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Getting that wide vocal sound...

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Getting that wide vocal sound...

Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:38 pm

I have been trying to get a wide vocal sound from my recordings...but no success. I typically use Logic's Averb, Stereo Delay, generic Vocal compressor and Channel EQ to shape the vocal tracks. The plugins are definitely above average quality and was hoping to get a wider sound. I record my mics in mono into Logic....one person suggested me to increase the delay and reverb...I have tried it..but the vocals still sounded narrow in the stereo field. Could anyone help me out? I don't think this is a major problem as I'm still in my learning mode...but there's no harm in learning.
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Postby Tweak on Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:41 pm

Have you tried the stereo spreader plugin? Its in Logic.
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Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:21 pm

Tweak wrote:Have you tried the stereo spreader plugin? Its in Logic.


I'm using Express...haven't sought the Stereo Spreader plugin yet. I'll take a look. Thanks, boss!
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Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 7:59 pm

Anyone else...?
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Postby jar4ever on Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:02 pm

Double track the vocals, that is record another take on top of the current ones and pan them apart. This is done on just about every pop/rock song and it's what makes things sound wide (when panned apart) and huge. This is done for other things commonly as well, like guitars.
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Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:42 pm

jar4ever wrote:Double track the vocals, that is record another take on top of the current ones and pan them apart. This is done on just about every pop/rock song and it's what makes things sound wide (when panned apart) and huge. This is done for other things commonly as well, like guitars.


What if I simply just duplicate the current vocal tracks? Will that make a difference?
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Postby _controlfreak on Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:01 pm

No duping! Double tracking is the key. Give both a shot - you'll see what we mean.
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Postby Warhawk on Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:06 pm

jar4ever wrote:This is done for other things commonly as well, like guitars.


(Just slipping in a stealthy thanks for that. You just lined up my next experiment. I've been 'duping' them so far it seems and wondered about asking earlier.)
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Postby Weasel9992 on Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:17 pm

It depends on what you're doing, but you could record a stereo vocal if you have (ideally) a matched pair of LDC's, or even just two of the same LDC. It does not tend to work well in busy mixes, but it can be magical in simple, uncluttered mixes. Done right, it produces a naturally wide, deep vocal...very nice.

Give it a try if you have the equipment to do it.

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Postby joelpilling on Mon Mar 12, 2007 9:23 pm

Doubling the current vocal track will just raise the level.

What I do, is record the vocalist with two mics, one up front, one a bit back, because then its the same take, yet different perspectives. I either wide pan them, or mix one into taste. The more I listen to modern metal/rock the more I realize this is probably what they do, because you hear vocals that HAVE to be one take. Noway can it be perfectly in sync etc.

If you can not retrack, add a small delay panned to one side.
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Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:16 pm

For delay, is the Stereo Delay in Logic good enough to serve its purpose?
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Postby joelpilling on Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:28 pm

Probably, I don't use logic. I use the Free plugins from Kjaerhus. Works fine for me. You don't want it big, just like 20ms. And don't mix it in too much. Just play around with it some. I pan the original vocals to one side, and the delayed vocals to the other. Make sure to check for phase issues when doing this though.
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Postby Tweak on Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:53 pm

motulover wrote:For delay, is the Stereo Delay in Logic good enough to serve its purpose?


That is what the spreader was designed to do, and you have many more permutations than using a delay.
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Postby motulover on Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:58 pm

joelpilling wrote:Probably, I don't use logic. I use the Free plugins from Kjaerhus. Works fine for me. You don't want it big, just like 20ms. And don't mix it in too much. Just play around with it some. I pan the original vocals to one side, and the delayed vocals to the other. Make sure to check for phase issues when doing this though.


So you duplicate the original vocals right?
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Postby tecnolover on Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:39 am

motulover wrote:
joelpilling wrote:Probably, I don't use logic. I use the Free plugins from Kjaerhus. Works fine for me. You don't want it big, just like 20ms. And don't mix it in too much. Just play around with it some. I pan the original vocals to one side, and the delayed vocals to the other. Make sure to check for phase issues when doing this though.


So you duplicate the original vocals right?


