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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #1 
This might sound like a geeky, obsessive kind of question, but when I listen to Joy Division, I think Ian's got quite a deep voice and sometimes I don't know whether he was a baritone or a bass. I sometimes compare him with David Bowie, and Ian's voice sounds deeper than that... I don't know.

I don't trust Wikipedia - there are some things that it definitely gets wrong.

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PatTeasdale

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Reply with quote  #2 
That will be due to the harmonizer [eek] .... honest
Keef

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Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, we'll done Pat. It's been a while since that particular fire has been stoked! ;-)

dmxi

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Reply with quote  #4 
so,whats this harmonizer 'thingy' all about?m.johnsons 'an ideal for a living' brushes this topic but i never got the 'whens,whys & whats it good for' kind a thing?was it used occasionally,at concerts or was it always in use?can't believe it somehow......
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dmxi

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Reply with quote  #5 
hi em,found this:

http://messageboard.tapeop.com/viewtopic.php?printertopic=1&t=61061&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0&finish_rel=-10000
& this discussion thread:
http://www.soundonsound.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=MRT&Number=193164&Searchpage=1&Main=191877&Words=+Replicant&topic=&Search=true

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ravachol

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have an Eventide Harmonizer and it does wonderfull things, but it doesn't change a barritone voice to a bass voice. You can use it to "faten" a voice, make it more "thick".
One of the algorithms is "micropitch". This just means you slightly detune a voice a few cents up and on the other channel a few cents down and mix it with the origingal voice in the center. Many studios have a Harmonizer just for this effect and nearly always use it on nearly every lead vocal.

Another effect that might be an Eventide Harmonizer is the "whispering" voice in the background that seems to replicate the main voice. Most recognizable in "Passover".
But I'm not 100% sure that this is a Harmonizer. I never had the opportunity to play with one of the other early digital effects Hannett used, esp. this digital delay by AMS he used.

I'm open for corrections but I don't think that any digital effect at all was used to tune down Ian's voice from a barritone to a bass.
LWTUA and much more so Atmosphere might be examples of Ian's deep bass voice.

1. The vocals in these tracks are mixed much more upfront than on most album tracks.
2. There is an effect called "Nahbesprechungseffekt" in german, don't know the english term. The closer your mouth is to a microphone while singing the more pronounced the lower frequencies become. This is used extensively on "Atmosphere". As it was used by Frank Sinatra or Scott Walker before. Or every single radio speaker with a "deep" voice.

3. The vocal tracks are doubled and the doubled tracks are mixed into one (also a common technique).

4. There are still equalizers that allow you to pronounce certain frequencies more than others.

5. An old trick: Back then tapes where used and tape-machines have variable speed. If you want the voice to sound "lower", you fasten the speed a bit while playing back. This means the entire backing track is tuned up, then you record the voice, then you bring the tape back to normal speed. The voice is tuned down with the result that it sounds deeper and lower.
It's used more often in the other direction (the swedish band Abba was famous for this technique) you play the backing track slower and then record backing or main vocals. This way you can reach high frequencies you're voice couldn't naturally reach and the entire song contains more high-end high frequencies than the "original". But this only works in moderate ways. If you overdo it your voice sounds "Micky Mouse" and unnatural. Just listen to Madonna's "Material Girl" album.
It's obvious if you listen to "Atmosphere". Take an instrument that is tuned and play the bass line. You might choose a "C" as the first tune of the bass track. You might think it's C sharp for a while, but both don't really work. It sounds slightly off tune. And you can be sure that the guitars and synth and the bass weren't all slightly detuned but detuned in exactly the same way while recording the song.

Conclusion: What you hear on tracks like Atmosphere and others is Ian's voice. No miracle, no secret high-tech device was used to create a voice that is completely different from his real voice.
Hannett loved effects and used them and he used effects and devices all other engeneers used and some not so many engeneers used back then, but what you hear is still Ian's voice.

Dirk

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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #7 
@dmxi - thanks for those, they were interesting, but I thought, surely, it couldn't be harmonized on all of their songs.

