Pro Audio Files

Vocal Thickening Trick in Cubase with Chris Selim

Hey, Chris Selim here from Mixdown Online, and the Produce Like a Pro, and today, I want to show you the vocal thickening trick in Cubase.

So the vocal thickening trick. You’ve probably heard of that one before. Warren did a video a while back using Pro Tools and doubler from Waves, and David Mood did the same thing in Studio One.

Now, today, I’m going to look into this technique in Cubase. I’m not going to lie to you, this one is going to look a lot like what David did in Studio One. Studio one and Cubase are like cousins in my opinion, they look alike. But if you’re a Cubase user, you will enjoy this one.

So the idea behind the vocal thickening trick is to add some width and thickness to your vocal sound. A bit like a choir. When we listen to a choir, what we get is a very large sound, and why is that? It’s basically because when you get a bunch of people saying the same lines together, we’re going to end up with some variations and some imperfections within each other, which is going to create an actual chorus, and this is why you’re going to get a huge sound. Okay?

They’re not going to be 100% in sync within each other. Timing wise, and even the pitch, you know? The pitch is slightly going to be different within each other, and again, that creates some imperfections and some variations.

So in Cubase, what I’m going to do here, I’m going to apply the same logic that we see with a choir. I’m going to apply this to my lead vocal track.

Okay, so first, I’m going to create eight mono tracks. I’m going to cal them Voc. And I’m going to select them all going to my mix console. Right click on the tracks, and the create a group channel track. So it’s going to be stereo this time. I’m going to call this one Doubler. And I’m going to send the output to my mix voc buss. There ya go.

I’m going to go back here and bring that doubler buss track up here. Okay, so all of these mono tracks are routed into this doubler group track. Now what we’re going to do next is to pan all the tracks left and right. Okay? So I’m going to pan the first one left, second one right. And so on. Perfect.

Now, we’re going to copy the main track here. To the first one, I’m going to make sure my algorithm right here on top is at Standard Vocal. Okay? So there’s a lot of all different algorithms here in Cubase. Just select the standard vocals, which is best for the kind of work we’re going to do here.

Now, I’m going to copy this event. Into all of these tracks to make sure I have eight copies of the same event. And next, we are going to work on the pitch.

So we are going to pitch shift these events. Now, if we select the first one, look on top here. We have different options, and one is called fine tune. Now, in Warren’s video, Warren pitch shifted his events by three cents, six, nine, and twelve cents. Sharp and flat. So we’re going to do the same, so we’re going to pitch shift the first event by three cents, which is very, very tiny, and the second one by minus three cents.

Now the next one. Okay? We’re going to pitch shift it to minus 6. Okay? We’re going to switch things around. And the reason is very simple. All of our tracks are panned left and right, so we don’t want to end up with all of the flat pitch shifting on one side, and the sharp pitch shifting on the other side. Okay? We want to make sure these are all blended together and well balanced.

That’s why my first is at 3 and minus 3, and the third one is at minus six, and then track number four is at 6.

Now, five at nine, minus nine, minus twelve, and twelve. There you go. So now, everything has been pitch shifted. Next, we’re going to need to delay all of these events. Okay? Just by a few milliseconds. Now, in Warren’s video, the doubler, the Waves doubler was at around 9 milliseconds on one side, and 23 milliseconds on the other side I believe, so we’re going to keep the same settings. Now, you can use the amount of milliseconds you want, but try not to go too low, okay? Not to get into some comb filtering effect, and don’t go too high, because you don’t want to hear the actual delay. So you want to keep that subtle.

So I’m going to use 10 milliseconds and 24 milliseconds. Okay, so now, if we look here, if we select the first track, look on the left side. We have the inspector section in cubase, and like in Studio One, we can delay the track. So this is exactly what we’re going to do. I’m going to delay this one by 10 milliseconds, and then I’m going to go down to the second one, and delay this one by 24 milliseconds.

Now, second time around, I’m going to do the same as I did with pitch shifting. I’m going to switch things around. So 24 and 10. Same thing here, 10 and 24. And there you go. Everything is setup. Now we’re going to listen to the song we have. I am not using the same song as Warren and David did. I’m using a song I worked on a few years ago, so it’s a female vocalist this time, so it’s going to give us a different perspective. So let’s try this out. I’m just going to solo what we did.

[vocals, thickened]

Alright, so this is what it sounds like on its own. Now, we’re going to listen to the song itself.


Okay, so I’m just going to solo this. Okay? I’m going to solo the lead vocal and the doubler effect, but first, what I’m going to do is I’m going to bypass the send effects out of the lead vocal and listen to it dry.

[vocals, dry, then with thickening]

That’s pretty cool. So if we add the send effects to the lead vocal and, you know what, I’m going to copy the same effects on my doubler buss here. And same for the inserts. You don’t have to do this. This is something I like to do to start with.

[vocals, with and without thickening]

Alright, cool, now. If you add too much though, it’s going to sound like a special effect, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If that is what you’re looking for. Now, you can also add some automation. Nothing stop you on adding a bit more of that effect into the choruses, for example, and a bit less in the verses. Stuff like that can easily be done with automation.

So this is basically it for the vocal thickening trick in Cubase. Now, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section down below, and don’t forget to like and share this video if you enjoyed it, and to subscribe to the Produce Like a Pro channel if you’re not already.

Alright, so take care and I’ll see you next time!

Warren Huart

Warren Huart

Warren Huart is an English record producer/musician/composer and recording engineer based in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at

Free Video on Mixing Low End

Download a FREE 40-minute tutorial from Matthew Weiss on mixing low end.

Powered by ConvertKit
/> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> /> />