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Gear / Technical Help => Microphones & Setup => Topic started by: JEMS on May 13, 2018, 10:14:15 PM

Title: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 13, 2018, 10:14:15 PM
I recently acquired a fully restored Nakamichi 550 cassette deck, the same model used by some serious tapers in the '70s, including the legendary Mike Millard, most famous for his Led Zeppelin 1975-77 and Bob Dylan 1978-79 tapes. While I had seen pictures of the deck many times, I had no idea how big and heavy it is. Yes, it is portable in that it can be fully operated on 8 D-cel batteries, but it is as heavy and large as many home tape decks. It easily weighs over 15 pounds, which makes me respect its use in stealth taping all the more.

According to Millard's own handwritten notes, his primary microphone set-up was a pair of AKG 4541E microphones. Until a couple of days ago, I had never researched these mics, but after doing so I began to understand his choice. First, they were/are a very well regarded condenser mic, with interchangeable caps, including the CK-1 cardioid caps, which is what Millard used. Second, you could alter the angle with A51 swivel adapters that allowed the taper to tilt the caps 90 degrees from the bodies, which could be incredibly helpful in a stealth situation. Given that some believe Millard used a wheelchair to record, it makes sense that the mics could be mounted more easily with the swivel caps to aim them forward and maintain a low profile.

But the question I'm looking to answer is what did he use to power the mics? The Nakamichi 550 is designed to be used with Nak's microphone series, CM-50, CM-100, CM-300, CM-700, CM-1000, all of which are battery powered, with a single battery in the body (or in the case of the 1000, in a portable preamp, if memory serves).

Did AKG sell a portable, battery operated pre-amp for the 451 line for use when phantom power wasn't available? If they didn't, what kind of battery phantom power source/pre-amp would have been in common use circa 1975-81?

Would welcome anyone's POV on this, as my goal to mirror his set-up and use it in the wild. There's something about the sound and quality that Millard was able to capture that I want to attempt to recreate.

Thanks,

BK for JEMS

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: heathen on May 13, 2018, 10:41:46 PM
I wish I had some helpful information to contribute.  I think this is a fucking awesome project though.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: OldNeumanntapr on May 13, 2018, 11:40:24 PM
When I was going to school at Cuesta College in the 1980s I was working part time for the music dept. they had a set of AKG 451 microphones with a preamp that ran on 110 volts AC. I would imagine that AKG also made a battery powered version.

My friend Jack, a local SLO county soundman, had a Nakamichi 550. They are indeed big and heavy, and have huge VU meters that swing from the top. They also have three mic inputs, left right and a center blend but only two VUs.

Nice project. I never knew exactly which AKGs Millard used. Nice to have that info.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: goodcooker on May 14, 2018, 12:48:35 AM

I don't have any direct knowledge of what Millard may have used but something like this would have probably been available at the time - transistor tech had shrunk devices some by then.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/146403-REG/Neumann_BS_48_I_2_BS48i2_Phantom_Power.html (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/146403-REG/Neumann_BS_48_I_2_BS48i2_Phantom_Power.html)

I can say with personal experience that the AKG 451 is one of the most "live" sounding microphones. I was just listening to a Calexico recording I made with a pair of 451s many years ago and it sounds fantastic. I always have an eye out for these mics when I trawl the pawn shops and resale places.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: furburger on May 14, 2018, 11:36:14 AM
Given that some believe Millard used a wheelchair to record



I met a (the) guy who pushed his wheelchair in to many of the 70's Zepp shows...and he had all the 1g tapes from Mike (red/blue rollerball ink, "Mike The Mic" written on each spine....and many on VHS!) to prove it.


there was basically no other way to get that deck into the venue....for Zeppelin, they wheeled him right up into the front handicapped section...I think there was deck problems with one of the '75 shows (Long Beach?), which is why it's truncated.

I have one of his last masters (as a 2g), sadly, it's an ABB show from the Greek in '90 or '91 (not at home to check), so it's not really torrentable. Dave (wheelchair pusher) let me sit in his house for 4 days and dub down whatever I wanted....


will send you a PM, as I think the wheelchair pusher is still active occasionally on TTD. I also have his ex-wifes phone number/FB info, so I may be able to track him down that way.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on May 14, 2018, 12:13:43 PM
The 550 is an animal. One was in our crew for a while being hauled around by JJH in the fall 1984 and spring 1985 tours. They are heavy and huge indeed. I also had the opportunity to patch out of one of them 4-5 times into a Sony TCD5 in summer 1982. IIRC, each user had Nak microphones, using the internal batteries, although it is very noticeable on the tapes when the batteries start to go on the mics, the distortion picks up dramatically.
I wonder how he powered the AKG 451's as well. Hopefully you will get some info from the wheelchair pusher. Incidentally, the guy on summer 1982 tour also used a wheelchair to get his rig in.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rippleish20 on May 14, 2018, 01:37:38 PM

I started taping using a Nak 550 in 1979 and continued until 1981, when I got a Sony D-5. I used Nakamichi microphones too during that period so I also have no idea how he powered 451s but he must have had some sort of pre.... As far as carrying at around and getting it in, I always managed one way or the other. The PCM encoder /Betamax and associated batteries combination that some people were using prior to introduction of DAT machines (83-88) was much worse weight and size wise...


I would guess he used something like the AKG B46E

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/Vintage-Condenser-Microphone-AKG-C-451-E-with-case-AKG-B46E-Phantom-PSU-/332343603612
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DATBRAD on May 14, 2018, 01:55:45 PM
Tapers I knew running 550s with condensers all used separate battery supplies unless they ran Senn K6 or similar electrets with batteries in the body like the Naks. The 451 could operate at any phantom voltage from 9-52V and the B46E was a 9V portable battery supply made for it and it used a single standard 9V battery. I think there was also an N46E that was 12V (possibly T-power not sure it's been decades).

Shortly after the C460B was released they introduced the B18 which was an 18V portable phantom supply with a belt clip. I used these before switching to Stewart 48V portable supplies in the mid 90s.

The 550 was like other portable decks of the era, they didn't supply phantom. I don't recall a single portable cassette deck with phantom.

I expect if that had been left out of source histories on recordings, it was because few mentioned it. Mics>deck was what all tapes I traded or made in the '80s was critical to know, power supplies were just a given.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 14, 2018, 02:45:28 PM

I would guess he used something like the AKG B46E

https://www.ebay.ie/itm/Vintage-Condenser-Microphone-AKG-C-451-E-with-case-AKG-B46E-Phantom-PSU-/332343603612

Thank you so much for this. I think you are right. Much appreciated.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 14, 2018, 02:47:52 PM
Tapers I knew running 550s with condensers all used separate battery supplies unless they ran Senn K6 or similar electrets with batteries in the body like the Naks. The 451 could operate at any phantom voltage from 9-52V and the B46E was a 9V portable battery supply made for it and it used a single standard 9V battery. I think there was also an N46E that was 12V (possibly T-power not sure it's been decades).

Shortly after the C460B was released they introduced the B18 which was an 18V portable phantom supply with a belt clip. I used these before switching to Stewart 48V portable supplies in the mid 90s.

