How to Get Wider Vocals With 6 Easy Techniques

Narrow vocals make what should be the focal point of your mix in the vocals feel small or buried around the instrumental. Whether you want to mix in some width at key points in the song like the chorus, or you just want more vocal width in general, use these 6 easy tips/methods on how to get wider vocals right in the mix!

How to Get Wider Vocals

wider vocals

Many of these techniques attack the problem from different angles and in some cases have slightly different sounds and/or widths to them, so feel free to mix and match them together to achieve as much width as you’d like.

As I also just mentioned in opening, you can hold back on some or all of these techniques save for choice moments in the mix vocally. Going from a narrow vocal in the verse to a super wide vocal which envelops the listener when the chorus hits is especially satisfying, so don’t be afraid to use a little mix automation in that sense to keep the mix evolving.

Now let’s get into the different techniques for getting wider vocals in your mix!

Double and Triple Tracked Vocals

Let’s start with the most obvious.

Panning vocal doubles (or triples) is the classic and arguably most natural sounding way to achieve vocal width because the doubles will have their own slightly different timing and pitch by virtue of the fact that they are genuinely unique takes.

Assuming you have extra vocal takes, it’s very easy to take the doubles and pan them hard left and right, then blending their levels to taste relative to the main vocal track.

That said, this isn’t always the most practical method as we don’t always have a second or third take of our vocal.

As I mentioned in my guide on how to mix double tracked vocals, even if you don’t have separate takes, you can still pull from what you DO have.

Most commonly, you’ll have a unique take for each chorus. Most choruses are featured three times in a song, so there is your triple tracked vocal right there. Simply copy the chorus vocal track, then pull a unique instance of the chorus from other sections on the timeline.

Regarding the level, I personally prefer to keep the left and right panned “doubles” at roughly 20 decibels BELOW my center/main vocal.

This puts them at such a relevant volume that they’re felt more than they’re heard. You can feel the vocal get thinner when you silence the doubles, but you don’t hear much of a difference.

You may want to bring them up a few more dB, or if you’re going for a particular aesthetic effect you may want them A LOT louder, but generally 20 decibels below the lead works well, panned 100% left and right.

(Short) Delay

As I covered in my overview of the Haas effect in music, when we hear a delayed instance of a sound less than 40ms (milliseconds) after the initial sound, we perceive it as being the same sound.

I like to use a short delay on an Aux/Return track, sending my vocal to that track and blending in the amount of width I want to taste (remember to set the “Mix” percentage to 100 when using any effect as a send).

Here is an example of my go-to settings for achieving width via a short delay with Soundtoys’ EchoBoy:

echoboy short delay

While I can color the delayed sound more with EchoBoy’s “Style” controls or low/high cut filters, here I’m just keeping it vanilla.

The main control is that 26ms delay which, keeping the Haas effect in mind, makes the delayed signal sound like an extension of the vocal itself. This is naturally panned hard in the stereo field, and when used as an Aux/Return track, I can blend in the width I want on the vocal to taste via that track’s send knob in my DAW.

(Longer) Delay

I can’t move on from delay without acknowledging the value of a longer delay in creating wider vocals. This is where blending in two (or more) of these techniques really gives our vocal different “flavors” of width.

echoboy rock vocal

I’m a sucker for EchoBoy’s “Rock Vocal” preset. This is a “Dual Echo”, which simply means it creates two distinct doubles, one for each side of the stereo field, which we can vary the timing for.

With this preset (or really any longer delay) we’re not disguising the delayed signal like we were with our previous 23 milliseconds. Here I’ve got it set to sync to the timing of the song, but the equivalent in milliseconds would be over 100 milliseconds.

This is approaching more of that slapback delay effect in theory; the delay is mimicking a reflection like a cleaner reverb. It creates that vocal width in the sides, albeit with a clear separation from our lead vocal but it still works very well, it’s just not subtle like the previous two options.


When I was first starting out in mixing over a decade ago, I used this pitching trick frequently to easily create some vocal width in record time.

Essentially, you create four blank audio tracks and set them up to receive audio from the track you want to make wider.

Set the tracks to “In” to receive audio from the selected track (in this case our chorus vocal).

I then put a copy of a pitching plugin on each track and vary the pitch ever so slightly on each one. I’m using the free (but very old) MadShifta plugin in this example.

