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modern vocal doubling techiques
Old 27th February 2003
  #1
Here for the gear
 
johnnyb2u's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
modern vocal doubling techiques

Hi all!

I've been a voyuer on this forum for a long time, getting great tips on gear and recording from you guys. I'm a little nervous jumping into the mix, but I've got a question on a specific CD that's out there and also a general question for everyone.

First, does anyone have an inside on the Nelly CD "Nellyville" technique for the vocal doubling that goes on continually on his vocal. It's a rare occurance when you hear his voice unaltered. Seems like it's the same on every song. Maybe someone here knows the engineer or has heard what they were using to get that double.

Second is just a general question to everyone on their electronic vocal doubling techniques. From Rap/Hip-hop to pop and rock. I'd love to see how everyone approaches this.

I've never been totally happy with my doubling sound on vocals and want to experiment a bit more. Plus I have some potential hip-hop work coming, so it'd be sweet to find out what's currently being used or what's the "flavor of the month" piece of gear for this.

This forum rocks!! You guys have gotten me confidently through gear purchases and mixes. Love the pictures of setups people have uploaded!! Please keep it up

Sincerely
John Billings
FunkyTymz Prod.
Old 28th February 2003
  #2
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: modern vocal doubling techiques

Quote:
Originally posted by johnnyb2u
...
I've never been totally happy with my doubling sound on vocals and want to experiment a bit more...
Have you tried having the singer actually double their final vocal or used more than one take at once for your comp?

I've never liked most electronic double-effects unless I was trying to make it sound like the Beatles, tape-slap or flanged. It isn't "modern" at all and certainly not effortless but the "old" way can sure sound beefy if it's really tight.
Old 28th February 2003
  #3
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
As always, Bob's comments are on the mark.

Nelly sounds like he is doubling or tripling his tracks. To me, it sounds like he is rapping at a high pitch on some, and a lower pitch on other tracks. Kind of like when the guys from RUN-DMC would double up on a ryhme- but he's doing it all himself. Also, it sounds like he doubles specific words for emphasis on yet another track.
Old 28th February 2003
  #4
Here for the gear
 
johnnyb2u's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Bob,

Good to hear from you. We met this past summer at NAMM. Having the singers double their own parts has been how I've been doing this, but it's rare to find rappers that have that much accuracy to closely mimic their own parts. I've been hearing alot of doubling happening lately that sounds processed on the more recent rap releases. I'm just wondering what specifically these engineers are using to get the doubled parts.

By the way, James Jamerson is one of my heroes and influences. The bass tone you got with him is mind blowing to me to this day. I've been chasing it for years.

Thanks so much for your reply!

John
Old 28th February 2003
  #5
Here for the gear
 
johnnyb2u's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
G-man,

I keep listening to the CD and the parts sound so perfect with his inflections...just seems electronic. There's very little varying in the performance, as if it's got +5/-5 cents riding along behind the origional track.

John
Old 28th February 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by johnnyb2u
G-man,

I keep listening to the CD and the parts sound so perfect with his inflections...just seems electronic. There's very little varying in the performance, as if it's got +5/-5 cents riding along behind the origional track.

John
I've had singers / musicians with near to perfect timing .... who double tracks and it's scary how clos they are to the previous one both in pitch and time.

but other then that a nice tight setting for vocalign will get you the perfect timing too.

As for Nelly ... imvho it is definately a combination of :

a : a huge number of comped / at times slightly vocaligned tracks

b : the artists performance timing which is without a doubt very good

c : there are definately tracks at different pitches in there (like harmonising vocals but for rap)
Old 28th February 2003
  #7
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Here is the secret 'cheater tool"

It works very well

look up VocAlign

http://www.synchroarts.com/products/

Old 28th February 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Inspired by this post, check this out:

http://artists.iuma.com/site-bin/mp3...theme_song.mp3

;-)

What everyone is saying is right on the money- every rapper I know of doubles or tripples the crap out of their vocals: this includes Eminem, Zack De La Rocha (sp?), busta rhymes, etc. Just like heavy guitars, the doubling just makes it sound bigger, meaner, and slightly more out of control, to give the impression that these guys are going to do a mountain of coke and jump out of your stereo to brutally murder you. RATM's vocals are often doubled and sometimes (though I think more rarely) trippled so that when Zack says "...with a shot gun, these people ain't seen a brown skinned man since their grandparents bought one," he sounds like you should actually be afraid of him.

To approach it, you need to ask yourself this: do you want the tracks to ALWAYS be doubled? (such as my Nelly featuring 'A Couple Monsters' clip above) Or do you want a center track with an occasional double? I usually just have two tracks panned to either side, though this may not be the best way to do it. To get that huge, krazy sound for Rap, you're going to want to get the guy to speak very articulately if possible but run each line in a slightly different tone (as it's been mentioned), and add a third on certain words. I'm by no means an expert on recording rap, but the few times I've done it have sounded close enough that the client (a white kid who didn't take it too seriously) was satisfied.
Old 28th February 2003
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Oh yeah, and for that Dave Grohl pop rock type double, I'm still working on getting my doubles sounding super nice, but what a friend is doing lately is recording the vox with a blue dragonyfly mic up close and an earthworks omni for a room sound. He pans the two dragonfly tracks pretty hard l/r, and the room mics are all the way l/r but on different sides than their corresponding dragonfly track. It doesn't sound just right to me, but pretty damn good. It accomplishes what he set out for and sounds pretty natural also and not so much like "oh boy, here's another doubled vocal." Me, I just track twice and pan em pretty hard. But I'm an idiot ;-)
Old 28th February 2003
  #10
Gear Guru
 
thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BattleAngel

What everyone is saying is right on the money- every rapper I know of doubles or tripples the crap out of their vocals: this includes Eminem, Zack De La Rocha (sp?), busta rhymes,.

