How to get a Lennon-esque vocal sound?

What plugins should I use to get a Lennon-esque vocal sound. In particular, I like the vocal sound on “Glass Onion”. Any ideas?

leslie on some. distorted tape echo on others.

If you your question is “What plugins” in Cubase 6 “should I use to get a Lennon-esque vocal sound” in Cubase 6 the thread is at the right spot here. :wink:

Anyway do you have a particular vocal sound of a particular song that you particularly would like to approximate in Cubase 6 with Cubase 6 Plugins? :slight_smile:

For those days a slap back is very typical for some songs.
In general I think it is interesting how they used to pan more and also pan less symmetrical on the mixes in the old days. Incredible that here even was a time where Pan was a feature when today it is such implicitness.

Also obviously the old mixes are very breathy and dynamical. EQ- wise the sound is more emphasized in the mids and has less cutting highs then our modern productions. That warmer and less aggressive to the ears. The sound of the vocals also comes from the entire mix and how it sits in there. It’s not just processors and the effects on the vocal.

If you want to you can attach a small zip that contains a project file with a voice recording that you would like to put the effect on to one of your posts. Then this community can find the right plugin chain and mix for what you want on a concrete example. It would be an interesting collective talk.

Here are some of my suggestions. We should have a concrete song in mind of which we try to approximate the sound however.


Not to much high end

Experiment maybe with wah wah?
Experiment with some Chorus?

Delay Reverb
Short Reverb…
Slap Back

Ohh yes, and lets google for John lennon vst and find this.


Another great post by Jan. :sunglasses:

Nice article as well, that was quite informative. Can’t wait to try some of those suggestions :slight_smile:

The solo Lennon stuff after the Beatles is thick with slapback delay often.

That said, Glass Onion doesn’t sound like it has much ambience, maybe some small plate or room sound. It’s pretty in-your-face. It does sound like it is doubled. There’s an up-front John, and another track of him mixed noticeably lower.

I would go with some sort of lightly-applied fake analog saturation effect first, then some compression, to get it very present and up in the mix without jumping out. Double track and mix one back a bit, applying the same insert effects. This takes some talent in singing to sound good, or melodyne. You choose. Find a small plate or studio room reverb and apply appropriately.

EDIT: I’m not so sure what I’m perceiving as a doubled vocal isn’t a single slap, panned away slightly, maybe with a little modulation. Would be much easier to track if it is :wink: Try a VST tape emulation delay with a single repeat mixed back enough to make it fairly not obvious.

Same here. If I were after this kind of sound, I would try both: double-tracking and short (maybe modulated) delay.

So … if I would try this with CB and it’s stock (and additional content) plug-ins, I would use:

  • Double tracking the vocals (and aligning the takes manually, because I’m sure couldn’t align them during takes as well as JL)
  • DaTube
  • Magneto
  • Rotary (or even a slight touch of flanger)
  • Karlette (or MonoDelay)
    and try to find the best combination out of these.

Yeah, listened again. It has to be a tape effect, or the most accurate vocal double tracking ever over some very tricky phrases.

Also, don’t underestimate the rest of the mix. For fun, try panning the bass 75% left and the drums 75% right, after changing the panner for anything that’s stereo (e.g. drums group) to the stereo dual panner, or you’ll lose one side.

A lot of the “stereo” Beatles tracks were mixed like this.

John Lennon was known for his wanting to double track everything, but I’m not sure about Glass Onion. BTW, being accurate in double tracking isn’t necessarily hard: I’ve had singers behind the mike who have a hard time singing the same track differently on a second run…

Luck, Arjan

Perhaps, but before digital, on a 3-4 minute song full of vocals there would have to be some tell-tale sign that it is either a double track or a short delay. In this case, it seems to be a short delay. I’ve been wrong before. My opinion.

Not much help , but a quick search suggests it was double tracked " in places ";

One other thing … the Beatles used the Fairchild 670 for a huge number of their vocal tracks … might fire that up and see how it goes (UAD-1 or -2, unless you’ve got the original hardware unit, in which case you’ve also probably got George Martin’s phone number). :smiley:

Good points… :smiley:

In some songs there are doubles. In some songs the voice has a slapback I agree.

Also I think in some cases recordings where maybe not double tracked but one vocal take is duplicated paned open, time shifted and slightly processed different.

For newcomers, in Cubase 6 that would be a right click on your vocal track and choose duplicate.
Then in the inspector you can find Track Delay in Milliseconds. I would start with values calculated from the delay time in milliseconds formula or one of the hundreds of delay time calculators around the web.

By the way… Karlette is free and available:
We have just release new versions of Neon and Karlette which should be working fine with current operating systems and even on 64-bit systems.
Please find these plug-ins under

Apparently the thread has been moved to the lounge because it is not a C6 topic. As I have written in my post before, it could have been one. I think it would be interesting and fun if we could have a concrete example project so we can try some of our Cubase 6 vst mixing chain ideas hands on.

Here is another interesting pice I found about Lennon and voice processing.

There is lots of literature about the production part.


Don’t forget the “loudness war” problem when trying to reproduce old school vocal textures. His vocals are in your face on that track, but it is still very low by today’s standards. The backing tracks are even further down and panned out well away from his voice. They are also a bit eq scooped around his primary vocal range. Anything close to center is WAAAAY low in the mix. All of these things provide for the up front sound.

If you start slamming everything, you loose that immediacy. Even if you pan + eq extensively.

I guess what I’m saying, is mix the entire song old school if you want to get that old school texture.

WOW! That’s great! I’ve thought Steinberg had forgotten Karlette and it was on my list for reasons not to go to W7/64bit. Now there’s only approx 99 things left on the list :frowning:

What’s…um…Karlette do? :open_mouth:

It’s a multi-tap tape delay.

That’s what it looks like, not “what does it do” :laughing: