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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:17 pm 
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Dear Steve,

Inspired by your 1990 sonic masterpiece (easily my most-listened-to album of the last 25 years, thank you!) I've focused considerable time and money over the last few years to try to better understand the guitar tones as they sound on that album (I've built my own "mini mothership" based on your gear list for the album, pictured below). While I've made some promising progress towards my goal, I feel like I'm failing to fully understand how best to put all of this gear together and I think only you (or Pascal) can help at this point. I would very much appreciate any details you could recall about the remarkable engineering on PAW.

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1) How did you make the guitars so loud in the mix, particularly on The Animal? You hint at this motivation in your inspiring 25th anniversary video "trying to make the guitar solo longer and louder" and it sounds to me like The Animal is slightly different than the rest of the album. Do you recall what you changed on The Animal and your general approach to EQ/compression for lead guitars on PAW? It sounds like the guitar amp is as loud as a nuke going off with incredible energy from 400Hz-2khz without ever sounding honky or boxy, sounding powerfully squeezed through compressors.

2) It sounds like a very loud 480L Ambience verb on the guitars, yet the guitars remain in your face close up in the mix. Was this EQ or ducking or pre delay?

3) What can you recall about the use of Urei and Neve compressors, their order, their settings? There is a wonderful warm and unique attack to the lead guitars (esp. Liberty) that I'm guessing is partly a function of your picking and possibly 1176s or LA3As or tape compression, but I haven't been able to replicate. Can you recall:
a) which of 1176 Rev H silverface, LA-2A, LA-3A, 33609 were used on guitars on PAW? (I base these guesses on later images of The Mothership)
b) If you used 1176s, do you remember what settings, all button mode? Before/after 2A/3A?
c) Was the 33609 used on the mix bus or on individual guitar tracks? Limit or compress?
d) If 2A/3As were used, do you remember if they were on compress or limit mode?
e) Were you hitting tape particuarly hard to achieve a desired compression or saturation? Were all tracks at 30ips on 456 or just the final master?
f) Did you use parallel compression on the guitars?
g) Did you track with compression?

4) In the Expo Sevilla 1992 performance of FTLOG it looks like the neck pickups are set really low - or is that just an illusion because they have black on the sides and the middle pickup doesn't?
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5) What about the JCM900 together with a series 9000 marshall power amp did you like better than just the JCM? It looks like Dual Reverb JCM900s in the Expo Sevilla performance. Was that also the JCM900 you used in the studio or also the mkIII? Was the marshall power amp specifically the 9005?

6) I haven't added a Yamaha Graphic EQ or the massenburg GML 8200 to my mini mothership yet. The mention of the graphic EQ is intriguing: do you recall how it was used on guitars?

7) The lead tones for most of PAW, especially the Riddle, sound to me like mostly a 421 on the cone of a G12M25 greenback. There is a distinct fingerprint consistent over all of the isolated guitar tones on PAW that isn't shared by your release of Lovely Elixir---it doesn't have the same cliff at 5100Hz that the rest of the album has, suggesting that you choose a different mix of mics/cabinets for that song. Can you comment at all on that?

Hugely appreciate any details you might be willing to share. Thank you!


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Oh, I see now, on a few sections in Erotic Nightmares I see the same spectra as the lead guitar on Lovely Elixir, which I assume is a 4x12 Vintage 30 cabinet, which is quite different from the 8th bar of the Riddle, that looks much more like a 421 on the cone of a G12M25. Can you confirm?

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And if I do a 50/50 blend of those two cabinet impulses, it seems to match the Erotic Nightmares Intro and FTLOG, etc:

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Did you compress both cabinets in parallel with different settings? Is that why you had dual 1176s and LA3As?

Thank again!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Jumped the gun there on assuming Vintage 30. Looks more like 30W G12Hs on Lovely Elixir, as you mention in the gear list.

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