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How to get that vocalsound of Daniel Lanois´ "Here Is What Is" ?
Old 16th June 2009
  #1
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How to get that vocalsound of Daniel Lanois´ "Here Is What Is" ?

How to get that Lanois vocal sound of "here is what is", or even come close to it.
Mainly the sound from songs like "where will i be", "hear is what is" and especially "harry".
I never realized how it´ll work to get that kind of opening of the room on the "hiss" and "schhhh" (especially in "Harry"), but in a way it doesn´t sound hard an amature like "there´s a bit too much of reverb".
So what´s the way to get that magical touch?
And als on the other songs ("here is what is" and especially "where will i be"). How to get that damn wide open space not covering the rest of the mix. Think in "where will i be" he´s working with different delays for left and right pan but i think that´s not the whole deal is it?
Old 16th June 2009
  #2
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I asked him about that when he had his gearslutz Q&A

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-dan...formances.html

On the HIWI DVD you can see the tracking of most of those songs. He seems to use mostly a Sony C37A LDC valve microphone, sometimes a ribbon and in the past he has used MD409. AKG C12, Shure SM-58 and others a lot.

I think he compresses a lot the signal but hardly hi-passes it - but you're right it's hard to get that wonderful vocal sound.

Let's see what insights other gearslutz have, I would love to be able to get that sound myself.
Old 16th June 2009
  #3
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A huge part of the sound of those mixes, IMO, is the fact that there are really not a whole lot of things going on. Quite the opposite actually, it's very few elements surrounded by a TON of space that allows for the beauty of, say, a non hi-passed vocal. And/or all those delays that create vibe. The arrangement leaves space for all the tone and echo effects, and therein lies the vibe.

And yes, it sounds like lots of good sounding compression! heh

Lovely music and film to boot! Big Lanois fan here.
Old 17th June 2009
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mertmo2 View Post
A huge part of the sound of those mixes, IMO, is the fact that there are really not a whole lot of things going on. Quite the opposite actually, it's very few elements surrounded by a TON of space that allows for the beauty of, say, a non hi-passed vocal. And/or all those delays that create vibe. The arrangement leaves space for all the tone and echo effects, and therein lies the vibe.

And yes, it sounds like lots of good sounding compression! heh

Lovely music and film to boot! Big Lanois fan here.
Yes, maybe thats the point. The space the arrangement leaves for those kind of nice vibecreating delays. Thanks for the hint, i was so much impressed by this that i didn´t get the point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santiago View Post
I asked him about that when he had his gearslutz Q&A

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-dan...formances.html

On the HIWI DVD you can see the tracking of most of those songs. He seems to use mostly a Sony C37A LDC valve microphone, sometimes a ribbon and in the past he has used MD409. AKG C12, Shure SM-58 and others a lot.

I think he compresses a lot the signal but hardly hi-passes it - but you're right it's hard to get that wonderful vocal sound.

Let's see what insights other gearslutz have, I would love to be able to get that sound myself.
Ah...I´m new on GS and didn´t realize untlill know that there is an Q&A archieve. Know I know. heh Thanks for that and also for the identification of the Sony, didn´t get what mic this was by watching the film. Big Up!
Old 17th June 2009
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reiner View Post
Yes, maybe thats the point. The space the arrangement leaves for those kind of nice vibecreating delays. Thanks for the hint, i was so much impressed by this that i didn´t get the point.



Ah...I´m new on GS and didn´t realize untlill know that there is an Q&A archieve. Know I know. heh Thanks for that and also for the identification of the Sony, didn´t get what mic this was by watching the film. Big Up!

Welcome friend.
Big Lanois fan here, "SHINE".!..... just a killer sounding recording.
Yea, I agree on the vocals, when the vocals come in, you can hear all that heavenly glory not cleaned up , it's just a feeling of warmth, fuzzy/ lovellyness. Sounds like a descent mic with a killer pre/ compressor combo.
This vocal chain sounds very thought out and ouzzes with what goes in is what comes out.

