Owl City Vocal Effect (How to Replicate the Vocals of Adam Young)

@Izabela has recently been playing lots of Owl City and asking about the unique vocal effect that Adam Young uses as a signature on his tracks.

She especially gets excited about the break at 3:05 in Shooting Star:

Any thoughts on re-creating the Owl City vocal effect?

I’ll start by guessing there is:

  • A big high-pass filter
  • Plenty of compression
  • Auto-tune in the mix but maybe as a separate track
  • Double or triple vocal tracks
  • Stutter and pitch bending on the break at 3:05
  • The smallest amount of reverb (the vocals have a really clean sound)
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Just had a quick listen. It depends if he does it live as well as in post.
ED SHEERAN does it live with a stomp box looper.

The reverb trick is something I’ve never seen you ever do.
You just send the full signal to your Studio Reverb preset.
It’s the famous Abbey Road trick.
They don’t use full spectrum reverb.
They top and tail so only the mid gets sent to reverb which makes the voice sound fuller and more present. (800 - 3.500 Khz)

This also has the effect of reducing room size.

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I’m also looking to re-create this vocal effect. I think the song ‘Fireflies’ is one of the best examples to illustrate this sound.

If anyone is interested in hearing what he sounds like without this effect, here’s an old song: