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881 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Postby sjm; Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:37 am FX chain for 60s/retro style vocals (Leslie? Reverb? Delay?)

I'm looking to emulate the sounds of mid-late 60s vocals. This is for a song that essentially has 2 distinct parts to it: a happy hippy sing-along-and-clap-your-hands chorus; and a trippy late-60s acid/psychadelic verse. I have recorded several takes of the vocals for double-tracking purposes, as well as some background oohs. I get the feeling that I'm sort of halfway there.

My biggest problem is figuring out what sort of FX chain I need to apply to both the main vocals and oohs and aahs in the trippy part. Not just what FX, but also what order they should go in. Suggestions for the cleaner singalong vocals would also be welcome, although that should be a lot simpler.

This is not my area of expertise at all, so I'd love some input on what I ought to be doing. In terms of general vibe for the song, I'm probably looking for a sort of mid-period Beatles (e.g. Sgt Peppers) sound. I'm also a big fan of the Kinks from the same period. Another - later - song I like with a similar vibe is Arnold Layne (Pink Floyd).

I'm assuming that reverb and (tape) delay are important, and that I am probably looking for a spring reverb for the trippier sounds - is that correct? Any pointers as to what would be good settings are appreciated.

I know that Leslie speakers were also used as vocal FX, but again I'm not really sure what sort of settings I'm looking for. I have managed to get a sort of acid bubbly sound from messing around randomly with a Leslie emu. I get the basic idea of how the speaker functions, but not how that translates into getting the right sound out of it.

So in short:
What are your suggestions for FX chains and settings for main and backing vocals in a 60s style track?
881 posts since 17 Apr, 2004

Postby sjm; Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:52 am Re: FX chain for 60s/retro style vocals (Leslie? Reverb? Delay?)

Seeing as no one is biting, I've rendered out the current state of the song and included some info on what I've done.


This is a WIP render of the song's current state to give you guys a little bit more context. The verse vocals are repeated, even though I have lyrics for both verses; I'm not happy with the verse recordings at all and need to redo the verses completely at some point (singing isn't something I'm any good at). But I'm sure you get the idea and can look past my vocal inadequacies. The instrumental parts in the verse are also placeholders - I worked out the basic chord progression on guitar, and everything else is really just me noodling around with some ideas. I'm thinking the chorus is just going to be basic guitar strumming and bass + clapping, tambourine, vocals, so largely as is with some polishing.

My current FX chains on the vocals are described below:

  • Noise gate
  • Plate reverb
The vocals are double tracked but not panned yet. I'm assuming I need to pan them both slightly differently.

  • Noise gate
  • Compressor

The signal is then split to two channels:
Clean vox
  • Small room reverb (approx 50% wet), relatively short decay and lots of ER (which might be a mistake)

Trippy vox
  • Leslie simulation; treble speaker is a lot faster than the bass, quite a high spread, medium drive
  • Reverb with ~4s decay and large size, ~25% wet

Again the vocals are double tracked, but not panned. The clean vox are slightly louder than the trippy vox.

Background Aaahs
  • Noise gate
  • EQ (low cut, high shelf boost)
  • Tape Delay with ~350 ms delay, and not too much feedback
  • A band reject autofilter
  • Leslie simulation, with similar settings to the trippy vox , but more drive and only 50% wet
  • Hall reverb, ~1.5 s (maybe I should turn this up?)
These aahs are also double tracked; this time I have them panned mid-left and mid-right.

I'm kinda flying blind here, so these are rather random... :)

I don't seem to have any spring reverbs outside of guitar amp sims, so if you think a spring reverb is what I need, suggestions for a good free/cheap spring reverb (no dongle) are welcome.

Thanks for any input.

Peace and love 8-)

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