Rock: well recorded bass...60s/70s

whatz up with bass on most rock recordings? is it that hard to get a decent bass sound? must most bass sounds are either a)muddy or b)razor thin...however the bass I found on Santana Abraxas is outstanding though...very dimensional...with a reach out and touch quality...any other recordings that might have this quality?
The Who live at leeds
Rush A Farewell to the Kings
Yes Often Chris Squire Bass stands out
Some of the Joni Mitchell Hejira with Jaco playing
Abraxas is good. Try Ogden's Nut (Small Faces), some early Procol Harum, any Beatles and, of course, the first 3 Lindisfarne records.
I have thousands of original pressings from the 60's and 70's and couldn't disagree with you more.

Check your alignment and loading.
second lindisfarne...add fairport convention, the yardbirds, the byrds.
I am shocked by how much better the bass is on vinyl than on any discs, including SACD's that I have ever listened to. I especially noticed it on Led Zeppelin recordings. The boxed set CD version of Ramble On campared to the almost 40 yr old vinyl version (or even better the new Mothership version) has so much more bass impact. Taught with a ton of force.

Same thing with newer recordings, there is much better bass on the vinyl versions.
I agree with Audiofeil. There must be something wrong with your set up. You dont say what you have, but maybe you are not completely phase corrected!


I see you use Maggie 3.6r, so bass information should not a problem for you.

There is a world of happiness awaiting you if you have not modified the 3.6r xover/wiring and fuse in them from stock. See MUG. Although doing these mods will blow your mind, surely you have a set up issue too as you have a very capable speaker regardless?
Most newly recorded CDs are ruined by the compression and the "loudness wars". Modern remasters suffer compared to the original discs.

Macdadtexas, for Zep on CD you need to try the original mastering by Barry Diament, made in Japan for the US market (or the Japanese or West German disks from the same vintage).

On CD, the David Lanois song "The Maker" by Emmylou Harris on "Spyboy" (1998). Terrific bass and drumming at the end of this song.

There is a super-low synthesizer on "Dig" by Boz Scaggs (2001), which is a very well recorded CD and will shake the house.

Back to Jaco and Joni - "Cotton Avenue" on Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. Asylum 38XD-953 from Japan.

Well folks...i over did it to make a point...but the point still stands...Zep and Stones...although the music is stellar...the bass is truly atrocious...flabby,slow,and murkier than a river bottom...Floyd and Eagles bass is quite good...well...maybe its time to listen to more jazz! ALways a good idea for decent bass!
>>but the point still stands<<

Indeed it does.

Check your alignment and loading.

There is nothing wrong with the software.

Please stop by and I'll prove it to you.

Good luck in correcting the problem(s).
what recording are you speaking about, with no bass or lack there of?
Warren Zevon (first three albums)
James Taylor (first two)
The Faces
James Brown (like Sex Machine)
Al Green
Dusty Springfield
Pink Floyd (especially Dark Side)
The Clash (London Calling)
ok well i cant speak of any of those BUT I can tell you that as for The Faces i cant get any bass from the cd let alone the LP. Even in my car with 2 10's subbed-out very low with a decent amount of gain and still no bass.

I do agree that some recordings have better bass "capture" meaning in the recording process. memay disagree but recording bass and capturing bass correctly is very difficult for alot of recording engineers. there are very few who get it right. Most of the time the bass guitar is recorded directly into the mixing console which makes it sound very thin. and even eq'ing it still doesnt get it right.

Very few have been able to capture bass in a room correctly. at least in the 60 and 70's but again there are plenty of recordings to use for reference on vinyl.

Even in the 80's bass was lack there if in the rock world.

get the new metallica "black album" reissue, absolutely insane controlled bass which has alot to do with the capturing and original recording process.

Must be your copy. I must have "hot wax" because my vintage Faces albums sound great. As a rule, all Glynn John produced albums have very good bass reproduction. It was the way he miced the room using overhead placement. Look at his work with The Who's Who's Next, the debut Eagles album and the Rolling Stone's Sticky Fingers--all have landmark bass tracks. His "A Wink is as Good as a Nod" by the Faces sounds terrific on my stereo.

PS: Rhino re-released almost their entire output on a 4 CD box set four years ago. They went in and remastered quite a bit of the source material. It is not as dynamic a source as compared to the original vinyl I have but is cleanly mastered. I use ATC speakers which are very precise and the bass on both vinyl and CD sounds great when played loud on my system.
Agree with Bongofury.

