5 Ways to Thicken Your Vocals

Got a killer lead vocal, but it is lacking just a little energy? Don't worry, here are a couple of ways to ensure you can get the lead vocal sounding beefier.

Natural Doubles (or Octave), Natural Harmonies

Nothing beats a good ol' fashioned natural doubling. Have your singer go back on the mic to sing a couple more takes of that chorus, and blend those extra voices in (Mono or Stereo). It will really add support to the lead vocal.

Simply have your vocalist do a few takes on top of their existing performance, edit their timing and pitching, and mix them in to taste.

Artificial Doubles

Not sure if you can call your vocalist back to record? Don't fret, you can also create artificial doubles! However, it is NOT as simple as copying a track down to a different track and panning them out, as you need a "slightly different" performance in order to create the illusion of doubles.

To create artificial doubles:

  1. Copy your existing performance to a new track
  2. Modulate the copy
    • This means pitch or time-shifting to create a different performance to the original.
    • You can use Logic's Pitch Shifter (or other modulation plugins), or any delay plugins.
      Pitch Shifter detuning vocals at -3 cents and 100% wet
    • Vocal Doubler by iZotope (A FREE PLUGIN!) is also a quick and dirty way to do this.
      iZotope Vocal Doubler at 100% Separation and 40% Variation  
    • It is important to understand that using time delays (without pitch shifting) may create unwanted comb filtering. Generally, avoid delay times of less than 20ms for doubles in the same plane if not using pitch shifting.
  3. Balance the double and lead to taste

Artificial Octaves

Want some support for that high part or low part of the chorus, but can't find a different singer?

To create artificial octaves:

  1. Copy your existing performance to a new track
  2. Transpose the copy down or up 12 semitones (and if you would like, change the formant too)
    • You can use Logic's Vocal Transformer or Pitch Shifter for this.
      Logic's Vocal Transformer at -12 Pitch, -8 Formant, 100% Mix
    • Vocal Synth by iZotope and Little Alterboy by SoundToys are also good choices in creating octaves such as these.
  3. Balance the octaves and lead to taste

You can also combine the two to create doubles of the octave.

Artificial Harmony

Ran out of time in the studio to track harmonies, or you were only given a single vocal track?

To create artificial harmonies:

  1. Copy your existing performance to a new track
  2. Use a vocal tuning algorithm (such as Logic Flex Pitch, or Melodyne) to tune vocals to harmony pitches.
  3. Balance harmonies to taste.


Looking for Daft Punk style vocals? You can trigger a vocoder with your own vocal performance!

To create a vocoder part:

  1. Route the audio you wanna modulate the vocoder with, into the vocoder (such as Logic's EVOC 20 PS, or iZotope's Vocal Synth).
  2. Play MIDI notes to trigger the vocoder, OR have Vocal Synth create harmony at a constant interval (know your scales to be able to choose a good interval - often a third up, or a sixth down, sounds good).
  3. Balance Vocoder parts to taste.

Here you are! You can certainly create a much more diverse vocal arrangement even with just one sung vocal - give all these techniques a try in your own productions!



Training Subject
Audio Editing DAW iZotope Logic Melodyne Mixing Production Recording
Vocal Production Vocal Technologies
Creative Technology Center Knowledge base
Last modified
Thu, Apr 14th 2022