A Cappella Cover: "Off To See The World"

FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 56
Hey all! It's me again, doing some more a cappella. All the sounds were made with my voice and mouth! This is the first time I attempted a more pop-style song. This is a cover of a song from the movie "The Chipmunk Adventure". I love all the songs in that movie, so I could have made covers of all the songs!

This obviously has more going on than my previous cover, so I'm sure there is a lot of valuable feedback to be had!

UPDATE: Thanks to @Wigs, my song is much better! This here is the new and improved version! Wigs, you are awesome!

I'm always looking to improve, so please let me know your thoughts on how I can be better!


  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    My initial question is did you seperate the main vocal tracks between left and right? Im guessing you rerecorded multiple tracks to layer? Im really amateur when it comes to production but it seems since the timing is slightly off (its hard to get exactly the same rhythm when layering) and its separated left and right, its a bit distracting, like an unusual echo or something, not sure how to describe it.

    Massive kudos though just for the sheer size of a project like this!
  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 56
    Hi @Wigs!

    That is a very astute observation! I used a common production technique, often used in pop to give a feeling of wideness:

    I recorded a double of the main vocal track, then duplicated the double; so at this point there are 3 tracks: one main vocal and two doubles.

    I then hard-panned the two doubles on opposite ends, so that one comes out the left speaker and the other comes out the right speaker, but also time-shifted the doubles slightly left of center and slightly right of center, while keeping the main vocal track center-panned.

    The end result creates a similar sensation of multiple clones of me singing together, as it simulates the slight differences in timing when actual groups of people are singing. The panning also helps with that sensation, as each ear is essentially hearing a different singer.

    I also used this technique with my doubles and triples in my recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" that you can also find on SoundCloud and uploaded here on the forums.

    I could obviously do things to reduce that effect if needed, like pan the doubles closer to center, or time-shift the doubles closer to center

    This was obviously one of my larger projects, so I wanted to go full-on pop with this and see how it worked!
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    Ive been slowly educating my self with garage band and I understand what you are talking about and trying to achieve. With my limited knowledge, I would try to have them time shifted closer. I think the problem with copying them like you did means everything is off by that exact amount so you are not achieving a natural effect of multiple people, maybe that's why its a bit strange to listen to. From what ive seen on good old YT, its recommended to record each part seperate so when its layered there is more of a natural fullness to the vocal, and when splitting or time shifting put them more in the background if they are there as support for the main vocal.

    Later today ill be trying to figure out how to loop a section of my karaoke track to sing multiple takes :blush:
  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 56
    edited June 2020

    Thanks a bunch! I time-shifted and panned a little tighter to center. Here is the new version so that you can compare. Let me know what you think!
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 5,039
    This sounds better!
  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 56

    I can't express how much I appreciate your help! Little-by-little I'm getting better! :smiley:

    Make sure to let us know how that karaoke session turned out! :smile:
  • DiegoDiego Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,154
    edited June 2020
    Hey ! @FurryMurry
    Sounds pretty cool!
    First and foremost feel like I need to feel the bass a bit more. Bass can just fill the space in your acapella SO much, it drives the whole flow of the song.
    When you record for acapella try to be REALLY accurate with your phrasing so there is that feeling of tightness and makes it more cohesive. Is this your arrangement by the way? Just in case, how did you set your vocals?
    You want to have bass and the beat in the center. And what I like to do is duplicate each of my vocals/harmonies and set them 50% and 25% left and right, so It feels like it's surrounding you. I would also advise for more da's in the background because it still feels kind of empty in the background. Make sure all the notes match too, because therea are a few flat notes. Try to also vary your da's, make some harmonies, try different positions with the mic, etc.

    It sounds pretty good though, good job! Keep it up.

  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 56
    Hi there @Diego!

    Thanks for the tips! I "loosely" based this off the original song from the movie, which you can see here for comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_WDZ1J_1L4

    I guess the lyrics and the melody are the same, but the rest I just made up, trying to find something that sounds cool, and put my own flavor on it, so I guess you could say I arranged it :blush:

    I took your advice and increased the low-mids in the bass tracks, and also increased the overall levels of those tracks. I also dulplicated the vocal and harmony tracks and panned them just like you said. I will definitely be considering getting some more doos/das in the background, but there are moments when I obviously wanted more of a space in the background, like after the word "airways", or "stops" in the first verse, punctuated by the single "da" track before the next line hits.

    I will also take another look at the notes, and try to figure out which ones are flat. I don't know anything at all about music theory, how to read music, etc. I just try to listen and see if something sounds good. :smile:

    By the way, here is the updated version in which I applied your tips! You can compare and let me know what you think!

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