Listening to the song That bird has a broken wing by Sun Kil Moon I wondered how they achieved the sound of the voice.

I would describe it as if it had a sort of high, slightly eerie, overtone like layer over the original voice. It sounds also a bit as if there are multiple singers singing the same part. I found a comparable voice sound in the song Angeles by Elliot Smith and (to a lesser extent) in Carrissa's Weird by Iron and Wine.

Is this some kind of audio effect? Or is there a special way of recording this?

2 Answers 2


The basic principle is called double tracking. You can read a good introductory article here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr09/articles/doubletracking.htm

In the first example there is pitch difference and a strong spatial element being applied.


One way to get a similar effect is by using a "handmade chorus effect".

Send your vocals to 2 send channels. Delay one channel by around 10 ms, pan it to the left and pitch it up by around 8-12 cents (via pitch shifting plugin). Delay the other channel by around 20 ms, pan it to the right and pitch it down by 8-12 cents. Also increase this channels volume a little bit (1-2dB).

Also by octaving such channels up or down an octave can give great texture. By using very subtle distortion on this channels you can increase the perceived "bigness" of the vocals. highpassing those channels at around 200-300 hz is a good idea to keep the fundamental frequency of the singer in the mid. Via cutting some mids 800-1000 hz and low passing or heavy deessing you can create a more subtle effect.

peace and good luck.

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