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The (almost) Final Word On Back In Black? (UPDATE Shoot To Thrill)

20 Apr The (almost) Final Word On Back In Black? (UPDATE Shoot To Thrill)

Update: trying to grasp “Shoot To Thrill”.

Only an attempt, this one also is far from final. However, some reactions are already happening.

Angus seemed to have been “higher” on the guitar volume knob for this one, as he is evidently “boosting” the bass freqs more (you can hear it definitely even in the rhythm tone).

So on this 1971 SG Standard, volume knob was all time on 9 for both rhythm and solos (did only a single take).

Interesting Sonnox Equalizatioin curve as well. I had to take out some db on the five hundred hz to make it work better. It’s true as Mr. Platt said, there are various and slightly differences in tone between every song.

Naturally, even this one will get its own perfromance where I will try to nail 100% (well, the 100% of the real-life achievable results simulating certain things: remember I do not have an MCI console and its equalizers, no mic pres, no U67/U87, no Compass Point Studio room, no real speaker breakup volume: I am playing at .ess than a watt in power! There will be always differences in these attempts here. We’ll have to be content).

As for the amp, I tried a 50watts, my 1987 (modified by Bray).

Settings were identical to the ones used for Back in Black below.

So the rhythm is also the 1987, not the solos only (which was done for my own experimentation: how would the Vega work on a 50watters? Answer, well, just as “beautifully”!).

Cabinet is still the 4×12 with prerola G12Ms. My favorite.

Shoot To Thrill Vega 1987

_________________________________________________

 

 

Well,

this morning I went back to my usual thing, Back in Black (the song for now).

I wanted to re-try and capture it, but using what I have been using these last days, i.e., the REAR Vega output and its boost. You know there is two boosts: a front panel one (with a lot of hiss) and an incredibly quiet one on the rear.

In my opinion, this is what he used.

Here it is to you.

Amp settings are as basic as they can be:

– 1959 Marshall model (year 1976)

• Bass 8, mid 5, treble 5, volume 6(!)

• 1971 Gibson SG Standard, original t-top, rhythm 8, solo 10.

• Vega TX on 1.5 o’ clock; Vega RX REAR boost +20db, audio adjust (its amount) to full,

• just one mircophone (condenser AT4047)  used(!) flat on the 4×12 G12M PreRola Speaker

 

The ProTools EQUalization curve with the Sonnox plugin is the lightest I have ever used; basically, +4 db on the 2k frequency, and cut the highs to 15k (maybe less, but since the take was whole, i.e., rhthm and solo – and on the record it was separate takes and separate settings) I needed to balance.

Bass freqs cut at 20hz (i.e., curve “starts” at 20hz and goes up slowly till it meets the 500hz odb increase line). Maybe an image will do better.

However, not surprisingly, you have to now know that the sound is there even without Equalization; in fact, I believe that even the solo sounds just right even if played with a 50watters (I used a 100watt) as probably Angus did.

It’s just that amazing “texture” that is all there.

When you hear the solo, you will definitely hear the bass boost (well, a total boost) coming up. That’s the Vega kicking in fully at 10 on the guitar. When you go back to 8, you will lose some boost (and lots of bass). But the tone will be very balanced. It’s really that boost on 10 that will get you that incredible driven and fat sound on some solos on the whole Back in Black album. Un-achievable without the Vega.

I just “brushed” the strings. I am NOT hitting hard at all. Brushing. Even for the solos. This is because the Vega TX is very responsive, and the dynamics switcth very well. You get a lot by just brushing. AND it’s easier to play.

Have a listen.

 

With this, I am basically shutting down Back in Black (yeah right, will never do!) in terms of tone quest. I will re-do another video performance of it. And the solo tutorial.

Other Back in Black (album) songs will naturally be researched however, THIS is the basic texture.

