Deep Dive into the 60's Vibe

Deep Dive into the 60's Vibe

The ’60s Recording Challenge — Apollo Artist Sessions Vol. XII

In this video, Grammy-winning record producer/engineer Che Pope (Kanye West, The Weeknd, Christina Aguilera) and Preservation Hall Jazz Band leader/bass player Ben Jaffe discuss the process and techniques used to capture the Apollo Artist Session Vol. XII.

Watch as they detail how to find the perfect song to infuse with a ‘60s funk/soul vibe, as well as the challenges presented by recording a live band in a space built in the 1800s. Then learn about the recording and microphone techniques used in the ’60s and how Che used Apollo’s realtime plug-in processing to emulate an analog UA 610 console with Fairchild compressors on every track to create a finished sounding session that made an instant impression on the band.

Live Tracking

Exclusively using Apollo 8p and Apollo Twin Mk II Audio Interfaces, Che and engineer Eric Corson created a virtual Universal Audio 610 mixing board by running all of the mics through Apollo's Unison-enabled UA 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ plug-in. A Fairchild 660 compressor plug-in also resided on each channel along with the plug-ins. Top and bottom-end EQ on the 610-B was boosted slightly on the drums, and a top boost was added to the brass section. Only nine tracks were required to record the entire ensemble into Pro Tools.

Che leaned heavily on vintage mics that would be right at home on a classic ’60s funk/soul session: a single Coles 4038 on the drum kit; a Telefunken U-47 on the upright bass; a Telefunken U-48 on the Hammond B3; a Coles 4038 on the brass section (with a U47 for that section's vocals); an RCA 44BX on the reeds (with a U67 for their vocals); and an AKG C-24 stereo room mic which captured the tone, essence, and space of historic Preservation Hall, deep in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

The Mix

Inspired by the sound of Duke Ellington’s classic “Perdido,” Che kept plug-ins to a minimum on the final mix, relying on the Ampex ATR-102 Tape Recorder plug-in for vintage analog tape warmth and saturation. As for reverb, Che initially experimented with some plate reverb on individual tracks, but concluded that the room’s natural ambience was hard to beat. “We recorded right in Preservation Hall, which was built in the 1800’s,” says Che. “I mean, you can’t get more character than that.”

Hear the results and watch the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance in Part 1 of this series.

Bonus: behind the scenes photos from the session

— Ben Lindell