn. I have that 18 watter (is that the 2016X or something?). It’s good, but the JMP sounds better and will give you more. Bravo!
PS: EDITING your comment to make the video come through here as a response video.
DriesPosted at 19:51h, 16 October
Thanks man for the editting and comment. This sound is made by guitar rig 4 ! Great software..
The song has a easy groove, but had a lot of problems to catch it,
HagusYoungPosted at 19:07h, 16 October
might sound stupid but have you tried to close down the tone pot a bit? Im not sure in which period but im sure that Angus used to cut in the Tone to around 6. On my SG it works quite a bit, taking away some klicks and scratches in the tone. Also works to me when i roll back the Volume to around 8, gets very defined and clear (not sparkling) but still nicely driven … but i can only argument on the GR4 JMP simulation, i dont know how a real JMP will react to that.
SoloDallasPosted at 19:12h, 16 October
Of course it won’t sound stupid at all: why should it? Yes, I have tried (especially in the past) but never so far in this project. Would you be able to point me to where you read that? That would be precious. Are you sure you read it? It’s important.
HagusYoungPosted at 19:28h, 16 October
sure, ill look out for it, it was an in an interview. Sentence was something like ” I usually keep the tone at around 6″…
SoloDallasPosted at 19:31h, 16 October
Fantastic. PLEASE search it up. It’s gold.
HagusYoungPosted at 20:33h, 16 October
“Do you work your tone and volume controls much?
Mainly the volume. I usually stick to the one sort of tone, and that’s more or less flat-out. ”
damn all i got is this interview over and over! There was a second interview where he was more precise than “flat out”. Periods were just on 10 (which led to the fact that the tone controll on his lightning -bolt sg has the Tone Control bypassed) and lower to 6 more bassy less bright.
Damn i havent found it, but im sure that i did read it, ill keep searching.
LedSabbathPosted at 18:06h, 16 October
The new version of the solo is better but is to dark. try lowering the treble, middle and bass down to 7-9. Or just do what I do play with the solo(s) with the Rhythm settings and just boost the Treble and Middle (maybe even the Presence) by 1-2. Or get an Overdrive Pedal.
SoloDallasPosted at 19:03h, 16 October
Doesn’t sound too dark to me mate. I have learned – and still learning – that at times “brightness” is counter-effective. I can’t get an overdrive pedal (I actually have a few): the intent here is replicating the tone how they did back then! Angus didn’t use pedals (although his radio transmitter had a built in boost and compressor).
SoloDallasPosted at 19:30h, 16 October
BTW LS, there would still be a lot of treble freqs I may add. I actually “subtracted” a lot if you look at the equalization curve up there! The amp was super bright with the new settings for the solo (all on 10 basically). I tried shaping the tone with the EQ, just like on the record. Well… I tried! 😛
solocaliPosted at 17:01h, 16 October
fil in your opinion what 50 plexi sounds best for ac/dc without mods I dont know if I should get a 1987X , jtm 45 , jmp 50 watt thanks everything solo dallas
SoloDallasPosted at 17:04h, 16 October
I think you’ll be fine with a JMP of the late 70s. By saying fine, I mean that that will be your definitive amp. No need to change it forever.
In case you don’t want to, a recent 1987 will do. But prices are basically the same, so I’d go for a JMP until they keep their prices at current state. Worth “investment”.
AaronPosted at 16:59h, 16 October
Amazing! I have shown this to half a dozen friends (not exactly acdc fans but still!) they could not tell the difference….even to me i am trying to hear any differences i can but its tough. I am so excited about this i can’t imagine how you must feel fil.
SoloDallasPosted at 17:02h, 16 October
Hehe Thanks Aaron. I feel… good, but nothing really special. I actually care about more how I play the damn guitar than the tone (once it’s done). I found myself fighting in sheer anger (good one though) when couldn’t play the parts as I wanted, so I kept on doing it, doing it, doing it. And while playing, I thought about how Angus may have felt when playing. That was good.
AngusrocksPosted at 14:57h, 16 October
it`s the same about me, i just can`t hear a real difference. Maybe a difference because of the two different rooms. Between a studio and a hall.
Dave4433Posted at 14:39h, 16 October
Re:Update of Saturday the 16th.
Now I either can’t hear Your guitar, or Angus’ (since it’s impossible now to tell)
The solo impressed me (doesen’t matter who played it You or Angus :D)
And I think I’m still missing little bit of high frequencies on the EQ.
