The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
WIDE vocals? Saturation Plugins
Old 7th September 2011
Here for the gear

WIDE vocals?

i've been dying to understand how to make my vocals sound wide with that surround sound.

i heard on a few post on here and on fp that if u duplicate the lead vocal twice, and pan em hard left/ride u can create that sound by delaying them a few ms...

but when i do that, it cause a bit of phasing, sorta..... i tend to delay em by 20-30 ms.... but they sound, eh....

i DONT want them to sound like a HOOK, but more NATURAL...

any help
Old 7th September 2011
Lives for gear
thismercifulfate's Avatar
I widen my lead vocals by creating a reverb stem with a stereo reverb plugin which I bus the dry track to. I pan it between 45-70 to each side. I usually use TrueVerb with about 1.4s decay (can be less - about 1.0 if you don't want much reverb effect) and reduce some of the direct sound and early reflections. Most of the sound is still coming from the dry vocal track, but I raise the volume up till I have the right amount of width that I want. Sometimes I throw in a little delay in there too, which can work well with a reverb or sometimes even in place of a reverb. This method works great for me, but I'm half expecting someone to come in here and tell me why it's a terrible idea etc... we'll see!
Old 7th September 2011
Gear Maniac
portishead's Avatar

The above sounds very cool and I am saving this tip for future use!

You are good with the way you are doing the pan/delay trick but I wouldn't go past 10-15MS or else the vocals tend to loose focus. Start at 1ms and up it from there. If they sound too out of focus you can add another vocal track dead center and use the fader from nil and bring it up so it sounds more focused in the middle but still wide.
Old 8th September 2011
Here for the gear

If you can get the singer to accurately record two separate takes, you can pan those L and R and avoid phasing issues. If that's not an option, some delay units have a mod function which will vary the ms delay time differentiating the signals and helping to curb phasing.

do a search for "Haas effect" for more ideas.
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear

I agree with thismerciful fate. In fact, TrueVerb has a preset called "Vocal Spread" that is a good starting point. A few tweaks and you can get it just how you'd like. I've used this technique several times. BTW, your delay times are a bit long. For doubling, you want them below 15mS, your ear can't detect phase anomolies at that time interval or below. I'd also pan partially rather than hard L/R so you don't wind up with a hole in the middle of the stereo vocal image. Good luck with it!
Old 8th September 2011
Gear Head
awimoe's Avatar

also try(if you want): hard left right with some reverb and at center almost full reverb. like the previous post but as you go center you lower the volume and max the reverb. my English are such a shame!!!!
Old 8th September 2011
Lives for gear
RiF's Avatar
If you have a single vocal track, it's the easiest way to send it to an Aux. On the Aux's return, you insert a Delay with 0 ms on the left and 20-30 ms on the right, 0% feedback, 100% mix. Adjust the send to taste. Don't overdo it, because this Haas-effect delays tend to have some nasty side effects.
Old 9th September 2011
Gear Addict
ramil's Avatar

check pensados place ITL he shows how to used waves doubler to get effect that u want
Old 9th September 2011
Lives for gear
Jeff Hayat's Avatar

Along the lines of thismercifulfate (GRANDMAAAAA!!!!) and others, what you can do if you have one track of vox, is add a wide stereo reverb, and then add delay. The delay should be a stereo delay, so the first repeat is l, the 2nd r, the 3rd l, and so on. But here's the clincher - add that same verb to the delay, so the delay is wet too. And a slight pre-daley to the verb usually helps some.

But, as already alluded to, the best way is to have two takes, and then pan accordingly. I can see some phasing errors occuring if the vocalist sings and holds a certain note at exactly the same pitch and timbre, but that's rare for that to happen. If it does, just do another take. That ain't gonna happen that often - trust me.

Old 9th September 2011
Lives for gear

Put a figure 8 mic up with your vocal mic, and do MS?
Old 9th September 2011
Lives for gear
basmartin's Avatar
Use three takes, the performances need to be identical. Hard pan two tracks L and R, keep one in the center. Send the L R tracks to a widening effect, like a stereo chorus, or Voxengo Stereo Touch. Mix to taste. Also hipass the panned tracks. Super wide!
Old 9th September 2011
Deleted 6ccb844
I do what most of these peeps do..

I have tried it several ways:

1: Track 3 times and pan which to me can sound really wide and smooth but undefined and unclear which isn't a good thing.

2. But a short slap delay on and ad a plate to a bus, best way for me but it's hard to get the mix so so..

3. layer underneath your dead centre mono and then pan them stereo with an aux bus with effects.. Can also do wonders if the track calls for it.

Hope this helps
Old 9th September 2011
In Logic theres a Chorus Plugin. If you play with the ratio, mix and intensity you can widen up your vocals without making it sound like that obvious chorus effect.
Old 10th September 2011
Lives for gear
gainstages's Avatar
lots of good stuff. i use delay to create space more than anything else. recording vocals in M/S is interesting as well, and creates a nice clear center image but with some interesting width "air" to it as well.
Old 10th September 2011
Here for the gear

You're definitely going to have phasing if you sum a version with a short delay with the original. It's basically feed forward comb filtering, which will cancel frequencies at regular intervals. You can "tune" the frequencies being cancelled by changing the delay time, which can be really cool.

