02 Feb Now a GREAT example of an Old Times “AC/DC Microphone” Would Be… a Neumann U47 FET (Audio Update)
Minor update (2 audio files) please scroll to the bottom to hear a Wizard Modern Classic/The Schaffer Replica® GT combo recorded with this Neumann U47 FET!
Oh yes. It is my theory in fact that most (if not all) of early (up to 1977, including “Let There Be Rock”) AC/DC studio album recordings were mostly recorded – guitars and Bon’s vocals – with Neumann U47 FET (NOT the tube versions!). And maybe – just maybe – even bass drum with it (the Neumann U47 FET is also famous for that).
For the technically curious: Neumann U47 FET
I just got my own unit. I am not sure yet of its date of manufacturing (they were made from ’69 to the early 1980s), just got this yesterday.
This is an extremely expensive microphone, and a rarity too (especially in this near mint conditions). So given the times – where I already have spent quite much for the development of our beloved Schaffer Replicas™ – I traded this for my original, 1950s Neumann U47 tube version, that was specifically used on vocals, and that I had saved from my Studio58a times but was mostly useless for me.
Microphones for me are for recording guitars mostly, and the Neumann U47 FET was used countless times for guitar recording in the past.
But Bon used to love it for vocals too, matter of fact, many early AC/DC recordings were made with such a microphone for Bon, too!
I think these microphones were liked pretty much at Albert Studios in those times; and since Neumann U47 tube versions had been discontinued a few years back (due to the lack of the tube not being manufactured anymore) these were the thing “to go to” at the time. To give you an example of a guitar recorded with these, “Powerage” was entirely recorded with Neumann
U47 FETs on guitars. Just one microphone per cabinet, as reported here. Sounds pretty good huh. Also, very much likely in the past – just with the use of different amps/cabinets, earlier albums were recorded with Neumann U47 FETs. I have a feeling that probably most of AC/DC early albums were recorded with these mikes, and of course – just like in the past years, here at solodallas.com – I will try and prove my theory, putting my money where my mouth is. Keep in mind that – another example – the Glasgow live concerts “If You Want Blood”, were all recorded with Neumann U47 FETs (still, as reported in the link above).
In fact, 2014 will be no different than before (which I hope will please you all): I will be digging and digging until we have the formula written down, right here at solodallas.com
Will leave you with a couple of original pictures of the Album studios during the 1970s. If you ever had a doubt about what recording (and maybe even mixing) consoles were used back then for AC/DC recording, you can now be sure: it was Neve consoles. Is this useful info, Fil? Oh yes. You bet it is. You know all these plugins that are coming out and will keep coming out in future years, that tend to emulate that sound? Get one, even the great and not too expensive WAVE ones. Will help pretty much get that sound down.
And a bit of Albert Studios history of those times right here.
From 1973 through to 1986, Albert Studio 1 was one of the major recording studios in Australia. Originally known as Studio 139, Studio 1 was “the” rock and roll recording studio in Sydney, with the likes of AC/DC, The Angels, Rose Tattoo, John Paul Young and many other famous Alberts artists recording there. The first job done in this studio was the mixing of The Ted Mulry Gang’s album “Here We Are” featuring the hit single “Jump in My Car”. In addition to being used for in-house Albert artists, this sought after studio was used by outside rock and roll bands such as Cold Chisel and for country music albums and jingles. Initially Bruce Brown, studio manager and producer, also worked in this studio. As time went by and Alberts built more studios, this studio became used almost exclusively for in-house work only. It was the home of Vanda and Young, who in addition to producing most of the in-house artists that recorded there, recorded their own legendary Flash and the Pan albums in this studio.
The walls and ceiling of the control room were black. The recording area was a large relatively live room with moveable curtains. Mirror tiles on the walls near the drum area made for a bright drum sound. One wall of this room was covered in the graffiti of many famous artists who recorded there. A second smaller room housed a Yamaha grand piano (SoloDallas note: see Bon Scott above singing in front of such Yamaha piano)
I just started using this microphone yesterday recording a couple of random things, I already love it massively.
No processing, just reverb added to it. Microphone 2 cm away from a G12M speaker, played with my Wizard Modern Classic in the CLEAN channel maxed out (volume 10) and the TSR also maxed out.
This is the result. The first file has a reissue 2006 Gibson SG Standard “1964 reissue” , repainted black tuned lower. Then comes a 1967 Gibson SG Standard repainted in dark cherry, unknown pickup (could be a t-top or pat number sticker).
File 2 starts with the same 1967 SG Standard as above, then proceeds with 1974 Gibson SG Standard, all original, stock.
