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Doubling effect

Que paso everybody? Is there way to produce a doubling effect for vocals using cubase or adobe audition (cool edit pro)?


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JoeH Tue, 08/02/2005 - 11:55

Terabyte wrote: ahem...

So for the benifit of a n00b :lol:
Several questions

Is double tracking when you thicken a part out by adding the same thing on top of itself? rather like a section of violins in an orchestra play the same thing to thicken it up?

Very similar approach, actually. The addition of more string players to an ensemble is to thicken the sound, adding lushness and volume. (Ever wonder why there are 10, 12 or more 1st violinists in an orchestra vs. just 2 or 4 trumpets? Simple physics comes into get more sound and denser harmonies that way, with "Stacked" parts.)

Terabyte wrote: Is it just for vocals.. or does it do for guitars...

Go listen to a few Queen records to check on that! ;-)

Terabyte wrote: Can you just copy and paste a part youve recorded and nudge it along a couple of mili seconds?

Yes, but if you go back and read some of the suggestions, that's the easy (and easily spotted trick.) It works in a pinch, but it wears thin real fast, and doesn't always sound believable. It's too "Static" (as in: Unchanging). For short phrases and brief moments of impact, it's just fine. But if you're basing an entire project that requires serious double-tracking this is too easy a way out, it gets tired sounding, real fast. The human ear is as discerning as the eye. Cheap tricks get discernable soon enough, and become tiring, not entertaining.

Terabyte wrote: See at college we were told vaigly what double tracking was... mostly ended up as hearsay and speculation and guessing.. crappy teachers...

You went to college and can't spell Vague? Sorry, just bustin' on ya there, couldn't resist! ;-)

Terabyte wrote: can you do tripple or quadrouple tracking? any point to that?

You can do as many as you like, but there's often a point of dimishing returns. Some folks like to put one delay on the left, one on the right, and keep the direct sound in the middle. Some add a little pitch shift to the sound as a bit flat on the left, one on the right...getting a blend of both. Lots of ways to do that and more.

Terabyte wrote: When we did (what i think was) double tracking.. for guitars we played the same part over the top.. sometimes notes would be a little late in places... were we going about double tracking all wrong.. or was that the right way and we just needed to make sure we played it the same each time..

You're doing it fine; they just needed to practice more. ;-) Who said doing anything good would be easy? :wink: Hehehe.... Seriously, it's not for the easy-way-out crowd. Getting a part done right in the first place is hard enough. Doing it again a second time exactly the same way shows you a lot about the artist's talents and ability to play things correctly and precisely. (That's why Julliard and Curtis Students spent the better part of their childhood in practice rooms all day, while the rest of us had a life! ;-)

Terabyte wrote: being ultra specific now.. is double/tripple tracking used in metal to thicken up the sound.. i often wonder where they get such a thick sound..

Remember that "doubletracking" is as much a concept as it is any one single technique. There are probably as many answers for that as there are metal bands out there. From stomp boxes that will do some of that automatically, to real overdubs, to pitch shifters and more, it's all fair game, and you'd do better searching for interviews with specific producers of specific bands. I'm sure they all have their tricks and preferences. There's no one single, right way to get the job done, of course.

Terabyte wrote: whenever i'm experimenting with my mates amps it always sounds so thin.... as if we were recording the "sound that an amp makes".. not the sound that should be coming from the amp if you know what i mean :P

Not knowing what amp or mics or guitars (or talent level) you've got going there, it's tough to say. But if you hang around here long enough, keeping your ears and your mind open, you'll eventually get it all sorted out.

