fbpx
 

A Few Synthetic AC/DC Facts relative to “recording”

10 Feb A Few Synthetic AC/DC Facts relative to “recording”

relative facts small

The original text, in image form above.

I just bumped into an email I had written to someone sometime ago, and I thought that it would be good for all of us to keep things summarised as such:

 

We must separate the various albums though, because they were mostly different approaches and gear until Flick of The Switch in 1983, which starts the “un-interesting” period in my humble opinion.
Also, as many relevant sound engineers will confirm, the exact nature of the pre-amps (mic preamps) is not so important for recording guitars, and definitely not as important  as other components in the signal path/sound chain, as the guitar and the type of hum buckers used; the amplifier, its tubes and wattage; the speaker types; the microphone used and ultimately, the type of board equalisation used to record and/or mix the albums of interest.
Once you secure some good enough, qualitative mic preamps (such as, APIs, Neves or SSLs, for example) you’ll be already set for a great start.
So let’s get back to Let There Be Rock (the album) to begin with.
Let There Be Rock was recorded about Feb/March 1977, so no Schaffer Vega Diversity for Angus yet (he’d get it the following August). How to get that overdriven tone (that both guitars have, by the way)? That was done by overdriving the mic pre-amps to the point of clipping (and beyond). But I didn’t mention any tubes there; only maybe that I was using a tube Neumann U47 (but I wasn’t overdriving the microphone!), in place of what they used back then which was a Neumann U47 FET (a recurring microphone for recording guitars, Bon’s vocals and Phil’s kick drums in those years – Vanda & Young were using U47 FETs at all times!). The microphones though are rather different and different sounding. The FET version is definitely preferable to the tube version, that is also more delicate.
At the time, all I had though was the tube version (now I sold it to Vintage King Audio and got from them money & a FET version, so I will be covering all that territory – early AC/DC – soon). But these are maybe irrelevant details.
For Let There Be Rock, you want:
– Marshall Super Leads (model 1959)
– G12Ms “greenback” speakers
– At least one Large Diaphragm condenser microphone per cabinet (one is already enough) (they tracked with the Neumann U47 FET)
– you want to clip the microphone preamp, which does not mean clipping the microphone, but just the preamp you will connect to it, by raising its gain to saturation.
– Console is unknown, but I believe they were tracking with a Neve of some sort there
For Powerage,
– Marshall 2203s (100 watts Master Volume)
– G12M “greenbacks”
– Cabinet should be against an angle (two walls), also with baffles. This will increase the bass response from the cabinet (the 2203 is short on bass frequencies).
– Again, one Neumann U47 FET used here, so at least one Large Diaphragm condenser microphone per cabinet (one is already enough)
– ALL the solos and additional rhythm played from the control room with a Schaffer-Vega Diversity System
– The console they tracked it with such be the same as above, so much likely Neve
For Highway To Hell
– Marshall 2203s (100 watts Master Volume)
– G12M “greenbacks”
– at least one Shure SM57 and one Sennheiser MD421 per cabinet (better vintage ones if possible, they were different); close micing was used (they used two SM57s and one Sennheiser MD421 per cabinet; cabinets again against the wall and baffled).
– ALL the solos and additional rhythm played from the control room with a Schaffer-Vega Diversity System
– Tracked likely on a Neve and mixed on an Helios console (type 69).
For Back in Black
– Marshall Super Leads (model 1959)
– Rhythm cabinet usually with Celestion G12-65 (might have used G12Ms for some tracks!)
– Soloing (for Angus) usually Celestion G12Ms (must do more matching on this, he could have used G12-65s as well; several types of cabinets were used, and also one 50 watts Marshall head was used for some solos).
– ALL the solos and additional rhythm played from the control room with a Schaffer-Vega Diversity System
– Microphones used here are one Neumann U67 and one Neumann U87 per cabinet (one cabinet per Young brother)
– Console for tracking was an MCI JH500 series – mixed on another type of console though!
For For Those About To Rock
– – Marshall 2203s (100 watts Master Volume) for rhythm tracking
– Marshall type 1959 & at least a Marshall 50 watts (unknown type yet) for solos
– – Rhythm cabinet usually with Celestion G12-65
– Solo cabinet usually Celestion G12Ms
– One or two Shure SM57s per cabinet
– unknown console used for tracking (it was a mobile studio)
Tips: never push the amps to the max! Huge mistake. Naturally, playing this way will be way more difficult for you guys. But this is how it was and it still is for the Young brothers. They are a couple of underestimated virtuosos, both of them.
However, they are the rock band that sold most albums of all the others. So this tells us something.
Usually, the maximum you should go with the master or volume in general of the amplifier is 7. If your amp is a Master volume, the preamp can go as high as 8. Usually 10 is useless (better to crank a bit more the Master then).
The Schaffer-Vega has a capability of further overdriving an amplifier that is second to none; with its on board compressor and clean boost, is a no-match for any device but the overdrive pedals that started pouring in in the 1980s (and have never been used by AC/DC).
avatar
Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