I have original pressings of every album he mentions and all are wonderful.

Generally speaking too many people are blaming the software when they should be looking more closely at their systems and room acoustics.
Bonogofury as mentioned I do not have any of those titles on LP so i can make a comparison, what i said was in regards to the a cd. oh and the Faces CD does sound great but again CD.

Audiofeil what software was used in the 60's and 70's?
>>Audiofeil what software was used in the 60's and 70's?<<

Audiofeil why would one record sound very nice and the next not so very nice? Talking about two different records of course.

There can be a great deal of sonic differences between albums in the 60s and 70s. It can be due to the press run (some were in the millions), the amount of time spent in the album press (45 seconds produces an even surface), the quality of the stamper used (master tape or second generation plate), and the type of vinyl used (there were over 13 kinds of pellets used). There are numerous sites on the internet that track, grade and score albums by their quality based on serial numbers and first versus later pressings. I can reference Tom Port at Better Records who has made a living around this.

So the point is if someone has a copy of an early Stones record and as more and more are pressed the quality could degrade?

If so maybe that's why the original poster has the issues he has maybe?

I am just asking because i bought the first "America" album on reissue a few weeks ago and yes it sounds good but supposedly America back in the day tried to make great sounding albums and i don't think this is a great sounding album, BUT 95% of my collection sounds very very good across the audio spectrum.

If a TT is set up wrong wouldn't everything sound wrong?

Just trying to figure out why some people say oh this record sounds great mean while when i try it, it doesnt sound good at all to me, could there also be a matter of opinion about all this.

Peoples first thought is setup but i think there are just as many poorly produced records out there and what one might think is great someone else could think is poor.

Am I making sense? at all!

You are making sense.

First, you could go to a second hand store and buy 30 copies of the same title, say by the Stones. You could find original issues on both side of the Atlantic, later issues (look for bar coded covers) and current reissues. All are being put out to the buying public as the real deal sonically. You will actually find that that some are "dead" sounding, some lack high end, some lack bass, some are "smeared sounding" in the vocals, and in the rare cases, some approximate "master tape" sound. The variation is in the manufacturing process. Many labels were hampered by poor quality control--their policy was to have the consumer simply return and exchange these at the point of purchase. The flucuations were due to heat and humidity in the plant on a given day, the press run, and the actual stampers used. Remember, vinyl was molded into place.

Some albums suffer from the source material. For example, all Stones albums from the US and Japan used 2nd Generation "stampers" while the master stampers were in the UK at the time. If you have the right system, you can hear subtle differences. The record labels did not do a very good job at maintaining control of the master tapes. Why many CDs sound terrible, is that the original material was lost and the transfer was made off of "back up" copies. I have been in the Live Music space for 30 years and I hear this complaint constantly from the veteran bands. That may be why your America album as a reissue sounds bad.

I agree that usually sound is more impacted by the dynamics of the room, and not the content. Speaker placement and sound enhancing room treatments can easily address and improve sonic performance in the tens of percentage gain. Also, properly alligning your tone arm and needle, making sure you have stable cabling between components. I use active speakers, which are internally amped, so I have less inefficiencies due to cabling. You may want to look at companies like ATC and Bryston who make simple, bomb proof gear.
PS: I sometimes laugh at vinyl purists versus digital. It was an imperfect medium at best. When you do stumble on the rare records that are quiet and have master tape sound, they are pure magic. But you will have to shoot-out a lot of dead wax to get at the gems. I find that LA and Seattle has an insane number of stores containing well-priced vintage vinyl that you can do this against. Figure $60 for 30 records; you will find a few of the great ones. Better use of money, versus $60 buying two heavy vinyl reissues. Estate and garage sales are even better to buy whole collections of old stuff.
I'm done buying any older recorded CDs (i.e. 60's, 70's, even 80's) unless they're in HDCD or SACD format or they've been digitally remastered to 24 bit. They just sound awful, little bass, terrible soundstage, etc. My personal goal is to now replace my existing CD collection that fall into that "older recorded" CD category. I've already started and donate my older CDs to the local library. Example: I recentl purchased Jackson Browne "Late for the Sky" digitally remastered. I had the older CD. I played both CDs side by side and the difference is night and day. I immediately donated the older CD. I'm waiting for the day when the record companies wake up and start remastering the earlier Beatles albums, Van Morrison, CCR, etc. Have any of you heard the Beatles "Love" CD? Those cuts were remastered and they sound substantially better. The bass is fabulous.
Pdn be careful there are people on here that will argue with you about this, like maybe a speaker isn't placed right, or there is a curtain hanging a little too low on the right side of the room or your cd player isn't leveled.

