Vocal double tracking for rich and interesting textures

The rich thickening of sound that double tracking gives to a vocal, makes this technique a favourite of many artists and record producers. Basic double tracking is about playing two tracks of vocals alongside each other, at the same time.

Actually recording the 2 tracks

We would want to record both the tracks of the same vocals, one after the other. This way the vocals have a better chance of sounding similar in feel, while the ambience, mic position related factors etc remain the same.

Most sequencers have an option of automatically recording in a loop. Start the recording, sing, then the loop sets the cursor back to the beginning, sing the phrase again, repeat. Then once you are done recording, mix and match the parts and phrases from the repeated recordings to make 2 tracks that are best for the double tracking.

Pitch correction and double tracking Slight differences in pitch is a reason why the double tracking works to give a rich thick effect. So if the pitch of the recorded tracks are too off and you have to correct the pitch of the vocal tracks, do so in a manner that does not iron out all the imperfections. Imperfections that tend to almost perfect is fine and good for the final result.

Fake double tracking

Using delay, pitch correction and pitch shift plugins appropriately can create results similar to a real double tracking.

Using a single repeat delay with a delay time of 80-120ms was an old trick.

Adding pitch shift to the track by 4 cents and -4cents to the delay is another trick.

Playing the original along with a copy of the original which is pitch corrected tightly, can also produce an interesting result.

Combine the above methods to get more dense and interesting outputs.

Antares’ Duo (included in Antares Audio AVOX Evo ) is an example of a plugin you can use on a vocal track to create a double tracking effect. The plugin makes slight differences to the track and outputs the differed track to be played along with the original, thus faking a double tracked effect.

But, when possible, for recording twice, since the natural pitch differences and imperfections will usually work much better to give a rich thick vocal double tracked effect.But, actually recording the 2 tracks is probably going to give us the best double tracked sound.

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