how often do you double your vocals?

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

versuviusx
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 798
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 5:14 pm

how often do you double your vocals?

Post by versuviusx » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:30 pm

alot of people don't double on their vocals at all.
some people just use 1 vocal track for the verse parts and 2 or 3 vocal tracks for chorus.
some double track or triple track everything.
what does every typically do. i understand that different songs call for different strategies but lets face it humans are creatures of habbit.
i find my self definitely double tracking the chorus.
some times i think it's overkill. it can be misused like reverb and can take away the intimacy. sometimes it can bring all kinds of power and energy.
would love to know what you guys do.

User avatar
Smitty
tinnitus
Posts: 1246
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:14 am
Location: columbus, oh

Post by Smitty » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:37 pm

i'm by no means set in my ways, but for my own voice i find myself double-tracking as a matter of course. i usually have one track louder and drier, and one track softer and wetter, if that makes sense (heh). :D

i don't have a terribly strong or steady voice, and i think this helps smooth it out a bit without sounding obviously doubled.
"I try to hate all my gear equally at all times to keep the balance of power in my favor." - Brad Sucks

User avatar
klangtone
pushin' record
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:25 pm
Location: San Diego
Contact:

Post by klangtone » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:03 pm

I'm a fan of double or triple tracking. One guy I work with sometimes does even more!
Play with the mic distance and/or singing style for even more interesting sounds.

If you're already doing harmonies, then you may not need to do the double tracking.

If you want an "intimate" sound, you probably don't want to double track.

Roy
www.rarefiedrecording.com
"No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media,
and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful." -Kurt Vonnegut

theBaldfather
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 180
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:32 pm
Location: Goshen, IN
Contact:

Post by theBaldfather » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:15 pm

I almost always double track choruses. Not always on verses, but it's very hard to stop once you start doing it. It's just smoother :-).
@studioquotes "producer: turn the gain up just a tad" "guitarist: is that the same as volume?" "Producer: actually the last take was great!"

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 7141
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:18 pm

I do it when it makes sense foe the production. Never as a matter of course!

User avatar
fossiltooth
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:03 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Post by fossiltooth » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:38 pm

drumsound wrote:I do it when it makes sense for the production. Never as a matter of course!
^ yep.

User avatar
NarxistDan
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:15 pm
Location: Portland

Doubling rap vocals

Post by NarxistDan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:51 pm

I'm especially curious about what people are doing as far as layers with rap. Seems like many experienced rappers walk in to the booth knowing exactly what they're going to do with each of the 5 tracks they asked for (i.e. main, double, stereo selective double, adlib). Not so much with rappers who are new to recording. I find it's often helpful when working with less experienced rappers to have them do several doubles as a matter of course and then create backtracks out of the doubles with mute automation. Vocalign and/or manual timing correction is unfortunately often required. Ever try telling a rapper to rehearse though?...

As far as my own vocals are concerned, I'm not a fan of a "double" double most of the time. Doubling selective words 2x and hard panning can be great for giving an extra dimension over time, gotta get it right at the performance end through or things get sloppy and you start to lose clarity.

2x massively smashed whisper double hard panned and low for a section really lends a wide and menacing mood to things.

User avatar
fossiltooth
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:03 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Contact:

Re: Doubling rap vocals

Post by fossiltooth » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:28 pm

DanTheNarc wrote:I'm especially curious about what people are doing as far as layers with rap. Seems like many experienced rappers walk in to the booth knowing exactly what they're going to do with each of the 5 tracks they asked for
There are a million ways to do Rap doubles. Many amateurs who lack tone will straight-up double all their vocals in order to sound acceptable. I generally don't like this approach for to rap. Most good rappers will spit one main track and perhaps back it up with a single adlib that accents some lines. Recording a single main and adding a pair of panned adlibs has become popular in recent years. I kinda like this style, especially on novices who need a little extra support.

In contemporary Rap music, it seems to be common wisdom to stack every part of a chorus 9 thousand times. Sometimes this sounds cool... Mostly, it's a completely cliched tactic, and it should only be done when absolutely necessary.

I love a good vocal double! But I have to say... doubling in Rap has gone entirely too far. God forbid anyone practices spitting a verse, and treats their delivery like a craft. God forbid young amateur rappers embrace underground aesthetics instead of copying the mainstream. God forbid young producers actually try to break ground instead "writing" the 7 millionth song entitle "Hustlin" or "Chirpin'" or some other sh*t that should have been pass? 6 years ago. God forbid newcomers actually bother to learn their f*ing verse before they step into the studio. I swear to, if I see one more new "rapper" reading their 16 bars off of their sidekick, I'm gonna puke.

To all the dedicated young wordsmiths out there: god bless you. Please help save American Hip-Hop. Mainstream rap doesn't have to suck. Independent Hip-Hop doesn't have to try to emulate sucky mainstream rap. There are too few genuine artists out there. Support them. How come I always seem to end up preaching about something? Someone please stick a sock in my mouth.

cgarges
zen recordist
Posts: 10886
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2003 1:26 am
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Post by cgarges » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:34 pm

No automatic methodology here. For me, it first and foremost depends on whether or not the artist wants to do it. Beyond that, it's a matter of whether or not it works for that artist. Some people's voices are well-suited for it, some aren't. Some people can execute a part well-enough multiple times for it to work, some can't. Beyond that, stylistic considerations come into play and along the same lines, lyrical content. If there's a sincere message that is coming from a specific character in a one-on-one type setting, then it would be silly (conceptually) to double the vocal. If it's a lyric that should hit the listener over the head, then maybe it should come from more than one place.

