Where is Fil?

04 May Where is Fil?

Legit question. I disappeared. Not that you should care, but if you wondered… sick children and… Back in Black.


I’ve been stuck into re-playing/re-recording Back in Black.

It’s my obsession, but it is also more rational than simply being something I do for me: I did say it back then, and I’ll say it now more than ever: I want to nail every main AC/DC record tone down to the bone as much as possible and document it, step by step, with video, pictures (microphone positions by the inch; settings of any kind, … ) and text. This I feel is a mission I love to be in and also, in modern times, something that there is need of even for the future (documenting the classics).

It’s been days that I wanted to nail the tone 100%. Not simply “close” “yeah… almost there…” but really 100% (well, 99% will do).

I want to do one last try. I tried almost every possible combination of what I have here (in terms of, mics, position, loudness, settings, … ).

I know, the room, the mics, the outboard (console, preamps, … ). A lot of things I still don’t have (and will likely never have).


Bought a new soundcard, better than before (better mic pre’s), it’s a FireFace fourhundred:

Bought a Universal Audio professional additional DSP power box with a load of Emulation Plug ins, Studer A800 2 inch tape emulator (an emulation of an ACTUAL one that I used to have at Studio58a!).

Plus a few new microphones, including a real Neumann U67 (used extensively in Back in Black for the guitars) and some more things.

The new sound card alone brought me inches higher. I expect the UAD-2 to take me 99% there.

It includes real consoles (SSls and Neves), pre’s and compressors emulations of the super fantastic gear that was used back then, not only in Back in Black, but on countless other records including more stuff from AC/DC.

While for Back in Black MCI gear was used (an MCI Jh-500 series board and a JH-24 tape machine) the emulated SSL4000 in this bundle had the same exact components as the MCI Jh-500 series. Its equalization, mic pre’s and compressors will help me further nail “that” tone. The Studer tape emulation serves to expand further by emulating the “qualities” of tape saturation and Β sound separation.

Looks like this (Universal Audio UAD-2)


It’s really cool stuff. An emulation is not the real thing, but gets me closer to it and better than using nothing to revive a digital signal.

Will keep you updated πŸ™‚



Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 14:37h, 11 May

    Fil, how does your new interface work with ProTools? As far as I know ProTools works only with AVID or Digidesign hardware.

    • avatar
      Posted at 14:46h, 11 May

      Nope, it USED to work only with Avid hardware before version 9.0. Version 9.0 made a quantum leap: ProTools now works with ANY interface (that has some specifics that I’d call standard). So it works wonderfully. ALl the hardware I have now, the FireFace 400 and the UAD-2 work wonderfully. I had no whatsoever issue for installation, working with it, …
      Wonderful really.

  • avatar
    Posted at 16:22h, 05 May

    hope your kids are doing better, great audio tool by the way. Just a little bit over my budged, or more a bit over of what I as a rookie would want to spent on it πŸ˜€
    There is a strange recording trend in here, everyone wants to record himself, I’ll stick to getting the stuff right before trying to record it πŸ˜‰

    • avatar
      Posted at 16:30h, 05 May

      Good point, but on the other side, it’s good to have feedback from the real pro’s. And it’s good to learn also from others failures. You know, I’m not the best player here, but if they didn’t laugh at me, they won’t laugh at you πŸ™‚

      • avatar
        Posted at 17:50h, 05 May

        Yeah, to me, it’s also nice to get some feedback and encouragement – I don’t have a teacher and physical feedback, virtual is helpful πŸ™‚

        Actually, to me the process of recording gets you to learn new things – if you want to get the best possible take, you try hard and you can see where you go wrong and learn from it.

        And it can be an interesting record of how one’s playing advances over time, which may encourage other beginners to pick up an instrument.

        Just my 2 cents. Cheers!

      • avatar
        Posted at 12:06h, 06 May

        well I usually get a drumstick in the back if I play wrong, and given the fact that the room is quite small I only have 2 meters to dodge it πŸ˜€ so I’m getting a very “instant” feedback. What I more wanted to say, recording is about sound. But sound comes after rhythm. Ive seen and heard quite good attempts and quite bads so far. They make me really think, “dont worry about your guitar so much, dont worry about your amp, get your chrods right and make em sound tight”.
        Fil’s content here is, if you like it or not, an expert content. Recording is about the last step of someones guitar practise, Fil IS at a point where hes got everything straight, he really needs good recordings to get on . That was my point, I find this blogs really interesting but to me, professional recording is a bit out of sight.
        And you don’t need a professional recording to let someone know that you can play a song …

        • avatar
          Posted at 12:32h, 06 May

          Just hit back with your guitar then πŸ˜€
          Yeah, well, some guys, including me, are cultivating their gear addiction syndrome more than their playing, that’s true.

