NOW I’m starting to have fun.
This video is the second one of the “debunking” series with the Schaffer-Vega Diversity.
As with the previous one, “Back in Black”, I intend to cover quite a few songs with the exact same equipment they used back then, or the closest approximation I have available.
I used the Schaffer-Vega here only on the solo – which is my own thingnote – as I believe was on most albums since 1978 onward. I love the SVDS: did you know?
I used a vintage Neumann U47 (the original, tube version), similarly to the original recording, where one Neumann U47 FET was used on each cabinet. The Neumann U47 FET was a non-tube version released by Neumann when the tube for the first type of microphone had gone out of production and couldn’t be sourced anymore. The two microphones are NOT the same, they do sound slightly different, but this is all I have to try with, and I think it can be a fair approximation. By most, the U47 is considered the King of microphones, with the tube version being the most sought after (especially for vocals). The FET version has often been considered inferior, but for us, it is not a matter of which is better; it is a matter of which is more accurate.
In order to get the slightly “boxy” sound Angus has here, I put a plexiglass panel over the cabinet, acting similarly to a baffle panel, which is though an acoustic absorbent (the plexiglass panel is instead reflective). Additionally, I put the microphone in a weird position, off axis and off centre, to try and capture the sound as it was on the album. I don’t think it matches yet 100%, but it is a starting point. The interview with Mark Opitz – sound engineer for this album – states the U47 FET was at circa one inch distance from the grill for each song. I don’t believe this to be accurate. Just as an example, the sound of Angus’ on Down Payment Blues is clearly taken from afar. But it could have been a general rule – with its exception – for the whole album.
As I believe was true for the whole Powerage album, video was shot with a 1979 Marshall 2203 and a 4×12 G12M cabinet (G12Ms are pre-Rolas).
Settings on the amp were presence 0, bass 0, middle 4, treble 5, master 2 and pre-amp 7. I think Angus was in these whereabouts settings wise, too. Same settings used for the solo with the SVDS, however the Monitor output Clean-Boost of the SVDS receiver was at 10 ‘o clock, giving it a nice boost.
You can see clearly that the SVDS was not used on the rhythm part, I’m plugged straight into the amp high sensitivity channel – no X10 on strap. I wore the other strap with the X10 attached to it instead for the solo. This could/should reflect the band choice at the time, i.e., to play rhythm plugged in with cables, and Angus playing the solos from the control room via his Schaffer-Vega Diversity System for additional boost and comfort.
Mic positioning pic coming shortly.
Note: the reason for which I played my own solo here, was due to several factors:
– fun factor: this song, is one of the very few of the old “golden era” in which songs didn’t have a solo
– I really wanted to start capturing my own “Angus Young Flavor” solo type of sound/tone, using the Schaffer-Vega, not having to double the solo over the existing one and giving therefore a clear listen of how the Schaffer-Vega can sound. Here I tried to create a bit of the Powerage/Highway to Hell solos tone. I think the two are not too far apart, since likely the same instrumentation was used (Amps/Speakers likely). DIfferent microphones were used in the two albums though.