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'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

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'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

Postby Elephone » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:11 pm

I was reminded of this sound in that Dollar 'Mirror Mirror' track on Top of the Pops on BBC4. It's a kind of glistening, sparkly-airy effect heard in Bohemian Rhapsody on the vocal harmonies and a lot of ABBA songs.

Focusrite's VoiceMaster Pro units had a setting called 'Vintage Harmonics' "...designed to emulate a classic tape-based vocal enhancement technique employed during the 1970' s."


"During this period, engineers discovered that if vocals were recorded with a Dolby® A unit switched into the signal chain, and then played back with the Dolby® A unit switched off, a pleasing harmonic emphasis was added."

'Vintage Harmonics' processor reproduces this effect during recording by compressing the audio (relative to frequency) below a certain threshold. Unlike the original method however, this process has the added benefit of variable threshold (for both mid and high bands) and depth control, so that the effect can be instantly tailored to suit any voice."

Is there a plugin or compression/filter technique that emulates this effect?

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Re: 'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

Postby desmond » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:21 pm

You might be able to do it with Satin, perhaps..?

I have a VMPro in the rack. I generally left the processing stuff off, as I didn't really like it that much...
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Re: 'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

Postby Elephone » Thu Feb 07, 2019 6:28 pm

I don't like any of the examples I've given particularly, funnily enough, but I thought it might sound good on hats and cymbals. :lol:
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Re: 'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

Postby James Perrett » Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:58 pm

desmond wrote:You might be able to do it with Satin, perhaps..?

Yes, Satin does the full Dolby A decode or can decode with the HF band disabled. However, I think that modern multiband processing can give you a much more controllable version of this - the full Dolby A treatment is too much for most things in my experience.
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Re: 'Vintage Harmonics' effect using Dolby

Postby Mixedup » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:41 am

Acustica used to do a free one but I don't think they have it any more. There was a Cubase workshop in SOS a few years ago that explained how to set the effect up manually. https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/bright-idea
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