One thing I see quite often is people using FX and trying fancy tricks (vocal doubling) to get their vocals to sound good. Generally, it has quite the opposite effect. People who don't like their own voice or think it's not "good enough" tend to try to cover it up by using FX. They generally use too many or too much FX, or do the doubling totally wrong.

I did the very same thing when I started. It's not an easy road to getting "that sound" that you can live with. It takes time and experimentation to find the right mic technique, the right EQ, the right reverb, and if you use any techniques such as vocal doubling, how to do it right.

In a nut shell.... I create in BB, use RB to create my backing tracks and move everything to a third party DAW. In my case, I use Sonar. I add my live guitar, piano, and vocals there.

Almost every one of the songs on my music site have doubled vocals on them....even the ones I don't sing. I like the fatter sound of doubled vocals and harmonies.

DO NOT clone a vocal track for the purpose of doubling. Take the time to record it each time and get it as exact to the original as you can. This is very important to the quality of the finished job.

To help put you in the ball park on doubling... for a typical project with harmony, there will be 5 vocal tracks. 3 lead tracks recorded individually. (no clones) Then 2 harmony tracks are recorded. The leads are selected ... one becomes the main. I set it's level where I think it sounds good in the mix and centered. The other two are generally panned 50% to 80% opposite each other and down around -20db. You can hardly hear them in the mix. Only when they are soloed is obvious there is other tracks in the mix. The conscious ear "misses" them but the subconscious does and the result id the track sounds somehow fuller and fatter. These tracks MUST be as close to perfect to each other as is possible.

I ALWAYS run pitch correction software on the lead tracks...ALWAYS! I use Melodyne Editor and edit manually. I highly recommend correcting the leads so that they are picture perfect because if not, it will be audible in the doubling to some extent. Using pitch correction on the harmony tracks is not as critical and having them off pitch a bit can actually add to the character of the mix, however, if you are looking for a "tight" vocal performance, take the time to correct the harmonies as well.

Harmonies are panned as well and are down around-16db.... a bit louder than the doubling tracks.... but again, not in your face loud, you gotta listen.

The best Christmas and Ode to Wolf are good examples of this.

The song Missing Person on my site had somewhere close to 10 to 12 vocal tracks. There were 2 singers, recorded in 2 different studios, so that alone was 6 tracks of leads and doubles. There were at least 2 harmonies per singer so that is 4 more bringing it to 10 tracks. I'd have to look back into that project to see if there are any special vox tracks beyond that. Lots of time editing those tracks.

Vocal doubling and having it sound good is a learned skill and an art. So take your time, experiment with levels and keep working on it. Once you get the basic idea and have done it a few times, I think you will like the results.

One last bit of info here on how I work. I use busses in my DAW in a major way. Harmony tracks go to one bus, doubling tracks to another, and the lead goes to it's own bus. I do this so that I can put reverb, any compression, and EQ into the BUS, and not in the track. This is handy when I use ME, since it does go into the track initially for correction. I process audio on ME and it goes away leaving the corrected dry audio in the track. (destructive edits)

I hope this helps.... feel free to ask more specific questions..... and I don't get here every day so it may be a few days until I reply back.... but I'm willing to share what I can

Edited by Guitarhacker (08/17/13 11:24 AM)
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