Five Simple Backing Tracks Attempts (UAD-2 Update!)

05 May Five Simple Backing Tracks Attempts (UAD-2 Update!)

Another Happy update.

I think I am almost there:
















I started using the Universal Audio Plugins and… another world.

The first thing I did was to replace the Sonnox Equalizer with the above SSL 4000 (it's four thousand, but WordPress consistently interprets four as five and five as eight!) EQ/Comp strip. Keep in mind that the SSL4000 (four thousand) had the SAME components of the MCI JH-500 (five hundred) series onto which Back in Black was recorded.

Since Platt’s signal chain was with the equalization in there, I put it in the chain in place of the Sonnox EQ. The result is, to my ears, night and day.

NOT saying that I am 100% there, but i am another notch up there.

Additionally, I used a Studer 800 Tape plugin (also pictured above) to simulate the effect of tape compression (very subtle).

I think that with this new Equalizer, I can finally nail with a lot more precision several tunes.

Fil 🙂


A rather happy update, after depressing days.

I *think* I am on the right, definitive path to it.

Gear: a new sound card with better definition, finally you can hear clearly all the frequencies.

The Sonnox Oxford Equalization Plugin curve in ProTools has changed dramatically, (well, I changed it dramatically). I’ve read over and over that Platt said “…it’s more what you take away than what you add, and I know what I don’t like to hear”. So I started again from scratch.

Two microphones used: I finally used the Mojave 200 (inspired by the Neumann U67) and an AT4047. I positioned them in the way (I think) that Platt did.

Without two microphones it’s impossible to nail it.

The settings for the 1959 Marshall head (I am sure it was a 1959 at least for rhythm) were: presence 0, bass 3, mid 3, treble 5, volume 5.

What’s changed slightly, – again after listening for days and days, hours and hours – was the Vega transmitter sensitivity, it is almost maxed out.

The reason for this is because I hear that ‘A’ string on Angus’ rhythm, bassy and strong. There is NO way to get it just with equalization itself, nor without the Vega. It’s really an incredible boost. Also, the compression helps to get the sound crashing onto itself.

RHYTHM ONLY (no solo played).

bib Vega New

P.S. I haven’t even started with all the new plugins from Universal Audio yet. As I will be getting hardware and plugins tomorrow, I really plan on nailing it 100%.

I have also abandoned that backing track. I realized that the drums and vocals were already equalized in a different way, and the original guitar sound would never match.

PS Just found this pic of me when I was 16 years old, that was 27 years ago. You can see me with an approximation of the guitar that I already loved the most, the SG. Here I had all we could afford at the time, a Yamaha SG200 (note the untrimmed strings!!!!! 😛 ) 🙂


Another update: I think I now understand how the Vega may have been used on Back in Black: maximum sensitivity on the TX, and “clean” settings on the amps.

The following was rhythm and solo (1959 and 1987 respectively) both on 4(!). This way, the sound is a lot cleaner and a LOT more responsive to touch. Amazing.

That would explain many of the sounds there, especially Angus’. The “Back in Black” solo, if you listen carefully, at times sounds almost fully clean. I have fought with that mystery for years. Only now the “light” came to me: why not try a clean amp setting and boost the heck out of the transmitter? It works. It explains even better “You Shook Me All night Long” and “Hells Bells”, where the sound is almost clean, really. Until he strikes a little harder. At the point, each time, the sound “crashes” onto itself. It’s magnificent. By using clean amp settings and boost the fuck out of the Vega (lol), you basically get the best of the two worlds in terms of compression, sensitivity, reaction to touch, TONE. I think I am almost there. The guitars should sound a lot more open (especially Angus’ parts). Less and less equalization is used. I almost only took out some bass and the highs.

I say again, the great thing is that as soon as you strike harder, the sound crashes onto itself, driving itself. It’s a terrific feeling to play such sound.

The tone is basically the same that comes out of the amp.

Still not there with the final sound of the song, despite loads of attempts. I also think that a Neumann U67 might be a lot better, as it captures better the mid freqs smoothing out highs. I had to literally cut all the highs here, they were too bright because probably of the U47.

BinB Vega Vocals CLEAN Amps



re-played the whole thing on another old backing track with vocals.

I think guitars sound slightly better because I put the microphone more far away (now at least 3 cms away from grill cloth) and slightly off axis. It’s till the tube Neumann U47. Just one microphone used, this one, for each guitar.

I definitely hear “more”. Also, the equalization for the guitars is nearly non existent this time: there is no raise of frequency on the 2k range. Impressive I would say. Maybe Platt didn’t really need to add much, and it makes sense. Equalization changes the sound unnaturally.

