Vocals On Varispeed: Vocal Doubling Plugin-Free

Varispeed, according to our beloved manual: “Varispeed provides a way to speed up or slow down the entire project, similar to the original varispeed feature of tape machines. The most practical use for this option is checking how a project might sound at a faster or slower tempo, and for practicing and/or recording a performance at a lower speed“.

Varispeed – Not Just for Playback

Some radio stations pitch up records anywhere between 1 and 1.5% to jam either more commercials or hits in the hour, so Varispeed is indeed a very handy tool to test what the result of that would be. What the Logic Pro manual doesn’t say however, is that you can also record while Varispeed mode is active. And that’s great for vocal doubling, doubling vocal harmonies or doubling any instrument (that can be tuned easily) for that matter. Sure, there are tons of plugins that can do this for you in a snap, some plugins even let you alter the formant of your voice, but if you’re a vocalist looking to experiment, you should definitely check this vocal doubling technique out. You’ll find nuances and colours in your voice that you probably never knew were even there.

Recording with Varispeed – Setup

First, enable Varispeed. If the icon is not in your Transport bar, ctrl-click the Transport bar to enable it:

logic pro varispeed icon

Click on the Varispeed display and change mode to Varispeed (Speed and Pitch):

logic pro varispeed menu

Next, record a lead vocal with Varispeed set unchanged, a double vocal with Varispeed set to +1.5%, another double vocal with Varispeed set to -1.5%, up a third with Varispeed set to -1.0%, down a third with Varispeed set to +1.0%. These numbers are examples, smaller numbers will probably be better. You’ll have to experiment. There are no rules, it’s big fun, and your vocals quickly become thicker than honey. And no plugins!

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  • Brett Grace

    Hi, I was experimenting by sending an apple loop out to a BUS and recording it back into several tracks using different vari-speed percentages and it didn’t seem to work. I’m guessing there’s a flaw in this method? Would there be a way to do it using one take to spawn many variations?

    • Hi Brett,
      I’ve tested this with recording my own vocals – not with apple loops. Maybe it’s a good idea to just bounce the apple loop and convert it into a sampler instrument, to be able to play around with its pitch? Cheers.

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