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Tutorial: Using VocalSynth 2 in a Rock Song

Transcript
In this video, I’m going to share with you two ways to use VocalSynth 2 in a rock session. The song I’m using is called, “Funny Little Creatures” by a band called Nothing More.

[song]

So here’s technique number one. The song opens with a lead vocal, which I thought could use a bit more growl and tension, so I came up with an effects chain that I think really suits the vocal. I’m going to play what I came up with, and then I’ll show you how I got there. So here’s before.

[mix]

And here’s after.

[mix]

Now let me show you how I made this sound. So first, I inserted VocalSynth 2 on the track, and then I set VocalSynth 2 to auto mode by choosing it in the mode tab over here. Auto just means that you can insert VocalSynth 2 on an audio track and let it do its own thing. No routing or sidechaining or MIDI. Just choose some settings you like in VocalSynth 2, and let the audio pass through it.

So the effect I eventually settled on began from a preset that I chose from the global preset menu, which is a great way to get started quickly and easily in VocalSynth 2. To choose a preset, you can launch the presets from the menu right here, and you can see we have things classified between auto mode presets and MIDI mode presets.

Since we’re using auto as our mode, I went with one of the presets from the monstrous folder in the auto mode category here called Creepy Spirits. Then I made some tweaks. So you can see the preset that I saved down here. I called it Jeff’s Creepy Preset.

So it’s worth pointing out that as I flip between the original preset and mine after some tweaking, you’ll notice that the only real tweaks that I made were by adding BioVox, and making some changes to the global settings on the right. This is because the presets sounded great right away, but let’s take a quick look at some of the modules, and their key settings that help mold this sound.

So I think the key to this sound is in the CompuVox’s Bats settings. It adds a ton of growl to the vocal. I’ve turned off the other modules for now so you can really hear what CompuVox is doing. I’m going to turn up the Bats so you can hear the effect it brings to this vocal.

[vocal, CompuVox Bats pushed]

Now listen as I bring in BioVox, a tool which models the human vocal tracked. It gives this overall effect chain depth and power that it didn’t have before.

[vocals]

Next up is TalkBox, which is adding a lot of clarity and articulation to this vocal, especially in the upper mids and sort of treble area. I’ll bring it in and out too so you can hear what I mean.

[vocals, TalkBox affected]

And finally, Polyvox is adding a lot of presence to the vocal, and make it almost pop out of the speakers thanks in large part to the humanize parameter here. When you increase this to higher values, it starts to introduce more extreme variations in pitch to the vocal, almost to the point of detuning. It’s a really powerful auditory sensation, so I’ll bring this up.

[vocals]

So by mixing all of these classic and modern vocal effects together, we can come up with something totally original that really serves the rock session. I should mention that if I wanted a custom blend of all of these effects, I could toggle their intensities by moving these sliders up and down from the animations themselves.

You’ll see as I pull the little fader here on CompuVox, the fader on the CompuVox module rises and falls. Same thing with TalkBox or Polyvox. Now, I happen to like everything kind of maxed out, so I’m going to leave it there, but also you can pan these modules anywhere you’d like in the stereo field using the module specific panning options from the advanced options menu.

So let’s say that I wanted to pan CompuVox a little bit to the right. I could go into this advanced menu by clicking on this button and pan it a little bit to the right. Let’s say I wanted Polyvox to be a bit on the left, I could pan it a little bit to the left, and BioVox to be maybe extreme right, and maybe we’ll leave TalkBox right up the center.

While I’m in the advanced menu, I should also call up the fact that we can adjust the filter output at a module level too, so we can perform a high pass, let’s say, on TalkBox if we wanted just the highs to be involved in that sound, and maybe we can give all of the lows to BioVox, and now let’s have a quick listen to what that sounds like with our panning and our filter output custom settings.

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[vocals]

So getting back to our preset, on the global effects side, I’ve made the vocal super wide by changing this width parameter here. Have a listen as I increase that.

[vocals, adjusting width]

And finally, I’m riding the global mix slider, which is over here, and this allows me to mix in varying amounts of the overall effect. If I drop it all the way to the bottom, we’re not going to hear anything except for the dry vocal.

[vocal, dry]

But if I bring it up…

[vocal, wet]

We get the affected vocal.

Now, you can draw in the automation for this parameter if you’d like, or record the automation as you ride the parameter in real time. It’s up to you, but either way, I feel like riding the mix slider creates energy intention, and really adds a cool effect when we get to the end of the vocal as we drop it quickly from wet to dry, so watch as I do that.

[vocals]

So for this next tip, I used our new ring mod to slice up the background vocal. Also, I automated the global panning parameter to make movement and energy. Again, we’re in auto mode for this tip, just like in our last tip. So have a listen.

[mix]

Now for this technique, I didn’t start with a preset, I just turned on one module here, Polyvox, and this is to push the vocal forward, and I turned the humanize parameter all the way to max, which really helped the vocal pop. Now from here, I used the new ring mode effect, which by the way, you can drag and drop and rearrange like all of the effects in VocalSynth 2, and I’ve enabled the host tempo sync function right here, which means that this effect will latch on to the BPM of the track, in our case, it’s a speedy 160 beats per minute.

So from here, I chose the timing of the frequency modulation on this parameter here to be a 16th note triplets, that’s what the T stands for. It just gives a nice perforated sound of the background vocals, but you can move throughout all kinds of different tempo options, all the way to 64th notes. I’ll bring it back to our triplets here.

So moving on to the global effects side of VocalSynth 2, I moved the width parameter almost to the max here to make this effect super wide, and speaking of wide, I’ve automated the panning, the global panning, to make this effect very dramatic, so writing automation is different in different DAWs, but in Pro Tools, you’d want to go to your automate button here and bring in global panning. It’s written as Output Pan right there to bring any automatable effect, all you would do is go find it over here for example, gate threshold, and just click, “Add,” and then it’s added into this side, so now you can affect it with automation.

I’m just going to take that out, press okay, and I’ll show you the automation that I drew.

So from here, I drew in some automation to sway this background vocal left and right in the stereo field using the pencil tool, which you can find right there, and just go for freehand, and then just draw in your automation, just like that.

So now when I play this back, watch the pan potentiometer in VocalSynth 2 move around as it follows the automation that I drew.

[music]

Thanks so much for watching this video. Please check out our other videos on VocalSynth 2 to learn more about how to use it in other genres like Pop and Hip Hop.

Take care.

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