For something more "natural," I would say that what others suggest regarding double tracking is probably your best bet, although it's a different kind of sound. It's a very common thing today for vocals to be double or triple tracked. If you are stuck on widening with the above technique, try dialing the stereo spread by widening the delay interval between the left and right channel, then duck the level of both delays until they blend with the original instead of sound like an effect. Keep the feedback on the delay tight too, so that you don't have that ringing effect. You can also mask the delays by filtering out some of the highs. That will definitely give you a less "metallic" sound. You can also try the delay thing with more delay lines of varying durations, mixed and panned to taste, which will cut down on the frequency cancellation. And make sure you check the effect in mono to make sure it doesn't sound wrong.
Old 10th September 2011
Gear Nut

Most of the techniques I know to get wide vocals have already been said. And to reiterate for the hundredth time here, to make it sounds like there are vocals to the left and to the right, you need to actually record 2 separate takes, left and right :P

But if for any reason you're stuck and need to widen something (such as vox) with only 1 take, don't just split left+right and delay, you've already heard the phasing issues and de-correlation it can cause. If you can, try a stero spiltter plugin that can widen bands separately. I don't know how common these are, but I know Izotope's Ozone can do it as one of it's effects. You can apply a delay and widening to 4 different frequency bands, and this way, you can tailor the delay amounts in each different frequency band to help cancel most phasing issues. It's still far from perfect, but not as bad as the other method.

Also you can make a mix sound wider (but not really split) with a good widening delay. I believe Voxengo Stereo Touch is free, and it's a great stereo delay I often use for widening backup vocals. It doesn't sound like the other methods, but it may be exactly the kind of sound you want.
Old 19th October 2011
Here for the gear

Hey, you should try out Waves Doubler. I use it a lot. It's has great control, easy to use and gives that kind of one republic "apologize" type vocal effect... If that's what you're after. If you want to make vocals thicker/fluffier, a short room Reverb applied very low in the mix can widen the vocal, providing the reverb has a nice stereo width to it. Also, a plug-in like Neve 1073 can add weight to vocals when used properly. I use the UAD version a lot for thickening vocals. Hope that helps
Old 29th April 2015
Gear Addict
firubbi's Avatar
Ms works nice. But fixing 2 mic is a bit problem.... It take too much time. This is 2015 ... What plugin do you use to mix vocals? Soundtoys microshift looks nice.
Old 29th April 2015
Lives for gear
Personally I say don't make them wide. Just make them strong w/ a clear mid-range.

Let other things in the song be wide.
Old 29th April 2015
Lives for gear
mbvoxx's Avatar
The OP is accurate with the duplicate pan wide scenario. Here's how I do it in Pro Tools;
First make sure you have time code turned on and your nudge factor set to
(you can nudge with min/sec nudging but Time code nudging just makes it a quicker process since it can be set to frames-but you want to achieve a very slight nudge factor)
Use the audiosuite duplicate feature to create a continuous wave of the lead vocal track.
Then create two new mono audio tracks and drag the duplicated vocal track from your regions list onto each of the new tracks, syncing to the frame with the original vocal track. (use your counter reference to set to frame)
Now pan those two tracks wide L/R. Then click to highlight the L wide track and nudge it 1/2 frame out of sync to the click of the + key.
Then click to highlight the R wide track and nudge it 1 full frame out of sync...2 clicks of the + key
Then EQ and reverb those two wide tracks differently from the lead vocal. I usually thin them out a lot and dump everything below 300-500k depending on the voice, and double whatever 'wet' setting I have on the lead vocal track. Set the fader level on the wide tracks up to around -40 to start -for a subtle effect -and adjust to your liking from there.
Give it a try.
Old 29th April 2015
Lives for gear

Double them? Have been loving the waves adt and j37 plugins for that recently. You can create a micro shift like effect. Create two auxes pitch one down 6 cents, the other up 6 cents then delay one 15 ms and the other 20ms. Pan them hard left and right and send your vocal to them
Old 30th April 2015
Lives for gear

Old School Manual Way (if there's only one vocal track, i.e., can't sing the doubles):

1) Duplicate twice. Original stays in the center.
2) Pan one of the dupes pretty hard left. delay it by 7 msec. Tune it down by 3 cents.
3) Pan the other dupe pretty hard right. Delay it by 13 msec. Tune it up by 3 cents.
4) Drop the panned dupes volume to taste. Adjust panning to taste.

1) Little Microshift (Soundtoys). The only 1 button technique in this post.
2) Revoice Pro 3 (generates doubles, each a little different in timing and tuning, which you can then pan for width).
3) Find an old TC Helicon VoiceOne box for the doubles (I guess this is digital hardware, not a plug-in). Works great!
Old 30th April 2015
Lives for gear
Jazz Noise's Avatar
A short stereo slap with both delays hard panned or a stereo reverb can be added after the fact. Sometimes a little M/S encoding is needed for reverbs to keep the level consistent in mono or stereo. Some people use harmonizer effects, but they sound more artifical to me. Another less common technique is to have 2 mono reverbs hard panned of slightly different length and the longer one usually a little brighter.

If you want a natural stereo vocal, recording your vocals in a M/S array would be best. Giving a little distance would help too, to avoid the vocalist feeling like they're falling out of your head every time they sway.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump