Creative Vocal Effects

Add innovative vocal effects the right way.

With the variety of productions, mixing techniques and "signature" sounds around these days, it's not easy to make sounds that stand out from the rest. In this tutorial you'll learn how to modify vocals the easy way.

In addition to technical dynamics and sound correction, <Programmname> offers the option of working with many special effects creatively. As a rule, bringing additional clarity and comprehension to the vocals is more important than flashy effects.

I. Telephone voice

This effect is common and can be quickly created with the help of the EQ.

Step 1: Separate the vocals at the passage to which you would like to apply the telephone voice. To do so, place the play cursor at the beginning/end and separate the object using the shortcut "T".

Step 2: Open EQ116 in the object editor of the selected object to which you would like to add telephone voice.

Step 3: Select the "Phone" preset from the header of the EQ116 effect dialog.

The EQ displays a band pass filter. The frequency spectrum for the object is limited to the range between ca. 500 Hz to ca. 5000 Hz.

Now you can hear a telephone voice for the edited object.

Step 4: To improve the effect, we will add a slight distortion and treat the voice in stereo image using the multiband stereo enhancer.

II. Rhythmic delay

When used on noticeable portions of the arrangement, such as the last syllable of a line, rhythmic delay creates spaciousness and depth in vocals.

Step 1: Create a new object using separation as described above (Shortcut "T" or "Edit" > "Separate" > "Separate objects") at the corresponding syllable in the text.

Step 2: Open eFX_StereoDelay in the object editor of the selected object.

Step 3: In this example, we want to create a rhythmic 1/16 stereo delay. To do so, first select the "Analog Ping Pong 1-16 preset from the eFX_StereoDelay effect dialog header.

The effect preset already has a nice-sounding stereo delay that reacts synchronously to the song tempo thanks to the activated "tempo sync" button.

Step 4: Experiment with the "feedback" fader to adjust the transparency setting. With the "damping" fader you can create a damping of highs in order to avoid audio mush.

III. FX Delay

Now, we want to have some fun with special effect delays.

Step 1: Again we pick a specific vocal passage in the arrangement which should get characteristic effects to make it stand out and create an object out of it using the "T" shortcut.

Step 2: For this object we open the object editor with a double click and load "ECOX" and "Filtox" MAGIX plug-ins into the first two slots.

Step 3: In our example, we select the ECOX effect "space one", supported by FILTOX effect "tape in the sun". Experiment as much as you like with "ECOX" effect delays and combine them with special filter settings from "FILTOX".

But don't overdo it with crazy special effects for vocals.  In small doses, however, they are the salt in the soup of the mixing process.

IV. Timestretch metal effect

An interesting vocal effect can be created by extreme stretching of single words or syllables. Strong timestretching produces as metallic sound a side effect. This effect is especially useful for the last word at the end of a vocal passage.

Step 1: We look for the last word in our vocals and separate the corresponding range as we already have, creating a vocal object.

Step 2: Now we switch our mouse mode to the pitchshift/timestretch mode.

Step 3: We then position the mouse on the lower right end of the vocal object and drag to the right, until we reach the timestretch factor of 4,000.

Step 4: Finally, we make fine adjustments in the "Stretch factor" parameter in the object editor. To do so, we drag the value in the corresponding field using the mouse cursor.

To amplify the effect, we can change the pitch factor in addition to timestretching in order to change the the vocal pitch as well.

In the second part of this tutorial we will present more creative vocal effects. Have fun experimenting!

The Samplitude Team