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I can't stop doubling! Help!

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I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby tommytime » Wed Dec 18, 2019 4:00 am

Hi.

I'm doing quite a bit of home recording lately. I'm very happy with my results but I find myself doubling all guitar & vocal tracks then hard panning left/right.. I LOVE this huge wide sound but I like it so much that I end up doing it through the entire mix.. I mean, once I hear it doubled and panned it's nearly impossible for me to go back to a boring ole *up the middle*.

Although I shouldn't be complaining about having a sound I like, the issues is that it becomes difficult to make certain parts of the song pop.

Should I have a little more self control and just keep things up the middle/simple during verses then open them up on the chorus and bridges? What is the secret here? How do I gain control over this double-panning addiction? I've Googled all night and cannot find a 1-800 number for panning addictions.

Thank you.

T
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby Arpangel » Wed Dec 18, 2019 11:18 am

I'm a great believer in sticking with things like this, they can become "your" sound, a trademark, which is good, makes your music different.
You have to be careful, if you start to "moderate" or "normalise" or be sensible, you risk loosing your musical identity.
I must admit, your panning technique was something I got addicted to at one point, used to do it all the time, but I got fed up with it, and now, I've almost gone "back to mono" it's a case of contrasts for me now, you need a perspective sonically, otherwise things can become a bit one dimensional.
So I'd be a bit careful, effects really stand out if they are surrounded by contrasting things, or no effects at all! There's no light without dark etc.
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby The Elf » Wed Dec 18, 2019 12:04 pm

I do a lot of doubling when I'm working with bands, and once discovered they can't get enough of it.

But...

Don't reserve this technique for L/R panning only!

A doubled vocal, with both part panned dead centre can really make a voice pierce and soar over the mix, fixing attention on the vocal and drawing your audience in.

And don't forget also that if you hard pan doubles of practically everything then what you're really doing is creating two mono mixes. A few mono sources, judiciously panned, and maybe balanced out with other mono parts, will actually make the mix sound fuller and wider than if everything is in wide-panned stereo.
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 18, 2019 1:49 pm

tommytime wrote:Although I shouldn't be complaining about having a sound I like, the issues is that it becomes difficult to make certain parts of the song pop.

Arpangel has a very good point about getting "your" sound and keeping it.

It you feel prevents you to make things pop, you can see either if you can try to see if other ways of making thing pop help...

A classic way is an arrangement trick, which deliberately removes parts and instruments before the bit you want to emphasize (with modern stuff often getting down to complete silence... "every day I'm shuffling" :D).

Staying on the doubling theme, you can actually add a third, central voice (so, tripling) while lowering the panned ones. Done properly (and a ducking gate is a perfect way to get the change in easily and play with the relationship between the panned voices and the central) can add definition to a part in a very transparent way (can also be a total disaster if the parts aren't well aligned or the timbres create a significant chorus effect.. in that case EQ on the panned or central part can help!).

Another is to lower the reverb for a part or two - suddenly it's like the player is getting nearer the listener. Another again is varying the level of drums - higher drums mean nearly always more energy. There's literally dozen of other ways and all can be combined.

Good luck!
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:27 pm

Tripling is what I used to do a lot. One hard left, one centre, one right.

Actually, often as much as 9, spread from hard left through centre to hard right. A little bit of excess never hurt anybody :bouncy:
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby tommytime » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:33 pm

Such good advice, and you guys obviously know what you're doing.... I really appreciate the suggestions..

I'm gonna try taking my latest mix and center the main tracks with a 2nd, 3rd (L/R) accents and keep them low in the mix to see how that does, and maybe bring the volumes up during the chorus and other parts... My gears are turning.

Really appreciate it guys!

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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby BillB » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:19 pm

Are we talking about multiple takes panned left/centre/right etc, or the exact same take time-delayed and panned?
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby tommytime » Wed Dec 18, 2019 6:30 pm

BillB wrote:Are we talking about multiple takes panned left/centre/right etc, or the exact same take time-delayed and panned?

I re-record each part twice. ッ

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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:09 pm

Doubling can be an interesting effect and there have been people who have made it their trademark sound, like Elliott Smith, but personally I think it's often over-used or done for the wrong reasons.

In particular, I think a lot of people record, say, a guitar part and then think 'oh, that sounds a bit weedy' and double it to make it sound 'bigger'. But in doing so they actually multiply the problems that made it sound weedy in the first place -- bad tone, sloppy playing, dodgy tuning and so on.

If I'm given something to mix with lots of double-tracks in then I usually end up muting most of them unless it's obvious that they are there to achieve a specific goal.
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:14 pm

Lots of good advice...

The one thing I'd add to that, when working with L/R panned doubles, is to always check the summed mono mix. Depending on how the doubling is achieved, and/or the accuracy or playing the extra parts, there's always the possibility that while the stereo mix sounds exciting the mono sum could sound quite coloured or phasey.

H
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Re: I can't stop doubling! Help!

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Dec 18, 2019 8:01 pm

I used to do it to get a natural chorus sound on the guitar rather than using a chorus effect. I would detune and then retune the guitar before each take just to add a slight variation to the tuning between the parts. I did something similar on the last One Synth Challenge.
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