Don't give up, and keep asking good, intelligent questions like the ones above. Sounds like you're already on the right track to getting some good things done on your own. 8-)

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CoyoteTrax Sat, 07/30/2005 - 21:46

Chance wrote: If those things work for you then cool. It would seem to me that if you changed the attitude of the vox, there would be a conflict. Different tubes or pre's ? I don't see the point. Changing a word here or there, to me, would sound like someone made a mistake. The whole idea of doubling, for the most part, is to sound like one vocal, but with a unique sound. What I watched Zappa do was to do identical takes, every inflection, every note, every thing on the doubled track was identical except since it was recorded 5% slower ( or faster ) he had to sing in a different key which might have been harder to reach certain notes causing him to sing with different timber. This made him use his vocal chords in a different mannor all the while his phrasing EXACTLY MATCHED the original take.
I look at it much like compression. If you can hear compression working, you're not using it correctly. ( unless you are using it for an effect ie. pumping etc )
As far as changing arrangements and progressions of a doubled track?
I really don't want to go there.

You obviously haven't paid much attention to Robert Plant's work with Zeppelin then and more recently his vocals on the album "Walking into Clarksdale" which was a pretty brilliant production and recording.

I was also offering creative ways to "shake things up" not make them exactly the same with just a little different color (as Zappa did).

"If you can hear compression working you're not using it properly"??? What planet does that philosophy come from? I understand sometimes that may be the case but it certainly is not a rule and quite often is the opposite of using compression for effect (which is done quite frequently). You've never compressed the doubled vocals just on the Right channel or the Left channel just for effect?

No offense man and please don't take this the wrong way, but that sounds like engineering in a vacuum

Randyman... Tue, 07/26/2005 - 18:06

The Waves Native Transform Bundle has the "Doublers" that are pretty flexible, and this single plug-in can achieve what would usually require copying a track 2, 3, or 4 times plus nudging and adding modulation effetcs.


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took-the-red-pill Fri, 08/05/2005 - 21:32


Personally I'm stuck in the digital realm tho so speeding up and slowing down doesn't alter pitch, and of course it's the pitch change which is significant.

This way is the only way I have figured out to get the same effect as one would altering tape speeds, but if anybody knows a simpler way to do this particular technique it would be great to hear and try it.

It does work tho, and it would work on any instrument that one would want to double, but have each track with a slightly different timbre.

Lots of different ways to skin a cat.


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Kurt Foster Sun, 07/31/2005 - 08:38

I think I'll listen to what Chance has to offer over Coyote Trax's antagonistic reply, seeing as Chance makes real records for established artists and record companies in LA and has a quantifiable track record while "CT" remains an unknown quanity from New Mexico (I didn't know there was a thriving music scene in the "Land of Enchantment") with no lnks or name to identify him with (in other words, who is this guy?). My 2 cents.

jonyoung Sun, 07/31/2005 - 09:34

BeatAddik wrote:

I want it to come in may be a millisecond later.

It takes roughly 10- 20ms for your ear to perceive a doubling effect. Either the nudge on a cloned track, or a decent delay plug can do it for ya.

BrianAltenhofel Thu, 08/04/2005 - 07:26

All those half-step intervals (2nds) would really clash...

Randyman... Tue, 07/26/2005 - 20:21

True, but whan doing simple panning with a mono source, the Waves Doubler will allow you to delay one side of the signal easily, so you don't have to rely so much on a simple amplitude based pan control, and you can use the haas effect for localization instead. You can use simple delays for this too, but the Doubler makes it total cake IMO - only 1 channel and 1 plug needed.

The doublers' Modulation also adds cool chorus/ double take type effects after the fact.

Sometimes double takes just don't work out all that well depending on the player. It is good to have other options avalible IMO.

As always - check for mono compatibility...


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CoyoteTrax Sun, 07/31/2005 - 12:24

Kurt Foster wrote: I think I'll listen to what Chance has to offer over Coyote Trax's antagonistic reply, seeing as Chance makes real records for established artists and record companies in LA and has a quantifiable track record while "CT" remains an unknown quanity from New Mexico (I didn't know there was a thriving music scene in the "Land of Enchantment") with no lnks or name to identify him with (in other words, who is this guy?). My 2 cents.

I'm nobody. And anyone's welcome (including you Foster) to know exactly who I am...right here:

But it's sarcastic and insulting comments from you Foster like ["I didn't know there was a thriving music scene in the "Land of Enchantment ] that make you such an incideous and unwelcoming energy here at RO. You're too often willing to insult an entire group of people or users in order to bash one person. And more often than not, your "opinions" as you call them are not opinions at all but rather condemnations that are a bit extreme. But that's just my opinion. As I said already, I'm nobody.

