We spoke to iZotope Product Manager, Matt Hines, to get the lowdown…
Hi Matt, so tell us about VocalSynth, what is it?
VocalSynth is a creative multi-effects plug-in that creates robot sounds, computerized or organic harmonies, electronic vocal textures, vocoder and talkbox effects, and thick octaves or doubles based on your voice.
Perhaps I’m biased, but I see it as a quick, easy, and thrilling to uncover otherworldly sonic palettes and shape a unique vocal sound that’s all your own, or finally access the vocal treatments of your favourite tracks. With VocalSynth’s four re-synthesis engines—Vocoder, Talkbox, Polyvox, and Compuvox—along with expressive vocal effects and simple, high-impact controls, we really went after a lot of past and current vocal production sounds, and provided the ability for you to go out and define your own.
Who is it for and for which types of projects is it particularly ideal?
VocalSynth works well in EDM, Pop, Hiphop, Rap, RnB, Electronica, Rock, Metal… it really is super cross-genre for any creative music producers. I’ve used it to make scream vocals, chilled out James Blake style vocoder and harmony sounds, and I’ve already been using it to create superhero voices (think Bane, Darth Vader) etc… I guess my superheroes are kinda evil?!
How does it work?
Just put the effect on a vocal. You can immediately start processing that vocal through all the effects and re-synthesizers. There’s MIDI control if you want to get more detailed than the auto harmonizing features. Of course, you may select and tweak a preset as well.
As far as the processing itself, we’re extracting a sense of the formants and resonances imparted on the vocal folds buzzing by the mouth and lips, and using that information as the modulator on any carrier signal, such as VocalSynth’s internal synths, or an external side-chain, which could be your guitar or synth. Especially with what we’ve done with the Talkbox, accurately modelling not only the filtering behaviour of the mouth without one present but also the characteristics of the PVC tube and the compression driver… this is a first for the audio industry, which up to now has had imitations, but not the real thing in software.
VocalSynth is described as offering “experimental sonic palettes, both nostalgic and as yet unheard of” – can you elaborate on this?
It’s similar to what I was saying above, it really works in so many genres, as well as non-musical settings such as special effects.
Can you tell us more about the Polyvoice, Vocoder, Talkbox and Compubox features?
Polyvox: a polyphonic pitch shifter that allows you to create organic harmonies built from your voice – think ‘Hide & Seek’ by Imogen Heap or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen.
Vocoder: it has three modes—Smooth, Vintage, or Hard— to quickly set you up with a range from classic hardware to modern digital vocoder sounds. It also has a bunch of synth presets if you don’t want to side-chain your own.
Talkbox: Peter Frampton. Daft Punk. Now you. It’s that kind of vocal processing, but without the pipe-in-mouth a usual Talkbox has. It’s a lot easier, and it sounds awesome!
Compuvox: this uses something called Linear Predictive Codec, a ‘talking computer’ type of audio effect that’s often used in small computerized devices, even toys, such as the Speak n Spell, or a Furby. It’s great fun when used in music production.
Tell us about the Voices section.
The Voices section is incredibly easy to use. Basically, you can use MIDI to play your voice, creating all the harmonies, Vocoder notes, Talkbox notes, and so on… BUT if you don’t know MIDI, you could also play your guitar through this (using audio side-chain)… OR if none of those appeal to you, this is what Voices is for.
You can simply throw this effect on the vocals, and with no playing needed, use Voices to add more notes from within the computer. Notes that are real-time, in the same key, and sound good with your vocal, and are sent to the Polyvox, Compuvox, Talkbox and Vocoder.
How many presets does VocalSynth contain and what sort of sounds can can users expect to find amongst them?
It has over 50 preset starting points, in various categories, Nostalgic, Contemporary, Avant Garde and Monsters.
VocalSynth has an introductory discount of 25% until 16th June 2016.
Want to know more? Click here for full details including videos and audio examples