How Perry and Tubby record?

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How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby iosumarti » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:02 am

I mean, what was the order, or the process they do?
I have read "People funny boy" and some other good info. about the recording process, but i have some doubts about.
For example: First Drum & Bass, after the rest of instruments, after vocals, no? But Perry, he has a 4 track tape, so he insert the effects while he record...
After record, how they dub them, if they have in an only or two tracks? Or Tubby, if he only has a 2 track, how he mixed the dubs?
Im speaking about the years 74-78...

Sorry for my english, im basque, and thats my first post.
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:19 am

Lee Perry recorded & mixed at other studios like Randy's in Kingston before he built his own Black Ark studio (1973/1974?)...

So when you hear all the Bob Marley / Lee Scratch Perry productions like 'Sun Is Shining' etc its not the sound of Black Ark but probably Randy's.

Lee Perry appears to have used a TEAC 4 track tape machine (not a 'professional' quality machine btw)..

At the Black Ark it was possible to record full band sessions, overdub & mix.

King Tubby - I don't know what he had in the early days but at some point in the 70's he bought some equipment from Dynamic Studios (?) like the pre-MCI desk etc... he appears to have been using an Ampex 4 track machine (professional unit) for a while.

King Tubby's studio was a back bedroom in his Mom's house where they used a bathroom/WC as voicing booth... therefore it was not possible to record full band sessions there though apparently sometimes things like horns, melodica got recorded there (and maybe even drums once, so I heard but who knows)... in any case KT studio: it was a bedroom studio literally so basically recording vocals & mixing only..... the musical tracks and probably sometimes vocals too got recorded elsewhere & the tapes brought to KT studio.

'4 track' is not all created equal (!)...there are big differences between pro & semi-pro machines when it comes to $, design, circuit path, tape heads, quality of components/motors, format/size of tape used etc etc..

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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:22 am

Lee Perry appears to have used FX like reverb/echo/phase on tracks as they were laid down sometimes

LSP / Black Ark - recording/mixing/voicing/voodoo audio science

King Tubby - mixing/voicing/music recorded at other studios/probably 4 track during most of the 70' heyday/genius


Hope this helps!
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:26 am

Here is about the only footage around of a dub being mixed at KT studio in the 70's - note 4 track machine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhDtlFmiS2U






Scientist @ King Tubby studio with 2 x 4 track machines:

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King Tubby w 8 track (!)

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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:19 pm

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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:26 pm

Randys 17 studio:


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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:37 pm

iosumarti wrote:
After record, how they dub them, if they have in an only or two tracks?


If you have a 2 track machine where you can record each channel separately its conceivable to record music live in one take to one track, vocals or whatever on the other track...

Some early reggae productions might have been done in this way & mixed out to mono, and in some cases (quite possibly mistakenly) you got releases where the music is one one channel / the vocals on the other, in stereo....

Anyway, if you had another tape machine handy you can see how it could be possible to mix dubs from a 2 track tape!

Obviously you would have no separation between instruments...

fwiw 3 track (!) was also an early studio recording format
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby iosumarti » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Thank you to everybody for your quick answers, if you don´t care, lets take the mithycal Lee Perry video, "Mr. music". You can see how they record drum & Bass, later (i think) all the rest of instruments (at the same time?, no?), and voices.

In this stepfirst , LSP would make "ping-pong" with drum & Bass and the rest of the riddim to the same track? I know he used to have two tape machines, so you can lay down in one of those. So you have the full riddim in one, maybe two (stereo) tracks. Later you continue overdubbing things, but i know that each step of overdubbing, you loose quality...

Sometimes I listen some 75-79 years song, wich the dub part is very different to the other, IMO thats means that you need to have "control" of diferent tracks to add FX there...

I don´t want to learn (by the moment) voodoo science, only im trying to understand.
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby MulatuAstatke » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:39 pm

iosumarti wrote:Thank you to everybody for your quick answers, if you don´t care, lets take the mithycal Lee Perry video, "Mr. music". You can see how they record drum & Bass, later (i think) all the rest of instruments (at the same time?, no?), and voices.

In this stepfirst , LSP would make "ping-pong" with drum & Bass and the rest of the riddim to the same track? I know he used to have two tape machines, so you can lay down in one of those. So you have the full riddim in one, maybe two (stereo) tracks. Later you continue overdubbing things, but i know that each step of overdubbing, you loose quality...

Sometimes I listen some 75-79 years song, wich the dub part is very different to the other, IMO thats means that you need to have "control" of diferent tracks to add FX there...

I don´t want to learn (by the moment) voodoo science, only im trying to understand.


Thnk lee perry in the Black Arc days had quite a large (maybe 16trk) soundcraft console and 4trak tape machine. He would often record the entire band live with the console. probably doing something like this:

4mics on drum sent to group which goes to 1 track on the tape machine
bass on another track
rest of instruments all recorded live together and sent to the 3rd track
then spare track for vocals.

alternatively he might have had bass and drums on one channel together. millions of combinations he could do depending on what he wanted to have more control on during the dub/mixing stage.

musicians were of a high grade then so recording everything live was entirely possible.

in terms of fx i think he often had at least one microphone on the drums recorded through a roland space echo or another reverb. would often have guitars etc. run straight through his mutron bi-phase (his classic phase sound) to the tape. so he would not have the choice later of getting rid of it. know that he did this at least sometimes as i can remember hearing a king tubby mix of an LSP tune that still had the phaser on it..