Thank you so much for this extremely helpful information. The B46E and B18 are both options I wasn't aware of and are definitely part of the answer. Turns out the N46E is a standalone AC-powered, two channel phantom power source.

Much appreciated.

BK
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on May 15, 2018, 10:26:53 AM
I'll confirm the information in the thread; I used a 550 to record in Europe in 1974-75 before switching to a Sony, and AKG C 451s were my first real condensers back in about 1971. The wide-range, peak-reading meters on the Nakamichi were wonderful, and the mike preamps, though their inputs weren't balanced, were excellent. The original C 451 cardioid was on the bright side sound-wise; not harsh, but definitely not neutral/natural sounding. The omni for that series, on the other hand, was rather sweet for semi-distant recording.

When I was actively using the 550 I was already using Schoeps mikes, and I had an outboard battery supply built for them, with unbalanced outputs. I wished that I could modify the deck to add input transformers and 12-Volt phantom powering (or 10-Volt, since as I recall that was the recorder's positive "rail" voltage). IIRC the 550's input sockets were the tip-ring-sleeve type, so they wouldn't have needed replacing--but there wasn't enough room for transformers inside the case.

--Do people here know that Nakamichi during that era still had its own EQ curve that was ~2 dB different on the high end from anyone else's? Cassettes recorded on a Nakamichi of this period played back a little dull on all other brands of cassette deck, while all cassettes sound brighter when played back on a Nakamichi of this era than any other brand. (Hifi salespeople would play your cassette on a Teac or Sony or Advent, then on a Nakamichi, and the tape would always sound a little clearer in the Nakamichi; therefore it was better.) Nakamichi eventually came much closer to matching the rest of the world, but that was years after the 550.

--There are variants of the original C 451 amplifier that you shouldn't reject out of hand if you find them. The C 452 was modified by the addition of one resistor so that the current draw at 48 Volts would be lower (without it, the mikes needed 6 mA each), but the compromise is that the C 452 can ONLY be powered by 48 Volts or thereabouts, not 9 to 54. The "EB" version (made for both the C 451 and C 452) is the same circuit as the "E" with the addition of a switchable low-cut filter.

BTW, the "E" stands for "export" and simply means that the amplifier has an XLR connector on it. At the time, the XLR hadn't achieved world domination yet, and microphones often had different output connectors depending on which country you were in. Tuchel connectors were still the main connector used in Germany and Austria, so the "continental" version of the amplifier is the C 451 C or simply C 451. I've also seen C 451 F microphones made for France, with Sogie connectors.

The Austrian state broadcasting network (ORF) required and used full-sized Lemo audio connectors on everything, both at mike and line level. AKG made the C 451 L for them--as a musician I remember being recorded with those. Inside the ORF's sound trucks, even their Studer decks were specially equipped with Lemo connectors for audio inputs and outputs. That way they only had to carry one type of cable for remote jobs--plus no one would be too tempted to steal the equipment for their own use, as with the "left-handed" light bulbs that are used throughout the NYC transit system.

--best regards
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: MakersMarc on May 15, 2018, 11:44:17 AM
This is great stuff. When I first started in 97 I had a d3 analog deck. Loved everyone about analog except the flips. Constant 44:00 anxiety. 😀
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 15, 2018, 04:00:23 PM
I'll confirm the information in the thread; I used a 550 to record in Europe in 1974-75 before switching to a Sony, and AKG C 451s were my first real condensers back in about 1971. The wide-range, peak-reading meters on the Nakamichi were wonderful, and the mike preamps, though their inputs weren't balanced, were excellent. The original C 451 cardioid was on the bright side sound-wise; not harsh, but definitely not neutral/natural sounding. The omni for that series, on the other hand, was rather sweet for semi-distant recording.

--There are variants of the original C 451 amplifier that you shouldn't reject out of hand if you find them. The C 452 was modified by the addition of one resistor so that the current draw at 48 Volts would be lower (without it, the mikes needed 6 mA each), but the compromise is that the C 452 can ONLY be powered by 48 Volts or thereabouts, not 9 to 54. The "EB" version (made for both the C 451 and C 452) is the same circuit as the "E" with the addition of a switchable low-cut filter.

BTW, the "E" stands for "export" and simply means that the amplifier has an XLR connector on it. At the time, the XLR hadn't achieved world domination yet, and microphones often had different output connectors depending on which country you were in. Tuchel connectors were still the main connector used in Germany and Austria, so the "continental" version of the amplifier is the C 451 C or simply C 451. (The Austrian state broadcasting network, the ORF, used special versions of everything with large Lemo connectors, so for them AKG made the "C 451 L" ... inside their sound trucks, even their Studer decks used Lemo connectors, just so that they only had to carry one type of cable on remote jobs, but no one would steal them for their own use ...)

--best regards

Thank you so much for the additional information. This has moved from the theoretical to the doable thanks to the contributions on this thread.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: twatts (pants are so over-rated...) on May 15, 2018, 04:01:14 PM
This is a much better read than the Furry Fiasco...

Thanks JEMS!!!

Terry
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: kindms on May 15, 2018, 04:36:01 PM
I'll confirm the information in the thread; I used a 550 to record in Europe in 1974-75 before switching to a Sony, and AKG C 451s were my first real condensers back in about 1971. The wide-range, peak-reading meters on the Nakamichi were wonderful, and the mike preamps, though their inputs weren't balanced, were excellent. The original C 451 cardioid was on the bright side sound-wise; not harsh, but definitely not neutral/natural sounding. The omni for that series, on the other hand, was rather sweet for semi-distant recording.

By then I was already using Schoeps mikes, and I had an outboard battery supply for them. If I had stayed with the Nakamichi, I might have modified it to add input transformers and 12-Volt phantom powering (or 10-Volt, since as I recall that was the recorder's positive "rail" voltage). IIRC the input sockets were actually the tip-ring-sleeve type so they wouldn't have needed replacing, but there wasn't enough space for transformers inside the case.

I'm sure you know that Nakamichi during this era still had its own EQ curve that was 2 or 3 dB different on the high end from anyone else's. Cassettes recorded on a Nakamichi of this period play back a little dull on all other brands of cassette deck, while all cassettes sound brighter when played back on a Nakamichi of this era than any other brand. They eventually "split the difference" and came closer to matching the rest of the world, but that was years after the 550.

--There are variants of the original C 451 amplifier that you shouldn't reject out of hand if you find them. The C 452 was modified by the addition of one resistor so that the current draw at 48 Volts would be lower (without it, the mikes needed 6 mA each), but the compromise is that the C 452 can ONLY be powered by 48 Volts or thereabouts, not 9 to 54. The "EB" version (made for both the C 451 and C 452) is the same circuit as the "E" with the addition of a switchable low-cut filter.

BTW, the "E" stands for "export" and simply means that the amplifier has an XLR connector on it. At the time, the XLR hadn't achieved world domination yet, and microphones often had different output connectors depending on which country you were in. Tuchel connectors were still the main connector used in Germany and Austria, so the "continental" version of the amplifier is the C 451 C or simply C 451. (The Austrian state broadcasting network, the ORF, used special versions of everything with large Lemo connectors, so for them AKG made the "C 451 L" ... inside their sound trucks, even their Studer decks used Lemo connectors, just so that they only had to carry one type of cable on remote jobs, but no one would steal them for their own use ...)