Back In Black VEGA Final

avatar
Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri
sd@solodallas.com

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

131 Comments
  • avatar
    06AngusSG
    Posted at 22:58h, 18 April

    Kinda irrelevant to the tone thing but….I noticed on the pics of the rear panel that the Vega out is a XLR jack. Did this get changed to a 1/4″ jack or are you just using a 1/4″ to XLR cable?

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 23:07h, 18 April

      Not irrelevant Jon, and the reason why I hadn’t used the rear output in the first days. The real discovery about the true Vega tone came when I got the XLR -> 1/4 jack cable. The “rear” Vega output is in fact a completely different circuit (I learned) than the front boost. At first, I thought they were the same. But their schematics are very different, the rear being far more complex of a circuit. Also, it is the output that is fed by a strong power supply (the built in one) which is also coupled by an incredible attenuation of the hiss. Virtually, there is no hiss from the rear output, even with a +20db boost. Which is an incredible result, even considering how old this technology is. It was a real amazing product when it came out; nowadays, it still is – especially to us fans – considering its peculiar sounding characteristics and knowing that it did make the sound of one of the most successful rock bands of all times. For me, it’s the holy grail of rock. One of the holy grails of rock. It contains two fundamental components that are needed on Marshalls: a boost and a compressor, and both excellent ones.

      • avatar
        Ant
        Posted at 13:32h, 19 April

        lol Holy Grail! The Vega!!!

  • avatar
    nitroangus23
    Posted at 22:38h, 18 April

    Tone = Done

    ’nuff said.

    🙂

  • avatar
    cwildes
    Posted at 22:08h, 18 April

    congratulations my friend, it really sounds spot on this time. Any word on the stompbox you were having built with parts from the vega? I’d buy that in a second.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 22:20h, 18 April

      It’s being built. At this stage, Guido (tech) is reverse engineering the circuits that do make the sound. He’s drawn schematics (in process) of both TX and RX, and I think it will come along interesting. It will take some time though. I want to make sure it is a great product; otherwise, nothing 🙂

      • avatar
        Angusrocks
        Posted at 22:32h, 18 April

        but Fil, i must say, sometimes i wished i had a wireless system, my cabel is 6m long and i always fall about it ((-:

      • avatar
        SGACE
        Posted at 22:37h, 18 April

        is it going to be a wireless replica or the connections are going to be plugged with cables?

        • avatar
          Angusrocks
          Posted at 22:41h, 18 April

          it will be a sort of a stompbox, plugged with cables.

          • avatar
            SoloDallas
            Posted at 23:11h, 18 April

            Correct. The prototype will serve me – and hopefully I’ll do the first comparisons with you guys, here – to understand how much the FM component (well, the wireless one) influences the tone. If it does. It will contain a compander (compressor and expander) and the boost. It will be a stompbox, but a classy one. All black 😀 I want to make it super cool. But most of all, it will have to sound like “it”.

            • avatar
              Angusrocks
              Posted at 23:29h, 18 April

              sound like…Back In Black, that`s why it is in black, right ?

              • avatar
                Ant
                Posted at 13:36h, 19 April

                any ideas on names 😛 how about Back in Vega 🙂 or Holy Grail 😀

                • avatar
                  R.O.C.K.E.R
                  Posted at 13:57h, 19 April

                  Holy Grail does exist. It’s a good a Reverb. ‘Back in Vega’ is freaking good! B.I.V.!!

                  • avatar
                    SoloDallas
                    Posted at 14:02h, 19 April

                    I love the “Back In Vega” name, in fact. It’s what I had in mind. But as you know, I do NOT have secrets.
                    I think the way I’d love it to go is, to make a poll here for the desired product name. The most voted wins.

                    Huh?

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 14:06h, 19 April

                      Solo Vega

                    • avatar
                      rpatzelt
                      Posted at 15:06h, 19 April

                      Ha, ha kind minded: some posts ago my proposal as a joke was “SoloVegas” 🙂 http://www.solodallas.net/let-there-be-vegas-the-quest-formally-begins/

                    • avatar
                      SoloDallas
                      Posted at 15:11h, 19 April

                      I like that name too, but I am always afraid of the “ego” thing. The “solo” as in solodallas, would mean me. And I am always afraid that someone may think that I have rock stars ambitions. One of the most beautiful thing that AC/DC teach us is, no egos, simplicity 🙂 Will see 😉

                    • avatar
                      rpatzelt
                      Posted at 15:16h, 19 April

                      I agree Fil 🙂 It was a joke back then. I think the name should point on AC/DC or Angus somehow…like a tribute.

