Making Two Harmonizing Vocals Sound like One?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by funkbomb, Jul 24, 2004.

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  1. funkbomb

    funkbomb Guest

    A promenient example of what I'm trying to acheive is Hoobastank's "The Reason." I know there are two vocals there harmonizing, but it sounds like two identical tracks exept one track is pitched to harmonize. It doesn't sound like the lead sang it twice--the two vocals are too similar!

    If they are in fact the same take edited to harmonize, how do you do that? You can't just alter the pitch of a recording and not affect its duration, unless you use some serious computing power to detect pauses and beats and etc.

    BUT More likely...

    If they are two separate takes, how do you go about editing them to sound so spacially close? When I record harmonized vocals and keep them both simply mono it's very easy to pick them out individually. What gives? Many pro recordings I hear have harmonized vocals that are especially difficult to pick out.


  2. mcasci2

    mcasci2 Guest


    good question i'm interested too, are you adding to much reverb to the harmonies causing them to be to distant sounding
  3. mcasci2

    mcasci2 Guest

    listen to the bridge of pardon me - incubus is this what you mean?

    they have a really high harmony blended very well with lead.
  4. Pootkao

    Pootkao Guest

    The subtle harmony

    A lot of what you describe comes from the editing, in my opinion. Just singing a harmony along with oneself is still going to result in inconsistencies. A really labourous but productive edit where each word, heck each syllable, is lined up with the lead vocal is the beginning of that. Then you also have to realize that the lead is probably double or triple tracked as well as the harmonies and all those extra tracks get compressed together... well, at least thats the way I do it...
  5. beachhunt

    beachhunt Guest

    It seems that's an easier task than you think. Many standalone wave editors have the ability to affect pitch and duration completely independently (in addition to affecting them together, of course). In Sound Forge, it would be under Effects -> Pitch -> Pitch Shift, for example. Some programs do it better than others, though (some programs end up with odd crackles and glitches when shifting pitch without changing duration, especially when shifting upward). I'm not sure what programs you're familiar with, but there are even plugins that can do it, since that's basically what Pitch Correction plugins do. Pitch Correction is usually just used to "snap" a singer's slightly-off notes, but it's been used as an effect in its own right, and could probably be used to do that harmonizing, too. Also, many DJ cd players can modify pitch and speed independently.

    As for that specific song, I'm not familiar enough with it, so I couldn't tell you for sure, but it is definitely possible that they just doubled the vocal track and shifted the pitch.
  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I can't say how it is done with plugs but I can lend some insight to a technique used.

    Start with tracks that have been pitch corrected. In some cases you may wish to really push the pitch correction to the point where it almost sounds mechanical. Then, run each of the harmonies through a noise gate that is keyed to open and close off of the main lead vocal ... with a very quick release. This will cause all the vocals to open and shut down at the same points ... Last, run all the haromnies through a vca type compressor set to hard knee, a ratio of 6/1 or more with a fast attack and a medium release, .. to add "tightness".

    I hope that might give you the effect you are searching for.
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    A single vocal can achieve that effect is you have an H3000 set to Vocal Doubler (preset number 533 I think). Or if you have Pro Tools and the plug-in VocalAlign, you can tightly line up alternate takes to the lead (or the purposely sung double, triple, etc). It will match up a performance to a reference pretty tightly.
  8. funkbomb

    funkbomb Guest

    I found the solution! All by my own self, I feel pretty good now...

    The solution is actually pretty simple. Just use the envelope of the lead vocals for the harmonized vocals, and voila! the harmony is there when the lead is, and not when it isn't. In Audition, it's called Envelope Follower, but I'm not sure about the others.

    I feel proud :D

    I'm not sure if this is exactly how it's done, but if the lead vocals are sung the way the artist likes it then it eliminates any mistakes sung by the harmony. After you use the envelope effect on it its just a matter of leveling to find a pleasant fit for it.

    in fact drinks on me

  9. boheme6

    boheme6 Guest

    it helps to have a good singer too..

    I saw Hoobastank live - and the dude can sing.

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