Many producers choose to record two vocal tracks and use a combination of both for the final vocal sound on a song, because it strengthens the sound and can make for a cool effect. Here’s a guide on how to double track vocals using Adobe’s Audition audio editing software, so that your vocal mix ends up sounding professional and clean.
1. Record the first track. The first vocal track may sound strong enough on its own that you don’t actually need a double tracked vocal; if this is the case, you’re done, unless you want to use the doubled vocal to achieve a specific effect or further strengthen the original track. The vocalist should not be thinking about how the vocal will sound double-tracked. He should sing normally, fully, and pronounce and enunciate as usual.
2. Mute the first track while recording the second vocal take. You can do this by hitting the M next to that track in Audition’s mixer (which you can get to by hitting Alt + 2). Otherwise, the singer will be thinking about the interplay of the two vocal takes too much, and the second vocal will sound stunted. Even if words are being pronounced differently, keep recording, it can make for an awesome effect during playback.
3. Decide between the two tracks, or copy and paste to get a perfect track. You may find that one track obviously has more energy than the other, or more often that parts of one track are better than the other. Lock the time on the two tracks and use the Split feature (by right clicking at the appropriate place for a track splice and clicking Split) to put all of the better parts in the same track, and the worse parts in the second track.
4. Mix the second track far down. The doubled vocal shouldn’t be anywhere close to as loud as the primary vocal, and you can apply quite a bit of compression to this second track, as well, since it’s not the focus. Clear up any eccentricities that don’t sound good (rushed or slow lines, etc.) by simply dipping their volume or eliminating them altogether at the offensive parts. Don’t worry about tuning too much.
5. Apply the same reverb to both vocal tracks. Feel free to experiment with the second vocal take; sometimes, it sounds cool to throw on a little Flange effect, especially Audition’s Phasing effect set to the Leslie preset (or the Haight-Ashbury preset on the actual Flange effect). Most of the time, you’ll simply apply the same Studio Reverb effect or Reverb effect to each track, or better yet send them to a bus and mix them (and the choose the effects) that way.
Do you have any tips or questions about double tracking vocals? Post them in the comments section below.