--best regards


what were you recording with that rig in the early 70s in Europe ? Care to give us an idea of what you were using it for
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on May 15, 2018, 04:50:14 PM
I'll confirm the information in the thread; I used a 550 to record in Europe in 1974-75 before switching to a Sony, and AKG C 451s were my first real condensers back in about 1971. The wide-range, peak-reading meters on the Nakamichi were wonderful, and the mike preamps, though their inputs weren't balanced, were excellent. The original C 451 cardioid was on the bright side sound-wise; not harsh, but definitely not neutral/natural sounding. The omni for that series, on the other hand, was rather sweet for semi-distant recording.

--There are variants of the original C 451 amplifier that you shouldn't reject out of hand if you find them. The C 452 was modified by the addition of one resistor so that the current draw at 48 Volts would be lower (without it, the mikes needed 6 mA each), but the compromise is that the C 452 can ONLY be powered by 48 Volts or thereabouts, not 9 to 54. The "EB" version (made for both the C 451 and C 452) is the same circuit as the "E" with the addition of a switchable low-cut filter.

BTW, the "E" stands for "export" and simply means that the amplifier has an XLR connector on it. At the time, the XLR hadn't achieved world domination yet, and microphones often had different output connectors depending on which country you were in. Tuchel connectors were still the main connector used in Germany and Austria, so the "continental" version of the amplifier is the C 451 C or simply C 451. (The Austrian state broadcasting network, the ORF, used special versions of everything with large Lemo connectors, so for them AKG made the "C 451 L" ... inside their sound trucks, even their Studer decks used Lemo connectors, just so that they only had to carry one type of cable on remote jobs, but no one would steal them for their own use ...)

--best regards

Thank you so much for the additional information. This has moved from the theoretical to the doable thanks to the contributions on this thread.
I used to own 2 of the B18 dual 9V supply's for our original c460b's bought in 1991. they were perfect for ENG type of work, small and used standard type 9V battery. I might still have them, but do not know where they are located. There must be some of them still available on e-bay or gear slutz.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: jefflester on May 15, 2018, 05:48:45 PM
In the early 90s to the end I used to patch off a friend at GD shows who ran AKG 460s and CK8 guns and used the BP18 to power the mics since he then went straight into a TCD-D3.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: heathen on May 16, 2018, 04:11:35 PM
Have you seen this (I have no affiliation)? https://www.ebay.com/i/222385154174?ul_noapp=true
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: kindms on May 17, 2018, 07:51:00 AM
i knew i recognized JEMS from somewhere

Artist: Led Zeppelin
Date: 1977-06-21
Location: Inglewood, CA
Venue: The Forum
Source: Audience
Lineage: 1st gen cassettes(TDK SA 90)x3>Nakamichi 670 pitch & azimuth-adjusted playback deck>Nakamichi Outboard Dolby B Unit>Wavelab 96/24>flac
Taping Gear: AKG mics, Nakamichi 550 cassette deck
Taped By: Mike Millard
Transferred By: JEMS


thanks for the sweet transfer.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 17, 2018, 12:35:47 PM
Have you seen this (I have no affiliation)? https://www.ebay.com/i/222385154174?ul_noapp=true

I have, but thanks for bringing to my attention. Very likely what he used.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Chrisedge on May 19, 2018, 02:25:15 PM
Following this with great interest!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: ts on May 21, 2018, 08:29:28 PM
Was Mike Millard in a wheelchair or did he fake it?
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: yug du nord on May 21, 2018, 09:14:21 PM
^There is no faking anything when you pull the heat! 
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on May 21, 2018, 10:09:45 PM
^There is no faking anything when you pull the heat!
+T     
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: daspyknows on May 21, 2018, 10:47:01 PM
^There is no faking anything when you pull the heat!
+T   

That is a statement others can only make after hearing recordings that stand the test of time.  If one goes around always saying they pulled the heat then they are just fluffers.  But, yes totally agree there is no faking anything when you pull the heat. Mike's recordings stand the test of time and we are thankful he was so dedicated to preserving history. 
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on May 22, 2018, 01:58:30 PM
Was Mike Millard in a wheelchair or did he fake it?

Some excellent responses to this, but to answer the question directly, no, Millard was not wheelchair bound.

In 1988, JEMS used the same method to bring video recording gear into a show at Shoreline which we then filmed from the handicap section. Surely in Millard's day there was no designated handicap section.

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on July 09, 2018, 01:57:39 PM
Hello again. Looks like the Millard project is going to happen in late September as I have received permission from a band to use the Millard recording set up at two of their shows.

I have also lined up a place to rent the AKG 451E mics, but if by chance anyone was willing to loan me a pair or has the original battery powered phantom power adapters, I would love to hear from you. I'd be more than happy to pay for Fed Ex shipping both ways if someone had the gear to loan.

Or if you are in the Bay Area, we could do a handoff in person as that's where I will be recording the shows.

If you want to or can help, please let me know.

Best,

BK

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: analogguru on July 09, 2018, 04:36:13 PM
I don't understand the "excitement" or importance of a phantom power supply.  In 1979 I made my own battery power supplies for the AKG C451 microphones running on 18V (2x 9V batteries) and even the possibility to connect it to unbalanced inputs (as can be found on the Nakamichi 550 too).  They were made like the circuit below.  I ran them on 18V, so I used 2x 1kOhm 1% resistors.

Since I am convinced that in the B46E was not more inside I can't see a reason to send B46E's around the world, especially when there are tons of cheap (dual) DI-boxes (or phantom power supplies) available which can be gutted and the 10 components necessary be built in the empty case - no drilling necessary.  But I can send you the 10 parts - if you should need them.
.
.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rigpimp on July 09, 2018, 05:59:19 PM
Hello again. Looks like the Millard project is going to happen in late September as I have received permission from a band to use the Millard recording set up at two of their shows.

I have also lined up a place to rent the AKG 451E mics, but if by chance anyone was willing to loan me a pair or has the original battery powered phantom power adapters, I would love to hear from you. I'd be more than happy to pay for Fed Ex shipping both ways if someone had the gear to loan.

Or if you are in the Bay Area, we could do a handoff in person as that's where I will be recording the shows.

If you want to or can help, please let me know.

Best,

BK

I'll probably be in Sunnyvale this weekend or at least once more before your September need.  I have the Neumann BS48i-2 that Roger linked above that you can borrow.  It runs on a 9V battery and has the 5-pin to dual XLR breakout cables.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on July 10, 2018, 11:56:55 AM
I don't understand the "excitement" or importance of a phantom power supply.  In 1979 I made my own battery power supplies for the AKG C451 microphones running on 18V (2x 9V batteries) and even the possibility to connect it to unbalanced inputs (as can be found on the Nakamichi 550 too).  They were made like the circuit below.  I ran them on 18V, so I used 2x 1kOhm 1% resistors.

