Post-Production Tips for Lead Vocals

The vocal is almost always the focus of a song, but can also be one of the most problematic elements to get right…

On The Double

One of the main techniques used to add depth to a vocal is doubling; essentially, creating several versions of the vocal and mixing them together.

If you have a very good vocalist, ideally you would record multiple takes of the vocal that are nearly identical in terms of timing and technique. You can then overlay these with minimum adjustments and they should add extra impact to the sound by virtue of tiny modulation differences between the performances. If the timing is spot on, you won’t even notice the doubling, just an enhanced depth. (Of course, you can overlay quite different takes too if that’s what you’re looking for – though it wouldn’t really be categorised as doubling in that case, as the presence of different vocals would be quite obvious.)

If, on the other hand, you only have one take of the vocal to work with then you can still boost the vocal depth using processing. The basic technique is the same; create multiple copies of your original vocal, then apply varying degrees of processing to these copies and mix them together.

The video below via Pro Audio Files shows Warren Huart walking through a technique of using L/R pitch-shift doubling to boost a lead vocal:

Of course, as well as pitch-shifting, you can also add other processing to your doubled tracks – reverb, time-shifting, chorus; anything really, though it’s usually best to keep it subtle…


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