There’s a certain stereo width effect usually put on vocals. It’s usually used on Choruses, I’ve noticed. The effect is a signal that sounds like its coming out of the left and right speakers independently.

It was used on Isaiah Rashads - Cilvia Demo

listen at 1:09 for the effect on the chorus.

It was also used on Kendrick Lamar’s - You ain’t gotta lie https://open.spotify.com/track/46lAAW4MoITmo8D4UAHfMB listen at 0:42

I suspected it was the haas effect, but I’ve tried it on vocals, hard panning one left, the other right and applying a delay, it just sounds out of phase and with a flatter more irritating character in general.

Any tips on how to achieve this?

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You achieve this by recording the vocals twice and pan each track to each side (L/R). So pretty much the classic double tracking technique, only you do not sum them to mono.

The minute differences between the takes are what creates that stereo effect. However if the takes are too far away in timing and pitch it will sound bad. Make sure the performances are very close, and to exaggerate the width afterwards route the two hard panned tracks to a group and use stereo expansion on that.

The haas effect you mention, is about introducing a fixed delay. This effect on the contrary is about introducing varying delays, pitch and formant changes.

There are methods to achieve this synthetically from one track, but IMO they do not beat the real thing (they're too static). Look for ADT plugins (Artificial Double Tracking).

Here is a little gem: Nullsoft ADT - a free VST/AU plugin that implements different variation methods: http://www.nullmedium.de/dev/audioplugins/

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  • Wow, if these guys laid their vocals twice with that much proximity, and almost zero distinction. Then one has to give it up 👏👏 – ReeFagbemi Apr 25 at 7:45
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    I do it a lot with singers - it is not that difficult - set up a loop point over a few lines and after 3-4 loops they usually have it. You may get a few complaints about sore throats at the end of the day though ;-) – Michael Hansen Buur Apr 25 at 8:23
  • Nice! I just tried the the Reel ADT plug-in in the waves bundle, all presets sound similar to what I achieved with the haas effect attempt. The vocals are stereoized, but sound seriously flanged. I guess, the doubled vocal technique is the way to actually go. – ReeFagbemi Apr 25 at 9:56
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    @ReeFagbemi I worked with a singer who could perfectly double himself without even hearing the earlier takes. He just sang it exactly the same way every time. Worst case scenario is there are plugins like VocAlign that will actually line up two different takes, and then you can use a pitch correction plugin if you want less pitch variation. So either good singers or plugins or a combination. – Todd Wilcox Apr 25 at 18:07
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    There's also revoice, which is actually what a lot of pros use, it will take the doubled take and make it sound superficially good tracked! Great for hard panning stuff! – frcake Apr 25 at 18:18

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