          But just like you said, it’s good to get feedback. Either by a drumstick in your back or by other people here on the site watching your video, hear your recording and telling you what’s wrong.

          Yes, Fil’s recordings are expert content. But you surely know that sentence about “standing on the shoulders of giants” πŸ™‚

          Doing a “show-off” recording won’t make sense for a beginner, but using recordings to let yourself and other people watch and hear what’s right and wrong is just a modern improvement of learning to play, I think.

          And well, only watching perfect players is also a bit boring. I want to see beginners like me too πŸ™‚

        • avatar
          Posted at 13:27h, 06 May

          Yes, this one risk: to get too much into things that can be followed but a very small percentage of people. Probably, that already happened, especially in these last times where I have been caught up with the Vega and its details, plus just one or two songs as opposed to many.
          While I know this very well, this is just temporary. It’s a “Phase” I am into, which is though extremely necessary. The sound we hear on records is the by product of recording techniques as well as the tone that comes straight from the guitar and amp. This being done all on the net (as opposed to live playing in front of you) has to go thorough a recording process on my part. It’s been years that I have been doing this, some of you know it, and you have seen me use everything and anything: from a laptop’s internal microphone to a vintage U47. I have come to the point where in order to represent faithfully tone and sounds, I have to be able to present it to you folks out there with a correct process or simulation of it. This is very intense right now on my part, but I say again, it’s only temporary. It’s taken a lot of effort on this side because I had to learn quickly many more things that would be more on the sound engineer side of things. Still, I fee that a guitar player who really is serious – or that will get serious about his sound – must need the very basic things of recording. In times of extreme media communication, learning how to record themselves is important. So what I will do is, not only play and show the parts but also, talk about recording in depth. There is nothing scientific to the point of being scientists in need of degrees. It’s difficult, but it is especially to the ones that lack knowledge like myself. I will try to make it easier once I learned more of it πŸ™‚

          • avatar
            Posted at 13:53h, 06 May

            Thats true.
            The need for being able to do proper recordings just begins when you want to review your playing, either by recording just your sound or by recording a full video. The record has to reflect the tone of your playing.

            Plus: remember the folks in that “How to sound like Angus” video. They didn’t sound like Angus, so they didn’t prove that they have the knowledge to debunk that tone, to say “See, that’s how it was done”.
            After you have proved it, nobody can say “Oh well, who knows if he really sounds like the original”. Because you just can point him to a video or an mp3.

            On the other side, problem is that nobody can follow your way for now, unless the Black Vega is available πŸ™‚ But as we know, it will only take some months (was it two or three?) till it’s ready. And then everyone with a good tube amp can start his own tone search, I believe.

            So, now it’s a good time for one to improve his recording knowledge in the meantime πŸ™‚

            • avatar
              Posted at 14:04h, 06 May

              And thanks for introducing this subject Franz: a part of the truth here is that I intend of become “THE” reference point worldwide for AC/DC tone. AC/DC are not the first Rock and Roll band in the world, at least sales-wise. I want to make this blog a professional blog and eventually, earn money out of this. The only way to do it is prove the things I say and find out. Only this way I will be able to produce videos and video-documentaries with “sound” proofs where the sound, the playing and the process will be really informative AND entertaining. I am trying to make a profession out of this. I think there is room for this kind of professional role here and now: someone – like me – who can be authoritative on the subject, while informational and entertaining regarding a musical genre that is and is bound to be a “classic” genre in decades to come just like classical music is: Rock and Roll.
              Rock and Roll not only is here to stay, but it will gain further interest in years to come when much of the knowledge of how things were done back then will be fully lost, as the people that made it are too old or even dead. I intend to be a library of information – and with solid, “sound” proof of it – for this. All of this – in time – may also mean money. And I like the idea, once I was able to assure superb quality of content here. It will take time, but I ain’t rushing. We “have” time. Learning takes time. It actually takes a lifetime! πŸ˜‰

              • avatar
                Posted at 16:16h, 06 May

                Fil, I think if the goal is to turn the site into a professional one, it’s the right approach to carve your niche (classic rock tone) and go as deep as you can in it, that’s how you differentiate – even if you reach only a small percentage of people, there’s lots of people in the world πŸ™‚
                As basically a beginner with basic gear, I admit lots of the in-depth stuff that gets discussed here (amp, cab, mic, pickup, nuances) still go way over my head – but, I know when the time comes for me to explore these, this is *the* place I will refer to as an authoritative reference. Not just because of content you publish, but also because there’s many others pitching in, there’s lots of videos, audio clips, etc.

