Capturing Bowie's "Heroes" Vocal Sound with the Eventide Tverb

During the summer of 1977, David Bowie recorded his seminal album Heroes with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti in West Berlin’s Hansa Tonstudio. The title track of that album was inspired by the divided city – the studio stood roughly 500 yards from the infamous and imposing Berlin Wall.

“Heroes” remains one of the most recognized and beloved songs from all of David Bowie’s catalogue, and the recording process of the song only adds to its legend. As the story goes, everything aside from the vocals had been laid over 23 tracks. Being that these were the days of analog recording, this left only one track for Bowie’s vocals.

Instead of succumbing to limitation, Tony Visconti devised an entirely new method for capturing the vocals. He placed one mic directly in front of Bowie for him to sing into, one mic 15 to 20 feet away and another just beyond that. The gates were adjusted on the furthest two microphones to open as Bowie increased in volume, and their placement allowed them to capture reverb from the room. This technique produced a dynamic vocal track that, in the past, would have taken the layering and mixing of multiple tracks to achieve.

Earlier this year, Eventide released their Tverb plugin that models and expands upon Tony Visconti's inventive three-mic technique. It first replicates the iconic Meistersaal room in which "Heroes" was recorded, transporting users back to Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin. It also replicates the mic setup, with one close and two movable room mics – both of which are in stereo. Being algorithmic, Tverb's reverb function is designed in such a way that you can move the mics around the room in real time – something that wouldn't work with convolution reverb in the real world.

Eventide collaborated with Tony Visconti on this plugin, and even he says that its possibilities and capabilities far exceed what he was able to achieve with Bowie’s “Heroes” vocals.

For a limited time, this plugin is available on Reverb SYNC at a steep discount. Originally priced at $250, you can now pick up Tverb for just shy of $100. Check out the video above for more information, and click the banner below to shop on SYNC.

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