Steely
Old 7th July 2009
  #6
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Actually, there is another "key" to the Lanois vocal sound we have not mentioned:

Put the vocal track in the center and pan everything else hard left or right (except snare, bass drum and bass, although sometimes he pans those as well).

This creates an enormous "space" in the center of the stereo field for the voice to occupy. Of course the Lanois approach is not just for mixing, it starts at writing the instruments parts and recording them so that they do not step on the vocals.

I've lately been doing this in my mixes (I'm a homestudio rat, so don't think I was doing this at Abbey Road or Ocean Way) and it does actually work quite well...
Old 7th July 2009
  #7
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I love the concept of hard pan but it rarely work for me. It doesn't glue the performance - It sounds weird if you hard pan without any slapback etc. I guess if I used short delay etc panned to the other side it could work. Anyway I do like that sound on other (old) records when the drums are panned to one side etc. I don't use that many effect and most of the intruments are dry in the mix so the only way to get mix to work is pan almost everything closer to the center. If that makes sense.

I guess the "key" is to use delay...
Old 7th July 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatgreatriver View Post
I love the concept of hard pan but it rarely work for me. It doesn't glue the performance - It sounds weird if you hard pan without any slapback etc. I guess if I used short delay etc panned to the other side it could work. Anyway I do like that sound on other (old) records when the drums are panned to one side etc. I don't use that many effect and most of the intruments are dry in the mix so the only way to get mix to work is pan almost everything closer to the center. If that makes sense.

I guess the "key" is to use delay...
I think you're right, I guess Lanois in most of his recordings uses either delay or "bleed" from other instruments into the vocal microphone as "glue" between the separate hard-panned tracks.
Old 7th July 2009
  #9
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In most of the pictures I have seen of his studio, there are always a couple of LA2As in the picture. Those are in the chain.
Old 7th July 2009
  #10
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Between the HIWI DVD and last year's Slutz Q&A lots of Lanois secrets were revealed. I agree that the vocal on 'Where Will I Be' is lush and the delays are impeccable.

For most it appears to be: Sony C37A > LA2A > Neve 1066 > RADAR

On the DVD he's using an SM7B for vocals on the title track.

Delays almost always an AMS DMX15-80S. NO reverb (he says this).

Also, there are two separate drum tracks on 'Where Will I Be'. The first is from a 'Maker' session with Willie Green 20 years earlier. The second is Brian Blade playing on top. Each are panned hard L-R. This really adds depth and makes that song unique on the album.

The interesting thing about Lanois is he uses simple gear that he knows well.

AMS DMX for delays
PCM70 and Lexicon Prime Time for atmosphere treatments
LA2A's (lots of them)
Neve 1066 pres

I've seen many photos and video of both his Toronto studio and the one at Silver Lake (both feature prominently in the DVD) and that gear list above is about all there is for outboard in both studios, that's it. Other than that I did see a 10 slot 500 rack with api 512c's and 550b's in the Toronto loft.

Other mics on that session are Shure SM7B, RCA 77DX and 44BX for vocals, Senn MD409, RCA 77 and Coles 4038 for guitar (through Fender Champs) and a U67, the RCA's, a D12, RE20 and some 421's on drums.

Oh, and (I like this part) the monitors sitting on top of the Neve 8068 are Mackie HR824's.
Old 7th July 2009
  #11
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That Willie Green track from the "maker" is itself a leftover from the Yellow Moon sessions. It was co-opted even for The Maker! I'm glad you pointed that track out, as much as I've heard HIWI, I never caught that detail.

Crazy and awesome that he's still recycling source material for new songs...
Old 15th July 2009
  #12
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Thanks for your answers.
There´s lot of stuff to try during the next recording and mixing sessions now.
Old 19th March 2015
  #13


Here is a picture of Daniel Lanois' vocal chain.

LA2A>Pultec EQ

And the full interview.... https://youtu.be/ihcPhJF3wyg?t=22m
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