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Tutorial: Using VocalSynth 2 in a Hip Hop Song

Transcript
In this video, I’m going to share with you two ways to use VocalSynth 2 in a Hip Hop session. The song I’m using is called, “Gold 2” and it’s by “Still Gold.”

[music]

In this technique, I’m going to show you how to use the glide function to really liven up tracks that you’re processing with VocalSynth 2, especially for Hip Hop sessions.

So I wrote some MIDI notes with my MIDI keyboard, and we can see them here in Logic in the MIDI view, and we can also see them there on the track view. Let’s play the before.

[vocals]

And here’s after.

[vocals processed]

Now I’ll show you how I got this sound. So first, I’m using VocalSynth 2 in MIDI mode, which we can get to by going to the mode tab and choosing MIDI, and following these step-by-step instructions.

So what I did to connect these two tracks was I decided I wanted to play the MoVox 1 track. That’s just the dry rap vocal.

[vocals]

I setup a software instrument track, and then I threw VocalSynth on it, and then I went to the sidechain source in VocalSynth 2, and chose the MoVox 1 to be the track that I sidechained to. And there we go. Now it sounds like this.

[vocals with processing]

So the way that I got this sound was I decided to start with a preset. The preset that I used was called, “Rex Luthor,” and you can find it in the global preset menu. I started with the MIDI mode presets, and I went to classic and found Rex Luthor. It sounds like this.

[vocals with Rex Luthor effect]

And I made a few tweaks, and eventually we landed here.

[vocals]

So it’s a super robotic, metallic sound made up of BioVox, vocoder, and CompuVox, but what makes this sound really cool is using the glide function, which you can manipulate from the voicing menu over here. Just going to close my preset menu.

So glide, when pushed to higher values, affects the portamento speed when switching between notes, so it will delay the amount of time it takes from one note to get to the other. If I turn this down, and I’m also going to turn the pitch down so we don’t hear the dry vocal bleeding through, you can hear that we have very quick transitions between notes.

[vocoded vocal]

But if I increase the glide knob here, it delays the amount of time it takes from one note to get to the other, which adds a really cool kind of swinging effect between notes. Have a listen.

[vocoded vocal with glide]

We can increase it all the way, although the danger with that is it might take too much time for one note to go to the other, and you might lose some of the pitch, but let’s have a listen.

[vocal]

So I prefer it down here where we can really make sure that we are swaying a little bit between notes, but we are reaching their full pitch.

[vocals]

So it’s important to experiment with glide to create fun, woozy transitions between notes, specifically in this section, where there’s actually a lot of MIDI activity, and if you want to add MIDI to your tracks, I’m going to undo what I did here. Just press record when your MIDI controller is plugged in.

[recording MIDI]

Now let’s move on to the next technique. In previous tutorials that we’ve done for VocalSynth 2, we’ve seen a few different ways to add harmonies, either by using VocalSynth 2 in auto mode, or by going to MIDI mode and adding harmonies with a keyboard. In this example, I went a different route by activating VocalSynth 2’s sidechain mode.

I’m going to play for you the before and then the after, and then I’ll show you how I came up with this sound, but first, I want you to hear the dry materials that we’re working with. Here’s the vocal without any effects on it.

[vocals]

And here’s the pad before I sidechained it to the vocal.

[pad]

And now here’s the two sidechained together.

[vocals with pad sidechained]

So let’s talk about setup. If you want to setup sidechain mode, go into the mode screen, and then choose sidechain. You’ll notice that we have steps one, two, three, and four to help guide us through the routing process, and also if you notice, they’re specific to Logic, which is the DAW that I’m working in.

The thing I should mention about VocalSynth 2 is that it can actually automatically recognize the DAW that you’re working in. FL Studio, Pro Tools, Cubase, Bitwig, and give you DAW specific instructions for routing the various modes. This means no more rummaging through a manual to figure out how to route stuff and get started quickly.

So the way that I set this up is I went to the hook after pressing sidechain, which sounds like this without the effect on it.

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[vocals]

And I wanted to sidechain it to the pad, which sounds like this.

[pad]

So I followed the steps in VocalSynth 2 from the mode screen, and I decided to make the sidechain input here the pad synth. So notice that is on audio track 24, and it’s called, “Pad synth.” This means you go to the input menu and find it, and there it is right there. Make sure that it is check marked, and now you press accept, and now when I mute the pad synth, you can see that it’s sidechained to the vocal hook.

[vocals, sidechained]

So now, we have the pad sound informing the melody of the vocal hook. And we’re coloring that sound even further by using the modules here in VocalSynth 2. Let’s talk about those and how we got this sound.

So the first thing I did was I used the Vocoder. I’m going to turn these other modules off so you can really hear the effect of Vocoder.

[pad with vocoder]

So I decided to bring down the shift about 60 or so. If I bring it up, we get a bit more articulation, it’s a bit brighter, but I like the darkness of bringing this down here to 60 or so. I also decided to get kind of tricky with my advanced options here, so if I click on this button, we get access to more parameters that we can tweak. Now, what I did was I decided to pan the vocoder to the right at about 2 o’clock or so, and I also restricted the frequency content, so I decided to perform a low pass to make sure that Vocoder was only outputting low frequencies from the effect, and you can do this by moving these little buttons around here.

So the next thing I did here was I turned on CompuVox, just to add a robotic kind of grittiness to this vocal. Here’s what it sounds like.

[vocals with CompuVox]

And if you notice, I go into the advanced menu here, and I decided to pan this guy right up the middle, and not restrict any of its frequency content, but if I go to talkbox and turn this guy on, you’ll see that I decided to go a different direction in the advanced menu by panning this one to the left, and performing the opposite of what I did on Vocoder. So you’ll see here on Vocoder that I performed a low pass, and on TalkBox, I did the opposite. A high pass.

So I’m giving the lows to Vocoder and the highs to TalkBox, and I’m also sending it to the left in the stereo field. Let’s hear what it sounds like.

[vocals, processed]

And now here’s everything together, and I’m going to bring up the level knob to introduce some of the dry signal so that we really fill out the sound. So here comes the dry vocal underneath all of the processing. Have a listen.

[vocals, dry and wet]

So the next thing I did was I decided to play around with some of the effects down here, which by the way, are totally rearrangeable. So we can totally move those to our liking, and really customize the signal chain.

So distort I turned on, because it’s just a great way to add a bit of spikiness and really help the vocal pop. Here’s with it off.

[vocals, no distortion]

And there it is on.

Next up is our brand new effect, chorus. This just adds a kind of creaminess and smoothness to the vocal chain. I’ll turn it off.

We can always increase and make the effect more pronounced by the mix slider here. So if we want to hear it a bit more…

[processed vocals]

I decided I wanted the chorus, but I just wanted it to be more subtle than that, so I turned it down a little bit.

And next up we have delay. So this is also just getting a bit of air to the vocal. I have it mixed down pretty low, but again, it just lifts things up a little bit and helps the vocal breathe.

[vocals with delay]

That’s obviously too much.

And that’s just perfect. And next, I increase the width, just because I liked this vocal to be nice and epic in the global options right here. So here it is before.

[vocals, before width processing]

Let me turn it up.

And I should also mention that if you want to make a custom blend of the modules that you’ve engaged, you can do it right from the animation. So a little less TalkBox. A little less Vocoder maybe. In this case, I like everything nice and maxed out.

So let’s do another before and after. Here’s before we use sidechain.

[vocals, no sidechain]

And here’s after.

[vocals, sidechained]

Thanks so much for watching. Please check out our other videos on VocalSynth 2 to learn how to make the most of this plugin in genres like rock and pop. Take care.

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