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> Double Tracking Vocals Instead Of Reverb?, Thoughts on the matter?
SirJamsalot
post Sep 9 2010, 11:30 PM
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I had never even considered double-tracking vocals before reading this post on another forum where the author stated the following:

"Our producer wanted to put reverb on my voice, and I stopped him right away. First off, you need to double the vocals. Sing the song twice, pan one right and the other left. Then what you want to do is use a little (and I do mean a LITTLE) "Delay" on the vocals. You just want the delay to be tucked in the background to be ambient. It's just to smooth things out. Reverb makes things sound Karaoke, and you don't want that."

Anyone with sufficient experience in recording voice want to chime in on this? Is this a common approach to recording vocals?

Thanks for your input,
Christian A.


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JamesT
post Sep 10 2010, 12:44 AM
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I know it's been done commercially.

With a couple of tunes I did a long time ago I did this. It sounded pretty cool. I think that's when I recognized that it has been done before (probably a lot). Once you hear what it sounds like you can recognize it right away.

I'll post one of those tunes I did and you can hear what it shounded like. I'm at work right now so it will be couple of hours.

This post has been edited by JamesT: Sep 10 2010, 12:47 AM


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zen
post Sep 10 2010, 01:14 AM
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I would like to learn how to mix vocals properly as well smile.gif
I've noticed mixing vocals is often considered to be a bit difficult to get used to, mainly due to varying dynamics in voice tonalities.
A good engineer can really make an average vocalist sound good.



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JamesT
post Sep 10 2010, 02:20 AM
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Ok. Here are a couple of tunes where I used vocal doubling.
On the first one, (more recent actaully), I did it more for effect, kind of like other backing vocals sung in unison. See if you can tell which lines were sung doubled and in unison (not the harmonies). I think one of the lines is the 2nd time I sing "the young man changes the station".

"Home ain't a place you can drive to" (a.k.a, "The Distance 109")...

Attached File  TheDistance109.mp3 ( 3.72MB ) Number of downloads: 373



On this one, the vocal doubling is kind of subtle to hear, but I know it's there cause I remember spending a lot of time recording vocal takes to get my articulation as precise as possible for each take so that the effect would sound subtle. Then I also only panned the two takes one at 10, and the other at about 2 o'clock just to get a little separation. Keep in mind that this one was recorded on a Tascam 239 cassette 8-track. I had to bounce several tracks around, and then after mastering to two track cassette, conversion to .wav file and then MP3, it gets harder to hear the doubled vocal. But it's there, I know it,cause it's all me on the tape. Also, the gutar tone is kind of brittle. This was done in the days before modelling and I used a BOSS ME5 for the tone. Recorded in about 1992, I remember that when I finished it that I needed desparately to get back into guitar practicing, cause the solo's are a little lame. tongue.gif

"Most Anyway"...
[attachment=21927:02_Most_Anyway.mp3]



Also listen to "Street Fighting Man" by the Stones for a dramatic example.


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 10 2010, 04:51 AM
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QUOTE (JamesT @ Sep 9 2010, 06:20 PM) *
Ok. Here are a couple of tunes where I used vocal doubling.
On the first one, (more recent actaully), I did it more for effect, kind of like other backing vocals sung in unison. See if you can tell which lines were sung doubled and in unison (not the harmonies). I think one of the lines is the 2nd time I sing "the young man changes the station".

"Home ain't a place you can drive to" (a.k.a, "The Distance 109")...

Attached File  TheDistance109.mp3 ( 3.72MB ) Number of downloads: 373



On this one, the vocal doubling is kind of subtle to hear, but I know it's there cause I remember spending a lot of time recording vocal takes to get my articulation as precise as possible for each take so that the effect would sound subtle. Then I also only panned the two takes one at 10, and the other at about 2 o'clock just to get a little separation. Keep in mind that this one was recorded on a Tascam 239 cassette 8-track. I had to bounce several tracks around, and then after mastering to two track cassette, conversion to .wav file and then MP3, it gets harder to hear the doubled vocal. But it's there, I know it,cause it's all me on the tape. Also, the gutar tone is kind of brittle. This was done in the days before modelling and I used a BOSS ME5 for the tone. Recorded in about 1992, I remember that when I finished it that I needed desparately to get back into guitar practicing, cause the solo's are a little lame. tongue.gif

"Most Anyway"...
[attachment=21927:02_Most_Anyway.mp3]



Also listen to "Street Fighting Man" by the Stones for a dramatic example.


O.K., first off let me say I love these recordings. You might call your solos "lame" but for the songs, they fit perfect (IMO). That's a throw-back for sure - loved it.

I find it hard to believe the "Most Anyway" track was you doing 2 takes - I'll take your word for it, but I couldn't tell by listening - my mind is blown. I'm not sure if I have the patience / discipline to try this method smile.gif but it does sound surprisingly good. Thanks for sharing the awesome examples!

