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Doubling Lead Vocals?

My friend (bandmate) and I have been debating the fact of doubling vocals in the recording of our songs. As the singer, I like the sound of the doubled vocal because it fattens the sound up a bit and allows for the vocals to cut through and not seem small compared to the other loud instruments. I also think my voice sounds better when doubled rather than with just one track.

Is this a silly idea? My friend seems to think the tracks will phase and sound "stupid" but I plan on having one at normal level and the other at half level or so, just to beef up the vocals a bit subtlely, but not overpowering it so it sounds like "two of me" singing together, if that makes any sense.


RemyRAD Sun, 12/23/2007 - 11:50

Gertok is correct and it is available for ProTools.

But back in the old days.... We would frequently double the lead vocalist. Even if it wasn't intentional, a la' numerous isolated vocal overdubs later combined during the mix. Frequently makes folks that can't stay on pitch sound better.

To prevent that phasing effect, you only need to delay one of the two vocals by about 25 ms.

Some folks rely on a digital audio processor to create double vocals. Generally, these sound horrible with a robotic synthetic quality. I think that technique generally sucks even if randomization is built into the program. It basically pitches up and pitches down while speeding up and delaying tempo. Whereas a real double vocal shows off the vocalists skill i.e. it takes some talent.

I've used the double vocal technique to make otherwise crappy sounding local bands, sound better.

Only one of me
Ms. Remy Ann David

RemyRAD Sun, 12/23/2007 - 20:41

Why thank you Glide. In fact you are my floss! I won't use anything else but Glide! Of course I like to glide on other things, such as beautiful music. Make some for me would you?

Always listening. Always talking.
Ms. Remy Ann David

tyCobb Mon, 12/24/2007 - 10:35

I agree with you Glide.

Thanks Remy for all your help.

By the way--you hit the nail on the head with singers using doubled vocals to make them sound more in pitch (it's kind of what I do because I'm not a very good singer). I hope that's not viewed as "cheating" or cutting corners too much from a professional standpoint, I'm just still a 19 year old newbie. lol.

Happy Holidays everyone!

My_Broken_Jenna_Tuls Mon, 12/24/2007 - 12:19

I need some help with this as well. My problem is that Vocalign is not compatible with my OS. any help? is there any other plugin like Vocalign?

Thanks much.

bent Mon, 12/24/2007 - 12:44

I hope that's not viewed as "cheating"

Not at all.
Read up on Automatic (aka artificial / automated) Double Tracking (ADT), you'll find out why.

Personally I prefer to double vox without plugins, as Remy stated.

Cucco Mon, 12/24/2007 - 14:05

RemyRAD wrote: But back in the old days.... We would frequently double the lead vocalist. Even if it wasn't intentional,

Ha...I love it.

I was just doing a session where I was doing trumpet quartet overdubs and the quartet had like 20 takes on the same 16 bars. I accidentally hit the unmute in the DAW while tracking and the guys in tracking room came alive! It seems 70 some trumpets punching into their cans while they were trying to play is not desirable....

Oh well, they deserved it - one of them whistled into my Royer SF12 and I heard the ribbon make all sorts of funky sounds..... :x :evil:

My_Broken_Jenna_Tuls Tue, 12/25/2007 - 13:57

i don't consider Vocalign a cheaters tool. It's not creating a fake doubler effect like some plugins. Vocalign just helps with lining up the phrasing so that they are better in time with each other. You still have to sing the doubled vocals. Helps me save a TON of time. i just wish i would have checked to see that it was compatible with my new OS.

RemyRAD Tue, 12/25/2007 - 22:14

It's only compatible with ProTools, which is compatible with Windows XP home and pro but not Media Center Edition. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily consider using it when going for those doubled vocal sounds. You need a little of that natural randomness to keep it sounding from being too unison.

Ms. Remy Ann David

sshack Wed, 02/06/2008 - 12:41

bent wrote:

Personally I prefer to double vox without plugins, as Remy stated.

Once you get good takes to work with, how do you approach mixing/blending the two (panning, EQ, delay, etc.). Obviously the song will dictate, but I'd like to hear some basic examples that perhaps you've done in the past.

sshack Wed, 02/06/2008 - 13:54

bent wrote: I'll see what I can find when I get home this evening.

I might have some tracks I can load in and make a quick mix with doubles and without, for comparison's sake...

Beautiful, thanks Ben.

DRDLKS Tue, 03/25/2008 - 12:20

ADD a second mic might help..

Yeah doubling the vocals is KEy to a big sounding vocal. Your singer must be able to match him or herself 99% of the time. All this does is train your singer to be more consistant with their performance. They will love you later when they learn how to sing their song properly =)

Now one thing that I have been doing is tossing in a second mic on the stand ( TAPE IT UP ) SM58 or an AKG. Run this to a second Input so you can mix them 2 seporatly. Put a weeeee bit of Chorus on the second mic. Not a lot just a small bit. This will give you a doubled effect if your singer just cant pull it off. This will also save your singers voice if they are strugling to do the doubles.

I mainy use this for pre production. Saves the voice and we can move a lot faster to hear the sway of the song with vocals on it.

Hopefully by the time you move to your final takes they can pull off the doubleing, If not at least you have two tracks recorded differently at the same time =)

Its a cheet but it does sound 80% of a double.....