in the music production game, there are a number of recording techniques that are used,
to achieve better results, and to improve the quality of the final song.
one technique that has been used widely is a process called Vocal doubling.
before I get into introducing what vocal doubling is all about, let’s answer the question at hand,
Do rappers double their vocals?
the short answer is Yes, rappers do indeed double their vocals,
it is a great technique that is used in almost every genre.
Vocal doubling is sometimes called double tracking,
it is technique in which the performer sings or plays along to their pre- recorded performance to make a duplication of the original recording.
It can be done on instruments too.
ways in which vocal doubling can be done
there are various ways in which vocal doubling can be carried out,
each method has it’s own edge.
therefore the specific method you choose to use will greatly depend on what you wish to achieve.
but the underlying principle is to record and replicate the original vocal or instrument take without making it an exact copy.
in other words (using vocals as a prime example) you want the vocal double to differ and not be similar to the first vocal.
the effect of doubling makes the vocal much thicker and fuller.
copying the same vocal and pasting it to make a double will only increase the volume and not improve the vocal at all.
let’s get into the process of creating vocal doubles, note that this same process can also be carried out on instruments.
recording an underlying vocal underneath the original vocal is not an easy process when the goal is vocal doubling.
the process is as easy as recording a duplicate of the original vocal, but the difficulty lies in human error.
human error is very much welcome in this recording technique but with limits to it,
you don’t want the duplicate to sound exactly as the original, on the other hand you dont want the duplicate to stray too far from the original.
a noticable mistake like a pitch error, timing error or anything else will do more harm than good.
the more closely the duplicate sounds to the original the better because this will allow you to do a number of tracks to achieve the desired goal of using doubles.
other than recording twice, you can also use a process called Automatic Double Tracking.
this only requires a single track but results in a cool doubling effect.
ADT in simple terms is basically just like using delay on any instruments.
if you’re a music producer I’m sure you’ve come across delays that may have had a doubling echo that double any track that it is put on,
in the same way ADT will use the vocal input, play it back and then record this duplicate,
then combines both tracks, the duplicate will differ in timing, decay and placement which make the vocal sound a bit more prominent or in music production speak “wet”.
back in the old days when you wanted to achieve the doubling effect you’d need to combine both manual controls with automation.
but these days this sort of technique can be handled with a couple of plugins.
most of these plugins have stereo effects that let you mess around with the vocal.
Pitch and Time modulation
another technique that you can use to achieve doubling is combination of manual control and automation.
this technique will mostly follow up after recording two takes, this means that you would have to manually double a track,
then again this poses a challenge because human beings have difficulty in producing an almost identical second take,
therefore these errors can be fixed within Digital Audio Workstations, with tools like pitch correction.
a simple pitch shit tool in any digital audio Workstation will work just fine,
but pitch is often times tricky thats why you have to make sure you only shift it slightly in order to stay in key.
that shift will make a unique difference that will impact the duplicate,
a duplicate that may have been recorded with the timing off can be fixed by getting rid of the spaces in between the vocals.
time stretching can also help in such situations.
The effectiveness of vocal doubling
now that we have a basic run around of the process of vocal doubling you now understand its importance.
but you maybe wondering why it matters so much, not every recording engineer utilizes this tactic,
but you’d be surprised at the large number of people that use it.
most popular radio and commercial hits have utilized vocal doubling at one point or another, you just have to to pay attention to listen.
this technique is great because it changes the dynamic, because dealing with a single track vocal has many limitations,
human voices can be limited especially in situations where they have to be recorded in one take.
that’s why its difficult to pinpoint vocal doubling when the duplicate vocal has volume slightly reduced, vocals can easily get lost in a mix.
vocal doubling done the right way can bring a unique element in a song and add greater depth to your overall mix.
vocals make an impression on the listener, doubling can be a tricky technique to master, but once you start experimenting with it you’ll eventually get better.
in conclusion, vocal doubling is generally the process of creating additional versions of a vocal track and mixing the duplicate with the original.
it is a technique you’ll find in most genres including hiphop,
most rappers like travis scott can be noted using the technique in various songs,
it can be noticed in a song called “Lose” by him.
be aware that while this technique may seem simple, it will greatly differ from producer to producer and from genre to genre.
if you wish to learn more on the topic you can follow this link as it provides more insight on vocal doubling.
I hope this article answered your questions.
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