At the moment I simply get the vocalist to do 2 takes of the same part to double the vocals but my friend told me using a Vocoder on 1 take makes for a better sound.

Which would you say is the best and what do the pros do?
I'm not a "pro", but in my experience, there's a bit more to it than that.

If you *just* want a doubled vocal, you can either do a chorus effect (Vocoder or chorus filter in your DAW) or record two takes. Thing is, if you just filter the original take through a chorus effect, you'll get exactly what it sounds like; two takes in perfect synch with one another. Using a second take, IMO, gives you a "fuller" sound because human beings aren't perfect, and all the little subtle nuances and imperfections in that second take rounds out the part better. Kinda like how you dual-track guitars rather than just copy-paste-pan.

Vocoders (and by this I assume you mean processors like the lovely Electro-Harmonix box that I have), on the other hand, are usually used for harmonizing based on the original part; so you'd set it to fill out the vocals by pitching the part up or down a third or a fifth, say. It's a good solution if, like me, you have a hard time naturally harmonizing that way. (I can do octaves like nobody's business, but thirds? fuggedabouddit.)

What I do, is combine the two processes. For lead vocals, I will double-track. For background vocals, I may double-track and throw a "crowd" filter or chorus effect on one of the two, to get the best of both worlds.

Of course, one drawback to double-tracking is when your singer performs both takes so in-synch that they sound naturally chorused anyway. I've done that by accident more times than I can count. :p
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Dec 14, 2011,
Just go by ear. Doing 2 takes is usually referred to as "double tracking" while doubling using a delay or vocoder is called "doubling"

Neither are "better" one might just suit the song better than the other. Try panning the 2 tracks to add some dimension to the sound!
Main Gear:

Xaviere XV-870
w/ 2 "Dream 180" Humbuckers + Mid Boost Mod + Coil Tap

Peavey Classic 30

Modified Dunlop CryBaby Wah
Digitech Bass Synth Wah
GFS Twin Overdrive
Way Huge Swollen Pickle
Line 6 DL4
Boss ME-70

Ok, thanks for the info, it was helpful to read .

And Rob I've tried playing around with panning and stuff. I did it on my band's new song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtZV6Z1RTK0
absolutely track it again. a real double is the only way to go!
Audio Ecstasy Productions!

Guitar/Backline Tech in the Los Angeles area and on tour!
Custom guitar pedals and cabling for stage and studio!

I set up DAWs and tweak computers to record audio. Hit me up @ audioecstasyproductions[at}gmail.com
Well... Judge for yourself for starters. But well, i would never record anything with an effect on it. So i would never go for your friends advice. Recording with effects is asking for problems later on if you want to add more effect, take the effect off etc.
For more pop kind of vocals, the "pros" will have the singer sing it at LEAST twice. It's not uncommon to have four or more tracks for the melody as well as for each harmony. This requires a very good singer who can sing very consistently and/or a mix engineer who is very patient...

For other vocals, still getting at least two tracks is often how they'll do it as it gives a much fuller sound and gives you options later on. It's easier to unmute a track than to double a track and have it sound as good as two takes.

Those doubling pluggins, delays, or vocoders, should be used more as a special effect and not as much for a main "clean" vocal.

All that being said, use your ears and whatever works best for you and what you wish to accomplish is the right way.
Double take would be the better option, otherwise you'll be at risk of getting some phase inversion. Record dry then add effects in the mixing stage.