ME I agree with you 110%

I too am replacing some older cd's and its funny you mention jackson browne "saturate before using" would be great re-mastered.

Thanks for the warning but that's OK. Arguments are welcomed. That's what the forum is about. Getting both points of view. I know many folks strongly prefer vinyl over digital. Another area where many an argument can be made. It's just a matter of personal choice and preference.

Bring on the HDCD's, SACD's, Surround Sound DVD concerts, etc. Enjoy !!
PDN And Goldenear

Wait til you hear the new 10 disc Neil Young in Blu Ray. Better quality digital sound is coming.
Bongofury and PDN,


There will be no more digital medium meaning all digital music will be stored, purchased and transmitted over fiber and never having to insert anything again, weather cd, blue ray, sacd, hdcd or ZZZVVGG (made up ).


Dropping a needle and play!, Long Live Analog

Although watching a nice Concert on DVD or Blueray on a sweet two channel set up is awesome.

It’s strange they never tried to improve analog like they do digital I guess the room for improvement wasn’t there as compared to digital.

I am a fan of both formats, although I am not a big IPOD guy even though I have one its nice not to have my cd collection all over my car  but your bit rate I my opinion should be no less than 256. I sacrifice space.

Anyone agree or disagree, or another point of view is welcome.
looks like i have a few supporters on my side! Buy hey...this is a highly subjective hobbie...agree with Goldenear...mixing bass straight into board bad idea...never been too sold on Glyn johns bass find too loose and ill-defined
>>12-05-08: Phasecorrect
looks like i have a few supporters on my side<<

Please list them.
thanks to all that responded...happy afraid im 2 used 2 audiophile bass from this era(fleetwood mac,queen,rush)...
Humble Pie- "Smokin". Just listened to the CD. This has killer bass...
Hi The goldenear,
I would agree that the medium for music will change. Who can be bothered with manufacturing CDs, transporting them etc.

I am not sure you can say "It’s strange they never tried to improve analog like they do digital I guess the room for improvement wasn’t there as compared to digital."

They tried to improve tape many times. All sorts of noise reduction and compounds for the tape itself. Lets not forget multihead tape machines,dolby A/B/C/SR/DBX . As for the humble TT they are still fooling around with arms and motors.

Digital is still reasonably young in its development. I think it has come a long way in 25 years or so. Terrible to very good, and probably better than analogue.

Best to leave the audiophile world with all its fog of misinformation and inexperienced opinions and look at cameras or computers to see the level of obvious change. The decoding of the 0s and 1s has become an art. Some people swear by importing an original CD into their computer and then reburn it for better sound on their Hifi.

Every year digital equipment gets more and more refined and cheaper. While CD is in its final throws, listen to a top of the range player from 6 or 7 years ago and compare it to a new more modest priced player (using good equipment!). night and day.
Chadeffect what about 8track, yes talking about "tape" agreed YES many different "upgrades" were tried. the biggest bonus I believe was that you could record and tapes take up less space, gee kinda like digital.

How about tossing in Stackridge "Pinafore Days" and "Extravaganza".

Also Camel "Moonmadness", Caravan "Waterloo Lily", and McCartney "Band On the Run".

Also "Bridge Of Sighs" Robin Trower and a lot of early Savoy Brown and Ten Years After.
12-04-08: Pdn writes:
I'm done buying any older recorded CDs (i.e. 60's, 70's, even 80's) unless they're in HDCD or SACD format or they've been digitally remastered to 24 bit.
I'm exactly the opposite. I've been buying the original releases of CDs (typically made in Japan or West Germany) of a number of artists that I have all the remasters of (Roxy Music, Eno, Dire Straits, Springsteen, Steely Dan, post-ABKO Stones) and I much prefer the sound on those "first pressings".

After the initial releases there were a lot of poor versions either badly made or badly mastered, and those are not what I collect - those are often easily beaten by a "modern remaster".

But most remasters compress the signal and crank up the volume (louder is better, right?) and the originals are much sweeter and have more dynamics. The CD players of today are significantly better than machines of 20 years ago, but the discs aren't.