You don't just copy and paste a track, you record a second take. This is 'doubling' verses 'copying/paste'. You can then use a tiny bit (emphasis on tiny) of delay and pitch shift on one or equally on both tracks for a bit more spread if you choose. Then pan both original take and the double take to taste. Be careful making the vocals too wide. If you make it very wide you will mask the stereo image of the other instruments. Remember the music is important too! If you notice a lot of pop songs actually keep the lead vocal tightly centered. But it's thick. Then they will pan any backing accomp. vocals out just a little bit further beyond the lead for separation. So real wide isn't always best for pop, thick usually is.
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Postby jar4ever on Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:56 am

Well, for what joe was talking about you just duplicated the original track. However, doing that is very different then actually double taking, but both have their place. By delaying a duplicate track and panning it opposite of the original you are basically creating a chorus or flanging effect, depending on the delay time. This can sound cool, but it doesn't give the 'hugeness' that double tracking does. If you just think about it, double tracking is a lot more complex. A delayed duplicate will be consistent, it will always be x amount behind the original and of the same character and have the same accents, etc. However, a doubled track will vary in time, it will sometimes be ahead of the original, sometimes behind, and constantly changing between the two in varying degrees. Additionally, different notes will be slightly sharp or flat compared to the original, there will be different accents, etc. When it comes down to it, doubled tracks are different in much more complex ways then a treated duplicate track.

Both have their place, but double tracks is usually what you are after to make something sound 'bigger' or whatever. It's used a lot more often then one might think. Often time the doubles are blended in subtly so it still sounds like one performance, but just bigger. Other times it is quite obvious. You can also sing it in completely different styles for effect, like whisper tracks (or for guitar a palm muted double, or whatever).
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Postby tecnolover on Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:53 am

jar4ever wrote:Well, for what joe was talking about you just duplicated the original track. .


thnx Jar, my mistake. I thought he was asking about double tracking..
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Postby motulover on Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:34 am

Thanks a lot guys! Appreciate all your help. I will try the double vocals with one hard panned(delay) and the other...the original track.
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Postby SCN on Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:56 am

TC Helicon has some nice voice processors, I believe some are even available as VSTs (don't have experience with this variation). Their VoiceDoubler will give you the desired effect but at the cost of about $1000.

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Postby Weasel9992 on Wed Mar 14, 2007 8:59 am

....that's a nice processor, and to be honest, I wouldn't even think about buying anything too much cheaper. All the really cheap stuff (Behringer and the like) sounds really, really bad.

I personally prefer to double or triple vocals most of the time, but there's definitely a place for *good* vocal processors, depending on what genre you're working on.

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Postby Twiggy on Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:13 am

jar4ever wrote: Often time the doubles are blended in subtly so it still sounds like one performance, but just bigger.


I'm a little confused as to what people mean when they talk about 'blending' tracks together. :oops:
Can anyone please enlighten me?
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Postby Weasel9992 on Wed Mar 14, 2007 11:18 am

"Blending" is just taking two or more tracks of the same source, recorded separately, and mixing them together. For instance, you might record a vocal with a close mic and a room mic, then blend the two signals together to get a desired effect.

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Postby jar4ever on Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:10 pm

Twiggy wrote:
jar4ever wrote: Often time the doubles are blended in subtly so it still sounds like one performance, but just bigger.


I'm a little confused as to what people mean when they talk about 'blending' tracks together. :oops:
Can anyone please enlighten me?

What I meant in that case was that the doubled track might be mixed in a way where it is quite a bit lower in level and not really distinguishable as a separate take, but rather is 'blended' in with the original.
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Postby Twiggy on Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:38 pm

I see, thanks for clearing that up Jar :)
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Postby tenchijin2 on Wed Mar 14, 2007 2:30 pm

If you want to hear some samples of what wide panned double tracked vocals sound like, I have a LOT of them on my website.

If you listen to "Love of My Life" the BG vocals are actually quadruple tracked, with two panned left and two panned right for each part.

On "This Whole World" the vocals are double tracked and panned left and right.

A good example too, is on "You Never Give Me Your Money", where the lead vocal starts as a single part center panned and at the line "...funny paper" adds a double track and pans 30% left and right.

On "No Matter What" the lead vocal is double tracked throughout the whole song and panned about 20% left and 20% right.

On "Ayden" the main verse and chorus lead vocal is single tracked, but at the prechorus the lead vocal is doubled and panned about 50% left and right.

I rarely pan the parts the same way. For instance, I pan the low part 100% left and 100% right, then the next part up is panned maybe 70% left and 70% right, and so on. I think of it like building a pyramid with the highs fairly close to center (maybe 10-20% left and right).

There are no delays on any of these parts, just some reverb as needed. So that should give you a good idea of what it sounds like.

all the songs on my site use that kind of effect A LOT. I hope that is somewhat helpful.
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