(Eli5) why do the vocals of a song have an echo when you listen to the vocals only version of a song?


(Eli5) why do the vocals of a song have an echo when you listen to the vocals only version of a song?

In: 17

often times, they add in quieter and slightly different recordings of them singing to the background to add more depth and make it sound more interesting.

Songs recorded in a studio sound very different from those songs performed in a normal setting.
Echo, reverb or delay effects are added in production to help things like vocals sound closer to natural to us. If you heard someone next to you indoors talk and no sound reflected off of anything, it would sound strange. Not only do we normally hear someone’s voice, but we hear all the reflected sound caused by walls and other reflective surfaces.

It’s there in the original version as well it just isn’t as noticeable with a full band playing. The echo adds depth to the performance, makes the performance sound fuller, and covers up imperfections. In modern music it is often added digitally but was used in recording even before analog or digital effects by playing back audio through a speaker into a bare room called an echo chamber where it could then be re-recorded with the natural echo of the room. It is so common in music that you don’t often hear vocals without it.

And in a lot of cases, singers will double-track their vocals because it hides imperfections, or do it artificially (with a the sound repeating itself a fraction of a second later). It’s more likely to be on backing vocals, though.

If you wanted to make something bigger, you add more of it. The way you do this with sound is one ore more of three basic ways in order of most effective to least effective on their own for making a sound bigger.

1. You can record once, then record another take of the same thing and any differences will come out as a bigger sound. This is called double tracking.
2. You can use editing to slightly change the speed of a copy of one recording of something so that it adds variations.
3. You can use effects like reverb (which mimics the sound bouncing off surfaces, known as reverberation) and delay (which adds an echo effect by playing back what goes into it with a slight delay, as the name suggests). These effects will make the recording sound bigger.

The people who record and mix songs will combine these three basic methods in different ways to get the desired effect.

Often times, the preferred way to make vocals sound bigger without double tracking will be with reverb and delay, as it leaves the purest example of the performance and can be applied after other editing options have been done.