SoloDallasPosted at 14:46h, 16 October
Have you tried listening to the single parts? That will tell you how “loud” my solos are on the original track. A lot louder. IF you can’t tell the difference, it IS a good sign for us: I’m close. Closer. See Dave, one might say “nah… he won’t make it. He’s as close as humanly possible” and then, with a little work, experimentation and deteremination, prgress is made on a daily basis. Sure, I had to purchase a whole lotta stuff. But now that this is almost all “deciphered”, one might think about buying a “Back in Black” definitive pack, where you find a late ’60s SG, JMP head, Greenbacks 4×12 cab and a condenser microphone. And you’re done. Case closed. Now let’s move onto another album… hahaha 😉
Dave4433Posted at 14:56h, 16 October
A good thing would be to listen to Angus’ single parts and compare them with Yours, that would give all vthe answers.
And probably it sounds a little bit different because it’s louder.(because otherwise we wouldn’t hear it)
LedSabbathPosted at 05:34h, 17 October
I agree. I say the next project should be Led Zeppelin II or House of the Holy. Oh or even better Black Sabbath’s Paranoid or Masters of Reality. Don’t worry I’m joking (you know unless you wanna 😉 ). Though I say I have always liked the AC/DC live sound best so I’m going to vote for that.
LedSabbathPosted at 04:44h, 16 October
Thanks for bringing up 50 watters. If you are wondering what the hell I am talking about here is a hint: Angus brought in I believe 1 or 2 100 and 50 watt amps. Now that said Angus now uses 50 WATTERS for solos. And the more i think about it the more it makes sense to use 50 watters.
P.S. Sorry Fil I forgot to mention that the volume pots in my SG are 300k which makes the tone darker then a 500k pot so I have to crank the treble. Try this EQ instead: Pres: 0 Bass: 7 Middle: 5 Treble: 6 Vol I: 8-10 and Vol II: 0
DillonPosted at 04:23h, 16 October
Amazing is all i got to say. I loved it.
davidon66Posted at 03:50h, 16 October
its definetly not you playing 😀 …. just joking ….. when i first listen to it i said it is the original…. so is it a perfect job ? yes it is … the rhythm its there perfectly … omg love it …. the solo is just like on the original album … so my vote is 10/10
MaxPosted at 03:46h, 16 October
in 1979-80 i doubt they would have used more than 2 mics on a cab
MaxPosted at 03:44h, 16 October
here’s a quote from the guy who recorded them:
TONY: Perhaps they were being coy! Really their unique sound is the way they play – I regularly have to point out that even if I did put up the same mics on the same Marshall amp in the same room, it wouldn’t sound the same unless Angus played the guitar too! The amps were a collection of modern and vintage Marshalls from 50 watt upwards. I generally find though that the best sound is achieved from the flat front cabinets with the lower wattage speakers. If the speakers are too capable of handling the power then the crunch isn’t the same. Now what do we mean by loud? No they weren’t on ’11’ if that’s what you mean but the sounds were clear and punchy. The best description I have heard was from my former manager Ralph Simon who called it ‘a clean dirty sound’! I think you need to make sure you can still hear the strings vibrating.
SoloDallasPosted at 06:15h, 16 October
Maxi thanks for coming! Now, “we, at solodallas.net” (hahahah… :P) had already amassed that info, buddy (sorry didn’t mention it last nigth) and it’s all here: http://www.solodallas.net/recording-back-in-black-the-album-interviews-with-tony-platt/
So, basically, Tony did state he used TWO mikes: two U67s for rhythm and one U87 and one U67 for solos. Max, Tony states that he did use equalization right in the guitar signal path! I.e., he DID equalize BEFORE the guitar sound went to tape! That info is contained in there and it is when I started re-researching again. It was a trigger that moved me again. So this is why I am doing it. And now, I think I have the right cabinet (vintage greenbacks), the right amps (JMPs!), good microphones (AT4707s, used only one here but I have two; going to add the second one today). I have late ’60s SGs with proper tTops and all. I mean, I amassed all the gear. And probably finally have some chops to dare to make it right. So, I am asking you: given what you hear, how would you move either the microphone OR the equalization for the solo? As I think I have the rhythm down, though I made it a tad brighter (for a reader other than Max: Max is the canadian guy who taught how to play guitar back then. He also has extensive experience with vintage Marshalls… this is why I ask him this way 😀 )
MaxPosted at 14:22h, 16 October
Hey Fil.. I hope I didn’t post too many boring tech things, but I see that you already had the issue covered.
I think that for the solo He used two U67 (as mentioned in the interview).. The U67 has a bit of a midrangey quality, even though in effect it’s pretty flat as far as frequency response. It’s also got a bit of a crunchy sound and a softish top-end which makes it good for aggressive sounds like solos.
