iZotope’s VocalSynth was well discussed on different forums, especially on Facebook. The iZotope developers dropped a multi tasking vocoder which could be an answer to the right vocoder and the sound of now. I had a look at it for you.
There are several ways to use VocalSynth, but let’s have a look to the Radio Imaging side of things. You can use the plugin as a pure effect, without musical information, but there’s also the possibility to add harmonic voices by using midi. To make this happen, create an Audio Track with your VO and insert VocalSynth. Add a MDI track and assign your midi keyboard as an input, the output with Vocal Synth, Channel 1. Make sure to enable MDI mode in the plugin: it’s a Button in the top end.
VocalSynth transforms voice in different styles. The main parts of this plugin are four modules: polyvox, compuvox, vocoder and talkbox. But don’t get distracted: each module is not that complex. I won’t have a look at each parameter. I’d rather give you an overview how the modules work basically.
- Polyvox: this module is the most natural one, but can even sound grainy if you want it to be. Polyvox is a Voice Generator – it samples the input signal and adds multiple versions of the signal based no the set parameters.
- Vocoder: a synthesizer is trigged by a modulator. Voice for example. Sounds definitely less natural and more like a synth than polyvox. But if you need a more musical element, this might be your choice. For Imaging I would not use this effect as a complete wet signal in combination with VO, as it gets pretty incomprehensible. I tend to use it mixed with the original signal and in the right key like the music underneath.
- Compuvox: this module uses a technology called LPC, which was originally used to create intelligible speech, with low bandwidth. I’m sure you know it from different text to speech websites. It tries to imitate how human speech is vocalized. So it works like a vocoder, but in a more digital way. To imitate the original application, you can add some bit crushing effects. The higher these values are, the more unintelligible the audio becomes.
- Talkbox: A talkbox works similar to a vocoder as the voice acts as a modulator onto a carrier signal, which is often an instrument. The instrument is plugged to the input of the box and via a tube this signal gets to the mouth and can be modulated by the performer.
Using this talkbox effect will end up in a more old school tone, but I like it anyway. Try the “bright” mode. Gives a nice, crispy sound.
To get all the modules together, you can find a mixer in the center, including a tool to add voices.
Additionally, there are effects included, which work good on vocals: Distortion, Filter, Transform (convolution effect ), Shred (granular beat manipulation) and Delay. Try them in action, I like the transform effect a lot!
As the name says, VocalSynth is a tool for vocals and works great on them. Especially for Music Production: tools like pitch correction make it easy to process vocals in a technical, but creative way (e.g. auto tune effect). And for Radio Imaging? VocalSynth creates pretty interesting effects you might never heard, as the combination of the modules is pretty unique. This fact brings fresh air to your production suite, for sure. You are able to create vocal sounds from old school to modern. Also the included effect are easy to use and add a nice, interesting sound. If you don’t want to use the vocoder stuff, you can just try the effects of course.
You know I’m a fan of easy and effective work, so the preset section is an essential part for me. At the first view, some of the presets might be too rough in terms of audibility and sound a bit over processed. For Music Production this is a good way to go, notably while using VocalSynth as a harmonic tool. But for Radio Imaging other things count: primarily you have to understand what is said. The dry/wet button helps with this problem. Try to mix the wet signal with dry signal and you will see that this adds a sense of depth to your VO and gives it nice push, in a specific way which can’t be compared to equing or compression.
There’s a 10-day demo version – check it and give it a try. VocalSynth ist not just a vocoder. For me its an interesting tool with a large amount of possibilities to tweak my VO.
Price: $149 through June 16 (reg. $199)