I use Melodyne often on my own vocals. Sometimes I use it to correct pitch and other times for creative strange things. On my song I Stand with You (link) I sent my vocal to my friend Gabri Negro in Italy and he created a few harmonies of my own voice using Melodyne on specific words. He’s a classically trained musician and knew exactly where on the scale to place my “other” self. In the video above you can see Melodyne’s Random Deviation function which speeds up creating variations of original material.
“Simply copy the vocal track, insert slight deviations in pitch and timing, and place the tracks in the stereo image. And with the clever functions of Melodyne, you don’t have to move every note by hand.” – celemony
My main vocal chain is an API 512c Micpre, Shure SM58, Wavearts Track5 into Izotope Nectar. By using a great Micpre and mic I have a great sounding base but Nectar gives me a lot of styles to work from. Nectar 2 will be available soon and it adds to an already good plug-in a Harmonizer, Pitch Editor, Plate Reverb and creative effects like a Repeater and others. I have no deal with Izotope and highly recommend this one.
“With the new Nectar 2, flawless vocal production is just a click away. Bring your vocal tracks to life with a new modeled plate Reverb, a new Harmonizer, an overhauled Pitch Editor, an out-of-this-world new FX module, and a fully-redesigned user interface. From quick corrections to limitless creativity, Nectar 2 treats your voice to sweet results.” – Izotope
On a few occasions I was going to pick up the original Vielklang. Instant Harmony V2 was just released and it looks really good. Imagine Melodyne with auto-harmony creation. I like how you can drop audio from your DAW directly into Instant Harmony’s plug-in window. Price: $149 USD
“Vielklang Instant Harmony generates harmonies with 2-4 voices. It is packed with musical intelligence and music theory: it detects the best fitting harmonies for each individual input melody, and automatically synthesizes up to four voices with the voices not merely running in parallel but with their voicings selected to sound most natural (voice leading). The advanced pitch editing controls (full version only!) give you fast and easy access to pitch, timing, vibrato control, formant shift, and to many more editing options.” – zplane.de
My usual vocal chain is Shure SM7b, Api 512c, Wavearts Track5 (which I only use the Gate section) and Izotope Nectar. Recently I took my API Lunchbox and SM7b to a friends house to record. He didn’t have any plug-ins on his computer and I realized he needed compression on his vocals. When I bought my Lunchbox and 512c I also bought an API 527 compressor. It’s always been in the Lunchbox but I rarely use it. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I just use software compressors, mostly presets and never really figured out how to set my 527. That’s what this post is all about. This is a question to Wire to the Ear readers. What would be a good setting on my 527 compressor for vocals. What’s a good starter setting and what should I adjust?
I’ve already asked a friend (Cesar B. de Guzman aka @cyndiseui) on Instagram. I set my 527 as he thought would be a good start. He makes a lot of music but what do you think?
“527 is a VCA comp that has a very fast attack response. U could do this ratio 1 til 3. Attack 3 o clock. Release 8-9 o’clock. Set to new if you want something sparkling style or old as punch vintage type… The only thing you could adjust yrself is threshold. Technically you could leave from 2 to 3 db down from the threshold as a starter.” – cyndiseui
For quite some time I’ve been wanting to add a hardware effects unit to my live show exclusively for vocals. While Ableton is an incredible live tool I don’t want to be fiddling with pixels while I sing (scream). Although I could have a dedicated MIDI controller set up just for my vocal effects I don’t want to complicate my set up further as I already have a controller for synth/drum parts and Ableton is running a HD video in sync with the live show. I’m a huge fan of TC-Helicon. If your a reader of the blog you know Voicemodler for Powercore was my favorite plug-in and I recently picked up a Voiceworks Plus in my studio. I had my eye on Helicon’s live voice boxes for a bit but honestly they seemed a little pricey and complicated or too large. I am at my very limit as far as suitcase weight goes. I overlooked a January Namm announcement they made for a box they are now selling called the Voicelive Play. What I really like about this box is that I can set up presets, name them and click through them easily as my show and songs progress through a live set. The great feature that made be buy the unit is the HIT button. Basically it’s a second layer of effect(s) that you turn on for say a chorus or break. Watch the smartly produced aka easy to watch and learn from online manual above to get into everything this $250 box can do. If your a Sound on Sound subscriber you can read their review of the Voicelive Play here: link. See you at the show!