There Is absoutely a thriving music scene here in New Mexico. There's amazing music here and a lot of fantastic musicians live here. Just because it's not part of the California scene doesn't make it Not So. There's no reason Foster to bash musicians in New Mexico just because they live and breath here instead of San Francisco or Santa Monica. Lighten up a little.

BrianAltenhofel Tue, 08/02/2005 - 15:58

No one mentions Nirvana's "Bleach" album having a lot of doubling on Kurt and Dave's vocals. The chorus on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is doubled by both of them. Pink Floyd also did a lot with doubling (and the first ever drum machine, but thats another topic). It seems like most of the "classics" have a lot of doubling, and it was the vocalist(s) singing along with themsel(f/ves).

Now you know what section of DVD's I hangout in... the Classic Album documentaries....

jonnyc Sun, 07/31/2005 - 13:51

Kurt Foster wrote: I think I'll listen to what Chance has to offer over Coyote Trax's antagonistic reply, seeing as Chance makes real records for established artists and record companies in LA and has a quantifiable track record while "CT" remains an unknown quanity from New Mexico (I didn't know there was a thriving music scene in the "Land of Enchantment") with no lnks or name to identify him with (in other words, who is this guy?). My 2 cents.

Thats one of the most asshole things I've ever seen. Why don't you go back and see who's antagonizing who, Chance gave one way to double vocals(which for most amatuers wouldn't be that easy) and Coyote simply added a few things to that, then Chance comes back in to basically tell him he's wrong, and when it comes to something like this can it really be wrong, I mean whatever works for you right? I thought as a moderator smart ass comments like that wouldn't be permited or professional. I hope your recordings are more pro than your attitude Kurt cause your negative shit really sucks sometimes. And wtf man, you're gonna tell an area of this country that they don't have talent, did Coyote say his area was a hotbed for talent, what spurred on this comment? I'm sorry I didn't realize the only place music should be recorded is LA or NY. I'm no pro but I know what it means to be a professional and IMO you're a joke Kurt.

Chance Sun, 07/31/2005 - 16:29

WOW guys did some body hit a nerve ? ( LOL ) If you will re-read my post, the very first thing I said was "If that works for you, cool" I didn't knock it at all. I have interpreted the word "doubled" as being a clone to the orginal so to speak. If you are seeing double, then you are seeing 2 of the same things. If you start changing the progression, the attitude, or adding different parts and words, then it is not a double anymore is it. I would label the track "added vox" but definately not a doubled track. If I were to record a project here in California and label a track "doubled vox" and it had your suggestions then I would fed-ex it to New York for mixing, and they brought up a track called "doubled" and it had different parts,words, and style, they would think that it was an error. If things work for you great. I know engineers who are great, and work 180 degrees differently. I believe Tom Dowd ( not certain tho ) will start a mix with the vox, and build the mix around that. Others will start with the drums. I won't bash them the same way as not bashing you. As far as where you are located, I too was surprised. Not in a bashing way, but I work coast to coast and have just simply never heard of any music activity in your area. It doesn't make you bad people. If you had a more mild attitude, you would learn a lot from Kurt and everyone on this forum ( I certainly have ) I can relate to your attitude because you sound like me 30 years ago. No offense, and no harm taken.

jonnyc Sun, 07/31/2005 - 17:22

I'm sorry that wasn't geared towards you Chance I'm more pissed at someone else. And really man do you really think the only two places music is made is LA and NY, yeah its ultimately where someone in this business would want to be but to make the type of assumption Kurt did that nothing can be done outside LA and NY is just arrogant and really makes him look bad. I had a lot of respect for the guy and took his advice on more than a few things including not buying the RNP but this just makes me lose most of my respect for him.

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took-the-red-pill Tue, 08/02/2005 - 21:40

This one's for the newbies...

