Chorus of Perfect Day Cover by Lou Reed - What effect is used in the original?

atulisrockin

New member
I have been working on a cover of Perfect Day by Lou Reed for a vocal grading exam. So I thought I'd record a cover of it to post in the future. It looks the verse is pretty clean with just reverb added in the original. But I can't figure out how they get this wide and large sounding chorus. It could even be a chorus effect on the vocal?

Anyway I have attached an mp3 file of me singing the first verse and chorus and also linked to the original song. Any feedback appreciated. I take singing lessons every week so I could incorporate that into my vocal technique itself or it may be a production thing. Thanks in advance for anyone checking this post out and for any feedback given.

Lou Reed - Perfect Day - YouTube
 

Attachments

  • Perfect Day Cover 1st Verse and Chorus.mp3
    1.8 MB · Views: 20

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
If I were to replicate the vocal sound in the chorus, I would:

a) double track the chorus vocal, then
b) insert an auto double-tracking VST on the second take, and
c) use Vacuumsounds ADT plugin to do this.

The Vacuumsound ADT is freeware. I suggest using this because its default setting is to spread the effect around the centre. You get your dry first take up the middle, while your take with ADT is spread left and right around it.

And I suggest doing this because I've used it exactly that way to get that effect.

If you don't have the ADT, here is a link:

Audio Plug-Ins
 
Hi,
The verse, as you say is just plain, close, and dry.
The choruses to me sound like two recordings panned wide apart - There might be a third one in the centre - I'm not sure.
Record one and play with the fader to see what works.

There's pretty heavy reverb on there but there's a distortion to it too. Whether that's a deliberately used distortion or just coming from preamp/compressor...I've no idea.

I'd record twice, pan wide, compress quite hard, reverb heavily, then add some subtle distortion plugin to taste...See where that gets you.
 

atulisrockin

New member
Thanks so much both for the advice. I didn't think of double tracking but it makes perfect sense now. Just going to experiment with both of your suggestions and see what I can come up with. Going to have to get that chorus pretty spot on for both takes, it has been a while since I did any double tracking!
 
With the greatest of respect to Lou Reed, being spot on wont help you sound more like him. ;)
Timing is important but pitch-wise he was pretty loose.
 

atulisrockin

New member
Ha ha yeah his live versions of the song sound random. And even the sheet music has accidental flats in it in the verses. Yes, I was wondering if Lou Reed really double tracked the chorus. He is well known for never repeating things and having an improvisation style. I had a go at recording the chorus, timing is not exactly in sync so I need to work on it a little bit more, hopefully without killing the feel of the song..
 
Well, apologies! Got to eat my words.
I was going from memory there but listening properly it's not sung twice (or more) at all!!
It certainly sounds like it, but it's not.

Flipping polarity on either side substantially cancels the vocal part, and there are no cascading consonants, so that tells us it's just one take after all.

I still think double track-wide pan-big reverb, then a third copy relative quiet in the middle would get you very close to the sound
but I guess on the actual recording they're just relying on a big-ass stereo reverb effect and lots of compression to get that sense of width.

There is a Classic Albums episode on transformer but, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure they don't cover the vocals for this chorus.
 

atulisrockin

New member
Ah cool, that is a relief I don't have to double track my vocal track to an insane level of precision then :)

I will get 3 copies of the same chorus then, send two of them left and right and one in the centre. I am not a producer as such but I can certainly try some plugins, parallel compression with distortion on the tracks with a centre panned copy in the middle? I will have a play and see what comes up.
 
Ah cool, that is a relief I don't have to double track my vocal track to an insane level of precision then :)

I will get 3 copies of the same chorus then, send two of them left and right and one in the centre. I am not a producer as such but I can certainly try some plugins, parallel compression with distortion on the tracks with a centre panned copy in the middle? I will have a play and see what comes up.

If you're trying with multiple copies, just to see how it goes, they'd still have to be unique recordings - Not digital duplicates.
As I say, pretty sure I was wrong and it's a single vocal recording.

If I was trying to emulate this right now I'd probably record one take, send it to a heavy stereo reverb, and pretty heavily compress all of that.
If that doesn't give the width I'm looking for I might try sending to two reverbs, panning one left and one right, then make subtle changes between them.

