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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)?

Comments

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

JoeH Mon, 08/01/2005 - 09:31

Chance, that's VERY cool to hear that about your connections to Kath & Cetera. I'm old enough to remember the CTA album when it FIRST came out, heheh, and all the subsequent releases. (I once played in a cover band that did the entire "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannan" in our set. 8) ) I can still hear all the edits on the shorter versions of the hits whenever they get played on the oldies stations.

I can't remember the magazine now, but I do recall reading interviews with Cetera (and perhaps his engineer at the time?) speaking about his painstaking doubling technique. They claimed he did it the old fashioned (Harder) way, by singing along perfectly with himself, for as long as it took. It doesn't surprise me that there were a few other subtleties along the way as well...perhaps some playback pitch shift, etc. as well. For my money, Cetera's stuff is a perfect example of the benefits of doubling. (Great voice, great songs, great arrangements, as well.)

Chance Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:33

They originally got the name "CTA" because in the very beginning when they played on Rush street or in Old Town they often slept in the CTA rail stations. It's hard to believe that Walt on sax, and Danny Seriphini drums still play with them. On occasion Jimmy Pankow on bone will play. Right after Pete left Cal David & the Exceptions he traded me his Fender (piggy back) bassman amp for my Ampeg B-15. I wish I still had that bassman. What was really strange about Pete was his singing was unbelievable, but when you would talk to him, he had a stuttering disorder. If you hear him talk now, the disorder has improved.

Boltino Mon, 08/01/2005 - 14:55

Surprised no one mentioned Def Leppard. Their vocals were constructed similarly. Although at that level, calling it doubling seems like an understatement. I think they used 16 tracks per harmony. Mutt would make the guys do it over and over again, making sure that every take was the same (much as Chance described). If I'm not mistaken, I think several of their songs had 96 tracks on vocals alone (16 tracks X 6 parts). It's been a while since I read about it so correct me if I'm wrong.

Wes

Terabyte Mon, 08/01/2005 - 18:16

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?

Is it just for vocals.. or does it do for guitars...

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

See at college we were told vaigly what double tracking was... mostly ended up as hearsay and speculation and guessing.. crappy teachers...
can you do tripple or quadrouple tracking? any point to that?

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..

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.. 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

k lots of questions there :P

thanks alot :)_

Boltino Tue, 08/02/2005 - 06:43

Did he have that many doubled tracks on the High n Dry album as far as you know?

Not sure how many they used on that album, but I'm sure extensive doubling was done. The Def Leppard signature vocal sound (especially the huge choruses) is due to this doubling/layering process.

Wes

CoyoteTrax Tue, 08/02/2005 - 07:13

The reason I asked is the High and Dry album is my favorite from them because it doesn't sound so over-produced. Granted, it was a "breakthrough" recording and I thought it set a new standard for rock productions (just my opinion) but it didn't sound over-produced.

Every Def Lep album after that made me cringe a little because those guys were such amazing musicians and needed so little help in the way of production. And in my opinion, too much polishing of such sterling talent robs the listener of experiencing "raw" artistic performance and quality engineering.

Nothing against Mutt Lange but when you take a look at AC/DC (for example), the same thing happened there. Back in Black was (and still is) sort of a "white whale" to some engineers. For Those About to Rock was a fantastic album but was a little over the edge on production and mostly every album after that was just too shiny to make the headlines and really excite the listener.

96 tracks of doubling may sound cool in LA or NY or London, but sometimes it just fizzles out beyond those geographical locations.

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 play....you 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 well....one 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-)

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....

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 me...la 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:

took-the-red-pill Thu, 08/04/2005 - 23:53

yeah, okay, maybe I was a little unclear and one has to read my post veeeeeery carefully or I look like a complete tone deaf moron.

lemme 'splain.

1-Record some instrument tracks and blend them to track 4 for use in this experiment.

2-Sing a vocal on track 1 while listening to your follow track

3-copy tracks 1 and 4 to track 2. This is our 'reference track,' and it will never be used in the final mix. It's just to sing along with.

4-Solo this reference track, (track 2) and pitch shift it UP a semitone

5- On track 3, record another vocal as you sing along with the reference track. You will be singing a semitone high. (This is the same as when Zappa sped up the tape to pitch shift, and record a double track, in the example mentioned earlier in the thread.)

6-Pitch shift track 3 down a semitone. Mute track 2. Your vocal on track 3 will now be the same pitch as the rest of the song, but it will have a slightly different timbre The result is a very rich blend.

I was trying to say that this technique could be done digitally without the need for special equipment or a tape machine, as long as your digital software has pitch shifting capabilities. I would think that pitch shifting of some sort is fairly common these days, as it's in my software, which is far from top of the line.

Keith

Chance Fri, 08/05/2005 - 07:59

Instead of all that bouncing and all, if your set up allows you to record at different speeds, simply record the doubled track at a different speed and be done with it

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

Yeah.

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.

Cheers
Keith

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