Widen a mono vocal track?

I’m looking to see how to make a chorus “different” from the rest of the song, and have read some references to changing the width of the lead vocal as one option.

Some things I’ve read:
a) Make two copies, pan L/R, delay each by different amounts, maybe phase invert one and EQ differently from each other and the main vocal
b) Comb filtering, then splitting neighboring bands alternating L/R. Not quite sure how to do that within Cubase though …

Would anyone like to maybe add their hints and favorite ways to do this? Stuff that can be done within Cubase or freeware is best for me at this point, but any and all ideas are welcome -

Thanks for any help! :smiley:

Maybe it’s just me, but I really dislike any cloned artificial widening trick, especially on vocals!

I would much rather have double tracked or more, the vocal in the first place, or use delays/fx/compression to get a fuller wider sound.

If you have UAD Fairchild (or another m/s capable comp.) perhaps you could use a little m/s compression to achieve what you’re after?


Thanks, guys for that.
Split: with your delays - do you just pan them according to how wide you want the vocal? I’ll have to look at the Cubase ModDelay to see if its delays are pannable. Also wondering - do you pan your double (or triple, etc) trackings? Or in these cases do you usually just use the added fullness of the delay/triple track to make the vox stand out, without panning?

Mauri: I actually do have the Fairchild, and have been waiting for an opportunity to learn to use m/s! The question I have though is - how do I get from my mono vox to a stereo signal with different L/R channels for M/S to be applied? (Do I need to set up one of those 2-mic perpendicular arrays?).

You could duplicate the vocal mono track, route them to a group track and apply the m/s compressor there?
You can also delay or advance one track for effect, and other tricks such as using different effect processors on either channel.
Opens up a whole new can germs :wink:.

OT, I’ve been testing the Fairchild set in m/s mode on the master buss, sounds great to me when I get it set right, just a touch will do, adds a nice ‘space’ to the track.



Here’s what I’ve been doing with a lead and two backup tracks. You may find that it works for you if you duplicate the lead track twice instead of using backup vocals. I’m calling the original track M, below.

  1. Pan one copy hard left (call it L) and one hard right (call it R)

  2. Insert two mono FX tracks using Mono Delay

  3. Pan one FX hard right (call it L’) and one hard left (call it R’)

  4. Send L to L’ and set the send amount to 0 (from -infinity). Send R to R’ and set the send amount to 0 (from -infinity).

  5. Create two stereo group channels, B and V. Route L, R, L’ and R’ to B. Route B and M to V.

  6. Set L’ delay time to 11ms, feedback of 2, and a mix of 15. Set R’ delay time to 13ms, a feedback of 2, and a mix of 15.

  7. Insert Stereo Delay on V. Set the left side to a feedback of 11ms and a feedback of 2. Set the right side to a feedback of 13m with a feedback of 2. Both sides should have a mix of 15.

Now you can control the amount of thickening by setting the volume of B.

M = main vocal
L = left copy
R = right copy
L’ = left delay (but panned hard right)
R’ = right delay (but panned hard left)
B = backup vocals
V = all vocals

What you end up with is the FX panned left delayed by 13ms and the FX panned right delayed by 11ms. But on the backup vocal track, the left side is delayed by 11ms and the right side is panned by 13ms. I haven’t observed an comb filtering effect using these timings (I read somewhere that using prime numbers helps).

Melodyne :sunglasses:

To widen? Melodyne Studio may be able to do it. I own the Editor version only.

Still, my suggestion above uses the stock delay plug-ins only. :wink:

I’m much liking this delay (it does prime numbers)>: http://www.soundtoys.com/product/EchoBoy

Thanks gents for the suggestions, especially Mr. Foolomon for the very detailed description (I’m going to try that out)!

Mister? Where?

I appreciate what you’re trying to do. My vocals are very nasally due to physiological issues so I, too, have been searching for a way to thicken up my vocal tracks. I’m not sure this is the best way to do it, but it’s certainly the most cost efficient. :stuck_out_tongue:

I mention Melodyne because of the recommendations of “copying vocal notes”, and strategically panning them (with delays and sundry processing), mentioned in posts above. Those tasks are made easier by Melodyne (in my estimation). But certainly one doesn’t need Melodyne for those operations (even though Melodyne brings much more to the table).

However, I think an oft ignored/forgotten/not-understood feature of Melodyne is the Formant Tool. Add to that the ability to easily create harmony vocal lines from the original track (an entire choir if you like). Now those are cool tricks Melodyne offers that none of the above recommendations do. Can you “widen” a vocal track with Melodyne? You bet you can!

I hear you, Foolomon, my voice is so nasal I make Bob Dylan sound like Paul Mccartney c. 1969! Besides the “obligatory” 700Hz - kHz cut, I’ve finally stopped fighting it, and just said it is what it is.

I’m looking to do this mainly from the point of view of variety between portions of the song/keeping it from sounding all the same. Just for fun, of course!

Just for the record, someone on another forum recommended Cubase’s very own Cloner as a widener, applied very very sparinginly apparently. I’ll be trying that out as well, and will report back.

Anyone here use that tool?

It’s broken and Steinberg is aware of it since forever. It just sends anything you give into latency misery. Using it in real time is out of the question. I just tried and I get this kind of 16th note slap back echo no matter what buffer setting I tried !!!

That said it still can produce some “interesting” results. It still an 8 voice chorus and on e.g slow pads it’s more than “interesting”, very lush, animated and it really moves things back in the mix! But I’d love to see Steinberg finally fix it.

Back on topic
On natural sounding vocals … naw! :confused:

Heh. Only one cut? I got tired of cutting the same 8 bands so I saved my vocal track inserts to a preset. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I found this today:


It’s free too. I’m going to give this a try and do an A/B comparison. If I remember, I’ll post the original, my method, and this VST for everyone to hear and comment.

Waves do a similar thing> http://www.waves.com/content.aspx?id=246

I personally still dislike almost all ADT plugins, unless that’s what I’m going for!
I think it’s the fact that all these FX and techniques rely on cloned signals or modulated delays of some sort.
I much prefer various compression or real tracking (with FX obviously) to thicken up vocals, and I don’t mean EQ thick!!! (just in case that’s misinterpreted)

Anyway, It’s well worth experimenting to find a sound that you’re happy with.

Is it just me or did I just watch a video from a “well established audio plugin company” doing a demo of a stereo technique with the audio in the video in mono? :confused:

Also he was using a guitar, not a vocal!