If that still doesn't sound right I'd go back to single reverb and try a very very tight stereo delay plugin - I don't think that's what's being used but it's something else that might sound close.
It'd need to be so tight that you can't really tell it's a delay, though.

Failing all of that I'd record three times, even though they didn't... one L, one R, and one centre, heavy reverb and compression, then play with the level of the middle fader until it sounds right.

Maybe I'm over thinking it and it's just the stark contrast between verse and chorus but the chorus vocals do sound wider than I'd expect from just using some stereo verb.
 

atulisrockin

New member
Ok cool, I will try out a few things and post a recording here to see how close to the mark I am getting, even simple double tracking with panning was already sounding much closer to the original already. Thanks for suggestions.
 

atulisrockin

New member
If I were to replicate the vocal sound in the chorus, I would:

a) double track the chorus vocal, then
b) insert an auto double-tracking VST on the second take, and
c) use Vacuumsounds ADT plugin to do this.

The Vacuumsound ADT is freeware. I suggest using this because its default setting is to spread the effect around the centre. You get your dry first take up the middle, while your take with ADT is spread left and right around it.

And I suggest doing this because I've used it exactly that way to get that effect.

If you don't have the ADT, here is a link:

Audio Plug-Ins

Ok so I tried this out and it has worked really well! I double tracked the chorus and sent one of the other takes to the ADT plugin. Going to keep at this until I get closer to the sound I want.

Attached the new mp3 mix at the end.
 

atulisrockin

New member
Thanks man, it was so easy to do as well. I am going to keep working on my performance and the accuracy of the double tracking but that's it really.
 

Snowman999

Member
If I were to replicate the vocal sound in the chorus, I would:

a) double track the chorus vocal, then
b) insert an auto double-tracking VST on the second take, and
c) use Vacuumsounds ADT plugin to do this.

The Vacuumsound ADT is freeware. I suggest using this because its default setting is to spread the effect around the centre. You get your dry first take up the middle, while your take with ADT is spread left and right around it.

And I suggest doing this because I've used it exactly that way to get that effect.

If you don't have the ADT, here is a link:

Audio Plug-Ins

I just have to ask, because that's pretty precise instructions. This is the modern way of doing it?

I know Bowie is credited as Producer of Transformer, and Ronson arranger. But, it's obviously Ronson's talent that made this album as great as it is. Second only to Reed himself. It was Ronson's arrangements of Bowie's Ziggy years that made them as classic as they are. Mick Ronson one of the best that never achieved the status he rightfully deserved. He has two magnificent solo albums.
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
OP asked how to get a particular effect, and I supplied a method of achieving it.

That doesn't mean that it is the actual method used on the original recording.

However, I expect it is a pretty close digital reproduction of it.

Ken Townsend developed a method of tape-based automatic double-tracking for John Lennon who hated doing it. It may well be that that was how Lou Reed's effects was created, and which the method I suggested reproduces.
 

Snowman999

Member
OP asked how to get a particular effect, and I supplied a method of achieving it.

That doesn't mean that it is the actual method used on the original recording.

However, I expect it is a pretty close digital reproduction of it.

Ken Townsend developed a method of tape-based automatic double-tracking for John Lennon who hated doing it. It may well be that that was how Lou Reed's effects was created, and which the method I suggested reproduces.

It was just so exact. Very cool.
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
It was just so exact. Very cool.

It was so exact because only just recently I had been working on a track in which I was trying to emulate a vocal effect I heard on a Bryan Ferry song. During the course of experimentation, I used ADT on a second vocal track behind the main vocal. That didn't sound exactly like the effect Bryan Ferry had, but I liked it, so I stuck with it. When I listened to the Lou Reed track that OP posted about, I noted that it sounded very similar.
 

Snowman999

Member
It was so exact because only just recently I had been working on a track in which I was trying to emulate a vocal effect I heard on a Bryan Ferry song. During the course of experimentation, I used ADT on a second vocal track behind the main vocal. That didn't sound exactly like the effect Bryan Ferry had, but I liked it, so I stuck with it. When I listened to the Lou Reed track that OP posted about, I noted that it sounded very similar.

Avalon is one of the sexiest albums I've ever heard. Ferry has some voice. It's one of those rare perfect albums.
 
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