                • avatar
                  Posted at 23:08h, 06 May

                  Spot on Renato ! Hear you 100%. Most of the tech stuff is way above my level but these gold nuggets are strewn all over this site, patiently waiting for the time when those who need info, advice, help, encouragement stroll back down to the mine and come up to fresh air with a grin like Fils (http://www.solodallas.net/wp-content/gallery/schaffer-vega/e18g4047.jpg).
                  Fil and Franz are right making a point of quality in the process of recording all that is done here for posterity. 30 years from now our kids or grandchildren are gonna be as hooked as we are and they are gonna want good hard solid clear facts, well presented to be able to carry on rockin’. I mean look how easy it is to pick up Fils licks, finger positions because of the quality of his recording, how much easier it is to give an honest opinion on a members cover ‘cos you can really hear what he’s playing etc etc. Hell! I can even equalize my tone today because of this place. It’s a gold mine I tell ya!
                  I’ve just watched your vids you uploaded Renato (I’m trying to get “Rock’n’Roll singer” down), and I’m pretty sure that the heaps of progress that you’ve made and are making, are down to the fact that this whole place is slowly seeping into you, a sort of background inspiration, and that you record yourself. Gives you something to work for, makes you listen, feedback from the peers.
                  I’m off to grow my hair a little more and put and end to my parents wishes that I’d become a doctor or worse

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 23:14h, 06 May

                    Frank, is it me or you write incredibly well?
                    There hasn’t been a single comment of yours that hasn’t hooked me from the first to the last word. You always emanate some good energy. It’s good to have you here πŸ™‚

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 23:41h, 06 May

                      No, he’s in fact a fantastic writer πŸ™‚

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 23:56h, 06 May

                      Ooooh that felt nice. Two people who I’ve never met have just dropped something warm and sweet into my head and heart

                    • avatar
                      Posted at 00:05h, 07 May

                      Thanks for your lyric comments then, I’m always trying to keep some of your expressions in mind to polish up my english πŸ™‚

                  • avatar
                    Posted at 01:10h, 07 May

                    Spot on back at you, Frank πŸ™‚

    • avatar
      Posted at 19:58h, 05 May

      I think a lot of the small recordings here (including mine) are done for a multi-purpose thing. To hear oneself, in my case, helps you to hear little or big mistakes or technique problems and correct them. Also it’s a good tool for finding out through others what the infinitely many choices in gear out there can sound like, helping to narrow down a decision before a purchase. I didn’t want to record myself in the beginning unless it was perfect either but now I find it has helped improve my skill level to record even the crappiest attempt. πŸ˜›

  • avatar
    Posted at 08:59h, 05 May

    I knew it, I knew it! You’re cooking something, huh? πŸ™‚

  • avatar
    Posted at 04:03h, 05 May

    Can’t wait to blast your new recording Fil, have fun with all your new equipment πŸ™‚

  • avatar
    Posted at 03:16h, 05 May

    Oh boy,

    Fil has a new arsenal to attack out ears with πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait to hear these baby’s in action πŸ˜€

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:51h, 04 May

    There’s me thinking you were off on some Star Wars re-union, what with it being ‘May the 4th be with you’!

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:29h, 04 May

    Or.. you went to a black-ops mission in Pakistan and cannot tell us? πŸ™‚
    Hope your kids are feeling better, Fil

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:15h, 04 May

    This post makes me feel better. I was afraid I was missing a lot because Ive been so absorbed in school, but now I know youve been working too. Two more tests and im on vacation, maybe I will have a nice vacation present to listen to when I finish my last test πŸ˜€

    • avatar
      Posted at 22:22h, 04 May

      Hehe, easter holidays were just over here this week. Got a nice suprise from my stepdaughter today: she won 2 tickets for the Austria premiere of the “Life at River Plate” DVD in a cinema tomorrow πŸ™‚

      • avatar
        Posted at 23:57h, 04 May

        Awesome score.. I can’t find any place in New York City that is going to premier that dvd in a theater.. Its going to look great on a big screen.. KIRK

        • avatar
          Posted at 06:54h, 05 May

          Yeah, will be cool to watch it on a big screen. Hopefully they play it loud enough πŸ˜€

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:07h, 04 May

    Big news, Fil. Can totally understand you πŸ™‚ Had to work today but just went away for trying out the Vega. Well, a lot of new things to try out, have fun πŸ™‚ Looking forward for the first recordings then…will be better than my attempts from today πŸ™‚

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