Since I am convinced that in the B46E was not more inside I can't see a reason to send B46E's around the world, especially when there are tons of cheap (dual) DI-boxes (or phantom power supplies) available which can be gutted and the 10 components necessary be built in the empty case - no drilling necessary.  But I can send you the 10 parts - if you should need them.
.
.

I'm sure you're right but I'm afraid I am not skilled enough to make something like this. Looks like I have some other offers of phantom power sources.

Thanks for chiming in though.

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on July 10, 2018, 11:58:07 AM


I'll probably be in Sunnyvale this weekend or at least once more before your September need.  I have the Neumann BS48i-2 that Roger linked above that you can borrow.  It runs on a 9V battery and has the 5-pin to dual XLR breakout cables.
[/quote]

I would like to take you up on that. I live in LA but I will be going to Berkeley for the shows. Can we connect via PM?

BK
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: ycoop on July 10, 2018, 12:39:29 PM


I'll probably be in Sunnyvale this weekend or at least once more before your September need.  I have the Neumann BS48i-2 that Roger linked above that you can borrow.  It runs on a 9V battery and has the 5-pin to dual XLR breakout cables.

I would like to take you up on that. I live in LA but I will be going to Berkeley for the shows. Can we connect via PM?

BK
[/quote]

Which shows? (I live in Berkeley)
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rigpimp on July 10, 2018, 01:19:36 PM

I'll probably be in Sunnyvale this weekend or at least once more before your September need.  I have the Neumann BS48i-2 that Roger linked above that you can borrow.  It runs on a 9V battery and has the 5-pin to dual XLR breakout cables.

I would like to take you up on that. I live in LA but I will be going to Berkeley for the shows. Can we connect via PM?

BK
[/quote]

It doesn't sounds like any of my family is in town this weekend but the wife wants to head somewhere.  I know that you said you are seeing a show in Berkeley but which direction are you coming from?  I'll shoot a PM
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on September 05, 2018, 06:59:25 PM
follow this
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on September 05, 2018, 10:43:35 PM
just a caution that unmodified, original C 451s draw about 6 mA apiece at 48 Volts, while the Neumann BS 48i-2 phantom power supply is rated at only 5 mA maximum per microphone.

Also, since that supply runs on a single 9-Volt battery for both microphones combined, I'd really want to test the battery life before going out to record live with that particular set of equipment. Oddly, Neumann doesn't specify battery life for the two-channel version of the supply at all--only for single microphones that draw 2 mA ("at least 20 hours") or 4 mA ("about 8 hours") respectively.

Note that those numbers aren't in direct proportion to one another; drawing more current evidently drains the battery faster than you would expect from a linear function. Higher current apparently leads to lower DC conversion efficiency--and you will be pushing the circuit to its limit, and maybe even a bit beyond.

Thus you may find that the battery only lasts 2-1/2 or 3 hours. Is that long enough? And/or do you have lithium batteries available?

--best regards
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: noahbickart on September 05, 2018, 11:13:22 PM
Does anyone argue that there are audible differences between phantom power supplies?

I understand using classic transducers, and, to a lesser extent, microphone preamps to shape the sound. But power supplies?
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on September 06, 2018, 06:05:29 PM
Anyone? Yes, I've seen one such claim--a vendor who boasts about the noise on his DC supply being so low that it's in the small numbers of microvolts.

However, I think that was both misplaced perfectionism and an appeal to the ignorance of his readers. The whole premise of a balanced input configuration is that it suppresses any noise that appears in like amplitude and phase on both modulation leads. The DC for a phantom power supply only has to be reasonably well filtered; the balanced input circuit should then be able to suppress any common-mode noise in the supply voltage by 80 - 100 dB or so, just as it suppresses other common-mode noise in the microphone and cable.

Of course, this requires good actual circuit balance at the frequency of the offending noise. For this reason, the match between the two phantom "feed" resistors on each channel is specified in the DIN standard to be 0.4% or better. This is a narrower tolerance than the absolute value of the resistors themselves, and more critical than the 1% precision that many people use. An arbitrary pair of 1% resistors can differ in value by as much as 2% (worst case), which would limit the ability of the balanced input to suppress common-mode noise. And not just noise from the phantom supply, since those resistors are in parallel with the preamp input. This puts them in a position to disrupt the balance of the entire circuit between the microphone and the input.

I know of one preamp manufacturer, highly respected among classical music engineers, who selects 6.8 kOhm resistor pairs to be within one Ohm of each other on any given channel. That's probably beyond the point of diminishing returns, and resistor values can drift somewhat over time anyway, but I still appreciate his care. Microphone manufacturers need to take similar care when selecting components for their output stages, and the better ones do.

Other than that, phantom supplies just need to supply phantoms of the proper shape and size, and not run out of them ...

--best regards
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on September 07, 2018, 04:25:41 PM
Given that some believe Millard used a wheelchair to record



I met a (the) guy who pushed his wheelchair in to many of the 70's Zepp shows...and he had all the 1g tapes from Mike (red/blue rollerball ink, "Mike The Mic" written on each spine....and many on VHS!) to prove it.


there was basically no other way to get that deck into the venue....for Zeppelin, they wheeled him right up into the front handicapped section...I think there was deck problems with one of the '75 shows (Long Beach?), which is why it's truncated.

I have one of his last masters (as a 2g), sadly, it's an ABB show from the Greek in '90 or '91 (not at home to check), so it's not really torrentable. Dave (wheelchair pusher) let me sit in his house for 4 days and dub down whatever I wanted....


will send you a PM, as I think the wheelchair pusher is still active occasionally on TTD. I also have his ex-wifes phone number/FB info, so I may be able to track him down that way.

well, pics or it did not happen! :)

Man, this great story needs some new first hand info on Mike!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on September 07, 2018, 04:47:26 PM
I'll confirm the information in the thread; I used a 550 to record in Europe in 1974-75 before switching to a Sony, and AKG C 451s were my first real condensers back in about 1971. The wide-range, peak-reading meters on the Nakamichi were wonderful, and the mike preamps, though their inputs weren't balanced, were excellent. The original C 451 cardioid was on the bright side sound-wise; not harsh, but definitely not neutral/natural sounding. The omni for that series, on the other hand, was rather sweet for semi-distant recording.

When I was actively using the 550 I was already using Schoeps mikes, and I had an outboard battery supply built for them, with unbalanced outputs. I wished that I could modify the deck to add input transformers and 12-Volt phantom powering (or 10-Volt, since as I recall that was the recorder's positive "rail" voltage). IIRC the 550's input sockets were the tip-ring-sleeve type, so they wouldn't have needed replacing--but there wasn't enough room for transformers inside the case.

--Do people here know that Nakamichi during that era still had its own EQ curve that was ~2 dB different on the high end from anyone else's? Cassettes recorded on a Nakamichi of this period played back a little dull on all other brands of cassette deck, while all cassettes sound brighter when played back on a Nakamichi of this era than any other brand. (Hifi salespeople would play your cassette on a Teac or Sony or Advent, then on a Nakamichi, and the tape would always sound a little clearer in the Nakamichi; therefore it was better.) Nakamichi eventually came much closer to matching the rest of the world, but that was years after the 550.