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 15:20h, 19 April

                      Nah, solo dallas became a brand name for this specific site so it is more than an avatar name, so tribute to the site yes ,thats why Solo Vega…

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 15:24h, 19 April

                      And I would like to say that I really like the Back in Vega but it gives a wrong direction that with this device you achieve only BNB sound and thats it, something that it is not.. this device is for a general use to produce AC/DC sounds from a wide timeframe…

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 15:24h, 19 April

                      Well, a bit of “ego thing” is fine for me. I mean, you did the research, spent a lot of time and money, so it’s just fair if it has your name or part of your name in it. That doesn’t mean you have any rock star amition at all.
                      What about something like “Fil’s Angusbox” or “Black Vega”?

                    • avatar
                      rpatzelt
                      Posted at 15:32h, 19 April

                      …hmm…Black Vega sounds pretty cool 🙂 it seems that the item comes from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…hmm (Yoda mumbling…)

                    • avatar
                      ar2619Rob
                      Posted at 15:50h, 19 April

                      I kinda like ‘Solo Vega’ and don’t see anything egotistical about it, after all we wouldn’t be having it without Fil’s efforts and finance. I also like ‘Bad Boy Boostie’, ‘Overdose Overdrive’ or even the ‘War Machine’ lol. 🙂

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 15:52h, 19 April

                      Yeah, that’s what I also meant 🙂
                      And I like the “Boostie”, hehe

                    • avatar
                      rjofig
                      Posted at 16:08h, 19 April

                      Bad Boy Boostie, heh, nice one, Rob 🙂
                      I like Solo Vega and Black Vega, but I wonder if there are copyright implications in using the Vega name?
                      I think it’s perfectly ok to use Solo in the name – Fil: it’s not egotistical when many of us say it’s cool 🙂
                      Or you can brand it with the site, like “SoloDallas.net Numero Uno” would get people waiting to see what’s next 🙂

                    • avatar
                      Ant
                      Posted at 18:04h, 19 April

                      IV GOT IT!!!!

                      Han Vega!!! 😀

                    • avatar
                      Ant
                      Posted at 18:30h, 19 April

                      Few names i could think of 😛

                      “Vega names”
                      Vega Box
                      Vega MII

                      “Solodallas names”
                      Fil’o Box
                      Fil in a Box
                      Studio58a Box
                      Fil in a Box “lol”
                      Vegatrooper

                      “ACDC names”
                      Back in Vega
                      Vega in Black 😛
                      Whole lotta Vega
                      VagAngus
                      Thunder box
                      VCGC

                      jsut ones that poped in my head lol

                    • avatar
                      headwhop26
                      Posted at 20:24h, 19 April

                      awwww Black Vega sounds SICK. Sounds like the name of some deadly snake or something you would only find in the most exotic locations around the world.

                      But the Bad Boy Boostie makes me chuckle

  • avatar
    Tyler
    Posted at 17:26h, 18 April

    Fil, the sound is definatley there, congratulations! I would agree with GoingDownOnTheWay on the fact that it is hard to hear those high notes in the cords on the original recording.

  • avatar
    GoingDownOnTheWay
    Posted at 17:20h, 18 April

    Fil, damn close. And that non-master volume 1959 sounds way better for the rhythm. Still think that there is a way to ‘improve’ the result.

    Am I allowed to illustrate my observations?

    To me, there seems to be a little bit too much high-mids/treble, especially in the D and A chords. In your last tutorial you mentioned the high E string been played. As much as I concentrate on that I am not able to hear these notes. There is something in the reverb. Maybe he plays that note only on the first hit. It is just that it is too present on this take. Same for the strumming at the end of the chorus.