The goldenear,

I had forgotten about the humble 8 track. I have not even seen a tape in a very long time let alone an 8 track.

A friend of mine told me the other day that his 8 year old son went to see his brother and came back and said "wow uncle richard has these amazing big black CDs"!

I suddenly felt old...

YES its classic kids have no clue about Vinyl. LOL

I grew up on vinyl with my dad and obviously we all hopped on the band wagon with cd's.

happy holidays.

and to be honest i never heard an 8 track before. Am I missing anything?

no idea about the 8 track. I never heard one either! They were slightly before my time, though my dad had one or was it a 4 track?

A very merry christmas to you.
>>no idea about the 8 track. I never heard one either<<

Be thankful.

Rest with ease that you missed nothing with 8-track.
Haha, I will be thankful.

I wont look through the listings for one then.

I do remember the old 8 track studio recorders with 1 inch and I think 2 inch reels. I seem to remember they were not so bad.

A friend of mine bought a Nakamichi dragon the other day. Anyone remember it? I was wondering about giving it a listen, but thought better of it, I had some socks that needed washing and some paint I needed to watch dry!
Not quite rock, but I'm listening to "Mix Up" by Patriok O'Hearn.

Whenever I do, it seems to always re-establish itself as a benchmark recording in my collection not only for bass, but mind blowing sound overall.

Oh and its from the 90's, but its just such a dam good recording that I just wanted to mention it in this thread anyway.
"Hesitation Blues" - Hot Tuna
I would look back and question the technology that existed for actually tracking bass in the 60-70's.

First, the bass guitar itself was just barely becoming its own instrument at the time. The bass was being developed from a stand up hollow-body instruument to a horizontally held solid-body. There was probably much speculation on the appropriate scale of the neck, the wind of the strings, the materials, not to mention was technology would go into the pickups or what type of amp-speaker cab would be usable.

On top of that running bass direct, combinded with stage amps as we know it today didnt exist then. Players sought out reliable stadium level equipment. Not to say they didnt do a damn good job, but todays bass equipment has 60+ years of science and passion in it...they had 20 tops.

Then go to the studio -- now your tracking an instrument that is relatively new. What speaker cabs and mics are best? What mic distance and angle provides the best results. etc, etc.

All of this new technology was done magnificently well for how young it was. I'm not suprised in anyway that bass recordings are lacking from that time range compared to other periods and genres.

Really like your addition to the thread. Bass reproduction from a playback and recording perspective was in its earliest stages. With that said,there were some great producers who knew how to record the bass. Ken Scott and Glynn Johns come to mind.
Any thing done by Supertramp.
>>I'm not suprised in anyway that bass recordings are lacking from that time range<<

Well that is simply wrong.

And I have thousands of albums to prove it.

Perhaps your system needs some work.
Electric bass was around for a good bit by the late 60s/70s.

Bass overall was recorded as well back then as later as a whole I think.

The difference is there were few recordings labeled "audiophile" or explicitly being marketed to audiophiles back then.

There were innovations that extended range and such on bass guitars in the 70s according to WikiPedia.

But is still plenty of good bass on older recordings. You do need a good record playback system or good CD remasters on a good system to fully appreciate it though.
Band On the Run - Paul McCartney and Wings

Awesome predominant bass throughout by McCartney.
This whole topic is a doubled edge sword. I believe that the only point in music history where bass lacked in recordings was in the 80's and for some dumb reason that was on purpose.

Although recording techniques have come a long long way that MAKES recording bass easier because it does take a little imagination to get it right and if the producers and engineers back then didn't have that then the obvious would happen.

Also BASS is a matter of opinion anyway in fact all of this is a matter of opinion, so enjoy what you like.
As a lad growing up in the 1970s, believe me we liked our Rock loud and clear with heavy bass.
We saw many of Rock legends perform live, some several times over the decades.

By the late 1970s I became aware of "certain pressings" to hunt down that were far better sonically then I possibly had at hand.
I noticed a business ad here on Audiogon someone doing just that, selling "certain pressing", with a money back guarantee...Better Records

The avalanche of re pressings/ reissues and out right bad recordings was the problem of many Rock Lps that truly sucked sonically.

I agree with Audiofeil, I too have thousnds of Lps, Rock, Jazz and Classical, many over 50 years old with well defined, air moving low octaves,ie Mercury Living Presence.
As a matter of fact, I'll take a well recorded first pressing from the 1950s over anything today...