--There are variants of the original C 451 amplifier that you shouldn't reject out of hand if you find them. The C 452 was modified by the addition of one resistor so that the current draw at 48 Volts would be lower (without it, the mikes needed 6 mA each), but the compromise is that the C 452 can ONLY be powered by 48 Volts or thereabouts, not 9 to 54. The "EB" version (made for both the C 451 and C 452) is the same circuit as the "E" with the addition of a switchable low-cut filter.

BTW, the "E" stands for "export" and simply means that the amplifier has an XLR connector on it. At the time, the XLR hadn't achieved world domination yet, and microphones often had different output connectors depending on which country you were in. Tuchel connectors were still the main connector used in Germany and Austria, so the "continental" version of the amplifier is the C 451 C or simply C 451. I've also seen C 451 F microphones made for France, with Sogie connectors.

The Austrian state broadcasting network (ORF) required and used full-sized Lemo audio connectors on everything, both at mike and line level. AKG made the C 451 L for them--as a musician I remember being recorded with those. Inside the ORF's sound trucks, even their Studer decks were specially equipped with Lemo connectors for audio inputs and outputs. That way they only had to carry one type of cable for remote jobs--plus no one would be too tempted to steal the equipment for their own use, as with the "left-handed" light bulbs that are used throughout the NYC transit system.

--best regards

Interesting, very nice. Thank you. Some Nakamichi cassettedecks also carried a 'E', like for instance the CR-7(E) I own. I was told it stands for 'Europe', but 'Export' will do.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: spyder9 on September 09, 2018, 09:21:47 PM
How about a Denecke PS-2?  Very nice sounding P48 supply and it runs on a 9V battery.  Very small footprint.  I know you're trying to get the exact sound, but why splits hairs at this point?  The Denecke is a low noise solution that doesn't color the sound.   My 2 cents.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on September 09, 2018, 10:52:32 PM
I hate to nag, but it sounds to me as if you people don't realize how much current the 451s draw when they're powered at 48 Volts. It's 5.5 to 6 mA per microphone, which is higher than almost anything else that people use nowadays. The microphones are from the earlier years of phantom-powered studio microphones. AKG was in Austria, not Germany, and they flatly violated the DIN standard of the time, which specified a maximum of 2 mA per microphone at 48 Volts.

The C 451 was really a 9-Volt microphone, capable of running on as low as 7.5 Volts. For the sake of compatibility with other professional equipment, its circuitry was protected internally for use with 48-Volt supplies, which may go up to 52 Volts. But the higher the supply voltage, the more energy is simply thrown away (converted to heat) inside the mike. When these mikes are run at 48 Volts, about 3/4 of the energy from the power supply is turned into heat, and doesn't enhance performance in any way.

The supplies that this person is said to have used (AKG B-46E) weren't 48-Volt supplies; see the schematic below. They didn't contain (as do the Neumann and Denecke supplies) an oscillator/voltage multiplier circuit that steps the 9 Volts of the battery up to 48 (always at less than 100% efficiency). Rather, the B-46E was a simple 9-Volt, linear supply for ONE microphone, and at that lower supply voltage, the mike used that power nearly four times as efficiently as it does at 48 Volts. So it was about a seven or eight times better arrangement, as far as the use of battery power was concerned.

JFTR, AKG's AC phantom supply for this microphone series, the N-46E, was also a linear 12-Volt phantom supply, not 48.

If you're being a purist about this historical re-enactment, you might also consider the fact that the B-46E had an output transformer built in to the case. That's how it blocked DC from reaching the input to which it was connected. I don't know the specifications of that transformer, but it may have had some effect on the sound quality.

I'm really sorry that I no longer own a pair of these supplies, or I would gladly have lent them to this project. But when I moved up to 12-Volt Schoeps mikes (CMC 3-- series), I wrote and asked the company if these supplies were compatible. The reply was positive, but I was told that the Schoeps mikes wouldn't be able to reach their proper maximum SPL with only a 9-Volt supply, so I retired the B-46s and eventually (if I recall correctly) discarded them.

[edited later to add:] I found a pair of B-46E supplies in apparent good condition, and have them here now. I will probably run some tests with Schoeps CMC 6-- mikes just to see what happens to the maximum SPL of the Schoeps when powered at only 9 Volts--but after that, the supplies will be available in case anyone else on the forum needs them.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: NIGHT ONE COMPLETE
Post by: JEMS on September 25, 2018, 02:25:52 PM
To those following this thread...

After months of planning, last night we ran the "Millard" recording set up at the Greek Theater in Berkeley for night one of The National.

We ended up using two AKG B18 DC phantom power supplies to power the 451s after coming to the conclusion that N-46 packs are somewhat unreliable at this point. Each B18 runs on two 9V batteries.

So the set up was: two AKG 451E (-10db pads) > two AKG B18 phantom packs > Nakamichi 550 cassette recorder

With the blessing of the band, we ran the Millard rig from a table set up next to the soundboard. Initial playback is promising. We will run the rig again tonight for Night Two.

In time, the recordings will be made available. Stay tuned for details.

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: twatts (pants are so over-rated...) on September 25, 2018, 02:56:11 PM
Hawt!

Terry
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on September 25, 2018, 03:03:43 PM
whassamatter- you didn't feel like sneaking the 550 in under a wheelchair? Not until you do it that way will it be a TRUE Millard recording!      >:D         ;)

Just kidding- Awesome that you were able to make it happen and get the permission of the band to do it.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on September 25, 2018, 03:23:35 PM
Pics or it did not happen!!

cool story!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: heathen on September 25, 2018, 03:34:03 PM
Definitely gotta' see some photos of this rig in action.  Looking forward to hearing it as well!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Gutbucket on September 25, 2018, 04:11:29 PM
Congrats on getting this together and making it happen!

whassamatter- you didn't feel like sneaking the 550 in under a wheelchair? Not until you do it that way will it be a TRUE Millard recording!      >:D         ;)

Just kidding- Awesome that you were able to make it happen and get the permission of the band to do it.

^I was about to joke about this before I saw rock's post.  Yet beyond the joking aspect, it illuminates what I consider to be rather large elephant in the room-
Stereo microphone configuration has as at least as much if not more influence on the sound of the recording than much of the signal chain.

How did Mike Millard configure the microphones?  Do we know?  Armpits?

Traditionally, tapers did not document the microphone configuration they used very well, if at all.  It's odd that signal chains are often noted in detail (including the types of cables and interconnects), while microphone configuration is rarely mentioned.

A Ferrari straight off the showroom floor, tuned for the street and trips to the lingerie store, is not going to handle like or be able to compete with the exact same car tuned for the track.  Same parts, same signal chain, but entirely different setups producing very different results.

The other, even bigger and more basic thing is recording position.  However, I suspect that's expected to be different, and folks are generally aware of sonic differences with regards to recording position.  By contrast, not many think of microphone setup in the same sense, if they are aware of the variabilities and the effects on the recordings at all.

