Have you ever needed to double up your vocals with some backing vocals? Ever wanted to add girth to your guitars or synths by adding a second guitar or synth track?
There’s no question a second vocal or rhythm instrument can help punch up a chorus or bridge. But I’ve found that there seems to be some confusion about what counts as a “doubled track.”
Ideally, if you wanted to double up on your main vocals, you would record another pass of vocals.
Or if the vocalist has left the building, hopefully you have a Take Folder with more than one pass. From there you could cobble together a 2nd vocal track.
What doesn’t work is Duplicating the exact same vocal region onto a new Track Lane and calling it a day. Meaning:
- We have a vocal pass in the first Chorus
- We copy and paste that vocal region directly below to add a “double” or backing vocal for the first Chorus
But why not? If I copy and paste my vocal region to a new track, don’t I have 2 vocals?
Well, technically yes I would. 1 + 1 does = 2.
The problem is, the 2 vocal regions are identical. Which means there’s nothing to differentiate these 2 takes.
When you record 2 vocal takes for the same section, they may very well be almost identical. But there are all sorts of things that make them slightly different:
- Minor timing differences
- Minor pitch differences
- The way the performer moves in front of the mic
- The push and pull of guitar or bass strings
These tiny details cause different performances to sound distinct from one another. Which helps separate the different takes.
But copying and pasting an identical region to play during the same section? All we’re doing is making that same exact vocal louder.
If any of the above confuses you, I think today’s video should help. We’ll examine the best ways (and worst way) to achieve that doubled track feel.
You are very right doubling same truck doesn’t give better results.
But I need more of mixing and finalising the mastering thought I failed to use track reference. Master direct from the recorded workflow.
What Ive always appreciated about Chris and WLPR is that he dives right into the stuff most of us dont. Ive seen the warped presets before in Space Designer, but have never done anything with them. So thats gonna change now. Amp cab’s–I didnt even know what they did, but I will definitely be using them now.
However, Ive found some fairly easy workarounds, which are especially easy for people with no experience using delays, effects or processing sound. LPX has a ton of guitar patch presets, which are derived from using a myriad of plugins, amps, etc. One of my favorites is the Clean Echos guitar patch. What I like about this preset is the last plugin in the patch, the Sample Delay. It will instantly give you that wide stereo sound on guitar tracks. Its not a doubling effect, but it will widen and give some stereo imaging to the track.
With this in mind, its also possible to take an existing guitar track, copy it, and re-amp it with a stock patch. I do this by creating a new track (Guitar or Bass), and then scroll down thru the different library preset patch sounds. Now this wont work on everything, but its a possible workaround to thicken guitar tracks in some cases.
Thanks so much for the great suggestions Jimmy! I agree, Logic has some great patches for widening effects.
Charles Moore says
Right on time with always-relevant posts as usual, Chris! Many thanks, looking forward to getting into this… Hope you’re staying safe.
Thanks for checking in Charles! Doing well over here. Hope you and your family are keeping safe as well 🙂
Nicholas Peper says
First of all, thank you for creating your huge library of informative, detailed and well produced instructional videos relating to the use and benefits of Logic Pro X.
I learn useful tips every time I go to your YouTube channel and as a result, my mixes have improved noticeably.
I’ve been using Logic going all of the way back to the days when it was called C-Lab Notator Logic running on my Atari 1040ST.
For the first and probably only time, I’m going to disagree with you regarding the use of the Haas Effect to widen a previous single mono track.
The settings that you demonstrated in your video stopped short of where the Haas Effect actually kicks in. To my ears, that is.
Let’s say I have a mono guitar track from a live performance recording of my friend’s band consisting of guitar, bass, drums and lead vocal. A very simple situation but one where I used to end up with the vocal, drums, bass and guitar living in the middle of the mix.
Nowadays I duplicate the guitar track. Pan the original hard left and the copy hard right. Open the Sample Delay Plugin on the copy and adjust the Delay somewhere between 35 ms and 50 ms. Right away this sounds like a stereo track but, slightly skewed to the left side. So, then I solo guitar tracks and gradually raise the level of the delayed track until it sounds like the guitar is at equal at volume in both speakers.
The results for have been great for me. The guitar sounds huge. It’s in stereo and doesn’t take up space in the middle of the mix anymore.
The additional suggestions that you made concerning varying the types of eq and other processing done to each channel would undoubtedly enhance the guitar tracks even more.
Thank you again for your dedication and hard work communicating so many of the Tricks and Tips available in one of the best DAWs out there.
Hi Nicholas, thanks so much for your thoughts on the post! I think it’s great to be able to have this discussion with different preferences towards the Haas Effect.
I think it’s awesome you’ve found success with this technique. And it’s not necessarily my goal to dissuade users from using the Haas technique.
Agreed – pushing the Sample Delay time more towards 30 ms and above yields a wider effect in stereo for sure.
But when summed to mono my personal feeling is the signal tends to sound like its colliding/flamming. This is to my ears in my own tests (and obviously my own preferences :P).
So perhaps my suggestions could be considered an extension to your successes? I personally don’t love the Haas Effect for achieving a doubling effect. But by adding some subtle touches of Overdrive and Space Designer, we’re manipulating the effect not just in terms of time, but also tonality. I find the results to be more pleasing to my ears, as the 2 tracks each sound more distinct.
Thanks again for your constructive feedback 🙂
Nicholas Peper says
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
Yeah, guess what, I don’t always remember to check my mixes in mono. Darn!
And yes, your suggestions have absolutely contributed to the man I am today: Quarantined in a Mobile Home in Fillmore California with my two cats! 😷
All kidding aside, thank you for your many contributions to my ongoing knowledge of Logic Pro X.
Hey Nicholas, absolutely! And I appreciate you taking me to task and pointing out that the Haas Effect’s widening can be expanded beyond the values I state in the video.
Hey Nicholas – had one other thought just for future readers/commenters. I do use the Haas Effect quite regularly for its widening effect.
Very often I’ll use the Pitch Shifter plugin in Dual Mono mode and set the Left side to -6 cents, and the Right side to +6 cents, with the Timing adjusted based on the incoming material.
I love using this trick to add width to vocals and synths. So not hating on the Haas Effect 🙂 More of a cautionary tale for achieving the distinct double-tracking effect.
Nicholas Peper says
Funny that you should mention that Pitch Shifter tip. I watched your video on that very subject and incorporated it into my latest mixdowns.
See, I do pay attention! 👀
Thanks for letting me know though. 👍🏻
Another way to create to different guitar sounds is using the pedal plugin to split the single guitar signal into two buses, put on different fx-pedals on each bus, and pan each bus hard. I think panning is new in pedals, or at least I haven’t noticed it before. And btw, those pedal effects are great! That Blue Echo can make a harsh guitar both wide and delicious, which I just discovered after struggling with a harsh guitar for too long.
(…”create two different”, not “to different”, of course)