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Thread: Learning about backup harmonies.

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    Learning about backup harmonies.

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    I recently read an article about recording and mixing backup vocals. I wanted to experiment a little with it so, I resurrected this song simply because it had a lot of backup vocal tracks. (I mixed the whole damn song just for this experiment.)

    PMC5.mp3

    The article talked about ways to give each backup vocal its own space in the sound field. It mentioned tracking backup vocals with different mics and pres from what was used to record the lead vocal. This is so that when layering (or stacking) several vocal tracks, similar tonal characteristics wouldn’t be compounded.

    It also discussed panning the vocal that is least like the lead vocal nearest the center and the ones that are on or nearer to the fundamental pitch off to the sides.

    That is what I did with this song, (although it was a very busy song to work with.) I placed the highest harmony backup near the center beside the lead vocalist. The other harmonies are panned more to the outsides.

    Do you think it keeps it cleaner?

    RD

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    That is really really nice. I've always thought the most important factor in good rich harmony vocals is the performance. The voices need to blend well so they sound like a unit. Yours do that very well. There's no wrong answer when panning them and effecting them. I think different songs require different approaches. I do always roll off the low end and boost the top somewhat so they float a little more, that's my only hard and fast rule.

    Whatever you did sounds sweet.

  3. #3
    60's guy Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by RawDepth
    I placed the highest harmony backup near the center beside the lead vocalist. The other harmonies are panned more to the outsides.

    Do you think it keeps it cleaner?

    RD
    I think placing the highest harmony close to the lead vocal gave it a certain duet effect which is rather nice.

    Great song too! I'm a sucker for anything that has that Anita Baker thing going on.

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    i find that slightly panning gives a sound a more 'direct' image

    i basically mix the same way, except i tend to overdo it at times

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    Sounds good to me.

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    What a lovely sounding track. I tend to track my BV's taking each harmony 8 times, pan 4 hard left and 4 hard right for each line. It works for me, but you seem to have got whatever you did, just right. Lovely, clean and spacious. Nice Bass too!

    Cheers
    ".... the time will come to carry on, and the Red sky will abate ..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by 60's guy View Post
    ...Great song too! I'm a sucker for anything that has that Anita Baker thing going on.
    Yeah, I'm the same way with piano. I could mix songs with piano all day long and never grow tired of em. I mean, I'm not into chamber music or anything. In fact I like to hear it in rock, pop, country, blues, r&b, soul, and smooth jazz. I just love the sound of a well played piano.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RawDepth View Post
    I recently read an article about recording and mixing backup vocals. I wanted to experiment a little with it so, I resurrected this song simply because it had a lot of backup vocal tracks. (I mixed the whole damn song just for this experiment.)

    PMC5.mp3

    The article talked about ways to give each backup vocal its own space in the sound field. It mentioned tracking backup vocals with different mics and pres from what was used to record the lead vocal. This is so that when layering (or stacking) several vocal tracks, similar tonal characteristics wouldn’t be compounded.

    It also discussed panning the vocal that is least like the lead vocal nearest the center and the ones that are on or nearer to the fundamental pitch off to the sides.

    That is what I did with this song, (although it was a very busy song to work with.) I placed the highest harmony backup near the center beside the lead vocalist. The other harmonies are panned more to the outsides.

    Do you think it keeps it cleaner?

    RD
    Those are some great ideas; I'm gonna try them!

    LOVELY tune, and beautiful singing and playing. It does indeed have an Anita Baker thing going on... I've got some praise stuff that this technique set should work really well on!
    Phil My website
    (Win7/Core i7-3770k/32GB/MOTU 8pre/StudioOne 2.6/Melodyne Editor/EastWest)

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