I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips?

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Backbeat
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2007/07/29 09:44:41 (permalink)

I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips?

First: I'm new on audio recording. So this question may be stupid.

I have written a song, but I can't find a nice setting for the vocals.
Probably, there is too much to choose of for me (in Sonar LE).

I try to have some vocals in Jeff Lynne style, you may know him from ELO/Travelling Wilburys/Tom Petty. If I, let's say, try to imitate the vocalsound as in Handle Me With Care, I got completely lost.

I hear some reverb, I guess, but how can I get close to the sound? Any tips, anyone? I have read about compression in another topic, is compression involved here?

Regards!

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    Rev. Jem
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/07/30 23:32:34 (permalink)
    Going purely from memory (so what follows will be utter cobblers), Jeff Lynne vocals have a fair dose of reverb, slap-back delay, heavy compression & high-pass eq.
    #2
    Roflcopter
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/07/31 03:43:51 (permalink)
    This has some info, but is not very detailed:

    http://mixonline.com/recording/interviews/audio_richard_dodd/

    I'm a perfectionist, and perfect is a skinned knee.
    #3
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/07/31 07:33:03 (permalink)
    @ Rev. Jem
    thanks a lot, I will try that (in any combination).

    @Roflcopter
    nice info though, thanks for the link. I guess I'll have to tickle Richard Dodd until he gives away his settings ;-)

    Second question, if I may: I have the Sonar tutorial files of course, but is there somewhere a .cwp file available with vocals on it. Just to see how a basic setting works?
    #4
    Rev. Jem
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/07/31 19:43:22 (permalink)
    I don't know of one but a simple set up using my suggestions could be:

    • Create a new project (blank)
    • Insert an audio (Vocal) track, a (Reverb) bus & a (Master) bus
    • Set output of Reverb bus to Master bus
    • Set output of Master bus to soundcard outputs
    • Insert a compressor plugin in the audio track
    • Insert a delay plugin in the audio track
    • Insert & activate a send in the audio track setting its output to the Reverb bus
    • Activate audio track EQ as high-pass
    • Insert a reverb plugin in the bus

    Unless you're recording your vocals via a valve preamp that you can drive hard, stick a distortion plugin somewhere in the chain for a little warmth.

    Even simpler would be to omit the Reverb bus, insert all of the plugs in the audio track & set the audio track's output to the Master bus.
    #5
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/01 15:51:46 (permalink)
    That's great, Rev. Jem

    I understand that very clear. I guess everybody would need some basic input like this. I've tried very many settings, but it's about the whole idea, the main composition, right?

    A little strupid question, though: what's the point of sending the output to the master bus? Is this better than sending all output directly to my soundcard? What does the master bus do? I'm really sorry if this is like page one of the manual. I'm visual bound ;-)

    post edited by Backbeat - 2007/08/01 15:58:53
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    Rev. Jem
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/01 21:39:05 (permalink)
    Meh - no worries, Paul... hey, where are my manners ? Welcome to the forum, mate.

    I think that inserting a Master bus as the last channel through which all of your audio travels before hitting your soundcard is pretty much obligatory when constructing a project.

    Why, you ask ?


    • Finished your mix but want to alter the level globally ? Raise or lower the fader or insert a Gain envelope in the Master bus.
    • Want to add some "fairy dust" to your entire project ? Insert <favourite mastering plug> in the Master bus FX bin.
    • Not enough "pump" in your slammin club-mix ? Plonk a heavy compressor in the Master bus.

    There are more reasons I'm sure but you can see how this is very useful !

    #7
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 07:46:57 (permalink)
    Ah, right.
    The bus-thing is an eye-opener for me.
    A small step for Cakewalk, a major step for me ;-)

    I use Sonar LE, by the way, so I have to figure out all FX-options that you mention. There is Reverb and there is Reverb, right?
    I'm not gifted with a beautiful voice, so I have to have it engineered ;-)
    Not to mention that I want to add some close harmony vocals (I've added a vocal bus in order to balance that bit), but this is like climbing on mountain on bare feet: Doable, but it hurts ;-)

    #8
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 09:27:49 (permalink)
    In addition to the text above: why does the program only gives information about the generic effect on the main screen, not about the specific setting I've chosen? Was it British overdrive or American? Tiled room reverb or unplugged?
    Is this to make me more humble than I'm already am? (on this field of expertise, that is).
    Ok, I'll grab pen and paper.

