An overdub referred to in the sound recording, to an existing recording ( playback ) is mixed later. The corresponding recording process in the studio is called overdubbing.


Overdubs are some of the sound effects and are a characteristic absorption method in pop music because classical music is performed in an ensemble or orchestra, and "one take", ie, without additional recorded sound recordings. It does not matter is whether live or in the studio, the procedure is similar. Overdubs are therefore in classical music rather the exception. In the pop music recordings are, however, track for track, usually starting with the music and rhythm track, recorded and subsequently assembled by mixing and editing the master tape, which later appears on the records. Already the completion of the music and rhythm track with vocals is actually overdubbing.


Nevertheless, probably the first overdubbing of music history was a classic song. In the film The Cuban Love Song ( U.S. Premiere: December 5, 1931 German: The girl from Havana ) baritone Lawrence Tibbett sings the title song, highlighted later on December 10, 1931 the record with his tenor voice. On the record label Victor Red Seal # 1550 (side A), we read: " Lawrence Tibbett (baritone ) with orchestra. Mr. Tibbett also sings tenor. "

In jazz, Sidney Bechet wrote music history when he played in succession on April 18, 1941 the studio recording to Sheik of Araby clarinet, Sopransaxaphon, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums, and let mix in sync. The professional world is largely in agreement that the overdubbing technique was first used in popular music on December 3, 1947 during the recording Confess by Patti Page. Due strike no background choir was available, so that studio owner Bill Putnam decided to take multiple pages voice and lay partly superimposed in response style. It must be remembered that no tape recordings were still possible, but still was the direct pressing on records. Les Paul has overdubbing further developed, because his Lover ( When You're Near Me ) December, 1947 ( published in February 1948) brought together 8 different guitar recordings by him. Only the multi- track tape technology allowed an easier overdubbing, because both tracks are taken one by one, and could be set to the same recordings, without any of the tracks will be deleted. This is usually not the entire track is re-recorded, but individual passages are " dubbed " by overdubbing.


Technically an existing soundtrack is dubbed by another recording without changing the existing audio track is lost. For overdubbing, ie at least two takes are required. We distinguish between voice and instrumental overdubs. With Voice overdubs at least two voices (possibly the same artist ) are successively superimposed to achieve or to have the voice appear more voluminous a close harmony effect or chorus. Instrumental overdubs aim to add later a lack of instruments for the actual recording session. When combined with punch-in and punch-out overdubbing is also used to eradicate unsuccessful passages in soundtracks. Punch - in means that a wrong note or passage is re- sung or played and added later by overdubbing into the existing sound track; a complete re-recording is thereby avoided. Punch -out is in accordance with the removal of the erroneous passage.

Double - Tracking

A subspecies of the overdub is the double -tracking. Two identical soundtracks ( "tracks " ) are parallel or at different times (delay) was added over each other and create a voluminous, echo-like sound or filling effect in voices or instruments. Buddy Holly's piece Words of Love, recorded on 8 April 1957 and is considered the first double -tracking of Rock & Roll. Holly wanted to bring in two guitar parts in the song, what it took two takes, which were subsequently placed in mono to one another. Holly was also sometimes doubled in this way his voice sounded, and then in close harmony style as contemporary Everly Brothers.

The Automatic or artificial double -tracking ( ADT ) was developed at Abbey Road Studios on April 7, 1966 in Beatles recordings of sound engineer Ken Townsend during the recording sessions for the LP Revolver. This is where a sound a sound track is removed and transferred to another tape with a variable oscillator. The thus modified soundtrack is transferred back to the original soundtrack. The Beatles have used this technique extensively later. In particular, John Lennon liked his voice does not particularly like to hear, wishing an intense double- tracking. The first Beatles hit with ADT was recorded on April 14, 1966 Paperback Writer.

Subsequent processing of live concerts

The subsequent processing of live concerts for publication on live albums in the studio is referred to in the art as overdubbing. The aim here is to subsequently edit occurring at pop concerts vocal or instrumental defects in the studio and to eliminate or eliminate disturbing effects ( such as feedback ).

A famous example is the Beatles appearance on August 15, 1965 at New York's Shea Stadium. He was later on January 5, 1966 in the CTS ( Cine Tele Sound) Studios London with overdubs improved by Beatles producer George Martin, because the mobile recording techniques on site significantly underperformed the then quality standards. So a new bass guitar and organ was underlaid the live recordings afterwards. I Feel Fine and Help! have even been re-recorded and with atmospheric sounds of the presence of 30 August 1965, in the Hollywood Bowl (!) provided.

Partial such live performances have subsequently been significantly reworked in the studio to achieve the perfection of studio recordings with simultaneous pretense of a concert situation. Through cuts of songs, mixing of instruments or vocal performances, which were often played in the studio, as well as by the addition of applause the actual concert recordings were changed drastically in part, to make the albums acoustically attractive. There are even alleged by famous rock groups " live albums " that have been fully recorded in a studio and then mixed with audience reactions from the tape. Even the Beatles' concept album Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ( released on June 1, 1967) belongs to this category. The live double album by the American band Eagles (7 July 1980) may apply to the Rolling Stone Record Guide ( 1983 edition ), according as the most reworked concert album ever.

This partially significant intervention in the original concert recordings have meant that some artists to explicitly indicate that their live album contains no overdubs. On the LP Absolutely Live The Doors (July 1970), the insurance is for example included as well as on the concert album Live at ... ana long finster'n Stroß'n by Wolfgang Ambros (recorded during the tour of Germany in April 1979) and the double live album Everything Louder than Everyone Else by Motörhead (19 March 1999).

The live album Tin the punk band Terror Group ( January 2002), on the other hand, an example of a satire on post-processed live recordings. It is clear to hear through rough cuts that several concert recordings were mixed from different places; it be incorporated into the pieces samples of announcements of other live albums, and during the song to a whole orchestra is even recorded what ad leads the live concept with intention absurdum.

Today's sound quality with the many choices of studio technology makes it the artist often difficult to reproduce these " clinically clean " recordings in public. Sometimes artists have, however, not sufficient vocal and / or instrumental skills, so that even their studio recordings need to be supplemented with overdubbing. This is then possibly also for their live performances. Because here there are much less technical ways to improve the sound quality, often only the alternative of a studio post-production.