@ravachol - yeah, I don't know much about recording techniques like that, but I was pretty sure Ian just had a deep voice, and I don't quite know what you'd call it - it's deep, yes, but not quite to the extent that you could call him a proper bass, and as for his high end, he'd have to be a baritone to achieve that, so, he's sort of in-between if you get me. 

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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #8 
Without blowing my own trumpet here, I played the vocal melody of Decades by ear on my keyboard a few days ago and I think Ian must have had one bass note in his range, second E below middle C [also the open E string on a bass guitar - so a bass voice would out-low that unless you down-tuned it.] 

He's not going any higher than the first E above middle C [which a bass wouldn't normally do - they could do it, but it would be an extreme high, if you get me, but it would take either training, or for the person to sing a lot over a period of at least the length of time Joy Division were a band for]. Ian's voice sounds better on the later stuff, yes, and on the early stuff, it's sort of like shouting - he's being a punk there. So, personally, I wouldn't say he was a bass, because he was able to get that E above middle C pretty early on as well as in his later stuff as well as being almost bass-y on his lower end. 

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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #9 
On Love Will Tear Us Apart, which he sings quite deep, again, just like Decades, and probably the rest of the late '79 - 1980 stuff, he's going as low as the second E below middle C.
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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #10 
I'm an alto and my range is from the first C below middle C to the second E above middle C, although once I'm getting past the first C above middle C, I get quite squeaky - my high notes aren't that good. I often sing Joy Division songs [an octave higher, obviously] and I'm often going as low as the first E below middle C [which isn't a problem for me, as I've already said, I can go a couple of notes lower].
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dmxi

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Reply with quote  #11 
Nahbesprechungseffekt = proximity effect

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dmxi

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Reply with quote  #12 
hi em,sounds like you know your stuff,looks like you're doing your 'buisness'?....but don't 'X-factor!' yourself(>smirk<[wink]!best wishes..........................................................................................d.
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PatTeasdale

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks Keef, i thought it had been a while since this one had been wheeled out [wink]

Dirk - Clearly you arnt using your Eventide properly [wink]
ravachol

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Reply with quote  #14 
Properly, hmmm....[smile]
I mentioned micropitch as an example. Maybe my post gave the impression that a harmonizer cannot change the pitch more drastical.

It can, you can produce octaves down and up, even chords, but that is mostly used to make the original voice sound "thick" and "fat". A Harmonizer in its main function is like a very short delay/echo that can be tuned. Today it is common that a track can be speed up or down without changing the pitch. Not to mention this "Autotune" stuff. But 1979 the changing of pitch without changing the formants of a voice wasn't possible. The Eventide Algorithms were  - in my opinion - very tastefull. What the pitch changes do to the original sound sounds more like a synth pad or synthesizer. Very atmospheric - and far better than the micky mouse voices other stuff created up until the 90's.
I use it mainly for bass. But a human voice is a different thing.

If you would just use the part the harmonizer creates as the main part, it just wouldn't sound right. Maybe as an effect, but not as a replacement of the original track.

One can hear how the harmonizer is tuned in the intro to "Here Are The Young Men". But I hardly doubt that the harmonizer was often used during concerts. There might have been exceptions. IIRC some concerts had Hannett on the mixing desk. Maybe then they used the Harmonizer live. But I don't think any of the members of JD would have had the knowledge to setup this beast.
I have a contemporary Eventide were you can set all of the parameters with an ipad, but the classic stuff like the 910 had very small displays that showed up to 30 letters or numbers.

"proximity effect" I like the sound of this word.
Dirk

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JDcat4

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hi, dmxi - I wouldn't say I'm an expert, but I probably know more than most people do on the subject of voices, i.e. I don't quite know what to call Ian's voice as it's not exactly straightforward.
From what I know, a bass would normally do from middle C down to the second E below it, but if they had training of any sort, or sang over a long period of time, their range would extend to the second C below middle C at the low end and to the first E above middle C at the high end. And a baritone would go to the second G below middle C, maybe the F, and the first F above middle C, maybe the G. And like I said with what I'd been doing on the keyboard - it looks like Ian's range was from the second E below middle C to the first E above it, meaning he's in between.

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