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Thread: Double track vocal errors

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    Double track vocal errors

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    Does anyone do a lot of double track vocals . I'm getting pitch errors particularly on sustained notes . Somehow I'm beginning to think that listening to the primary vocal might be contributing to this . Only problem there if I mute it I'm likely to get the lyric phrasing going out of sync. (Live double tracking not cloning etc )

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    Im must admit this happens with my fairly average voice with multi-tracked BVs, and I can make it much better by turning down the overall volume in the headphones which seems to clean up my pitching. That said, the new align and tune tools in Cubase which I use mean it doesn't matter any longer. The take alignment tool is truly brilliant. Designate which take is the master, and it tidies up the phrasing with a mouse click!

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    If you are doubling or tripling vocals, you need to get good at singing things the same way every time. Every inflection needs to be done on purpose. Then, it doesn't matter if you have the original in your headphones or not.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    I have encountered an assortment of vocalists in my recording experience, and I've noted two broad types. The first is the melody singer who can't harmonize easily . . . they can only sing the melody line they've learnt, and if you try to get them to sing a harmony, they keep dropping back to the melody. However, these singers seem to be great at double tracking, because they sing the melody the same way every time. On the other hand, I've had great harmonizers who can conjure up the most wonderful harmonies off the cuff, but have real difficulty remembering how they sang a bit before. They find precise double tracking very difficult, and their phrasing is different from take to take. (There are, of course, many variations of all the above.)

    If someone is finding precise tracking difficult, then one way of making it easier is to record smaller chunks so that they don't have to remember how they sang the whole song. Record them singing a verse, then record a double straight away. Or even do it line by line. If you find them hesitating in their second vocal because they are listening to their first vocal for cues, turn it off.

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    I'm just a home recording guy but I love double tracking lead vocal (as well as backing). Primarily because I don't have a strong vocal. I've been doubling since the 90's with analog recordings. The first thing I always notice that is always problematic is the variation of the volumes. It can really mess me up. Meaning -- the volume variation in the headphone mix of the recorded take to the volume of the live vocal take. If you play with these variations and adjust the monitored recorded vocal volume to the live vocal monitored volume, you'll eventually find your sweet spot.

    Lastly, don't beat yourself up too bad by trying to be incredibly precise. YouTube is a gold mine of isolated vocal tracks. There are plenty of doubled vocals to hear isolated. And you quickly discover many, many artists are not at all precise. Frankly, far from it. Some of the worst double tracked vocals come from the Beatles of all people/bands. Yet, in my opinion, therein lies the character and the beauty of double tracking. The thickness and strength.

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    I usually recommend doing more takes and comping them together.

    If I want to get two matching takes, I'll do at least 3 (good takes; I throw out bad ones) and pick whichever 2 match.
    If I want triple-tracked, I'll do at least 5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VomitHatSteve View Post
    I usually recommend doing more takes and comping them together.

    If I want to get two matching takes, I'll do at least 3 (good takes; I throw out bad ones) and pick whichever 2 match.
    If I want triple-tracked, I'll do at least 5.
    Yes....^^^^^^.....what VHS says is so true. There's almost no way that most of us "average" home recording vocalists will ever do a double track perfectly. What I've done to correct errors is to do the "error" part over again on another track until it's acceptable. Whatever number of errors I have usually determines how many tracks I'll use to correct that part of the vocal double. An error can be a pitch problem or any other issue in the original double track. Then...of course....stitching them all together is fairly easy.
    Just A Song Writer..........

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    Lots of good ideas . Have played around with relative monitoring levels and I feel there's something in that too . Apart from that keep trying I guess . Watched a few youtube videos on vocal coaches explaining technique for sustaining long notes . That's where it's tough in particular. Yes bolting bit together is also a good idea . I just need to get something decent enough to bolt .

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    I fall into the melody singer group... have a real hard time singing harmony without falling back into the melody which also may be why I usually can sing the melody parts the same every time. That being said... in my experience laying down vocal takes in a loop section by section (allowing the vocalist to sing the same phrases over and over) without listening to any "double" in the mix will probably help get more precise takes. You can then either comp sections that way or then have a singer do a few more "full song" takes afterwards as now they've probably built up their memory of how to sing the song the same way... basically they've practiced a lot now after doing all the section by section takes and it becomes second nature. It's the difference between writing/singing a song that hasn't been created yet to singing a song that you've already heard and know.

    As for harmonies, the only way I can record them is to chop up some of the melody takes and tune them to the correct pitches that I want to sing for the harmony and only play those takes in the background of the mix and then just do the same loop section/take record cycle trick as before but now trying to sing the proper harmony. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ujn Hunter View Post
    As for harmonies, the only way I can record them is to chop up some of the melody takes and tune them to the correct pitches that I want to sing for the harmony and only play those takes in the background of the mix and then just do the same loop section/take record cycle trick as before but now trying to sing the proper harmony. Hope this helps.
    I have recorded a few singers who have real difficulty singing a harmony.

    What I have done for them is record a harmony part using an instruments (usually a piano).

    I then solo this, using solo-in-front so that they can hardly heard their already recorded melody, but enough to cue them, put it in a loop and go round and round with them singing along until the latch onto it. We can get a reasonable harmony part recorded this way, even if we do it phrase by phrase.

    This is also something you can do, but it depends on you being able to create that harmony part first.

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