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I'm recording a few songs using Studio 64 Linux and I'm wanting to add some backing vocals. As there's only me I was wondering if anyone had any good tips to make the recording sound more like a backing group rather than just me several times over (eg apply an pitch shift to one track).

I'm using Rosegarden to record but as I'm just getting started really and I'm open to switching tools.

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3 Answers 3

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I find a pitch shift of two half-steps makes a voice nearly unrecognizable. I'd recommend taking a copy of your main track and shifting it up, singing the backing along with that, and then shifting that recording of the backing down so it matches the original main track. You could also do the reverse -- shift down and then back up. That will only give you 2 "backup singers", though.

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Sounds like you want to make your voice(s) into somebody else's in such a way that the listener is fooled. You really can't do this convincingly; it's a waste of your time to try.

There's nothing wrong with layered performances of one voice doing backing. You hear it all the time and usually you don't notice. If you want to draw attention to it, like the early Les Paul multitrack stuff, that's one thing, but you can also just let it fade into the background. They are background vox, right? With appropriate mixing, nobody will notice that it's your voice unless they are specifically listening to the bg vox, and those people won't care because they already like the song enough to listen specifically to the background vocals!

I would put the background vocals through a limiter (each track separately) hitting so that there is always a bit of gain reduction, to make them blend smoothly and under control, and EQ them so that they don't step on the lead. If you are into autotune the bg is where it is worth the humiliation... no better way to draw attention than sour backing vox "harmony"! The 5kHz range is key for articulation and presence in voices; try dialing that down a bit on the background tracks.

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thanks I'll look into your suggestions. I'm not really trying to disguise my own voice, more trying to get multiple tracks of my own voice to sound more like a collection of different people. –  oracle certified professional Jan 17 '11 at 12:21
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I'm not sure what's available in Rosegarden, but there are some chorus and delay plugins out there that can be used to thicken background vox. In addition to Bill's EQ suggestions, reverb is also very useful for smoothing out vocals and pushing them towards the back of your mix.

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