The Magic of Waves Doubler Plugin

Do you ever wonder how professional recordings achieve that mesmerizing thickness and texture in vocals? It’s all thanks to the art of doubling tracks. Just like classical composers used to write lines where multiple instruments played the same notes simultaneously, doubling tracks has become a popular technique in modern music production. And with advancements in technology, we now have incredible tools like the Waves Doubler Plugin that make it even easier to achieve that desired effect.

Doubling Tracks: From Classical to Modern Music

In the world of classical music, composers used to write lines where multiple instruments played the same notes simultaneously. This technique added thickness and texture to the music. Similarly, doubling tracks, especially vocals, became widely used in popular music as technology allowed for overdubbing.

When producing music, I always consider whether a song needs a doubled vocal. If it does, I request the singer to record the part multiple times over. This creates a fuller, richer sound that enhances the overall musical experience.

Strategies for Recording Doubled Vocals

If you’re present for the recording session, there are a few strategies you can employ to capture the best doubled vocal. You might want to use a different microphone or have the vocalist take a step or two back from the mic to allow the room to breathe a bit more. Experimentation is key here, as sometimes a vocal doubled with the exact same sense of space and timbre sounds best.

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Editing for Perfect Doubled Vocals

In my music production process, I typically record multiple vocal takes and then compile, or “comp,” a final master track. This allows me to pull from unused takes to construct a doubled performance. However, it’s essential to ensure that the differences in pitch and timing between the vocal takes are just right. Slight differences add character and depth, but if they are too great, the overall sound can be perceived as sloppy and unfocused.

If you don’t have software assistance, you can manually align the waveform by making breaks and shifting consonants and vowels to be more perfectly aligned. This meticulous process ensures that the non-sibilant parts (the “blobs”) and sibilant components (the “fuzzies”) are visually aligned. For passages sung with more sustain, applying a fade to the doubled layer can create a harmonious ending with the first.

Alternatively, you can use software alternatives like the revolutionary VocAlign from Synchro Arts. This incredible tool helps engineers quickly match multiple vocal performances in music and post-production. The results are achieved in lightning-quick fashion, and they sound incredibly transparent, free of any unwanted artifacts.

Using VocAlign is remarkably simple. You capture a “guide” signal with the right timing and pitch, and then capture a “dub” signal to be aligned to the guide. VocAlign does all the heavy lifting, performing the alignment and generating a newly aligned dub within your digital audio workstation (DAW).

Mixing the Doubled Vocals

The mix of a song can benefit from strategically using the doubled vocal at certain moments. For example, you can have the vocal not processed with doubling during the verse and then introduce doubling in the chorus. This technique adds contrast, width, and texture to the mix, enhancing the overall musicality.

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When mixing doubled vocals, you can also experiment with different processing techniques to create unique sonic landscapes. Try using high and low-pass filters, EQ curves, compression levels, saturation, and time-based effects in varying ways. Panning and the relative balance of the multiple parts are also worth considering. Play around with different arrangements, such as having both layers centered or symmetrically positioned away from the center.

Plugin Alternatives for Doubling Vocals

While capturing multiple vocal takes during recording is ideal, there are plenty of excellent plugin options available for simulating the doubling effect. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites and how I might use them when mixing.

1. Sonnox VoxDoubler

The Sonnox VoxDoubler is a natural-sounding and easy-to-use plugin that offers separate controls for widening mono performances (Widen plugin) and emulating the effect of singing the same part twice (Thicken plugin). It’s great for creating vocal doubles without needing to overdub. You can also experiment with using it on return tracks, such as reverbs and delays, to add depth and texture to your mix.

Sonnox VoxDoubler

2. Soundtoys MicroShift

Based on renowned hardware pitch shifters, MicroShift widens the original signal and offers controls for mix, focus, three distinct styles, and detune & delay. It’s a versatile tool that can add a touch of magic to your vocals when used within the Soundtoys Effect Rack.

Soundtoys MicroShift

3. Waves Reel ADT

Endorsed by Abbey Road Studios, Waves Reel ADT emulates the artificial double tracking effect famously used by The Beatles. It offers separate sections for the source and ADT signals, with controls for pan, drive, varispeed, and more. Whether you want a clean and subtle sound or a wacky and saturated effect, this plugin delivers exceptional results.

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Waves Reel ADT

4. iZotope Vocal Doubler

iZotope Vocal Doubler is a free, no-nonsense plugin with simple controls for separating the doubled signal, adding variation, and adjusting the amount of the effect. It’s perfect for adding subtle thickness and energy to specific sections of a song.

iZotope Vocal Doubler

5. Waves Doubler

Despite its age, Waves Doubler remains a reliable and effective plugin for basic doubling and harmonizing vocal parts. With separate controls for stereo spread, volume, detuning, and an equalizer that only affects the doubles, it offers versatility in shaping your doubled vocals.

WAVES DOUBLER

Conclusion

Doubling tracks, especially vocals, adds depth and character to music. With the right techniques and tools like the Waves Doubler Plugin, you can achieve that professional sound that captivates listeners. So go ahead, experiment with doubling vocals, and unlock the magic of sound!

ProgramMatek