Beyond that, there are all kinds of ways to incorporate a doubled vocal--- equal loudness with both in the center, equal loudness, but split (barely, hard L&R, somewhere in between), one favored over the other, one effected a certain way, both effected different ways, different performance presentation, etc.

I heard some mixes in progress today at a friend's studio who's had a terrific band together for nearly 30 years. Their new album sounds great and one thing that I noticed is that although there are three lead singers in the band, one of them is almost always doubled. Sure, there are times when the other guys are doubled, but doubling just works really well with this one guy. (I happen to have recorded him before and he's REALLY good at doubling himself.)

Sometimes it's just a "thing" for certain people. Phil Collins, Ozzy, etc.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

User avatar
Mark Legat
gettin' sounds
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:32 pm
Location: Hollywood, CA

Post by Mark Legat » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:47 pm

For myself I like just one track for lead vocals then do another backup type vocals track for harmonizing it. I do like the way doubling up sounds I just have only been recording myself and when I tried it on me I ended up liking it just how it was. Most of what I have done on myself is just a couple tracks of guitar and then vocals so I didnt want to overdo it or something.
RIT 08'

User avatar
NarxistDan
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:15 pm
Location: Portland

Post by NarxistDan » Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:23 pm

doubling in Rap has gone entirely too far. God forbid anyone practices spitting a verse, and treats their delivery like a craft
I don't really think that layering vocals is in conflict with craftsmanship. Most but not all rappers who record and perform professionally (including badass motherfuckers like Mikah 9 and KRS-1) WILL lay down more than one track EVERY TIME they record and it WILL add to the emotional impact of the part. It's not that KRS CAN'T just lay one track and have it be powerful as hell. In fact he does exactly that every time he steps on stage. But, for many rappers, another element of the craft in the studio is laying backtracks that emphasize what's cool about the writing. Hold the listener's hand a little - emphasize the little word games built into the verse so they're not just picked up on by other rappers.
Sure, if you've mixed much hip-hop, you've opened a session to find nine tracks of identical vocaligned doubles. But perhaps you've also found four tracks that each contained ONE essential piece of a whole performance that is greater than the sum of those tracks.

FOR INSTANCE
I recently found myself in the control room (not engineering) while a legendary 20 year veteran Bay Area underground rapper recorded two 8 bar guest verses on a project. The whole process took about 20 minutes and he was a fucking pro. Knew exactly what he wanted in his cans (even though it was kind of weird), good mic technique and didn't punch anything.

Main take panned ctr
Double with a somewhat more exaggerated delivery
2x backing tracks emphasizing punchlines (Took a few passes to make sure timing was tight)
Adlib track

Didn't really sound like him until the adlib track was going down.
(On a sidenote u87->737->PT in a room with any number of other vintage Neumanns, 1073's, 1064's, 31105's, a Requisite PAL, and API. Why oh why.)


Couldn't agree more about the need for craftsmanship in all areas of production including engineering, bass-playing, food-running, and rapping. It's really a details gig for everyone in the studio and it usually seems to work best when everyone is a confident, competent pro in their respective role. Sure, there are plenty of unprofessional rap clients out there, but I don't want to be responsible for turning this thread into a bitch session about rap clients or the state of hip-hop. (probably not much risk of that though)
if I see one more new "rapper" reading their 16 bars off of their sidekick, I'm gonna puke.
Indeed
Mainstream rap doesn't have to suck
Not sure about that...I think it does
it's a matter of whether or not it works for that artist. Some people's voices are well-suited for it, some aren't.
Definitely. Obviously whether a double happens or not should be dictated by whether that recording of that song needs it, but it seems to have more to do with the vocalist than other things that fall into this category. (i.e. slap delay on a lead vocal in a rockabilly song is quite likely a good idea - not necessarily the zydeco B-side by the same artist)
Rehearse More
Edit Less

xSALx
pushin' record
Posts: 244
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 4:24 pm
Location: Van Nuys, CA

Post by xSALx » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:26 am

L-C-R is my thing. I have found it helps with the intonation discrepancies.
"I'd rather her sound artificial [auto tune] than sound completely drunk." As said by the producer during a long pitch shifting session.

creature.of.habit
buyin' a studio
Posts: 878
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 4:27 am
Location: lisbon, portugal

Re: how often do you double your vocals?

Post by creature.of.habit » Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:33 am

versuviusx wrote:creatures of habit.
that's my name, don't wear it out. :shock:

User avatar
inverseroom
on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5031
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 8:37 am
Location: Ithaca, NY
Contact:

Post by inverseroom » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:08 am

I'm not a terrific singer, but I'm really good at double tracking--I can usually nail it in a couple of takes. So it's tempting to do it all the time. I think it ends up on about a third to half my songs, ultimately...part of the appeal is that it smooths over some of the flaws in my voice. But sometimes you just have to take a deep breath lay it out there.

MoreSpaceEcho
zen recordist
Posts: 6569
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 11:15 am

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:45 am

cgarges wrote: Some people's voices are well-suited for it, some aren't. Some people can execute a part well-enough multiple times for it to work, some can't. Beyond that, stylistic considerations come into play and along the same lines, lyrical content. If there's a sincere message that is coming from a specific character in a one-on-one type setting, then it would be silly (conceptually) to double the vocal.
i was going to write exactly this.

usually i prefer just one lead vocal. bv's...the more the merrier most times.

it is fun occasionally to get totally mutt lange and have 32 tracks of a vocal.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 46 guests