    All in all, some of your results represent my dream tone more than the original recordings. If it wasn’t for the 100% accuracy part I’d say ‘do not change anything’.

    Many apologies for my rash thoughts!

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 18:16h, 18 April

      Apologies??? For what? Not needed 🙂
      You are actually right, that is what I meant above there in the text “maybe less, but since the take was whole, i.e., rhthm and solo – and on the record it was separate takes and separate settings” meaning in fact, that I should cut back a bit (less was intended as – badly expressed – less high freqs) high freqs. Definitely too much. But when I did that before posting it, the solo was too dark. That is why I had to compromise for this take. Let’s say that I was interested more into the general texture. When I hear certain things – certain “appointments”, we could call them – with the tone and guitar reaction, I know we’re there. Exact equalization isn’t there here. Just one microphone used, etc.
      Now those details – those little nuances that make you though nod your head when you know it’s exact – are what I meant to get in the “video performance”. There is when I like to nail it (well, to try to 😛 ). For the high E note, that may be entirely possible that is, only played at times. The G strumming at the end of the chorus, that is there. You can also hear it in almost original form on the 1981 Back in Black live version, the best one ever made. You know what I mean?

      • avatar
        Angusrocks
        Posted at 18:23h, 18 April

        ……everybody hears different..

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 18:40h, 18 April

          Oh sure, that has to taken into consideration as well. And the stereo system one listens to, a lot of variables 🙂

          • avatar
            Angusrocks
            Posted at 19:40h, 18 April

            yes, that is like it is.
            Tone is found, that`s the most important thing (-:

            • avatar
              Aaron
              Posted at 20:27h, 18 April

              In my opinion he is there. At this point mr platt would take over and make it identical.

              Another thing to think about though is that we do not go in with unbiased ears. WE KNOW this is Fil.

              If Fil somehow slipped a mastered version onto our mp3 players I think a lot of us would notice less.

              • avatar
                SoloDallas
                Posted at 20:38h, 18 April

                Haha. Flattering one. That will be my next move then… 😛

                • avatar
                  banane
                  Posted at 20:43h, 18 April

                  Lol…”…coming to an mp3 player near you”
                  Well, ok, already working on the virus code for remote hacking all mp3 players 🙂

              • avatar
                Angusrocks
                Posted at 21:54h, 18 April

                you are right Aaron with that point of unbiased ears and yes, i`m sure i wouldn`t noticed that, because he sounds so similar to Angus, unbelievable.

                • avatar
                  Ant
                  Posted at 13:41h, 19 April

                  lol looks like Harrison Ford and plays like Angus Young i dont think you could get any more random!!! ^^

  • avatar
    rpatzelt
    Posted at 17:06h, 18 April

    Done! Creamy, yet harsh in the rhythm but cutting highs in the solo. 99.99% – the rest comes from Mr. Platt 🙂

  • avatar
    06AngusSG
    Posted at 16:49h, 18 April

    I could replace the original recording on my MP3 player with this and be totally satisfied!!!! 8)

    Awesome Tone, Awesome Playing!!!!!! 😛

  • avatar
    headwhop26
    Posted at 16:42h, 18 April

    Im going to listen to this over and over and over.

    I think you have everything just about right. Any more and you would be over-doing it. I did hear a few notes jump out a tad, and that could be a wee bit of compression, but for all intents and purposes, you have it.

    Onward and Upward!

  • avatar
    Andrea Sg
    Posted at 16:11h, 18 April

    fil i think that you’re a using a lot of boost ,but in the solo the sound it’s great you can’t do better than this!! in my opinion this setup it’s perfect for the solo …. for the rythmic i hear a lot of boost, perhaps should be a little bit soft 😉

  • avatar
    Aaron
    Posted at 15:06h, 18 April

    Simply brilliant. You definitely have the tone down here, I think that since the tone now seems to be coming more “easy” is a sign that you have the right combination of gear. I feel privileged to be here from the very beginning with you Fil!

