[MUSIC] Layering is one of those magical things that is made possible by the super power of multi-track recording. And layering vocals is something that people have been doing ever since they were doing sound on sound, and all the different recordings that we talked about previously. They were layering vocals. The Beatles loved to do this, even when they had only two or three tracks, they would often layer the vocals just to give that thicker sound. And it’s something that a lot of people I find are not aware of when they hear it. Even when my students who are studying music production or engineering, a lot of times when I play them a recording, and I ask them to identify what that specific vocal sound or guitar sound or other kind of sound was, a lot of times, it takes them a little while to figure out that it's actually been layered. So let's talk about this, because it can be a very, very useful tool. Now, let me say right up front that if you don't have your headphones on, you should go get your headphones and put those on for this, because I'm going to be playing you some examples that have a lot of stereo information in it. And it's going to be much more meaningful when you listen in stereo. So please put your stereo headphones on for this part. So let's start out by talking about layering vocals. Great singers like Sting, and Paul McCartney, and on, and on, layer their vocals and it's part of their sound, and it's a creative choice that they make. Their not doing it, because they don't sing well. They actually do it because they like the way it sounds, and they like what it adds to their art. So let's first off talk about layering a lead vocal. So let's first listen to a lead vocal singing a line, and this is going to be panned right up the center, and listen to this. [MUSIC] Okay, now let's add a layer to that. So what we are going to do is we are going to pan the one that we just heard on one side, and we are going to layer another one on top. Now, when you are doing this, you want to actually try to sing it exactly the same way twice. So, as you are singing the first one, you want to be aware that that's something that you can try to match. And then, as you're singing the second one, you want to try to hear the first one in your headphones while you're doing this, and try and match it as much as possible. You're not going to totally match it at all, because there's going to be slight variances in timbre and pitch which give it that kind of magical quality. So listen to this now. This is a vocal that has been doubled. [MUSIC] So when we go from doubling, I personally like to go into tripling. And what this does, is this gives us one more vocal to put in the center. It does something to the harmonic structure when you triple something rather than double it. That makes it even a little bit more pleasing. And it also gives you the opportunity if you've got a single vocal, say, on the verse, that's right in the center, to keep a single vocal in that center spot while you add the other vocals on the left and the right, so that you don't go from having a very defined spotting the stereo field in the center to go out to left and right. So, this is what it's going to sound like with a triple. So, this is three vocals, one in the center and left and right. Gotta listen to this. [MUSIC] >> And now I'll play it back for you one more time, just that double. So, we'll hear the vocal coming in from the verse, just the single vocal, and we'll flip that out to just left and right, and you hear how kind of disruptive it is, actually, for the vocal to go from right in the center to just left and right. [MUSIC] So that was lead vocals now let's talk background vocals, and you can do this just as well with the harmonies. And so let's start now with the same piece, and we'll playback just the lead and two background vocals and these are not layered at all. These are just single point source. [MUSIC] >> And now, let's try listening what it would sound like if we actually tripled the background vocals and the lead vocal and pan them all around. It would sound like this. [MUSIC] A very different sound. Now you might like one or the other better. I'm not saying that either one is better or worse, but it's certainly a tool that you can use. So that's vocals. What about instruments? You can actually do a lot of stuff with layering instruments as well, whether it's guitars or other things. In fact, the main hard rock, heavy metal guitar sound is to actually layer the same rhythm guitar part over and over again, sometimes as many as five or six times,and spread that around the stereo field and it jut makes this enormous sound. Acoustic guitars, this can be really really effective as well. So take a listen now to just a single acoustic guitar part panned right up the center. [MUSIC] And now, let's try doubling that. And we will pan it left and right, hard left and right. [MUSIC] Now you notice that it sounds very cool, first off, but it also opens up the center for the lead vocal to go in. Lets's listen now to a lead vocal with that original acoustic guitar, both of them panned in the center. [MUSIC] And now, let's listen to the lead vocal right in the center, and two guitars playing the same part, doubled, panned hard left and right. And notice how that opens up the space for that lead vocal to inhabit the center. [MUSIC] So this can be used as a tool as well, just to make space for the vocals, especially to be in the center when you double things, and you pan them out to the sides. Obviously, you can go down this rabbit hole and never be seen again. You don't want to go too far with it. It can make things too, too thick. But layering is one of those things that again is part of the advantage of the superpower of multi-direct recording. Have fun with it, and see what you can come up with.