Christian A.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 10 2010, 05:10 AM
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Doubling is a great studio trick for adding depth. It works for guitars too, provided you can play the exact same thing, solo/rythm the same way twice or more.

So sure, double the vocals, why not? Try it at home and see how it sounds. Pan them but not hard right and left, play with the placement to find the sweet spot.

Then try it with some guitar parts. I've done up to four recordings panning them far left / right and ten/two o'clock and it REALLY thickens things up. You can use a lot less gain on guitar rythms if you double.

As for reverb, it's like salt. A dash will you and too much tends to wreck things. You could a little delay and a little reverb if it sounds ok. Most folks like to use a nice software or hardware compressor on vocals as well, then perhaps some E.Q.

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Saoirse O'Shea
post Sep 10 2010, 06:43 AM
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'Doubling', or maybe more correctly 'thickening' a vocal goes way back to the start of multi-track recordings with The Beatles and is still used quite a lot today.

To thicken a vocal well needs a few things IME:

1/ A good vocalist who can reproduce a take very accurately. That is, sing the same piece nearly identically to the first proper take. NB - just duplicating the 1st take isn't the idea, same with doubling a guitar you need the little inconsistencies to make this work.

2/A mix engineer who can accurately align the multiple takes and check for phase issues. If necessary apply some pitch and time adjustments to the secondary ones. If you add some echo to the secondary you need to be careful that the whole thing doesn't just end up as smear.

3/Sensitive gain use on the secondary takes. The idea is to thicken the vocal not double it. So you should experiment with the secondary vocal stem at -10dB or more down from the first.

4/Placement of the emphasis/thickening - often best/better only on chorus and/or individual, specific words or phrases.

5/Considered use of different mics and/or pre-amps to get a slightly different spectral and dynamic balance.

BTW - echo and reverb aren't really done to thicken a vocal but to add ambiance.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Sep 10 2010, 02:57 PM
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Tony summed it well. Recording double vocals is very often practice. It does add power to the vocal but what I wanted to mention is that vocals that are just one track (not doubled ones) tend to sound more personal. So you would often record verses without unisons in vocals and thicken the chorus part/bridge for added power in relation to verse etc.

Of course its very important that vocalist is good since recording two takes that are not almost identical will result in chorus like effect smile.gif
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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 10 2010, 05:45 PM
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i dont understand the comparison, they're two totally different cool vocal effects, if you wanna go heavier double the voice, but listen to tony, the singer gotta make both takes almost identically.

if you wanna add some depth to the voice, and put it moody go for a reverb or maybe a delay.

i personally love a good slap back delay smile.gif.


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SirJamsalot
post Sep 10 2010, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE (Adrian Figallo @ Sep 10 2010, 09:45 AM) *
i dont understand the comparison, they're two totally different cool vocal effects, if you wanna go heavier double the voice, but listen to tony, the singer gotta make both takes almost identically.

if you wanna add some depth to the voice, and put it moody go for a reverb or maybe a delay.

i personally love a good slap back delay smile.gif .


a "slap back" delay? Any examples of what that might sound like? I'm imagining a pong-like-delay, which I'm not a fan of ^.^


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JamesT
post Sep 11 2010, 04:00 AM
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Try using a very short stereo delay with very low feedback setting. Pan each delay left and right. Synch both to the tempo of the song. (lots of plugins will do this automatically for you). For example set the left delay to 1/24th note duration, and the right to 16th duration. Put the mix (delay versus dry) at between 8 to 15 percent. This works great on guitar too to give you a wide stereo effect without the pitch modulation that a chorus pedal/plugin will give you. Experiment with different settings in the overall context of the song. You'll find that sweet spot for sure.





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Adrian Figallo
post Sep 11 2010, 04:19 AM
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well i use a mono slap back delay a lot of times on my voice, it is just one repetition very present in the mix, and it depends A LOT on the song, but more or less i use the feedback at 1-5% and the mix at 35-45% smile.gif

this is a cool effect, but WILL sound vintage under normal mix circumstances.


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JamesT
post Sep 11 2010, 05:20 AM
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This thread is making me think I should start working om my own stuff again. My equipment today is way better than it used to be thanks to good PCs and plug-ins.Come to think of it I've probably got less money tied up in recording equipment today than 10 years ago, and about 50 times better mixing and effects capability. My playing has gotten better too (a little bit). And you know, I think that "learn by doing" is about the best way to get better at mixing, songwriting, and certainly playing. But all the stuff I'm reading here in this thread is kind of inspiring me to actually do something about it.


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Daniel Realpe
post Sep 15 2010, 12:46 AM
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Reverb tends to make the voice sound too far away in the back,

In modern recordings, the crispier and present the vocals, the better



This guy is really popular here in Colombia,


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