    @Rev. Jem,
    What would be the <favourite mastering plug>. I think I like that one (why else would it be favourite).
    #9
    DonnyAir
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 10:23:35 (permalink)
    just to jump in here... on top of the already solid responses given...

    Beyond the technical side, you also want to consider the actual arrangment of these backing vocals.

    Lynne is very fond of serious vocal stacking; and from what I've heard, on some occasions, he's not only doubling the backup vocals but even tripling them.

    I also hear quite a bit of octave vocal work in the backing vox. So along with the "typical" 1/3/5 harmonies, there is also the the upper octave added as well. Some of these were likely done by a female vocalist, but could have been done by Lynne in a falsetto, too.

    This appears evident in some older ELO stuff, like Sweet Talkin' Woman, Strange Magic, Do Ya, Telephone Line etc.

    Also, consider that he was probably using the favorite "go to" processors of the time, and of the location.

    UK recordings in the sixties and seventies implemented quite a bit of Fairchild gain reduction, and this would have certainly added its own texture as well.

    But I think if you start by dissecting his actual vocal parts, and what he was doing, it would help you get to where you want to be.

    FWIW

    http://www.donnythompson.com
    #10
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 16:27:52 (permalink)
    Thanks DonnyAir,

    I appreciate that. Thanks for the info, can I ask some questions? I have googled a bit on the items that you've mentioned, but I am not sure if I understand it all well.

    Vocal stacking
    I have copied the leadvocal track, but -of course- nothing happened until I added effects. Not bad. But is it done by singing again, thus using little fluctuations per recording (and make it more dynamic)?

    The typical 1/3/5 harmonies
    That is about close harmony, but is this doable by pitching? Is it all up, or all down? It sounds messy when I do that. I probably have to be careful on the effects?
    I tried the falsetto as well, pretending to be young Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys ;-), but this is not what I can do in morninghours...

    Fairchild gain reduction
    That is a tube limiter, right? I remember that a tube is warmer to play with, with a guitar. Does the limiter limit the peaks in this case? If so, what would be the effect? Is it 'old radio'-like?

    The actual arrangement
    Good point. The bad thing is that it isn't easy, to put it mildly, but I will figure it out. The good thing though is that I appreciate so called simple songs much better.

    Favorite "go to" processors
    This leaves me blank. What are they?
    #11
    DonnyAir
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 17:54:12 (permalink)
    have copied the leadvocal track, but -of course- nothing happened until I added effects.


    this is best achieved by what you suspected, and that is to actually sing each part of the harmony a number of different times. You'd be surprised at how little effect you really need when you finish this up, because as you mentioned..it's the little fluctuations and tonal differences that actually create their own effect.

    That is about close harmony, but is this doable by pitching

    again, best results are by actually singing the harmonies as opposed to using a pitch shift.

    Fairchild gain reduction
    That is a tube limiter, right


    The Fairchild (model 670 for example) was a very popular, tube driven, gain reduction device used during the golden age of classic rock (and even dating back to the early '50's.) I was not suggesting you run out and find one... LOL... first of all, you probably can't, and second of all, if you do, they're running around 25 grand...
    I was merely pointing out that this may have been a bit of the sound you were analyzing.

    Favorite "go to" processors

    Again, something along the lines of what was popular in control rooms during that time period; LA2's, 1176's, etc.

    Not to mention various high dollar Neumann, (U series) AKG (C-12's, 24's) or Telefunken mics.

    But none of this should inhibit you. Experiment with real time vocal stacking, slight compression (on mix, not during tracking) as well as various EQ adjustments per voc to give a sense of variance between all the parts.

    have fun, good luck.

    http://www.donnythompson.com
    #12
    Roflcopter
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 18:33:43 (permalink)
    first of all, you probably can't, and second of all, if you do, they're running around 25 grand...


    Found this tho, looks like these guys did their best to get as close as possible:

    http://www.tubeequipment.com/

    I'm a perfectionist, and perfect is a skinned knee.
    #13
    Backbeat
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/03 19:05:34 (permalink)
    Too bad, it comes only in the color black. Doesn't match on my wall.
    #14
    DonnyAir
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    RE: I want a Jeff Lynne alike vocals, any tips? 2007/08/04 08:28:30 (permalink)
    well now... at that price I might as well get two of them

    It does look nice though... much nicer than the old models I had a chance to use when I was a hired gun years ago.

    Wonder if they give off the same amount of BTU's... LOL

    You could fry an egg on 'em. Those babies got HOT.

    http://www.donnythompson.com
    #15
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