  • avatar
    bhock4
    Posted at 14:55h, 18 April

    PHIL YOU CAN DEF CEEP DANCING YOUVE GOT IT GOT IT NO DOUGHT ABOUT IT 😀 now u have to make and sell though’s wireles’s

  • avatar
    ar2619Rob
    Posted at 14:44h, 18 April

    The fact that you are not having to ‘doctor’ it up with eq is conclusive proof for me that the quest is complete. It concurs with all that’s been documented of Angus, just guitar>vega>JMP>greenbacks and also a heavy pick and a light touch. Still, after all the previous efforts, you must have gained so much knowledge that will be of use in other ways in the future. Nothing that you want so bad comes easy eh?
    Time to enjoy the success and make some videos of the ‘vega years’ then.
    As we know you can play a bit (lol), I nearly forgot to say EXCELLENTLY played aswell as great tone, timing and touch.

  • avatar
    Dave4433
    Posted at 13:35h, 18 April

    The tone is IT, but my ears are missing some compression. Maybe it’s due to the fact that BiB was recorded on tape, which used used to compress the hell out of everything back then. I might be wrong, ofc.

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 14:29h, 18 April

      Much possible. I haven’t added any compression this time, but there was compression in the mastering (not on the recording). I think it was a Fairchild compressor. The only compression you hear (and there is some directly in the playing though, which is different) is from the Vega.

  • avatar
    SGACE
    Posted at 13:31h, 18 April

    This is very good Fil, maybe it needed a bit more gain in the solos..
    which cab did you use? Did you use the attenuator?
    Again I believe that it is all there, only small changes in the settings will nail it in the ridiculous 100%…

    • avatar
      SoloDallas
      Posted at 14:31h, 18 April

      I don’t think so George. This time I think – as far as gain – it’s there. Only, the solo was equalized differently (it’s slightly brighter and slightly less bassy) therefore, the perception may be different. I did try several combinations and this really is the most regular one. Anything is possible, for example, a 50watts head for the solo might just add that additional gain perception you say; and this I’ll have to try, too. But I’ll do it in a video 😉

      • avatar
        SGACE
        Posted at 14:36h, 18 April

        Maybe you right about it maybe I have to go home listen to it more carefully, as I asked, which cab did you use?

        • avatar
          SoloDallas
          Posted at 14:38h, 18 April

          Or maybe you are right and a 50watts head will be different? Believe or not, I haven’t tried the Vega on any 50watts yet! Cab: the 1969 slanted G12M PreRola. It is my favorite. I did record with the microphone on the non slanted part, on the bottom

          • avatar
            SGACE
            Posted at 14:40h, 18 April

            If I remember well you also have a cab with blackback 25’s??

            • avatar
              SoloDallas
              Posted at 14:52h, 18 April

              True, I do, but that cabinet is in storage again. The cabinet is a new one, and I never fully liked how it sounded, even with vintage speakers. I know that the older cabinets had different wood, and I think it concurs.

              • avatar
                SGACE
                Posted at 15:08h, 18 April

                Do you mean that the cab is new and the speakers inside are the old ones? even so I would give it a try, dont forget the photos with Angus and Mal in the rehearshal room with Brian .. Black weave grill in their cabs means that the age of the cabs would not be earlier than 1975 and the speakers inside there is a very big chance to be blackbacs and less to be creambacks

                • avatar
                  SoloDallas
                  Posted at 15:21h, 18 April

                  Yes, if you remember I had swapped the reissue G12 inside that cab with blackbacks. HA. Had no idea it could be as you describe. And George, what are the chances of G1265?

                  • avatar
                    SGACE
                    Posted at 15:41h, 18 April

                    hehehe, to be honest huge.. in my tiny room i have a 2×12 with g12 65 and 4×12 g12h30 blackbacks.. I like them both, but g12 65 have something that make me very comfortable soundwise, … even though after all this journey that is closing to an end (sound chasing wise) we have learned that everything is possible. For me they used all kind of speakers if the song was cut with nice.. so yes g12 65 are in the equation.. one of the very first photos that we checked with the x patern of g12 65 with 25’s or 30’s is the evidence that they certainly used them..

