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I'm wondering if anyone knows how Def Leppard would have gone about recording vocals on their albums... they tend to use a lot of layers... however their is always the dominant voice that sticks out... Has anyone played around and tried to get this sound? The singer isn't fantastic... but sounds great on recording...



moonbaby Wed, 08/10/2005 - 09:33

That post was earlier this year. Their producer, the immortal Mutt Lange, was a fiend with overdubs and the "latest" gadgets for the studio. His favorite digital toys back then were the AMS DMX & RMX and the (French) Publison Infernal Machine. The AMS gear was Britain's answer to Lexicon, and the Publison was the French equivalent to the Eventide Harmonizer. The AMS DMX offered sampling (floating 8-bit, I believe!) and the Publisons were notorious for breaking down (just like the French cars!), but they were highly prized in the '80s. It's the Publison that gave them the ability to get those highest notes, and their "digital grunge" adds to the color. The RMX was a cool 'verb, the DMX was a delay/sampler. Used in various combinations, they could easily make a single voice sound like a choir...

igotnosmoke Thu, 08/11/2005 - 07:02

thanks fo rthe posts guys... i was listening to Bad Name from Bon Jovi.. and its similar to what def leppard do.. i cant believe how big the verses sound despite only sounding like the one voice, ive never been able to get something close to that, next time you guys hear it pay attention... its quite interesting

mrufino1 Fri, 08/19/2005 - 23:00

Search google for"Mike Shipley." He did the engineering on those albums and on some forum I looked at a while ago he posted a very detailed explanation of this. I pasted it into a word document, here it is, copied from that. Hope it doesn't violate any rules or anythign, the quote is from Mike Shipley.

For the Def Leppard backing vocals on "pour some sugar" we layered 3 people singing in unison on 20 tracks..bounce them to one another 20 tracks and bounce them to one track....EQ'ing heavily on the bounces ..then we would repeat the process..we would rebounce the vocals a few times ..taking out the offensive frequencies very heavily on a narrow bandwidth first the honky frequency build up , then the shrill middle freq. the same way so the sound ends up kind of "concave" sounding with a lot of smooth high end.
One of the biggest parts of the sound though , is how Mutt would make everyone over emphasize the diction of the words...hard to explain...being animated in the pronunciation of the words gets the sound of the those B/V' does how tight the tracking up is...but by that record , Mutt and the Leps had had a lot of practice in tracking up vocals. With some of the 4 part harmonies we would end up with had such a distinct sound 'cos of Mutts voice. We would actually wear the tape out on the 2" because of playing and replaying the tape for months and months and......months.
We would not use reverb on the B/V's ..but I would use multi tap delays to thicken and widen the sound as much as I could..but of course , even more eq in the mix!
Hope this helps.
P.S ..."back then" we didnt have samplers and working out the offsets for the tape machines to fly the vocals was such a pain in the ass !!!
On their previous album I had to fly the vocals in to the choruses from half inch..two tracks at a time for however many pairs there were for all the harmonies and fitting it all on 24 tracks !!!
I don't take Protools for granted these days!!
I also used to have to fly in Queen's B/Vs as an assistant engineer and that was really very tricky because of so many overlapping parts its so different to how we do it now "cut and paste " wasn't even in the English language yet !!! are gonna laugh at this,but on both Pyromania and Hysteria we never used any mic pre's other than what were in the SSL 4K we had. Admittedly it was one of the early hand built SSl's so it had a much differend sound than whe SSL got so popular and stopped the hand building and used different parts etc. for the 4K.
For vocals we used a u67 and a good old 1176. Everything ....gtrs , drums ,vocals etc were all with the SSL pre's , we would just struggle with what we had and try to make everything sound as" un" natural as we could on purpose 'cos we knew we could make records the right way and get "natural'' sounds of drums and gtr's but we always go for something different with Mutt..and spend as long as it takes to get it..and that can be a while. The funny thing about it all was coming to the U.S. to work and the reaction from a lot of engineers and producers here in L.A was that "how dare you f**k with how records should be made" This was back in the mid 80's tho....and L.A was the home of pristine , by the book recording techniques. But the records did well and Mutt wanted to make records for the the kids next door who had just gone and seen Star Wars which was so much larger than life and would also like something different with their music ..that was his theory and he was pretty much right. He always wanted me to come up with"larger than life" (which means a blend of natural and un natural) sounds "cos he knew that kids could hear a difference, but it took a lot of messing around and experimenting to get the "total sound" we were after but it was amazing being given so much freedom to try things. Anyway Shan.sorry for the rant...hope that helps .

There's an interview with him as well, about 6 pages so I didn't want to copy it in!

anonymous Tue, 08/23/2005 - 19:12

I think the first minute or so of the song "Back in Black" by AC/DC sums up Mutt's "larger than life" concept perfectly. If that doesn't sound good on a P.A./monitoring system, forget it.

The most hideous thing that I heard that the Lep's did was to record every note of every chord individually to get a "fatter" sound. Can't remember which songs, but that's the legend, pretty scary stuff...

It would seem that Mutt must have some kind of speech impediment if it was he who influenced the vocal inflections on the less-than-classic "Pour Some Sugar" ("Peww Sem Shewgeewwown meuhhh!!!"). Harharhar!

Good ole' mutt.

TheArchitect Wed, 08/24/2005 - 04:31

alimoniack wrote:
The most hideous thing that I heard that the Lep's did was to record every note of every chord individually to get a "fatter" sound. Can't remember which songs, but that's the legend, pretty scary stuff...


Not legend, absolutely true. I've done it myself once or twice. Its a tedious process that ends up with a sound I would call 'different' not necessarily 'fatter' depending on how you mix/pan them together. If the timing of every track is not perfect though it sounds more like 'shit'

anonymous Thu, 08/25/2005 - 07:00

alimoniack wrote: Ahh jesus I'm gonna have to try it now...

LOL... I was thinking the same thing! I would love to hear a simple chord panned out. Very cool idea that will probably get me good and frustrated :wink:

Hmm, I wonder if I could set up six individual string pick-ups on my guitar, w/ six outputs going to 6 tracks... :lol: