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Double Lead Vocal, Double Track Or Pan A Delay?
Old 25th June 2007
Gear Maniac

Double Lead Vocal, Double Track Or Pan A Delay?

So I've heard quite a few pop or rnb songs using this technique.

Namely Lets Take A Ride by Justin Timberlake.

If you've heard this song or songs like it, how do you think this vocal is achieved?

Would it be better to double the lead and pan it or make a mono delay of about 25ms and pan it opposite the original.

Also how wide should they be panned. I know the response will be whatever works with the song but in the Justin song they sound pretty much 100% to me. I'd try panning this wide once I record but I'm sure theres a reason its not such a good idea.


Old 10th April 2009
Here for the gear

Mix it to mono, EQ, and then go completely insane

The Timberlake song sounds doubled.

But, the delay thing is is easy enough to try and then bail if you don't like it without wasting much time. Doubling the vocals is pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the amount of work it takes. Getting two good takes and then synching the tracks is a considerable effort only to find out you don't care for the sound.

If you go the delay route, I'd recommend temporarily mixing to mono and see what it sounds like. You're going to get a comb filter effect, which you probably won't like. You may be able to EQ it at multiples of 40Hz (for 25ms delay), but if you can't get a sound you can live in ten minutes with that approach, you'll probably sink a lot more time tweaking it only to abandon it later and end up doubling the vocals anyway. Better to find out quickly.

One thing to keep in mind with delays is that between .5 and 1.5 ms delays between left and right channels is going to give you the illusion of being panned somewhere between half way to the L (or R) and hard L (or R).

Good luck.
Old 10th April 2009
Gear Head
recordhead's Avatar
Well the Timberlake song sure has a doubled effect. However to my ear it sounds very synthetic (Copy of original and about 30 ms delay). For my self I would do about .8ms to 12ms for a more natual sound, but that's me. True doubling can sound fantastic (i.e. Steely Dan, the Beatles). But that does take time and not every vocalist has a knack for it. But for thicker, richer more sonically natual tone it's the best. If you like how timberlake sounds I would just copy and delay. If you want more than that you will need to do more that.

Here's some songs off an album I did with some friends and all the vocals are doubled. And it's not bad for the syle.
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Old 10th April 2009
Lives for gear
The MPCist's Avatar

Double the track.
Old 10th April 2009
Lives for gear
hazelmossobrien's Avatar

Duplicate the track, then EQ one just a little different than the other, and pan them to desire from each other. This way is really fast and easy and if it sounds dumb you didn't waste any time. This way you'll get a super corny R&B vibe.
Old 10th April 2009
Lives for gear

If you try doubling the vocal, give the singer click (or double tempo click) in their headphones. It can make it easier for them to do the same thing twice.
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