004 MixCoach Minute- How to make a vocal sound double-tracked with one source

In this MixCoach Minute, I give at least 4 different ways to make a vocal (or background vocals) sound double-tracked.

Raw Transcript:

Hello, it’s Kevin from MixCoach, here for another episode of The MixCoach
Minute. This is episode four. This episode, as you know, is brought to you
by MixCoach Member. If you want some real training on different songs every
month, different musical styles every month, and a great community of mixed
leaders, guys that really know what they’re talking about and guys who
really want to teach. Check out MixCoach Member, okay?

This question is from Joshua P. Miller. He says,

“What’s the best way to
make a vocal sound double-tracked, even if you have only one source?”

That’s a good question, Joshua, and I know you need to do this sometimes. I
do have a couple of ideas for you. The first thing would be to look into
the remaining of the song. If you want to double track the first chorus,
look to the second chorus and see if you can copy and paste. If it’s the
same performance, it won’t work. You can’t just double the track and nudge
it and it really sounds authentic.

So, what you want to do, if they actually doubled… or if they tracked the
second chorus and the first course, just copy and paste back onto another
track and call it “double track”. Then, just nudge it around and tune it
up. Don’t tune it too much because, double tracking, if it’s over tuned,
just sounds fake.

That’s one way to do it. That’s the harder way to do it. Actually it’s the
easiest way to do it, but, it’s probably not going to work because most
people tend to do one chorus and then fly it to the rest of the choruses.
Basically, you’re just duplicating the chorus again and it won’t work
really well.

The second way, the way I usually do it, and have done it in the past when
it was really popular to do, especially on background vocals, is that I
would take this preset from the SPX90; I can’t remember what it… I think
it was called micro pitch-shift. It also works on the harmonizer, H3000,
there’s a thing called micro pitch-shift. You can take it and it’ll take it
and de-tune it six cents on the left and six cents on the right. That
sometimes sounds like it’s a really, really tight double track.

Like I said, SPX90, which is old school, I know, and the H3000. Also, Waves
makes a vocal doubler that will work. Also, you can add chorus on there.
You can also take… I wouldn’t recommend the chorus, it just sounds like
chorus. You have to really, it’s almost like it needs to be more pitched
than chorus. Chorus tends to come of a little bit. Not so good for me.

Another thing you can do is, take pitch in the Pro Tools and, actually, do
the stereo thing, the stereo pitch-shift. I think it’s just called pitch.
Then, pitch one up about, I find that eight to ten cents on one side up and
eight to ten cents one side down is the most optimal way to do it. But,
I’ll tell you my preferred method of doing it, if you’re interested. I
guess you are, or you wouldn’t have asked the question.

What I would probably do is… and this is given the fact that you don’t
have all of the vocals super tuned. Let’s say you’re tracking the vocal,
one thing you can do is double the track, then, put Melodyne on the doubled
track. Then, take Melodyne and really, really tune it, really tight. Not
robotic tune, not like Cher, or Al City, or something like that.

Just check out my tutorial video called “MixCoach Guide to Comping and
Tuning Vocals
“, there’s a section at the end where you actually… I show
you how to slice up a vocal to get it as tight as you possibly can without
it sounding manufactured. Do that on the second track, on the doubled
track. Take out all the scoops, really time-align it or vocaline it, not
vocal line but Melodyne it.

Also, fix the timing on it. So, if you really snap the timing really tight
and the pitch really tight, then it’s going to make the vocal track sound
like it’s the double. It needs to be a little loose in order to make it
double.

So, I gave you, about, I think four…probably more ways than you wanted to
know…but, about four ways. You can do pitch-shift with the Harmonizer,
you can do pitch on Pro Tools, you can also do…what was the other
one…you can also copy and paste. Then, you can take a copy of the vocal
and really tune it with Melodyne. I find that Melodyne is really cool that
way.

If it still doesn’t sound doubled, you can actually nudge it one way or the
other by, I find that 10 milliseconds is probably the best place. 10
milliseconds, at least, I keep my grid on 10 milliseconds, so that you can
keep it 10 milliseconds, 20 seconds, 30. I usually, one of those is good
enough to make it sound like a double-tracked vocal.

So, Joshua, hope that really helps and, if you get a chance, come by
MixCoach Member and check out what we’re doing there. It’s really cool. All
right. See you tomorrow, bye.

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MixCoach, double-tracked, vocal

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