What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere?

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Kalle Rantaaho
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2011/09/12 08:08:47 (permalink)

What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere?

Sometimes you can/could hear the beginning of a track as a very silent "pre-echo", 1-3 seconds long, before the actual loud audio.
What's the cause this phenomenon?

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    The Maillard Reaction
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 08:23:38 (permalink)
    "Print thru" from tape storage has been noted as one cause of the "pre echos" we've grown familiar with on some of our favorite old recordings.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Print-through


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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 09:06:35 (permalink)
    On vinyl, the needle is tracking a groove. And on silent passages or before the song starts, as the record turns the groove next to the one the needle is currently in would have the ridges cut pretty deep and this would be picked up by the needle.  This was especially noticeable if the following groove was loud. 

    Same deal on the tape, but with a difference. The tape particles are actually magnetized. As the tape is stored on the reels (open reels or cassette) the magnetism from the  recorded tape will actually have the effect of magnetizing the particles in the tape touching it when it sets for long periods of time.   Old tapes that set for long periods of time will degrade as the magnetism interacts with the layer next to it over time. It's noticeable when playing old tapes. They lack highs and often become muddy sounding as the magnetic particles loose their original strength and alignment.

    In an attempt to minimize this, tapes were often stored wound to the end as opposed to re-wound ready for play. This way the ghost was "in the music" and not in the silence at the beginning where it was easily heard. 
    post edited by Guitarhacker - 2011/09/12 09:10:19

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    Danny Danzi
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 09:27:59 (permalink)
    +1000 to my brothers that posted up there.^ A prime example of this is Led Zeps "Whole Lotta Love" middle part. You can hear "way dooooown insiiiiiideee" before it actually hits as well as "woman....you need" before it hits. Anything like this that you would hear in digital recordings would be due to pre-delay on verbs etc or effects used in "pre" mode instead of "post" as well as effects in busses being set to 100% wet.

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    Kalle Rantaaho
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 11:42:13 (permalink)
    Thanks.
    Did I understand this correctly: The needle picks the sound in advance like "through the grapevine" , from the next cycle of the groove towards the centre of the disc (through the ridge between the grooves :o/ )?  That would sound logical to me.

    I've been aware of tapes copying through, but the vinyls have puzzled me, because I realised copy-through can't be the cause in a fresh record from tapes that have existed only a few weeks.


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    AT
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 12:21:07 (permalink)
    Yea, Danny, that was going to be my example.

    And as Guitar says, the answer was to store the tape tails out so any burn through came after the sound and was usually covered up.

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    RLD
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 12:21:55 (permalink)


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_Lotta_Love

    [A]t one point there was bleed-through of a previously recorded vocal in the recording of "Whole Lotta Love". It was the middle part where Robert [Plant] screams "Wo-man. You need it." Since we couldn't re-record at that point, I just threw some echo on it to see how it would sound and Jimmy [Page] said "Great! Just leave it."[5]
    post edited by RLD - 2011/09/12 12:28:40
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 14:47:39 (permalink)
    on the grooves on a record... ideally, the top of the groove would have a wide (relatively speaking of course) flat section at the top... and the musical date would be carved into the sides of the channel..... but that was not always the case.... the louder the music, the less space exists on the flat top section as the sides are carved deeper by the cutting head and the stylus will actually pick up the next groove's top cuts when there is silence in the current groove. 

    I'm guessing that as compression was used on R&R records this became more of an issue as the grooves were made deeper...I've even heard of the stylus jumping out of the groove due to the ridges being pretty extreme. 

    I'd just use a stack of pennies on the end of the arm..... 
    post edited by Guitarhacker - 2011/09/12 14:48:41

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    Dave King
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 15:03:11 (permalink)
    A prime example of this is Led Zeps "Whole Lotta Love" middle part.

     
    I always thought that was an intended effect.

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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 17:11:57 (permalink)
    Dave King
    A prime example of this is Led Zeps "Whole Lotta Love" middle part
    I always thought that was an intended effect.
    Me too.  The effect is too extreme to be due to tape print-through, which is normally something you hear only on very quiet passages.

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    AT
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/12 17:12:51 (permalink)
    Yes, it works, Dave.  But still, I imagine it was one of those happy accidents that Page just decided to use.

    The butthole surfers always swore that the violin on "Creep in the Celler" just happened to be on the tape backwards like that.  I don't know if I believe them, tho it is possible.  Just as it is completely possible Page "manufactured" an early echo after hearing a print through.  Still, both make a better story as told.

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    Guitarhacker
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/13 08:53:11 (permalink)
    I think what Page and the boys did was intentional creativity... they were in the same time frame and very likely influenced by what the Beatles were doing.... 

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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/13 12:22:53 (permalink)
    Yea, Page is one of the great producers.  I've read other tricks he came up with, just not that the pre-echo in WLL was intentional.  I'd love to know - one of my earliest intros into "how did they do that"?


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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/13 12:36:45 (permalink)
    Eddie Kramer who engineered the album is quoted as saying it wasn't print through but a previously recorded track.
    http://www.studioexpresso...kramerMCCrosstalk.html
             “What really happened was that during the mixing process there was an extra vocal track,” Kramer explains. “The master vocal we were using was fine. The other one kept breaking through because the console fader was not muting correctly. In the process, Jimmy Page and I looked at each other, cranked the reverb and it was perfect. It’s one of those wonderful mistakes that one keeps in. Too often today mistakes are not kept in. We are so ProTools-mad that we’ve become obsessed with cleaning tracks.”
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    AT
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    Re:What causes the "pre-echo" you often heard listening to vinyls and elsewhere? 2011/09/13 14:28:52 (permalink)
    Ah, good one. And a good one for Kramer and Page.

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