You can tell a lot of this just from listening to his dubs. and yea you do lose a bit of quality continually bouncing down, but it is still reasonable to do. and lee scratch's sound isn't (in the most part) hi-fi anyway...

one thing i would like to know is how he uses watty burnetts cow 'moo' sound so often. would he have a load of different 'moo's' recorded on tape and then play them onto a channel of the song he wanted? or everytime he wants a 'moo' would he get watty into the studio to record it again...?
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:22 pm

MulatuAstatke wrote:

one thing i would like to know is how he uses watty burnetts cow 'moo' sound so often. would he have a load of different 'moo's' recorded on tape and then play them onto a channel of the song he wanted? or everytime he wants a 'moo' would he get watty into the studio to record it again...?



The story is he recorded Watty doing the moo using the cardboard center roll from a toilet paper / WC / loo roll & thought it was hilarious, thus becoming a signature LSP Black Ark element.....

What makes the most sense to me is he must have had the sound (and perhaps multiple takes of Watty) on cassette tape or on 1/4 tape on another machine which he'd let run & have the 'moos' appear on the fly (as goes the studio terminology) in the mixdown.
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:28 pm

MulatuAstatke wrote:

Thnk lee perry in the Black Arc days had quite a large (maybe 16trk) soundcraft console and 4trak tape machine. He would often record the entire band live with the console. probably doing something like this:




If you look at LSP's Black Ark console its perfectly configured for 4 track recording - over on the right hand side you will see there's 4 subgroups (each strip under each of the four VU meters), so you assign any one or combination of the input channels to one of the subgroups & then run the subgroup to one of the 4 tape inputs...

If you were recording tracks to voice later, one logical approach might be
bass/drums/perc - ch 1
keys/guitar - ch 2
horns / other stuff - ch 3

and leave ch 4 free for later vocals

But as mentioned, there's a lot of possibilities...


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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby MulatuAstatke » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:33 pm

Chocolate Soldier wrote:
MulatuAstatke wrote:

Thnk lee perry in the Black Arc days had quite a large (maybe 16trk) soundcraft console and 4trak tape machine. He would often record the entire band live with the console. probably doing something like this:




If you look at LSP's Black Ark console its perfectly configured for 4 track recording - over on the right hand side you will see there's 4 subgroups (each strip under each of the four VU meters), so you assign any one or combination of the input channels to one of the subgroups & then run the subgroup to one of the 4 tape inputs...

If you were recording tracks to voice later, one logical approach might be
bass/drums/perc - ch 1
keys/guitar - ch 2
horns / other stuff - ch 3

and leave ch 4 free for later vocals

But as mentioned, there's a lot of possibilities...


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yea thats what i meant. well put!
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby iosumarti » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:42 pm

In the "Moo" case, I´m with Chocolate Solider that he would recorded it and used it later, but...
Knowing LSP, is funny to imagine the other possibility in the next hipotetical scene:

1977, Kingston, Jamaica. One man is sleeping in his bed. Ring! The phone calls.

-Yeah? (With an a asleeped voice)

-Yu Watty, Upsetter at the phone, came here KNOW! i need your cow voice!!!! Remember to come with the original cardboard!!
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby iosumarti » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:56 pm

Ok, im aproaching to understand how LSP can do it, but in KT case?

We have saied that he used to record most of the things, except voices and some other things in other studios, ok. But after that, when they take the tape, they have only the 4 tracks, no? Im speaking about the early Tubby times, 75-80 more or less... I know that they do real magic with not much, is amazing!
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Re: How Perry and Tubby record?

Postby Chocolate Soldier » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:11 pm

What you have to understand with Tubby's is that producers would have recorded the music somewhere else eg: Channel One Studio. Randy's, Dynamic Studios and brought the (4 track) tape to KT studio for voicing, mix, perhaps dubbing....

(King Tubby's studio was not set up both technically & with available space to record full band sessions! KT studio was a back bedroom in his mom's house + a WC/bathroom as voicing booth)

Probably the hourly rate was way cheaper at KT's than the big pro studios like Channel One so that would be appealing for producers looking to save $$.... also not to mention the sound was great & KT dubs were amazing.

But knowing how things run in JA you can be pretty much sure that the core original reason for recording somewhere else & then going to KT would have been economic - eg: a cheaper solution...

So, on a technical level the situation would be similar to Lee Perry eg: working from tapes with music submixed to 3-4 channels...

Those studios would have desks with subgroups where you could group your channels even during live recording to the tape channels eg:

1 - bass/drum
2 - keys/guit
3 - horns
4 - voodoo magic



Channel One studio - note 4 track machines! .... after the CH 1 moved to 16trk , they undoubtedly kept the 4 track machines and could have submixed / transferred to 4 track format to take to KT :

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