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What Is The Best Way To Thicken or Double Track Vocals

Hi i am trying to figure out the best way to thicken or double track vocals without it sounding to electronic and robotic.
Any tips would be very much appreciated
Thanks
Gus

If you’re asking about a plugin – my personal goto is Waves ADT and ADT2V. You’ll find enough presets that there’s bound to be something that gets you 90% of what you’re looking for and then do minor adjustment to taste.

There’s Waves Doubler, of course, and Waves VoiceCentric also has a doubler inside side, and you can try that if you have it.

As far as tracking goes — the real polish & magic happens when you sync up your layers. You can do that automatically with something like Vocalign Pro, or for free using Cakewalk’s VocalSync… But I do it manually in Reaper.

You specifically are asking about not being robotic so the key is to do it selectively. Listen for elements that are out of sync in a way that stands out negatively. It’s most often at the start or end of a phrase, but sometimes internally. A good DAW will make that easy to correct, such as with Reaper’s stretch markers. No destructive. Listen, especially for drawn out words and “T” sounds. You want your T sounds to line up.

In my experience I like to have one main vocal in the center, and then a doubled part for accented words and phrases, and/or choruses.

I used to record two doubled parts but it’s a bit cleaner if I use just one second part and then Waves ADT to stereo-fy the track behind the main vocal. It works like magic.

Also, if you choose complimentary microphones to record the parts – all the better. For example, I use the Electrovoice 635a (a favorite for those who know about it – surprisingly linear response and it doesn’t have a lot of low end so you don’t have to roll off the bottom) as a main vocal and then an SM58 for backing vocals.

If you use a large diaphragm condenser mic, definitely use that for the center/main vocal and use the dynamics for your backup.

But the point is for your second layer to have a difference from the main layer, so they stack together well without unnecessary EQ.

And finally, a slight top end boost on the main vocal and a slight top end cut on the doubled backing part can help with a separation between the two, if needed.

In general, go wide with your frequency response on the main vocal and have more dynamic range. Your doubled backing vocal part would generally have more cut from the lows and highs, and use more compression to tame the dynamic range so it can be quieter than the main vocal but still clear.

PS. Waves ADT is my favorite, but if you have it try the backing vocal preset in Waves Voicecentric. It also has the doubler on it.

Hi Sam many thanks for your time and effort into giving me detailed option,it is very much appreciated.

You explained that
In my experience I like to have one main vocal in the center, and then a doubled part for accented words and phrases, and/or choruses.
This is kind of what i am thinking but i have to find the best way to do it.
Mono track in center and mono to left and right or mono in center and stereo to left and right.
I also see some producers on you tube reproducing about 12 tracks and altering 3 cents then 6 cents up to 12 cents on the various track ,personally i thought it sounded awful.

I like the vocal doubled sound from Blake Shelton’s engineers on this song.
[Blake Shelton - ■■■ Gave Me You (Official Music Video) I tried to give you the link to You Tube but as a new member i’m not allowed
Any guesses as to how they get that kind of a sound, no pressure on you their Sam lol

You Then Explained
You specifically are asking about not being robotic so the key is to do it selectively. Listen for elements that are out of sync in a way that stands out negatively. It’s most often at the start or end of a phrase, but sometimes internally. A good DAW will make that easy to correct, such as with Reaper’s stretch markers. No destructive. Listen, especially for drawn out words and “T” sounds. You want your T sounds to line up.

I understand what your getting at about the T’s but stretching audio is a bit beyond my skill set.
You mentioned effectively different EQ’s on different tracks that makes sense
I have experimented with vocal doubler and similar plugins,i find them very chorusy if that makes sense

I am aware about what you said about the T’s lining up.
How about a main vocal track in the middle
Copy this twice and pan one track to the left and one track to the right
Then just nudge each copied track forward by tiny milliseconds(different milliseconds for each track)
Or even place one of the copied tracks before the main vocal and the other track after the main vocal again i am talking about tiny increments in milliseconds and as you have said have a slightly different EQ on each track ?
I had a listen to Waves Reel Adt and for my humble opinion Reel ADT sounds more natural than Vocal Doubler.
I think that plugins like vocal double are more for electronic dance music etc.
I am more into Celtic and Country music so i am trying to find a slightly more natural sound.
Once again many thanks for taking the time and effort
Best Regards
Gus

What you basically need to do, if you’re not recording your doubles as seperate takes, is to change four fundamentals about your “duplicate”. It’s pitch, its timing, it’s dynamics and its frequency content.

This what a lot of these doubling tools address, either in part, or in whole. It also explains why tape was so affective at double tracking. The variable delay element changed its timing and pitch, wow and flutter added to pitch and subtle frequency changes and the distortion affected the frequency and dynamic content. This made the doubles sound different just enough, that when buried behind the lead it was quite effective at making it sound fuller and richer.

While it’s not necessary to use tape “automatic double tracking” to do doubles, it certainly offers a great place to start. Fortunately for us, there’s a plugin for that. :wink:

Hello Simon many thanks for giving me the basics of what needs to be looked at.
I get what your saying, Their is not much point in trying to invent the wheel again especially
when there is a plugin that does the job.
Certainly makes all our lives easier.
Thanks again
Gus

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