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 15:50h, 18 April

                      To be more correct of the timeline if they used (that I am sure that they did) g12m25’s or g12h30’s there were blackbacks with cone codes 1777 (lead) and 444 (bass) and g12 65 with 1777 (lead cones)

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 15:52h, 18 April

                      the pulsonic cones that you have, have stopped be produced at the end of 1973 after that there are the creambacks with 1777/444 cones and after that are blackbacks

                    • avatar
                      LeroyKincaid
                      Posted at 04:43h, 19 April

                      Can I butt in for a sec?

                      I’m very curious about the VH1 promo they did in 1996. Finally it seems I’ve found a speaker expert.

                      I have the entire video and the Malcolm sound in it is probably the best tone I’ve ever heard. Obviously the amp is his main early 70’s Super Bass but I just have no idea about the speakers.

                      He seems to be really driving his head, but the speakers stay unbelievably clean and warm. It just looks like a run-of-the-mill Marshall cab from the 80’s or 90’s.

                      Any ideas SGACE?

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 09:11h, 19 April

                      Ok, I checked a few videos, take a look on this one,

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qjH_6VQWLQ&feature=related

                      at 3:33, when the light is on, look at Malcolms cabinets, they have black grill cloth, in the right hand cab, on the bottom left side there is a badge that shines…
                      marshall started using badges with the JCM series and even now they using them.. SO my guess is that he was using for this show ( 1996 period) a vintage badge cabinet with 4 x vintage 30 speakers
                      60watt each..

                    • avatar
                      LeroyKincaid
                      Posted at 11:29h, 20 April

                      Ah, thanks very much. I figured they would have been a high wattage speaker going by how clean he is.

                      Do they sound like Vintage 30’s to your ears though? Could they be 75’s?

                    • avatar
                      SGACE
                      Posted at 11:44h, 20 April

                      no.. of course you will never know, but I really doubt about it.. 75’s are too harsh for their sound..

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 15:53h, 18 April

                      Lol, you’re really a living AC/DC gear encyclopaedia 😉

                    • avatar
                      Ant
                      Posted at 13:46h, 19 April

                      lol he is, its a great team we have here

                      Fil – master and player
                      Banane – Web admin and overall tech guy 😛
                      SGACE – ACDC Gear Encyclopaedian
                      us- listeners ^^

                    • avatar
                      banane
                      Posted at 13:59h, 19 April

                      Yeah, and Headwhop as the graphics designer. Second best band in the world 😀

  • avatar
    jonassweden1
    Posted at 13:26h, 18 April

    Sure that was not the original recording…?
    Lol 😉

    Really happy for you Fil that you feel you’ve found it, you have spent a lot of effort in re-creating this tone…..Congratulations!
    Great also to pass it all on to the people at solodallas.net

    My hat’s off!

    .-) Cheers Jonas

  • avatar
    Ant
    Posted at 13:16h, 18 April

    Yep its the tone! 🙂

    Its official your a legend :D, im gald i was here to see/hear the achievment

    Salute!
    Ant

  • avatar
    TheBrowling
    Posted at 12:48h, 18 April

    I really feel happy for you Fil, so much work, so many years, but you’ve made it, so congratulations!

  • avatar
    banane
    Posted at 12:42h, 18 April

    HA! I’ve always thought that Angus doesn’t beat his strings 🙂
    And yes, I give 100% too here. Amazing, Fil!

  • avatar
    Chris
    Posted at 12:39h, 18 April

    Well Fil, I think you got it 😉 .
    Just amazing how it sounds like.
    Great job 🙂

  • avatar
    Angusrocks
    Posted at 12:35h, 18 April

    yes, i agree, this is the totally original Back In Black sound. Finally !! And thank you very much Fil (-:

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