I then adjust the “Fine” for each one, setting them to -6, +4, -4, and +6 left to right. I then adjust the panning for each of these “doubles”, going hard left, about 50% left, 50% right, and hard right, respectively. Send them all to a bus so you can control their volume as a whole, and you’ve got some instant width. You can also add in/vary a few milliseconds of delay for each of them, but it’s not necessary.

When you’re done, it should look something like this:

madshifta vocals

Admittedly this all takes a minute or two to set up which is why I recommend working with a mixing template which already has this set up.

When you have this as part of the mixing template, you just need to make sure the vocal track you want width for is on the track which all of these doubles are receiving audio from.

You can duplicate this if you want to apply it to another track, but with all of the different pitchings you’ve got some instant width on the track of your choosing, and all you need to do is blend in their combined level relative to the lead vocal via their respective bus to taste.

Note that you can obviously just create four copies of the track you want width on itself then vary the pitches of the audio clips themselves, but this is a whole lot faster.


I can’t finish this list of tips for achieving wider vocals in your mix without acknowledging my personal go-to method for the lazy man.

The people who made the aforementioned EchoBoy, Soundtoys, also make a very nifty pitch shifting plugin called Microshift.

Technically I use the lighter version LittleMicroshift which I got during a free giveaway years ago, but it works just as well as its big brother Microshift.


You simply choose a setting (I like “II”), set the wetness all the way to the right (for an Aux/Return track) then blend in the width you want to taste via the track’s send knob.

When used conservatively, it sounds excellent blended in alongside the lead track for instant width which seems to hit just right in the stereo field.

It’s literally always the first move I make when I want any extra width on a track. For instances where I don’t want to get fancy with delay but feel like a track just feels too small or weak in the stereo field, this fixes it.


Chorus is a type of audio effect which creates one or more copies of your audio (see my overview on what is chorus).

Unlike the delay which is meant to create a clean and transparent copy of your audio and repeat it at the timing of your choosing, chorus modulates the timing and pitch of your audio via low frequency oscillation. This makes the vocal “doubles” sound like they’re constantly evolving which is different than when we were simply statically pitching up or down artificial doubles of our vocal like before.

arturia jun-6 width

Here is a snapshot of the settings I’m using with Arturia’s Jun-6 Chorus plugin when I want some vocal width via chorus.

Chorus has a very specific sound and sacrifices the clarity of your vocal to achieve that evolving, pitch and timing shifting tone.

As such, while chorus is another easy way to add width to your vocal, you likely want to blend this in conservatively via the send knob (or at a very low “Mix” percentage if you’re using the track directly on the vocal as an insert).

Still, it is a different flavor, so if you want to mix and match different techniques we’ve covered to achieve wider sounding vocals, this is a good and unique tone to supplement one or more other methods.

Wider Vocals Tips

  • Sometimes vocals can sound too narrow to their detriment at a certain section of the song. This is when you should use one or more of these techniques to widen the vocal to make it feel more natural in the stereo field of the mix.
  • Automating vocal width for different sections or parts keeps your mix evolving and your listener engaged.
  • Panning literal double or triple tracked vocal takes hard left and right and 20 decibels (on average) lower than your main vocal is an easy way to achieve natural width. Remember you can copy and paste unique takes of the chorus vocal at different points to create authentic doubles when you don’t otherwise have them.
  • A short delay of 40ms or less will sound like an extension of the initial sound, making it a very subtle (transparent) way to add width without tipping your hand. Above I used a simple delay setup (via EchoBoy) with a single echo at a 23ms delay.
  • Longer delays like the 100+ms delay I showed above have a clear separation from the initial vocal, but still add width and, depending on how you color or filter that delay, depth, as well.
  • Pitching copied instances of your vocal up and down then panning them left and right helps to create the illusion of doubles without actually having doubles. Above I shared a template based method which uses a free pitch shifting plugin so all you need to do is tell the “double” tracks what audio they’re doubling and pitch shifting.
  • Microshift or even Little Microshift come at a price but they’re my favorite lazy man’s way to get perfect sounding width so all I need to do is blend the send dial to adjust the volume and impact of the width to taste.
  • Lastly, chorus is an obvious way to add in width to your vocal because it modulates both the pitch and timing of your audio to trick the listener into thinking they’re hearing something unique. Just keep in mind sometimes chorus comes with artifacts you may not want as part of that vocal width, so blend it conservatively to typically achieve the best results.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *