Since it was released I had an eye on Butch Vig Vocals by Waves. I thought it might be a fast and effective helper to tweak your voice. Today I want to give you an overview and answer this question.
Butch Vig is a rock producer and mixing engineer who worked with bands like Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, Nirvana… And Waves collaborated with him to combine his way of distorted vocals in this plugin! But I also use distortion for CHR, so we will see whether this also works for other genres.
I really like the look and steampunk feel of the plugin. Maybe it’s a little bit too kittenish, but it’s fun working with this interface.
The knobs and sliders are arranged around a circle. In the top are two meters with changeable display options and controls for in- and output levels. In the middle you will find an 3band eq with fixed frequency knobs and two filters. Especially the presence (3kHz) and air (15kHz) knobs, can help to add that certain something. The MidDip is used to remove a problem frequency, either in the 300-600Hz section to get rid of cloudy or mushy tone, or in the 600Hz -1kHz range to get rid of too much nasal twang.
The lower left represents the dynamic section and on the right you find the saturation section.
The dynamic section contains an inbuilt deesser which is set to 6kHz. Nice! No need for other plugins. There is also a compressor with fixed parameters. Due to the fixed threshold, the compressor might work when set up on a loud track, even when set to 0. With the focus knob you can set the compressor to a specific frequency range. This helps to clear up the vocal path because the sustain is compressed and the front end is nearly untouched. A technique which is also used with drums.
The saturaction section can thicken the vocal, but can also be a creative effect. This section will bring the little extra drive, escpecially for Rock. There are two types of saturation at the end oft he chain: tube an solid state. They will add some subtle color at lower settings, and will get quite extreme as you turn them up. Two filters help to clean up the distortion.
I think the plugins lacks a little bit of control, but this ensures fast results. So for my taste the compressor is a little bit weak and I would choose another one for pushing my vocals, because I don’t have the possibility to set it up for my needs. The EQ bands are well chosen and result in a transparent, airy sound. While hearing the saturation, you will notice that this is a great strength of this plugin – high end distortion and overdriven sound. In combination with the filter, you will love to create nasty vocal sound with this plugin. The presets help to immediately set up a sound- not only for vocals.
This plugin is a quick and easy way to set up the core sound of the VO in a session, but I think if you have an amp, filter, compressor and eq, you should be able to do the same. And if you ask me whether I would use it in non Rock formats: The plugin adds a kind of gentle dirt to the material, which helps to create the nasty sound you might be after. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use it in other formats at all. If you leave out the saturation section, the eq can create a pretty clean and fresh sound.
So all in all Butch Vig Vocals represents a fast all in one solution and for a signature rock sound, this plugin is a serious way to go!