This wasn't always the case.

I worked with a lot of rappers back in the day(Guru,Busta,Jay-Z,Nas,KRS One,Q-Tip,Fat Joe,The Wu and a bunch of other East Coast rappers old shool and new) and nobody doubled(they did do adlibs). Doubling would sometimes take away from the "grime", the street edge.

The doubling of rap vocals really was popularized from one person...2 Pac(West Coast).

2 Pac was famous for doubling and tripling his vocals(also for not taking too much time in the studio doing vocals).

After 2 Pac everyone who didn't have the "big voice"(even though 2 Pac didn't really need it) started doing doubles and triples(for doing rhymes a real art form).

I think most of the modern stuff is done artificially(VocalAlign and a Pitch Shifter(Eventide) or plug in).
Old 28th February 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Right, but since the thread was called "modern vocal doubling techniques" I just figured I'd respond with what I thought was going on "now in the day." ;-)

BTW- There is some GREAT vocal doubling on that new Wilco album. I'm not real keen on like half of the material, but that is a supremely produced and engineered album, imho.
Old 28th February 2003
  #12
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by thethrillfactor


The doubling of rap vocals really was popularized from one person...2 Pac(West Coast).

But wasn't it only after Coolio's heavily doubled "Gangsta's Paradise," that Tupac started doubling up? I'm only half-joking here
Old 1st March 2003
  #13
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Jules, I notice that there are several Vocalign versions to choose from. For just getting vocal double tracks to match up a little better is the cheaper "project" version fine for PT or do I have to buy the $900 version. You know what I want to hear lol.
thanks,
Steve
Old 1st March 2003
  #14
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I dunno the dif between em,

Anyone?

Old 1st March 2003
  #15
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
one is a stand alone app and the other is an audiosuite plugin for PT.

I would go for the audiosuite plugin ... very convenient and handy to have it inside the PT soft.

Both will allign just as tight though ... no difference there.
Old 1st March 2003
  #16
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
thanks! grggt
Old 1st March 2003
  #17
Here for the gear
 
johnnyb2u's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
hey everyone,

Thanks so much for the great responses! I'm going to check out Voc Align and see what the hype's all about. You guys may have saved me a bunch of time in editing!!

I'm going back to lurking in the shadows at the forums! LOL! Thanks again for being so cool.

Sincerely
John
Old 3rd March 2003
  #18
Lives for gear
 
guittarzzan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hey Jules, ever used Vocalign to tighten up doubled guit tracks and how did it do?
thx,
steve
Old 3rd March 2003
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Me and my partner i work with tend to use Voc Align alot on vocals and guitardubs, it works great when i comes to tighten things up.
It surley gives a mix more "air" when thing dont blur with eachother.
On the other hand, somtimes i like things a bit more ruff especially when it comes to guitartracks and the guitarplayer have layed down a groovy take, then i dont wanna ruin that timing with alot of editing.
Backingvocals on the other hand you always want to be tight (with maybe an exeption for gospelchoir), so on those Voc Align really works great.

/M
Old 3rd March 2003
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Is there at all any audio degredation from using it? I'm sure that's a silly question, but I'm not use to letting computers do my editing for me ;-)
Old 3rd March 2003
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Well, the audiofiles cant be to far away of eachother in timing or Voc Align wont understand how to correct the file, when you open it you'll see the 2 soundwaves and VA will make them fit together by looking at the wavefiles, so if theres a pause in one of the audiofiles then VA will stretch one of them totally wrong.
So you may have to do a bit preediting if you had a really bad musician, but it will be worth it.
I havent noticed if there is an degredation in sound after using it.

/M
Old 6th March 2003
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
For rap doubles it works best for me to do it the same day with the same setup. I always try to let the artist get into the right mood first by letting them do the rhyme a few times then doing the doubles or triples shortly after. It almost never works for me to double says or weeks later unless its a singer (nonrapper).
Old 7th March 2003
  #23
Gear Nut
 
DigiGeek's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BattleAngel
Oh yeah, and for that Dave Grohl pop rock type double, I'm still working on getting my doubles sounding super nice, but what a friend is doing lately is recording the vox with a blue dragonyfly mic up close and an earthworks omni for a room sound. He pans the two dragonfly tracks pretty hard l/r, and the room mics are all the way l/r but on different sides than their corresponding dragonfly track. It doesn't sound just right to me, but pretty damn good. It accomplishes what he set out for and sounds pretty natural also and not so much like "oh boy, here's another doubled vocal." Me, I just track twice and pan em pretty hard. But I'm an idiot ;-)
This is a great idea. Keep 'em coming.
Old 7th March 2003
  #24
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
A PZM mic taped to the CR window (singer side) with bass roll of to kill any kick & bass rumble / spill. can be cool. Gives a smashing pumpkins type "tiled bathroom" effect when blended with a main close vocal mic.

The above panning trick would work on it too.

Jules
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