Many contemporary popular genres draw heavily from iconic tones from the 1980s, 1990s, and earlier times. ‘Timeless’ building blocks are generally passed down, updated, or resurrected by the next generation as artists and producers pay respect to the pioneers of the past. There are countless examples of how particular gear has influenced the evolution of genres or even the creation of brand-new genres. The instruments treated by such equipment hence had a distinct color and character. Bearing this in mind, I will show you how to introduce a vintage feel to your instruments in the following tutorial.

As an illustration, I have prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW, which contains most instruments of the whole mix and piano sequence I intended to process. So let us listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix before any processing of the full mix instruments.

~Full Mix – Piano Sequence (Unprocessed)

~Piano Sequence – Solo (Unprocessed)

Use a Vinyl Emulator to Introduce a Vintage Feel

As I have shown in the example above, the piano sequence could use some processing to make it sound more vintage. When something is described as “vintage,” it usually refers to the imperfections in the sound that analog gear such as gramophones, compressors, and worn-out tape cassettes are known to introduce. In this case, all these imperfections can be introduced by using some modern plugins. In our case, I have opted for Vinyl by Izotope. Let us load it to the effect rack of the piano sequence channel and check its interface.

The Vinyl by Izotope interface is divided into several sections, the largest of which contains a large turntable image. We can see some numbers above the turntable. These represent the years, and pressing each one produces a different sound. It primarily adds a new low-hi pass filter setting. There are a few buttons below that. The first is an interesting “SpinDown” that replicates the sound of a turntable stopping.

In addition, there is a “Lo-Fi” effect, essentially a bit crusher effect with fixed settings, and a “Wear” effect, which emulates the tape-cassette age. Sliders on the top right side of the interface increase the volume of mechanical or electric noise produced by some old analog gear. Below that is the “Dust” slider, which adds a vinyl cracking effect to the processed instrument. Next to it is a slider for “Scratch,” which generally introduces audio drop-outs comparable to old tape cassettes. The “Warp” effect, which adds a slight variation to the pitch, is the final effect we can experiment with.

Let’s hear how our piano sequence sounds after we processed it with Izotope’s Vinyl.

This is a screenshot of my mix and Vinyl by Izotoipe interface used to introduce a vintage feel to the piano sequence.

~Piano Sequence – Solo (Processed With Vinyl)

Try Adding a Vinyl Effect on Your Master Chain

I’ll apply the same effect to the guitar solo and finish this tutorial by using the Vinyl effect to the master channel before the limiter. Finally, I automated the “SpinDown” effect from Vinyl to the end of the entire mix sequence to spice things up. Let’s see how that sounds.

This is a screenshot of my mix and Vinyl by Izotoipe interface applied master channel.

~Guitar Sequence – Solo (Processed With Vinyl)

~Full Mix – Processed With Vinyl

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