Very much looking forward to hearing these recordings at some point.  Please note the microphone setup used as well as the recording position in the notes if you can.  Also, because of the admirable efforts made in duplicating this historic taping signal chain, I encourage you to note all setup differences between these recordings and the historic ones as clearly as possible, to the extent that you are aware of them.  Otherwise folks will easily overlook both these elephants, consumed with details about the mice running around their feet.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on September 26, 2018, 04:58:26 PM
Here's a shot of the rig in action on Night 2 of the National at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley

Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: twatts (pants are so over-rated...) on September 26, 2018, 07:02:46 PM

How did Mike Millard configure the microphones?  Do we know?  Armpits?


If I had to guess, I'd say he ran the mics at his feet, and just pointed them at the stacks.  Being "handicapped", he wouldn't have been able to move his legs.  And he was probably put it an elevated position, up off of the floor, so he may have had good sight-lines.  And running his mics at his feet would free up his hands to do "normal" stuff like you would do at a show, thus not causing any suspicion... 

But its totally a guess...

Terry
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on September 27, 2018, 01:44:03 AM
https://streamable.com/zvn9o (https://streamable.com/zvn9o)

Brief video. I will write up more on the whole experience. We taped just behind the GA section as the same level as the soundboard, right next to it in fact.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: twatts (pants are so over-rated...) on September 27, 2018, 01:55:04 AM

How did Mike Millard configure the microphones?  Do we know?  Armpits?


If I had to guess, I'd say he ran the mics at his feet, and just pointed them at the stacks.  Being "handicapped", he wouldn't have been able to move his legs.  And he was probably put it an elevated position, up off of the floor, so he may have had good sight-lines.  And running his mics at his feet would free up his hands to do "normal" stuff like you would do at a show, thus not causing any suspicion... 

But its totally a guess...

Terry

Hat...

https://kernelmag.dailydot.com/features/report/6498/the-tragic-tale-of-a-legendary-concert-taper/

Terry
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: dactylus on September 27, 2018, 07:31:46 AM
^
Thanks for the link Terry!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Gutbucket on September 27, 2018, 09:25:02 AM
^ Good find! 

And thanks for the video link, JEMS
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on September 27, 2018, 11:12:49 AM
Wow, thanks for the link Terry. I had known his story but this article summarizes and tells it in a very compelling manner.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on September 27, 2018, 12:13:14 PM
Over the years, I have had the chance to speak to three people who knew Mike Millard personally or met him on more than one occasion. While the kernelmag story/link provides some good details on Millard, it also perpetuates some myths.

After speaking at length with Millard's friend Bill, he shared the following which I thought might be worth posting here:

Mike taped many more shows than we know and years earlier than we know, though his own high standards may have prevented "lesser work" from being given out.

Through the help of one of his friends, Mike was typically able to get exactly the seats he wanted and get security to look the other way when the gear came in.

He didn't always use a wheelchair.

Millard was anti-bootlegging and was in fact offered a significant sum for one of his Springsteen tapes, which he turned down.

Bill confirmed that he was with Millard on occasions where he did indeed record with two sets of mics on two recorders.

Bill cannot remember exactly when he learned of Millard's death, but he believes it could have been a year or even two after 1990, which internet stories claim is the year he died. Pinning his death to 1990 may simply have been the result of there being no known Millard recording after that year. Bill also told me that, contrary to legend, Mike was not an introvert or a loner at all, nor paranoid or distrustful, but someone who had a close group of friends with whom he shared a love of music and to whom he graciously and frequently gave copies of many of his recordings.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Gutbucket on September 27, 2018, 12:57:46 PM
Thanks for sharing those insights.

Back in the late 90's through early 00's there was a doppelganger Mike Millard here in South Florida who did helicopter traffic reporting for the local public radio stations.  At the end of his segments he'd sign off with a throaty "This is Mike Millard" which would always bring to mind the taper.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: jefflester on October 05, 2019, 04:42:57 PM
The result

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54AVNQK2vYo
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: heathen on October 05, 2019, 04:53:00 PM
The result

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54AVNQK2vYo

I'm not all that into The National but this is cool and makes be appreciate them more.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Sevoflurane on October 05, 2019, 06:50:00 PM
Awesome. I can't wait to check this out!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rigpimp on October 05, 2019, 09:29:01 PM
Well, isn't that cool!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on October 05, 2019, 10:29:44 PM
Great short video.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: jb63 on October 06, 2019, 11:24:17 AM
That was a great thread!

After reading all of of it through and watching/reading all the links, it seems like it makes sense that the whole ordeal, needs to have 2 identical rigs to cover overlapping the battery swap and tape flips necessary. You could probably do this with 2 tapers, hat-mounting, and each of them running a Nak 250 instead of its older brother. Definitely need a pass to get the gear in, but the whole thing could be done stealth pretty thoroughly that way.

Anyway, this is a totally cool way to spend some time!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on October 06, 2019, 03:13:06 PM
That was a great thread!

After reading all of of it through and watching/reading all the links, it seems like it makes sense that the whole ordeal, needs to have 2 identical rigs to cover overlapping the battery swap and tape flips necessary. You could probably do this with 2 tapers, hat-mounting, and each of them running a Nak 250 instead of its older brother. Definitely need a pass to get the gear in, but the whole thing could be done stealth pretty thoroughly that way.

Anyway, this is a totally cool way to spend some time!

You are on the right path. I realized I would ultimately need two tape decks to cover this right. On stands, you could split the signal to feed both and starting one ten minutes later you'd have full coverage.

It raises a point I often make about why more bands didn't record there shows in the '70s and why trucks were needed. If you wanted to record multi-track, you needed not one but two decks rolling to avoid missing anything. It was a massive undertaking.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: jb63 on October 06, 2019, 06:10:58 PM
Ha! I’m pretty sure in your life of stealth taping you’ve worked harder than most bands ever had at recording themselves!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: ThePiedPiper on October 07, 2019, 12:57:48 AM
This is one of my favorite topics on here!  JEMS is a wonderful source of amazing transfers and have done so much for the whole "community" by helping so many people get these tapes out of the attic and properly archived. I love the idea of recreating Mr. Millard's setup! Does anyone recall what setup Mr.Peach (famous Japan taper from the same period) used?
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Chrisedge on November 22, 2019, 01:10:16 PM
Juicy Sonic Magic: The Mike Millard Method
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9glHolSpco
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on November 22, 2019, 01:13:36 PM
Saw it, so inspiring!
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Gutbucket on November 22, 2019, 01:58:13 PM
Cool video, glad to hear this all came to fruition.
 
If the Nak 550 was a 3-head deck one could patch the separate playback head out to a digital recorder, essentially making the transfer in real-time while capturing the "tape sound".

Flight of fancy- I once had a bunch of RadioShack endless loop cassettes of various length (30 seconds up to at least 5 min, maybe 10 or 20 as I recall).  One could re-string one of the longer ones with the prefered tape of choice, do the "real-time transfer" patch out thing and never have to flip!  Would probably want to change the tape regularly, perhaps even each set, since it would be overwritten a number of times each show. Fun to think about.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: EmRR on November 23, 2019, 10:36:14 AM
Cool video, glad to hear this all came to fruition.
 
If the Nak 550 was a 3-head deck one could patch the separate playback head out to a digital recorder, essentially making the transfer in real-time while capturing the "tape sound".

Flight of fancy- I once had a bunch of RadioShack endless loop cassettes of various length (30 seconds up to at least 5 min, maybe 10 or 20 as I recall).  One could re-string one of the longer ones with the prefered tape of choice, do the "real-time transfer" patch out thing and never have to flip!  Would probably want to change the tape regularly, perhaps even each set, since it would be overwritten a number of times each show. Fun to think about.

I would think quality would drop off noticeably from running endless loop cassettes, you'd at least want the longest one you could get to minimize the pass count and use a fresh one each show.  I could be wrong! 

I've played with real time playback head digital captures using 1/4" machines in the studio, and while you get some tape sound, you don't get 'playback' tape sound.  The sound most people think of being 'tape sound' on a pro machine comes from a transfer a day or two later, once there's some loss of retention in the treble and it smooths out. 

Very cool thread. 
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Papaphunk on December 02, 2019, 09:52:05 AM
Juicy Sonic Magic: The Mike Millard Method
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9glHolSpco

Very Cool, thank you for sharing. Love to read up on the history of our hobby as I only got involved about 5 years ago in the SD Card Age.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: OldNeumanntapr on December 08, 2019, 04:05:58 PM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on January 11, 2020, 10:39:45 AM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: daspyknows on January 11, 2020, 11:31:15 AM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

Same level of difficulty as sneaking in a PCM F-1/SL2000 rig.  Luckily just pat downs then.  Anyone whining about how difficult it is to get an Sony A10, CA9200 CA-14 rig should just carry a Nak 550 around for a day.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: OldNeumanntapr on January 11, 2020, 01:04:42 PM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

That's an impressive feat to get away with considering the size of the deck. I had a friend who was able to smuggle his TCD-D10 into a Dylan show past three security checks and he thought That was something, but, while the D10 is the size of a college text book, it pales in comparison to the size of a 550!

I wish I would have tried to bring my Sony 153 into the 12/5/87 Pink Floyd show in Oakland. Once we got up to the doors there was NO pat down at all! I've never seen a recording of that show.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: OldNeumanntapr on January 26, 2020, 01:52:59 PM
Does Anyone know if Mike Millard recorded any of the Pink Floyd Wall shows at the LA Sports Arena in Feb of '80? I know he recorded the 1975 shows at the LA Sports Arena but I have never seen anything of his from the 1980 run.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on January 30, 2020, 11:00:23 AM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

Same level of difficulty as sneaking in a PCM F-1/SL2000 rig.  Luckily just pat downs then.  Anyone whining about how difficult it is to get an Sony A10, CA9200 CA-14 rig should just carry a Nak 550 around for a day.
I must admit, seeing a few guys sneaking in their PCM-F1 rigs is one reason, aside from $$$, that I never tried building one of those rigs. I gotta say difficulty level at least 1 notch higher with the F1 rig given the two devices plus motorcycle batteries and such.!     8) ;D
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on January 30, 2020, 05:27:03 PM
Well, plus the PCM-F1 and the SL-2000 (if I'm remembering the model number of the companion video recorder correctly) each required substantial operating current, and the rechargeable battery that they each worked with could only hold about an hour's charge. So you either had to create a big, heavy external battery arrangement, or else pre-charge and swap out a pair of roughly paperback-book-sized NiCads every hour.

Plus, the mike inputs of the F1 were unbalanced, and could be overloaded rather easily; they weren't designed for professional condenser microphones. And while the "PEAK" LEDs on the meters were reliable*, the meters themselves were not; you would sometimes see "PEAK" indications while the meters registered only -4 dB.

The boundaries between professional and consumer recording equipment were drawn more clearly back then, with the F1 being decidedly on the consumer side, even though a lot of professionals (including me) bought and used them. There were other compatibility issues between consumer digital and professional digital as well (see P.S. below if you're interested).

--best regards

______________
* What that meant in those days was: If _three or more_ consecutive digital samples reached full scale, either positive or negative, the PEAK indicator would flash. But the Red Book standard required there to be _no_ full scale values at all in an entire CD tape master (in fact it reserved the lowest-order four bits as a safety zone, so a tiny fraction of a dB below full scale was also forbidden). And the PEAK indicators didn't flash in playback--only in record.

So even if you recorded an entire performance with no PEAK LEDs, you still didn't know whether your recording could be used as a CD tape master or not. To avoid rejections at the pressing plant, tape masters sometimes were recopied with a gain just below unity, even though this added a tiny amount of noise and violated the idea of bit-transparency.

and the promised P.S.:

[1] In the United States, Japan and a few other countries, the frame rate for NTSC color video was slightly modified from the standard frame rate (30 frames per second) of black-and-white video. The "pseudo-video" signal from consumer digital audio adapters such as the PCM-F1 contained no chroma signal, but consumer videotape recorders by and large were designed for color video recording only. So the NTSC version of the PCM-F1 sold in the U.S. and Japan actually ran not at the 44,100 Hz sampling rate of the CD medium, but at 44,056 Hz so that the samples could be encoded at the 29.97 Hz frame rate of NTSC color video. So if you took an F1 recording and "bumped it up" to PCM 1600/1610 format for CD mastering, there was a pitch shift of about 1/50 of a musical semitone. Some musicians (hothouse plants that we are) could actually hear that.

[2] The original version of the PCM-F1 had only one A/D converter which was shared between the two channels. A "sample and hold" circuit alternated between the left and right channels at twice the sampling rate, fed its output to that shared ADC, and the output of the ADC was then buffered, interleaved, and formatted into lines of "pseudo-video" for recording. (If you recorded a pure mono signal, the digital content of the left and right channel of that recording were never exactly identical for this reason.) During playback the process was reversed so that each stored pair of left and right digital samples was fetched from the de-interleave buffer and converted with the same 1/88,200-of-a-second delay between them. Thus the simultaneity of the two channels was restored in the analog output even though it didn't exist in the digital samples stored on tape.

However, in the professional realm there were always separate A/D and D/A converters for each channel, and the left and right channels were sampled simultaneously. Thus any PCM-F1 recording that got "bumped up" to PCM-1600 format for CD mastering always had that tiny time lag between channels. It was too small to be audibly significant in most stereo recordings, but caused some phase cancellation at high frequencies in mono material if the channels were summed in playback--and if you knew about it and were a perfectionist, it was bothersome to the conscience.

Also, on a technical level, the alternation between channels in the consumer adapters, and the switching interval on each half-cycle (during which the sample-and-hold has to be disconnected entirely from incoming signals to avoid garbage from the switching process itself) cut the settling time of the circuit to less than half of what it was in the professional equipment--thus adding several dB of noise to the analog signals prior to conversion. That's part of why these early 16-bit adapters could never achieve the full signal-to-noise ratio of the CD medium.

