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Old 04-09-2012, 03:48 AM   #1
JasperPryce
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Doubling vocals

So we're almost done recording the album but we're a tad confused on one subject. It's been suggested that we double the vocals in the chorus to make the chorus bigger/more powerful. It's also been stated that that's what most musicians do. So my question is when doubling vocals, should you just make a copy of the vocal track that already exists or record the vocalist singing the same thing twice?
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:57 AM   #2
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You should record it twice. Copying the track doesn't make any audible difference unless you put effects, but even then it just sounds like the same track, only with effects.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:05 AM   #3
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Ok. How exact does it have to be? Is it even possible to sing it exactly the same two times in a row?
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:10 AM   #4
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Doesn't have to be exactly the same, otherwise that'd be copying and pasting the track. You can hit the same notes again, on roughly the same rhythm. It's the tiny differences that help make it bigger. It's like double-tracking guitars, basically.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:11 AM   #5
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Well try to sing it the same as possible, but it won't be EXACTLY the same, which is the point of doubling, because it sounds good.

Just try it and you'll hear what we mean, it sounds way better.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:19 AM   #6
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Editing is your friend. If the two performances aren't very tight you can edit them closer to the grid, editing on vocals isn't very noticeable at all if you do it right. Do not copy paste one take, it's only going to make the vocals sound louder. Try singing some harmonies in the second take or such and make the main vocal track a bit louder.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:27 AM   #7
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I might be against the mainstream but I am strongly against doubling vocals. I do main melody in center and harmonies on the sides. 99% of the time it sounds better.

Don't get me started on how bad vocals sound doubled in the verse I don't give a **** if the Beatles did I have never heard it sound good. Harmonies and adlibs....good....same melody twice...bad.

Two people doing the same melody is fine though.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireHawk
I might be against the mainstream but I am strongly against doubling vocals. I do main melody in center and harmonies on the sides. 99% of the time it sounds better.

Don't get me started on how bad vocals sound doubled in the verse I don't give a **** if the Beatles did I have never heard it sound good. Harmonies and adlibs....good....same melody twice...bad.

Two people doing the same melody is fine though.

I'm mainly with you tbh, I rarely bother to double-track vocals and you'd find more people than you think that also never bother to double-track yet get lots of work/returning clients. Both my band's songs, and the Hollow Ground track, in my profile lack double-tracked vocals but would you listen and suddenly think 'hmm, that should have had double-tracked vocals'? I wouldn't.

For me: it works with some genres, and isn't necessary for others. I always say that the best vocalists don't really need it, as they have the desired quality in their voice before you even try to thicken it out.
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:29 AM   #9
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People normally record clean vocals (along with aggressive) like 3-4 times, or more if the part calls for it.

These tracks need to all be edited and tuned to sound cohesive though... If you need anybody for edits I do great work for very cheap! =D
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:00 PM   #10
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Can anyone show me examples of when this was done? Maybe with your recordings?
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:11 PM   #11
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http://soundcloud.com/jstorie/vocal-panning/s-OdouT

I spoke against double tracking but the end product I was very happy with it and I think is a good example of how to make a chorus big.

0:00 Starts With One Vocal Track In Middle
0:18 Then Double Tracked Panned 90% to each side
0:37 Harmony add to center and a distorted layer also added to Center
0:57 The Final Product w/ Instrumental

I apologize for sketch mixing and poor sound quality as it was first song I had ever produced and recorded. At the time I thought it was amazing lol

Recorded with Behringer C1 through Lexicon Lambda (no wind screen at the time )

EDIT: For the record I would never pan anything 90%-90% like I did back then. I am a fan of L75-75R for everything double tracked now a day.
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Last edited by FireHawk : 04-09-2012 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasperPryce
Can anyone show me examples of when this was done? Maybe with your recordings?

As said earlier, I rarely bother with double-tracking, but I can give an example of me filling out the sound with multiple vocal tracks in a different way...

Embrace The Abyss

All choruses after the first one have the main vocal down the centre, and then three of us (singer, bassist and I) stood down the corridor from the vocal room with the door propped wide open, and shouted "embrace the abyss!" When it came to mixing, we I then panned the takes with one about 50-60% left, one 15-20% left and lower in the mix, and the same for the right hand side. We also swapped places and distances in relation to the mic each time to vary the sound reaching the mic for each take, to give the impression of a bigger 'crowd' chanting the line.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:57 PM   #13
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In this song, I tracked like 4 of the same vocal melody but ended up only using two. It really just depends how many you need for the part. I'll probably use a ton more for the final product.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3689406/May...20FINAL%202.mp3

Singing starts at 1:25 and 3:36 for those who don't like teh br00tz.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:02 AM   #14
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[IMG]****************************/avatar2.jpg[/IMG] How exact does it have to be?
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireHawk
I might be against the mainstream but I am strongly against doubling vocals. I do main melody in center and harmonies on the sides. 99% of the time it sounds better.

Don't get me started on how bad vocals sound doubled in the verse I don't give a **** if the Beatles did I have never heard it sound good. Harmonies and adlibs....good....same melody twice...bad.

Two people doing the same melody is fine though.

Agreed, I'm not a fan of double-tracking in any way.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasperPryce
Can anyone show me examples of when this was done? Maybe with your recordings?


Well, the other guys beat me to it, but...

Here is my cover of Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton. It features a mix of single and doubled vocals, and it's pretty easy to tell which is which.

Likewise, here is my "cover" (read: parody) of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence". I use tripled vocal tracks (two of the lead vocals, plus one octave-lowered "harmony" track) to simulate the duet nature of the original, despite being a solo artist.

On topic, I'm only in favor of double-tracking vocals when it's supposed to sound like multiple people, as (in my case, at least) the parts differ enough that there's a chorus effect, and it's obvious that they're two takes.

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