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Gneetapp

Double tracking vocals

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Hi guys I became very much interested in the double tracking recording technique for vocals. I Was wondering how you guys do it. For instance, do you record the vocal tracks as many times you need or just copy and paste one or two tracks? When you record many times, do you mute the previously recorded track or let it play together? When you re-record vocals do you sing exactly in the same way? I appreciate it guys.

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The answer is yes, all of the above. However, the copy and paste method also requires that you move it over a few samples, so there's no phase cancellation, and it sounds thicker. Although, I rarely double-track vocals for myself. I've been a recording, mixing, and mastering engineer for many years, and have done it with quite a few others.

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48 minutes ago, Draven Grey said:

The answer is yes, all of the above. However, the copy and paste method also requires that you move it over a few samples, so there's no phase cancellation, and it sounds thicker. Although, I rarely double-track vocals for myself. I've been a recording, mixing, and mastering engineer for many years, and have done it with quite a few others.

Hi Draven, thanks for stopping by. The way I started doing double tracking was copying the lead vocal track (center) and pasting on both left and right channels with a little off setting to make it sound thick. But I know some people just record over and over... But I never done it this way and was curious...

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1 hour ago, Gneetapp said:

Hi Draven, thanks for stopping by. The way I started doing double tracking was copying the lead vocal track (center) and pasting on both left and right channels with a little off setting to make it sound thick. But I know some people just record over and over... But I never done it this way and was curious...

I find recording over and over to be incredibly time consuming, especially when you have to comp edit each take. However, I've recorded hip hop where they did five tracks, three were exactly the same on the first take, and the other two were purposefully dropping or adding words to add to the dynamics. After that, I had a whole new respect for hip-hop artists.

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I tend to just sing two takes and try to sound as similar as possible each time.  I don't usually pan the takes into different sides of the mix but rather keep them in the same place front and center.  My knowledge on production is quite infantile though so I'd take that with a grain of salt.  All and all I think the key to getting it right fundamentally speaking is just practicing a song until you can get every nuance and pitch of it exactly the same twice.

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2 hours ago, Jeremy Mohler said:

I tend to just sing two takes and try to sound as similar as possible each time.  I don't usually pan the takes into different sides of the mix but rather keep them in the same place front and center.  My knowledge on production is quite infantile though so I'd take that with a grain of salt.  All and all I think the key to getting it right fundamentally speaking is just practicing a song until you can get every nuance and pitch of it exactly the same twice.

Hi Jeremy, even though I pan the copies hard left and right, with less volume and usually more fx, I always leave the main vocal track in the center and louder.

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Depends on what I am trying to do. Even though others have done it, I rarely double-track the lead vocal. But I have sang my own background on a frankesteined experiment I had going on with "Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen. I read and learned that when doing BV, you don't want them competing in prominence with the lead line. So, with BVs, you need to soften or completely ignore consonants and only do the open vowel sounds. So, my BV for that song was "night away" articulated as nahd - ah - weh. And I did sing those twice. That is, two separate BV tracks of the same thing, the old fashioned way.

However, you can take a lead vocal track, dupe it, put some minor pitch shift to mimick the real world phenomon of any voice having differences. Because you never sing the same way twice, even if you do it twice in a row. In fact, the differences are what gives it the layered sound. And the chorus plug-in you could use, it actually does it's job with duplication and pitch shifting.

Reaper has a plug-in called the Ozzifier, based on the mix tricks used to thicken Ozzy's voice. That one does pitch shift, chorus and pan in one plug-in.

Now, you can certainly fully double track something by hand. It has it's value. You can also set up two mics, one right behind the other to avoid phase issues and play with pan after that and it will sound double-tracked. Or move the mics apart and play with phase shift later. A few options on that. Either leave the phase difference the way it is for an effect. Or reverse phase on one of the vocal tracks. Or, in Reaper, use the ReaEQ plug in and choose "all pass" which has an algorithm to solve phase differences between multi-mic inputs.

For example, with a two channel interface, have a condenser in one and a dynamic in the other. In your tracks, start two. Choose one as mono left, and the other as mono right. Do your thing and mess with the mix later.

Here is why there are phase differences with more than one mic. Sound waves travel in time. Mics that are far apart and off-axis from each other are hearing different parts of the same signal. So, the track will have different parts of the sound. Listen to one track and it sounds fine. Listen to the other, it sounds fine. Together, they can sometimes cancel each other out or lead to dips in the volume as the signals cross the zero axis.

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