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Recreating Paperback Writer Vocal Effect
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3 March 2014
Mr. Kite
910 Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, Pepperland
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I love the echo effect in Paperback Writer and want to know how to recreate it. It was originally done with send tape echo echo delay which is a complicated process you can read about here:

STEED is what created this effect and similar effects on Everybody's Tryin To Be My Baby and Birthday.

Does anyone know how this can be recreated in GarageBand or Audacity?

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3 March 2014
A Park in the Dark
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Mr. Kite said

PeterWeatherby said
Yeah, without knowing exactly what settings they used in terms of the delay time and the decay factor, it's hard to pin-point how to repeat it with Audacity. You may have better luck with the GVerb plug-in than the standard echo settings. Another tip that I've picked up from using Audacity over the years is that you'll most likely want to have two duplicate vocal tracks, one without any effects and one with the extra echo/reverb added. That seems to work better than just using one vocal track and trying to apply occasional effects to it.

That's an interesting idea, I hadn't thought about that. I'll have to try that too.

What exactly is the difference?

When you apply echo and/or reverb to a vocal track, it loses some of its original clarity. It doesn't sound like a clean vocal track anymore because it's smothered in effects. If you can have a clean vocal track with a separate "effects" track, the original remains with all of its clarity and quality, while the effects are still there. It's also nice to be able to mess around with the output levels on the effects track separately.

I use this technique with pretty much every vocal track I use, because I always want some degree of reverb on the track, but I don't want it screwing up the quality of the original track. My technique is to simply duplicate (copy-paste) the original vocal track, add whatever effects I want, and then drop the output level on that effects track to 1 or 2 clicks below the "clean" vocal track.

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6 March 2014
Oyster Black Pearl
Liverpool, UK
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Great thread, just a thought-working with tape delay probably utilised variations in tape speed? Something that is difficult to replicate with static, linear digital audio tracks. I seem to remember reading the engineers would use pencils to allow the tape to be fed in at random amounts, using the torque of the machine to provide the required amount of "wobble ". This may not have been used at all in this instance, but may help to give an idea of how inventive the processes were.

Peter's suggestion about double tracking/keeping one track clean is excellent, one way to replicate the above may be to fade the second track up and down slightly? If Audacity allows, it may also help if you can pre-fade the vocal (through an auxiliary send) to the reverb, allowing you to vary the return level from the reverb while keeping the original audio clean?

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Mr. Kite
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