I sings the track on track one(la la la la la la)

i makes a copy on track two and adds in some instrumentation from elsewhere in the song to follow along

I raises the copied track on track two by a semitone

I silences track one l and I sings along with the raised version on track two, and I records it on track 3(la la la la la)

I lowers track two down 1 semitone from the original

I sings along with this lower version and records it on track 4(la la la la la)

I lowers track 3 a semitone. I raises track 4 a semitone.

I plays back tracks 1, 3, and 4

Ta da! 3 of la la la la

I do this all on Cubase SL, and I'm definitely an amateur, and I get good results, and it's simple. Cool to find out the big boys have been doing it this way for a zillion years.

As for me being a nobody. Probably true, but my kids would likely tell you otherwise.

aaaawwwwwwwwwww :wink:

Chance Sun, 07/31/2005 - 18:50

I can't speak for anyone else, but it is counter-productive to be pissed at anyone. We're here to share and learn. If you or me don't like something, or are piss'd, lets keep it to ourselves. If we add fuel to this kind of thing, how in the world does that benifit our recording chops ?
Maybe I should have mentioned that I recorded a great group from Alb NM, except I only remember the guitar player's name was Skip Heitzig
I don't post here too much as I mostly "glean" ie. absorb what is usefull, and ignore what I can't use. I usually post if there is something I can give back to our craft. I remember as a musician, and being around other musicians, we are a wierd breed of people. Usually it's our way or it's wrong. Musicians are flakey. In a way thats good for the creative side of our industry. When I first started out in the 60's I had certain ways of doing things, ( most were wrong ) and I had engineers telling me how to achieve what I was after, but I wouldn't listen, I prefered the school of hard knocks. I usually read everything even if it's considered not right as many times it will give an idea to get out of the box.
On a different note but simualr vibe The space shuttle keeps having trouble with its heat shield tiles, but then again an independent team sent up a shuttle twice in one week and their design has no need of a heat shield plus they did it at a fraction of the cost. Things that make you want to go hmm

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JoeH Sun, 07/31/2005 - 20:49

Doubling can be an interesting trick, and always harder than one would think to get it right.

IMHO, it's too simple and too boring to just push a second/duped track back a few milliseconds and call it doubling. The brain/ear gets tired of that trick very quickly, and it's noticeably fake soon enough. (Kind of like some visual tricks in cheap Sci Fi flicks; you don't buy it mentally if there are cues that let you in on the trick. )

A good auto-doubler should have some kind of Variable delay rate as well, that gently nudges the time delay around (Not to be confused with phasing or flanging - this is a slightly longer delay.)

I think what everyone wants is an easy way to get good, believable doubling. It doesn't necessarily happen that way, sorry to say.

I'm on the side of those who sing things twice when good doubling is needed. Lennon/McCartney and the Beatles et al did it way back when (It's fascinating to hear some of the small screw ups that went on during some of those was never perfect!) Another great vocal doubler that comes to mind is Peter Cetera; both during his days with Chicago and later on as a solo artist. I'm told he did it all the hard way: Sang the leads twice, as near to perfect as one could get. The results are, well, obvious in the many many million selling singles he and the band had.

As for New Mexico, we have a virtual classical/operatic talent-drain out of here (Phila/NY area) every summer, year after year, headed out west to the world-renowned Santa Fe Summer Opera series that happens there in July and August. Ever since 1957, The Santa Fe Opera has been the summer oasis for internationally acclaimed operatic talents and opera enthusiasts. Go figure, eh?

Interesting to see what they're doing there on a daily basis, through the end of August. Nothing at all to sneeze at.

Chance Mon, 08/01/2005 - 05:31

Interesting you should mention Pete Cetera. We went to High school together with the late Terry Kath in Roseland Ill. I did some of my first recordings ( @ 1 7/8 ips ouch ) of Pete when he was with the Emeralds and Cal David. after that "The Rovin Kind" "Big Bang", "CTA", then of course "Chicago". I said this was interesting because Pete does his doubling effect much in the same way as I mentioned in my first post here. I wonder if he is still part of the Carribeau ranch recording studio in colorodo. The last time I saw him is when he did a duo album with Amy Grant