right now i am mixing an album and the singer sang the 1st track then went back and sang a second track that is an exact double of the 1st. he did this to thicken up his vocal and make it sound bigger. my question is this- how should i mix these tracks togther to acheive the desired effect? should i pan them both center and have them at the exact same volume or should i set one a few db under the other one? and since both tracks are the same,should i apply reverb to just one of the vocal tracks or both? right now the way i have it going one track is about 3 or 4 db lower than the other and i have verb only on the louder one. the quieter one is dry. i have them both panned dead center.
Usually what I do is have the double waaaaay low. Low enough that you can't tell that there are two vocals going on. I usually only double certain parts, to lift the part up a little. Things like chorus, big bridges, etc. Try some different things out. Maybe slam the double with compression and bring it up to beef up the main vox during the chorus or something, IMHO you lose the effect of having a double by using the entire song. But YMMV.
Hummm.. I hate to say it but you can try all or none of the above, it really depends on the song in the end.
If you want it to sound like 2 singers singing then pan it apart from each other at the same volume or pan one hard and duck it a bit.
If you want the double to be less noticeable pan it up the middle and duck one a bit (tends to be what I do most of the time). A great trick is to over compress the 2nd track and pan to the middle with the first and slightly underneath. The over compressed track adds the meat and the 1st track adds some dynamics.
The Beatles did all kinds of doubles and to my ear they sound like they are at the same volume in most cases. We are in an age were everything has to be perfect so you might need to make sure the 2nd track is exactly like the first or someone will complain especially if you are keeping both at the same volume but many of The Beatles doubles were very different from each other. T's and S's did not match up, ends of phrases were a bit longer on one of the tracks, etc. but it's all good to my ears, makes it more interesting. (Side note from what I have read the Beatles did so much doubling that they came up with the first flanger trick to make the vox seem doubled so they did not have to re-sing the second take all the time. They called it Automatic Vocal Doubling or something, pretty cool).
Anyway back to the point, all of the above needs to fit in the context of the song so do what you like with that song and move on.
(Side note from what I have read the Beatles did so much doubling that they came up with the first flanger trick to make the vox seem doubled so they did not have to re-sing the second take all the time. They called it Automatic Vocal Doubling or something, pretty cool).
My first audio instructor, Leo DeGar Kulka, claimed he invented flanging on Miss Toni Fisher's "The Big Hurt" in 1958 which predates the Beatles. Maybe they thought they invented it. I'd like to know what Sir George Martin says...
Artist: Miss Toni Fisher
The Big Hurt
Artist: Miss Toni Fisher (peak Billboard position # 3 in 1959)
Words and Music by Wayne Shanklin
Now it begins, now that you've gone
Needles and pins, twilight till dawn
Watching that clock till you return
Lighting that torch and watching it burn
Now it begins, day after day
This is my night, ticking away
Waiting to hear footsteps that say
"Love will appear and this time to stay"
Oh, each time you go
I try to pretend
It's over at last
This time the big hurt will end
Now it begins, now that you've gone
Needles and pins, twilight till dawn
But if you go, come back again
I wonder when, oh when will it end?
The big hurt
That is interesting... This goes to another post that I did a week or so ago about how the new media age has changed the world. It is easy to see how to engeeners in two different parts of the world it different muscal styles could invent the same thing. We forget how much we depend on the internet for information, back then they very well might not know about each others invetions but now they can.
From a Google search on Beatle Flanger I found this link
And I also found this passage from a different web site.....
THE ROOTS OF FLANGING (ADT) and "flanging" can be credited in part to John Lennon, According to Mark Lewisohn's fine book "THE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS", Lennon just hated singing the tedious "mult-tracks" so prevalent in Beatles recordings prior to 1966. In response to this, on April 6, 1966, Ken Townsend, Abbey Road Studios' Tech Engineer had a brilliant idea. During the mixing process, the output of the vocal track was recorded on another open reel machine and then combined with the original track to produce a "multed" sound.
Although not detailed in Mr. Lewisohn's book, the specifics of Ken's invention must have been something like this...in order for a track to be synched with one being recorded on another tape machine and played back off that machine's playback head, Ken needed to feed the second tape deck "preview " information by using the first deck's record head as a preview playback head (because it is first in the tape path). Then Ken had to make sure that the distance between record (or preview) and playback heads was the same for both tape machines. Following these steps would only produce a unison sound due to perfect sync however.
In order to get the multed sound, Ken used a VSO vari-speed oscillator to control subtle speed variation on the second deck's capstan motor. These variations could also be accomplished by rubbing a thumb on the reel flange to produce the necessary speed fluctuations.
John Lennon and the Beatles were delighted with Ken's invention. George Harrison said that Ken should have received a medal for his ADT concept. ADT would affect all Beatles recordings after 1966. When Beatles' producer George Martin attempted to explain the workings of ADT to the non-technical Lennon, he called it a "double vibrocated splooshing flanger". From then on the Beatles would frequently call for the use of "the flanger" which can first be heard on the "REVOLVER" LP
John Lennon and the Beatles were delighted with Ken's invention. George Harrison said that Ken should have received a medal for his ADT concept. ADT would affect all Beatles recordings after 1966. When Beatles' producer George Martin attempted to explain the workings of ADT to the non-technical Lennon, he called it a "double vibrocated splooshing flanger". From then on the Beatles would frequently call for the use of "the flanger" which can first be heard on the "REVOLVER"
I don't think there is a real argument here. Flanging as an effect (a la The Big Hurt) and for doubling vocals are very different applications. It is all in the same era of explorations in audio, too. But 1958 came before 1966... ;-)
I won't quote the whole thread but there is some fascinating stuff here including comments from Connie Kaye, the bass player on the session:
Spectropop Group Discussion Archives: Volume #1, Issue #0233
... a big US hit, Stan Ross' son Jeff (who was a schoolmate at the time)
told me his
father had created the flanging effect years earlier (implying The Big
Hurt). ... www.creativepitch.com/archive/digest/m264.html
Spectropop Group Discussion Archives: Volume #1, Issue #0235
... In fact, he may have even developed the flanging technique before it
was used on
The Big Hurt, but since Toni Fisher had the monster hit with the effect,
the ... www.creativepitch.com/archive/digest/m266.html
If you get a chance check out the link in my post above, very interesting read on some of the things the Beatles did. Very cool.
It's funny to think but at one time this recording thing we do was new. The idea of close mic'ing was a revilation to someone at some point but we take it for granted. (actually they talk about close mic'ing in the link above, realy a great little read if you have time)