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Max Zero

Getting layered vocals a la Boston/the Cars/Queen

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How does one record and mix stuff like the 'ahs' in You're All I've Got Tonight?  Or stuff like that.

 

 

Does Logic Pro X have any sort of a function that will do it?  I wanna be able to hit a Cars button and sound like the Cars on my background whoas.  Or just give me a step-by-step of how it should be sung, panned, mixed, compressed, blah blah blah...

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Trolling?

 

No, I mean, what do you do to get that type of sound?  I've got four background vocal tracks all panned differently and it sort of does the trick but isn't quite the same.

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One common method that Queen would use was to get all three of them to sing each part, at least twice,so you'll get 3 diferent timbres, on each note.

You have to be dead nuts on with both pitch and phrasing, if you expect this to work.

Listen:


Good Luck,

MG

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Another note, a person can have a great solo voice and suck at singing harmonies with other voices. I grew up in a family of really good singers that had formal training singing in big chorus sections on stage. ( was the least gifted at singing but I was exposed to great singers all my life)  

It really takes allot of training and control to do it well, live or recording. Many of your good vocal groups spent years getting those chorus parts to work well often times growing up from childhood singing together.  The biggest adjustment is not letting the other parts distract you or put words in your mouth. A normal solo singer can be highly distracted by harmonies and start hitting notes he isn't supposed to. I often find this the case singing with others.

Back in my cover band days we'd have vocal practice to work out parts in detail. I always found it a major challenge and still do. I've gotten better over time and have gotten some decent recordings done using my own voice for all the parts. It still comes down to having good vocals with a good mic every time though. I don't care if you have the best gear, the best plugins, mics and best mixing techniques. If the vocal part is lame there's very little you can do to fix it mixing. Autotune programs are about the only thing going and we know how they can sterilize an otherwise nice vocal tone.

The good thing is you have unlimited tracks for recording and there's no reason way you can't keep tracking the parts over and over till you get the best takes. Plus you have editing capabilities you never had with tape to stitch tracks together and get the best from a collection of tracks compiled.

My rule of thumb is, if you can solo a vocal track and tolerate listening to it as a solo part only, its will probably sound good in a mix.

Many times Vocals sound OK while the mix is playing, but playing it back solo takes the blinders off and lets you hear what the part really sounds like. If its mediocre to good solo, it has a chance of sounding good in a full mix.  If it sounds awful solo, its likely being propped up by other parts of the mix and is going to drag that mix down.

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MarkGifford-1 wrote:

One common method that Queen would use was to get all three of them to sing each part, at least twice,so you'll get 3 diferent timbres, on each note.

You have to be dead nuts on with both pitch and phrasing, if you expect this to work.

Listen:


Good Luck,

MG


 

To this excellent post I would add the importance of multiple layers. If I recall correctly, there are 72 vocal parts (done with several singers per track, as Mark described) on Good Times Roll... and probably similar track counts on You're All I've Got Tonight and the other super-thick BGV parts on that classic first Cars album.

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You can record few same takes but with different voices and than use Melodyne to multiply this takes and set lines in harmony. With good editing in Melodyne it could sound very good... 

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