Not perfect, but still improving maybe?

If you think these are waste of time attempts, please think again: THESE attempts are what makes us progress understanding the sound deeper.

BinB U47 Vocals

PS: the solos are a bit weird sounding here. Used the 1987 for solos (just like below) but I feel I didn’t do a good job on the microphone position AND the playing. Will redo.



wanted to mess around with the “new” sounds and did this.

Far from resembling the original – I know – but boy, is it hard to be a sound engineer!

Fil 😉

Back In Black Backing Track

Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 09:10h, 07 May

    Yup, deffinetely a notch up.. If You wouldn’t already have a job I’d recommend You as a sound engineer to anyone who’d ask.

  • avatar
    Posted at 00:57h, 07 May

    Very Professional recording Fil!

    I must agree that this is probably one your best,if not your best recording attempt.

    Lovin’ the new gear 😀

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:54h, 06 May

    Yes, you’re almost there. Now it’s gettin’ really hard to find any differences. At least with my headphones I can’t find any. Especially there’s the same feeling as in the original: like the guys are sitting right here in your living room and rocking the house.
    Need to blast my monitors tomorrow to find out more 🙂
    Fil, that’s one of your best records ever, if not the best. You’re playing and recording on a damn high level.

    • avatar
      Posted at 23:11h, 06 May

      Thanks Franz 🙂
      There are still some differences, and I am trying to understand how they can be overcome. Especially on the G/D movement in chords, Angus and Malcolm both have a slightly different midrange than I. I wonder if that is speaker breakup related or not. This channel strip is the best equalizer I have ever heard in my life. This recording was made with the black (BLK) EQ set on, which is more recent. The BRN is the older type, closer to what Platt has used, so I must re-try with that. Some things are working, some “appointments” with the sound and its nuances are there, some other – very minor but still audible – are still not. For example, Angus’ tone is slightly more open, I closed it a bit too much here. The thing with Equalizers is that they are difficult to manner at first. They require a lot of experience, because if you just change one band parameters, the sound changes a lot, not only that band. The new frequencies – both if you took out and if you added – make you perceive different frequencies, in relative terms. So you change one thing and might happen to have to re-change everything. Right now it’s the most fun! It’s really promising, a terrific equalizer and in general, an incredible product (UAD-2).

      • avatar
        Posted at 23:30h, 06 May

        Yes, I’m actually studying your screenshot and try to understand what’s going on there.
        The headphones I use are indcutive, so I can receive the sound with full blast (actually about 104 db) on my hearing devices. But they lacks the lower mids and bass ranges a bit. So it seems that I’m just missing the differences you mention.
        Which is also funny because it documents how close you are.
        But if I remember correctly, Platt said something like “they dont play very loud”, so could there be any speaker breakup at all then?
        Yeah, when I look at the screenshot I got the impression that using it needs a lot of experience at all.

  • avatar
    Posted at 17:24h, 06 May

    Its almost there Fil. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I would just say a tad too much reverb. I always heard that those yamaha sg2000’s were great guitars, like a cross between a les Paul and sg.

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:03h, 06 May

    Using both mics really does make a difference. And with all that new gear, I feel like I can hear more (if not all) frequencies now.
    This kicks some major ass so stick to it. You’re almost there (as I say it again =D)

    • avatar
      Posted at 14:10h, 06 May

      I think it’s true, Dave. One mic is – while still off axis – closer to the speaker to grasp full frequencies. The other one, while not too far away to prevent out of phase effects, captures other frequencies (lots of bass) from another speaker “roughly pointing to it” (quoted from Mr. Platt). The two then get summed together (at different volume levels), mixed and equalized with just one curve. This is I *think* Platt did there. I think this sound is seriously starting to prove it.

  • avatar
    Posted at 11:16h, 06 May

    I clearly hear what you say with the open A string, I also love the G>G# bend on the sixth string. Good work 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 00:20h, 06 May

    I Give the new attempt 99% 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:33h, 05 May

    On the way home from the cinema now, will blast my speakers with the new tracks tomorrow, looking forward 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 20:52h, 05 May

    All i have to say about this latest attempt is that as I played along causally with my guitar unplugged, I forgot I wasnt listening to the studio track until the solo sounded like it was mixed quietly. Only then did I remember.