It's also why we old curmudgeons get testy when you young whippersnappers talk as if 16 stored bits -> a 16-bit dynamic range. That misconception is very convenient for people who sell "24-bit" digital audio recorders, but I can confidently predict that in my lifetime _or_ yours, there will never be one with an actual 24-bit dynamic range from analog input to output, or even from analog input to digital output. It's also why a higher sampling rate, back in the days of linear/ladder A/D converters, meant WORSE audio quality rather than better--something that was audibly demonstrable, but that the audiophile magazines (The Absolute Sound especially) got completely wrong, even though they were the ones who supposedly used their ears rather than specifications to judge everything.

(Damn--that grudge is now almost 40 years old and I'm still carrying some of it ...)
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: morst on February 03, 2020, 04:56:47 PM
WOW thanks for the PS, DSatz!
I knew about [1] but not [2]
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: MakersMarc on February 03, 2020, 05:01:20 PM
I used to have a friend who was the house sound man for the SLO Blues Society in San Luis Obispo, and would let me plug in to the board. He had a Nakamichi 550. They are really large! Even bigger than my Sony TC-153SD.
You ought to try sneaking one into a show! It was quite an ordeal. And I was only the helper (distracting security) a few times. not the actual sneaker inner carrying the deck under a coat.    >:D

Same level of difficulty as sneaking in a PCM F-1/SL2000 rig.  Luckily just pat downs then.  Anyone whining about how difficult it is to get an Sony A10, CA9200 CA-14 rig should just carry a Nak 550 around for a day.

I reminded myself of my good fortune at having tiny 😈 gear the other night when I was feeling a little weighed down running the 620 over the A10. I know they didn’t commonly have detectors back in the day, but I can’t comprehend bringing in one or two 550s, a couple of motorcycle batteries and full sized mics, for open let alone 😈. I tip my hat.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on February 04, 2020, 12:26:00 PM
Don't tip your hat while recording, though, if it has microphones in it! The sudden image shift could make your listeners dizzy.

--best regards
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: H₂O on February 04, 2020, 01:45:00 PM
i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).



 
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on February 05, 2020, 07:06:22 AM
Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: rocksuitcase on February 05, 2020, 09:52:26 AM
i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).
I never ran the F1/SL2000 rigs, too much cash investment for our crew!
The two guys I hung with who did used motorcycle batteries, two in tandem with some sort of trickle charge device. Also, some used their Sony TCD5's for Pre-amps at the beginning (1983-ish) Later on I noted several custom OADE pre-amps among that crew. Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
Let's also note tapers such as Frankie Streeter and Jeff Silberman had crew access to help them get the gear in so it wasn't a pure  >:D job.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: jefflester on February 05, 2020, 12:52:19 PM
Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=193386.0
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: Popmarter on February 05, 2020, 12:55:16 PM
thanks, missed that

Mike Millards mastertapes have been found! check out the Pink floyd show on Dime, it has a great story with it.
https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=193386.0
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: daspyknows on February 05, 2020, 02:13:15 PM
i have heard stories of people running the F1/SL2000 off car batteries (as I understand large capacity SLA's where not readly/cheaply available until the 1990's).  I don't know how accurate this is though
Also I heard alot of people ran custom pre-amps in front of the F1 rigs (i.e. Oade pre-amps, etc).
I never ran the F1/SL2000 rigs, too much cash investment for our crew!
The two guys I hung with who did used motorcycle batteries, two in tandem with some sort of trickle charge device. Also, some used their Sony TCD5's for Pre-amps at the beginning (1983-ish) Later on I noted several custom OADE pre-amps among that crew. Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
Let's also note tapers such as Frankie Streeter and Jeff Silberman had crew access to help them get the gear in so it wasn't a pure  >:D job.

We got the gear in both ways.  I walked it in for 2 of the Dylan/Dead shows but for U2 and Pink Floyd we had help from security. 
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: morst on February 05, 2020, 03:18:25 PM

It was not locked to BETA, but Sony didn't make VHS machines with matching form factor to the F1. VHS would work too, but Beta was both smaller, and may have somewhat higher reliability. I guess you could even have eventually used a Hi8 deck, but given that DAT machines were popular by that time, there would be no reason to. Also Beta is bigger tape than Hi8.

Also, the SL2000 recorded digital audio encoded on beta tapes. I would guess the beta format is the legacy which prevents all of those recordings from coming out although I'd bet most of them were transferred to DAT for cloning/copying.
https://www.technics.com/global/chronicle/sv-p100/ (https://www.technics.com/global/chronicle/sv-p100/)
check this all in one home recorder by technics. 14 bit PCM stored on internal VHS!
(https://www.technics.com/global/chronicle/sv-p100/img/visual01.jpg)
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: DSatz on February 05, 2020, 06:53:37 PM
Actually I did try some Video 8mm recording with the F1. Unfortunately, even in 14-bit mode the uncorrected errors were just too much; there were snaps, mutes and "gronches" in playback. (In 14-bit mode, the lowest-order two bits per sample were filled with additional error-correction data so that more severe tape dropouts could be corrected or mitigated than in 16-bit mode--and 14-bit mode still had a wider dynamic range than any professional 15 or 30 ips open-reel recorder ever. Unfortunately it didn't have proper dither, but room noise usually kept that from mattering much.)

The optimal videotape format for the F1 and its successors was "industrial Beta" (e.g. the SLO-325 and 383). It operated exclusively at Beta I tape speed. Since there was no slower speed that needed accommodating, it used taller heads and wider tracks, and more tape area was under the heads on each scan, thus reducing the likelihood and severity of dropouts. "Industrial VHS" also existed, though less well-supported; I remember seeing one portable deck from Panasonic that looked pretty nice, and of course it offered two hours of recording on a single tape.

Sony's Beta decks from ~1980 on generally made some provision for PCM recording. There was generally a switch setting that made two changes in the playback behavior: It defeated "sharpness enhancement" (basically a high-frequency emphasis in the luminance channel), since that enhancement would slightly alter the timing of black/white transitions. It also defeated "line buffering" which was a way to conceal dropouts that made good sense for human visual perception (if a given scan line of video was unreadable, the entire previous scan line from that same field would be replayed from an analog buffer). But that tended to feed disruptive garbage into a PCM processor, which had a very powerful error correction/concealment system of its own that worked best when fed honest video, warts and all. Even a bad dropout within a line of video need not wipe out that entire line's PCM data--yet with line buffering switched on, the decks delivered the entire line EITHER from the tape OR from the buffer, while the majority of ordinary dropouts were less than one scan line.

--best regards
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: JEMS on February 28, 2020, 08:06:20 PM
Does Anyone know if Mike Millard recorded any of the Pink Floyd Wall shows at the LA Sports Arena in Feb of '80? I know he recorded the 1975 shows at the LA Sports Arena but I have never seen anything of his from the 1980 run.

He did not.
Title: Re: Recreating Mike Millard Analog Recording Set-Up: AKG 451E CK-1 > Nakamichi 550
Post by: OldNeumanntapr on February 29, 2020, 10:21:40 AM
Does Anyone know if Mike Millard recorded any of the Pink Floyd Wall shows at the LA Sports Arena in Feb of '80? I know he recorded the 1975 shows at the LA Sports Arena but I have never seen anything of his from the 1980 run.

He did not.

Oh that's a bummer. Do you know why by chance?