The main objective of this project is to capture the feel and live performance of Zed Leppelin performing Led Zeppelin songs with the tonal qualities of the original Led Zeppelin recordings. There has been a large amount of discussion between the band and the production team about the best way to achieve this. Before pen has been put to paper we have already made plans and have had to make reconsiderations due to unforeseen circumstances.
Our research has shown that Led Zeppelin recorded their early material in a large room with the band all playing together and then they overdubbed the vocals, any extra guitar parts, and guitar solos. Due to the fact that there are no large live rooms with wooden reflective surfaces and a high ceiling to give the instruments space and capture the room sound at SAE, we actually looked into the prospect of hiring out Tall Poppy studios overnight. They have a large live room and added benefits of separate booths for vocals and guitar amps. We put this forward to the band and they didn’t seem to go for it.
Our next idea was to use 2 live rooms at SAE so that we could set the drums up in one room and the bass and guitar up in the other. This could have been achieved using The Audient 8024 with a live room either side or by using the Neve and the live room next to it as well as the one underneath which has inputs into the Neve console. However, after much back and forth with the band we all locked in a date that everyone could make before Tri Three began and then proceeded to make our booking at an opening time, on the first day back! Unfortunately, we soon realised that classes had the live rooms we needed to be booked. It was quite complicated to organise another day that everyone could make, so we booked the Neve console for 12 hours with one live room and decided we would figure out a way to make that work for our purposes.
Jimmy Page Behind The Desk
There was a number of ways we could have approached this.
A - We could have recorded the band all live in the room together, using baffles, positioning, and levels to minimise bleed. In this scenario, we could still take a DI from the guitar and bass to re-amp those components later to add into the mix.
After much discussion between the production team and the band, we decided to go with option A. Based on the wise words of Jimmy Page
“You shouldn’t really have to use EQ in the studio if the instruments sound good. It should all be done with microphones and microphone placement. The instruments that bleed into each other are what create the ambience.“Once you start cleaning everything up, you lose it. You lose that sort of halo that bleeding creates. Then if you eliminate the halo, you have to go back and put in some artificial reverb, which is never as good.”
Lessons From Jimmy Page
The Plan is to record the energy of the band's live performance in the style of the original Led Zeppelin recordings. Why You Should Let Your Recordings Bleed
To achieve this we will record the drums in the Neve live room using the Glyn Jones Technique which requires 4 microphones. Kick in, Snare top, Overhead Right (drummer's perspective). We will record both the bass and guitar live in the same room but also take a DI. This will be done with the intention to re-amp the signal later Jimmy Page is well known for his ambient micing techniques on guitar amps and we want to experiment with this and add texture to our recording. Lessons From Jimmy Page.
Re-amping will allow us to get the tone we want through the amp itself, but more importantly through the microphones and through the desk. We will experiment with different amps, pedals, microphones and positions to achieve this, as the guitarist has quite an impressive collection
Once this is all set up and we have run the rhythm tracks through, we will plug the guitar in for overdubs and guitar solos. On the day we track guitar, we will also need to track theremin parts for the breakdown section in “whole lotta love.”
Our goal will be to match the tone to the reference tracks below.
Live Band Tracking,
Drums - Gretsch Catalina - Kick, Snare, 12 inch tom, 14 inch tom, 16 inch floor tom, ride cymbal, crash cymbals
Potential Issues: Ride cymbal is very loud and may make the balance difficult to achieve.
Contingency: Book cymbals as back up.
Re Amping Bass Guitar:
Bass - 1974 Fender Precision Amp Head - Mark Bass - Little NinjaCab - 4 X 10 inch
Re Amping Guitar & Overdubs:
Gibson Les Paul, 1960 with 500t and 498t pick ups. (Same pick ups as the 1990’s Jimmy Page Signature series Gibson Les Pauls)
Jimmy Page Signature Model Dan Electro DC 59
Double Neck Dan Electro (6 & 12 String)
A few Les Paul Studios
A few Fenders
JHS Thunderbolt Pedal (Replicates the original Supro Amp)
Caitlin Bread RAH (Replicates Hi Watts Amps)
Marvel Pedal (Replicates Marshalls of that era)
Echoplex Dunlop Pedal (Replicates the original Echoplex Delay Unit)
Cab - Custom Built
Will be run through the guitar amp with the same set up,
although we may experiment a bit.
For more information on this project check out the Project Plan.