MixermanPosted at 09:36h, 25 March
I got two of the Soundelux iFet7. A/B tested them with the original FET47, an the iFet sounded….the same. This was a blind-test together with other engineers who use the original mic. We blind tested two FET47 and Two iFet7, and the result was random
Rocker76Posted at 18:00h, 09 January
I was hoping you could tell me what recording techniques you use to play over Angus’ channel when you do the ACDC covers, and what equipment you use to do it. I ask because I would like to do the same thing, but I am not sure what equipment I would need to pull it off. How do I make an mp3 recording of, say, me on guitars and bass and, say, Phil Rudd and Bon Scott on drums and vocals respectively?
Many thanks in advance,
SoloDallasPosted at 07:10h, 02 February
Hi Rocker, sorry for the late reply (seen this only now). I will cover thoroughly what I do and how I do it, because it took me time and because I am finally having it down nicely – I really am starting to like the sound of my takes after years of attempts. Please stay tuned, it will all be laid out here.
Rocker76Posted at 15:48h, 03 February
Thanks for your response. I look forward to finding out more about how you do what you do!
AngusRudd1019Posted at 05:40h, 06 January
I would die to get my hands on a Neumann
dash8311Posted at 18:37h, 05 January
AntPosted at 02:36h, 05 January
Whaaaa Glasgow u47s!! Damit i got it all wrong again lol
Chris MoinyPosted at 19:58h, 04 January
Great stuff you’re sharing again here mate ! A few more items on my list for when I’m older an got so much more money 😆 !
MaxPosted at 19:44h, 04 January
matirockerPosted at 19:32h, 04 January
Great post. I didn’t know Vanda & Young used this mic so much with the boys, it’s actually pretty awesome and shows how simple they did things.
Also, I didn’t know the had a Neve console… that explains a lot! haha, have you seen Sound City? A documentary Dave Grohl made about the Neve console they had in that studio, it’s great.
SoloDallasPosted at 19:39h, 04 January
Yes, I knew of Sound City. I have been knowing about Neve consoles (pre amps, compressors etc.) for quite a while. It just confirms how much AC/DC like Neves. Keep in mind that even to this day, they ARE recording (tracking) on Neves. Bryan Adam’s studio has one for tracking, and they used it multiple times. The sound of Rock.
matirockerPosted at 19:53h, 04 January
Black Ice sounds so digitalized (right word?) that maybe they used the Neve board just as a go-through between the signals and Pro Tools, who knows…. They definitly got the most out of them in the early days.
The sound of Rock indeed.
SoloDallasPosted at 20:02h, 04 January
no it’s been published how Black Ice was made. It was ALL recorded on tape, tracked on Neve direct – SM57s and… MD421s! Just like Highway To Hell. Then it was mixed on an SSL. It was edited on ProTools, but just after it had been tracked.
SoloDallasPosted at 20:04h, 04 January
read all about the recording of Black Ice here:
matirockerPosted at 22:09h, 04 January
Wow, that is a total shock for me. I’ve always considered Black Ice their digital album instead of analog like the rest. And holy crap 57s and 421s? Really? Holy hell, how do they do it, how do they do it!!!!
Thanks for the article!!
currentpeakPosted at 05:32h, 05 January
Funny thing is, that Back in Black was recorded on MCI console and Tony Platt mentioned it was regarded as being below-average. That just proves, that gear is not that crucial.
currentpeakPosted at 19:49h, 05 January
“Later still AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, “For Those About To Rock” and many Queen, Led Zeppelin, and other rock albums were recorded on the Harrison-designed MCI consoles. Other famous artists that used MCI branded equipment included Roy Orbison, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk.”
currentpeakPosted at 19:59h, 05 January
It was NOT Tony Platt’s comment.
“It’s somewhat ironic because the desk that was in that studio at Compass Point at that particular time was an MCI, and it is looked on today as one of the lesser of the period desks,” says Terry Manning. “But it didn’t seem to matter, did it?”
Source: ‘The Youngs’ book by Jesse Fink
SoloDallasPosted at 21:15h, 05 January
Nice, nice, nice & nice. Loved your additions.
currentpeakPosted at 01:04h, 06 January
Some info about mixing of FTATR album:
I am not that sure about MCI being used for recording of FTATR. All sources mention it was recorded with Mobile One which should be The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. And that mobile studio had Helios console built into a truck.
More info here:
P.S.: FTATR album is never mentioned in ‘Recorded on The Rolling Stones Mobile’, unlike Deep Purple’s Machine Head etc.
currentpeakPosted at 15:17h, 06 January
Look at that pic at the bottom – it should be the same MCI JH-500 Series Console as used for recording of Back in Black.
MaxPosted at 19:28h, 04 January
best FET mic out there IMO
SoloDallasPosted at 19:29h, 04 January
HEY. After 25 years… I still listen to what YOU told me back then. Kind of delayed comprehension? 😆