    I’d say that means you’re doing exactly what you need to, Fil 😀

    • avatar
      Posted at 20:54h, 05 May

      And I have to say that in that pic you look just like Rick Astley. Is that good or bad? You decide:


      • avatar
        Posted at 21:53h, 05 May

        Bad. Very bad!!! 😛

        • avatar
          Posted at 22:25h, 05 May

          Fil, nice pic 🙂 And even if you look like Rick Astley there a bit, we’ll never gonna give you up 😀

          • avatar
            Posted at 23:25h, 05 May

            My aunt had a crush on Rick Astley ALL through the 80’s my mother tells me, so its not a terrible thing, Fil

            • avatar
              Posted at 12:47h, 06 May

              Hehe, but beside this, it’s good when your parents support you. Fil’s mother did a great thing here.

              • avatar
                Posted at 14:12h, 06 May

                Wasn’t the mother. Was a school friend I am now making some business with, who is also a long time friend. He just sent me that pic yesterday. Mother and father were actually, ALWAYS against me playing music and tried to discourage me in all possible ways lol

                • avatar
                  Posted at 14:21h, 06 May

                  Ah ok, did remember that wrong then. Same story here, btw 🙂
                  Guitars, AC/DC and Computers were “baaad things”. Now see how this all ends, hehe 😀

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 17:19h, 06 May

                    Yeah, I might as well be into hard drugs with as much care as my dad shows for music 🙂 Mom still thinks photoshop is a waste of time.

                    I guess we’re all a bunch of rebels 😀

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 19:22h, 06 May

                      Tell your mom that a creative artist in an agency could earn about 3000 euros per month at least here in europe 🙂 I know this, used to be Head of IT in an agency for about 7 years 🙂

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 01:20h, 07 May

                      Ah, now I can tell her I have a friend on the inside who knows how I can get paid 3000 euros a month. If I move to Austria, would you give me a job, Franz? I do know some German!

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 01:34h, 07 May

                      Hehe, I would if I could 🙂 Even more, a creative director (team leader) could earn about 4 to 5000 euros plus several extras like a company paid car and such things.
                      I’m not working there anymore but all major agencies have branches in the states too. Look out for the big agencies like ogilvy and publicis, they hire almost everytime creative staff 🙂

    • avatar
      Posted at 21:54h, 05 May

      Thanks Jake. I think this is really the closest attempt yet.
      I think it’s almost perfect already as it is, but I’ll work on it to make it even more perfect. It’s my “treassssure” lol.
      Then I’ll document it with videos and then I’ll move on 😀

      • avatar
        Posted at 02:37h, 06 May

        Hahahahah….You say you’ll move on like it’ll actually happen 😉 I don’t think you will even if it is 100% 🙂

        This is one of the all time songs for tone and moving on ain’t in the cards bro….. 8)

        By the way… not great “attempt”….. but Great DID!!!!!

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:37h, 29 April

    Hey fil, I think they might of used a 70’s U87 on the guitar cabs, although a U67 is probably better and it’s the tube version of the U87 as you know.

    • avatar
      Posted at 16:25h, 29 April

      it’s documented: one U87 and one U67 per cabinet. Two mikes 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:20h, 28 April

    I don’t know where to post things like this since there’s no forum. But here it is anyway:
    Solodallas back in the days playing Jet – Rollover DJ… Cool stuff. Too bad the quality isn’t close to what his videos are today 😉

    • avatar
      Posted at 22:21h, 28 April
      • avatar
        Posted at 22:31h, 28 April

        Hahah… anywhere buddy. Maybe I should re-upload this stuff here? Same quality as there is on 5min. I’d actually take it from there. What do you think, want me to?

        • avatar
          Posted at 22:53h, 28 April

          Yeah, do so, thats cool stuff…yet with Indiana Jones at the end 😀 When did you do that?

          • avatar
            Posted at 23:22h, 28 April

            Indiana Jones at the end,lol

            Is it bad that I’m having a hard time telling if that’s a Photo-Shopped pic of Harrison Ford’s head on your body,or if it’s really you.

            (I had to look twice…I’m not sure….) XD

            • avatar
              Posted at 23:23h, 28 April

              Indiangus Jones!!!!!


  • avatar
    Posted at 21:22h, 27 April

    Sorry, the U47 version is my favorit !
    The sound of this version really kicks ass and has everything what Back In Black is about.

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:19h, 27 April

    Maybe You took out too much of the mids,just a tid bit too much, but the tone was absolutely there. Maybe You could try setting it to 4 and a half or somewhere between 4 and 4.5 instead of 4 but that’s just my opinion.

  • avatar
    Posted at 01:07h, 27 April

    Does the vega receiver output breaks up by itself? Or is it just driving the preamp?

  • avatar
    Posted at 23:33h, 26 April

    It’s amazing how far you’ve come with the solo tone. It’s close. The solo sound is just truly amazing on the album, it almost seems to me at times that he was using the neck pup.
    How much does it cost to rent out compass point studios? lol

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