As a rule, on solos I would use the mic further back than on rhythm, and I’ve just heard the BIB track on youtube… sounds like it
Just at first listen I notice that the drums are very big compared to the guitars, which is an indication to me of how much ambient mic’ing was used for the guitars (more than you would think)
My ears think that there is a distant mic, a few feet in front of the cab and to the side a bit, mixed with a close mic, probably not super-close.. for rhythm
for lead, I would back off the MAIN mic 2-4 feet, raising the amp off the floor a bit.. basically getting the sound of the whole cab instead of the speaker.. I have no clue, but it would be a logical choice to differentiate the sound of the lead with a smaller amp like a bluesbreakers combo but that is just guesswork.
what I do hear on the leads is a creamy rounder slightly darker sound which to me is distant mic..
NOW, there is one big problem when you use distant mics.. only the really good capsules can sound convincing at some distance, so to get the exact same tone you’d have to get a Neumann U67 in good shape, which as you know are rare, or another good quality condenser. Most condensers will have a harder top-end than a U67 because of the way the U67 was built.
AND…. the room becomes very much part of the sound as soon as you back-off the mics, so you need a pro-sounding studio to make it work..
.. as usual I am blabbing away..sorry,
..anyhow, my idea is first mic placement then EQ.. which I am guessing was probably less than you may think..
SoloDallasPosted at 14:32h, 16 October
I don’t know who ever told you that these were boring things. These are actually THE single important things we need here at sd.net buddy. Thank you!!! I have in fact tried some of your suggestions already in the new takes. Microphone was place a bit farther for solos (not much though, I am attenuating the amp, can’t blast it here). So, I have to go by approximations of how they did and try and get as close as I can (and it seems to work). The new solos now are much more “rounded” as they seem to be in the record. Still not the same sound, but way better in my humble opinion that yesterday’s takes and tones. U67s I don’t have a anymore (used to have two!). I do have an old U47 though! Needs repair. Right now I have the two AT4707 the AC/DC have been using live. Condensers.
MaxPosted at 15:04h, 16 October
I tend to rant on until somebody stops me!! hehe
Well the U47 probably wouldn’t do the trick because it’s more of a piercing sound.
The 4047’s I think are good mics, from what I read.. never tried one but I know some good engineers use ’em.
MaxPosted at 15:12h, 16 October
from that interview he mentions just U67’s.. my guess is that one’s close for the bite and the other is distant for the body of the sound..
or it could be a spaced pair… but I’d try distant with a bit of a closer mic mixed-in
“For Angus’ solo tracks (which were overdubbed), Platt employed two stacks, one in the main room and another in a live chamber at the far end of the building. “We used Angus’s radios to transmit to these amps,” says Platt. “The radios actually proved to be quite an important part of the sound, as they added some mid bite. I used two Neumann U67s on each cabinet, so I could pan the result where I wanted. And absolutely no compression was used at all.”
MaxPosted at 03:29h, 16 October
here is a thread where they describe the recording..
one poster mentions 50w 2X12″ combos!!!
MaxPosted at 03:23h, 16 October
the sound is very good regardless of EQ.
guitarlord26Posted at 03:23h, 16 October
Nice job Fil!
My friend came in while I was listening to this (he’s also a huge AC/DC fan like myself) and he said “Cool. Back in Black.” So I tested him and asked “Do you think this is Angus?” (I minimized the web page so he couldn’t read it) and he said “Yes, defiantly.” Then I showed him how wrong he was and put him to shame!
Super Close FiL!
Keep on Rocking.
MaxPosted at 03:19h, 16 October
I think Back in Black was made at Compasspoint studios on an MCI board.. I have to check on that.. If you like I can ask Terry Manning on the PSW forum in the next few days as he is the new owner of Compasspnt and might be able to tell me for certain what board was used in those days.
I don’t think that they would have used much EQ on the guitars but they would have played a bit with the microphone position (distance and angle), and from what I’ve been told the room sounds good, which would influence the overall sound of the guitars.
keep in mind that usually when you record rock guitars like this, dynamic mics, or sometimes ribbon mics are used, and very little or no EQ. A Condenser is sometimes added to the sound.
Sometimes they put-up a bunch of mikes on the same cabinet and blend the mics, to avoid EQ.
as far as the EQ of this particular track, consider that a sound on it’s own may be perceived in one way .. but when you mix drums on top of it, another guitar or bass etc. the sound changes within the mix of the other sounds.
The best way to get a sound is from the amp.. then choose the right mic or mics (my experience is that less is more but many modern records use quite a bit of mics mixed together as I mentioned above).
also consider that if the band plays live the guitar sound is going to bleed into the drum mics and whatever other mic picks-up the room ambience .. and that will add to the sound in a way which is not too predictable.