“Whether you’re at the top of the charts – or just a dreamer with a microphone, VoiceLive Play gives you hundreds of song & artist presets to choose from, helping you create amazing vocals. Featuring automatic backing harmonies, vocal double tracking, pristine EQ and compression, lush reverbs, hard-tuned robo-voice – all the the goose-bumps-on-your-arm effects that make today’s Billboard hit vocals “pop”. If hundreds of presets wasn’t enough, you’ll be able to download new and exciting artist presets each month for free via VoiceSupport.” – tc-helicon.com
Celemony has posted a bunch of well produced Melodyne tutorials. I do use Melodyne on a track here and there. I didn’t know I should split off consanants to help avoid artifacts. That alone was worth the view.
“In this video you will learn how to get the most out of your vocal tracks with a few editing tips and tricks in Melodyne.”
I was watching a comedian on TV the other night. He was saying it’s going to be funny when old people listen to hip hop. Since there is a generation into now it it’s only natural eventually they will grow old, reminisce, play and “sing” the songs. That fact alone is worth a blog post. I mean it’s going to be rediculous no? My TC Powercore has been on it’s last legs lately. There are a few key effects in it I really don’t want to live without. I contacted TC Helicon and what I am looking for is also available in their Voiceworks Plus unit. Off to Youtube to see a few videos and I came across the video above in which the performer uses a Voiceworks. He’s also covering one of my all time favorite songs Only You by Yaz. Time is a strange thing don’t you think? Where’s my bucket list again…
“Only You” is a ballad written by musician Vince Clarke. He wrote it while with Depeche Mode, and offered it to them when he was leaving. They declined, and Clarke recorded it after forming the duo Yazoo with Alison Moyet. It was an instant success, hitting number two in the UK, and charting in the U.S. (number sixty-seven, Billboard Hot 100), a feat only attained by one other Yazoo single (coincidentally, that single was “Situation,” the original UK B-side of “Only You”). “Only You” also made the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart at number thirty-eight.” – Wikipedia
As I am a person who thinks my most valuable instrument is my voice I’m always keen of vocal processors. One area where for the most part have left my voice dry is during a live performance. I plan on changing this at least for some songs. I may want to keep the processing and button pushing out of the laptop. This TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch box is in the running. Are there any others I should be looking at?
“I’ma let you finish watching this demo, but the TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch is one of the greatest stand-mount vocal processors ever made. Yeah, I know, we’re not usually ones for hyperbole, but this harmony generator and vocal sweetened with built-in looper is really something else. And given the fact that it’s the only stand-mount vocal processor, it’s not such an outlandish statement.” – gearwire
Izotope will be releasing a vocal plug-in this month called Nectar. The software will have Pitch Correction, Breath Control, Compressors, a DeEsser, Doubler, Saturation, EQ, Gate, Limiter, Delay and a Reverb. It will be $199 at launch then jump to $299 shortly after. I use Ozone and Trash quite often and considering every song I have is graced with my voice (subject to opinion I know) Nectar could end up in my AU folder. As with other Izotope plug-ins there will be an extensive preset browser too.
“Nectar offers dozens of professionally designed vocal production styles powered by eleven processing modules. Users will select an included style and then customize it with faders tailored to that style. For further customization of their vocal sound, users can switch to the Advanced View and access all of the controls of the underlying modules that power the plug-in… iZotope Nectar is ideal for audio engineers, voice over artists, singer/songwriters, recording enthusiasts, podcasters, and anyone else who records sung or spoken vocals. Its dozens of styles cover genres including: Alternative & Indie, Blues/R&B, Classical, Country, Dance & Electronica, Hip Hop & Rap, Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Spoken Word.” – izotope.com
If you forget the T-Pain/Cher effect Auto-Tune is a highly useful and good sounding plug-in. I’ve been using the previous version for a few months now and it does add a certain something to a vocal that I haven’t found in other plug-ins. I use Melodyne too but they are different enough tools if vocals are very important to your music. Besides correction there is added sheen that I think you would associate more with a good pre-amp and mic. You can also nicely lower a vocal’s pitch with some formant settings and it sounds very interesting.
“This video, produced by Groove 3 Inc., is an overview of Auto-Tune 7’s new features, focusing especially on Auto-Tune 7’s new time manipulation features.” – antaresaudio