19 Comments
  • avatar
    clintFNeastwood
    Posted at 09:23h, 21 April

    Hey all, just wondering if this is “official?” I’ve seen posts and videos jumping between g12m-25 and g12-65 for Powerage. Definitely looking for studio sound. Nice, deep nasaly sound. I’ve got the 2203 switched to el34s now and t-tops in. Just need speakers and the Schaffer Replica. Also, any idea on a straight vs angle cab? Thanks for any advice!

  • avatar
    Ant
    Posted at 09:44h, 11 February

    this is most certainly helpful! :-)

    like the official leaflet type picture too!

  • avatar
    AngusRudd1019
    Posted at 21:39h, 10 February

    Awesome write up here!! Answers all the basic questions new members always ask.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 21:41h, 10 February

      Right – and hopefully we can share it around and people won’t think Angus = JTM45 😆

      • avatar
        Ant
        Posted at 09:39h, 11 February

        Lol

      • avatar
        Brandon
        Posted at 10:34h, 15 February

        I thought for a long time (up until fairly recently) that Angus mainly used a JTM45. I wonder why that seems to be such a common misconception?

  • avatar
    KyleSG
    Posted at 21:01h, 10 February

    Can’t find the pic in my collection but there’s some on here as well as it was talked about before so don’t forget around 77/78 there’s pics of angus which appears to be a sliver box on his strap as well which some people said looks kinda like an effect that pete cornish made for other artist including brian may of queen who used his stuff alot and might have been a treble booster.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 21:06h, 10 February

      Yep we have it here somewhere – if you remember Kyle, that about the time I discovered that it was actually the SVDS. That was basically a box with the X10 inside :)

      • avatar
        KyleSG
        Posted at 21:19h, 10 February

        Ah ok was sure if anyone figured out that box or not lol but thanks for clearing that up :) Also check out my highway to hell 440 post if you have time fil as remember I said I would show the findings when I got the first press record.

  • avatar
    headwhop26
    Posted at 19:23h, 10 February

    Do we know what model Neve board they recorded on? It wasnt the 1073 or 1081, was it?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 21:08h, 10 February

      I don’t personally, but we have pics – I posted them on the U47 FET microphone post I made one month ago – so with those pics we can determine what they were exactly – much likely either 1073 or 1081 no doubt; also, we’re talking about mid to late 1970s so not too many options to take into consideration either! Great stuff for us debunkers! 😀

      • avatar
        headwhop26
        Posted at 21:55h, 10 February

        From just a little bit of research, it looks like Albert had an 8028 board installed that was loaded with 1084s.

        This looks like the same console, just with a few mods here and there.

        I guess they got rid of the Neve in the early ’80s… If only they had known how they would rise to mythical status! This shit cost more than a house back then.

        Here’s another photo from Albert’s Studio 1

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 14:47h, 11 February

          Jake edited your post to show the pics immediately and – good research bro :)

  • avatar
    Angusrocks
    Posted at 18:06h, 10 February

    ….and use shortest cables for everything !! 😉

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 14:48h, 11 February

      Yep but this was more in recent times Henning – I have a feeling that back then, whatever they had in the studio would do it. I am not even sure they already knew back then that short cables would keep more intact the qualities of the sound etc. It is entirely possible they already did of course, but I am sure that the short cable awareness thing came much later (and was mentioned in one of their most recent albums)

      • avatar
        currentpeak
        Posted at 21:31h, 11 February

        Actually, it was mentioned by Mike Fraser in an article about Black Ice recording 😉

      • avatar
        Angusrocks
        Posted at 12:42h, 14 February

        Ohh..ok 😉
        I made the experience that very short cables take some mids away what only the amp should do. The less influence the cable has the better you can handle the sound….i think.
        I often think about my cables. I like to have as less cables as possible. In my situation there is a cable from the guitar to the sender, from the receiver to the booster, from the booster to the amp, from the amp to the silencer, from the silencer into the cabinet.
        All in all 5 cables…ok..very short cables, but 5 cables ! Unfortunalety i do not know where i can spare a cable…don’t see a possibility.
        The biggest and worst influence for my sound was the 6m cable, but i solved this problem with a Sennheiser wireless plus i don’t fall anymore 😀
        Movement is very important to me 😉

        • avatar
          Angusrocks
          Posted at 12:43h, 14 February

          Sorry…that very L O N G cables take some mids away…

Post A Comment