Creative vocal effects 2

Manipulate vocals using robot effects or screeching distortion.

While the first of our tutorial series focused on creative vocal effects, this time round we'll show you how to use the Elastic Audio, Distortion and Vocoder effects.

In the second part of this online workshop we present more creative effects for vocals to spice up your mixes.

V. Tape stop effect

Now, we would like to simulate the effect heard when the plug is pulled on a record player while it is playing and music slowly chokes off.

Step 1: As always, we start by searching and separating out the desired vocal part from an existing object using "T".

Step 2: Select the object and go to "Effects > Time / Pitch > Elastic Audio...". The vocal object will be opened in Elastic Audio Editor.

Make sure that the "Resample" algorithm is opened.

Step 3: Now, press the "Direct" button to edit the pitch sequence with absolute changes and set the mouse tool to "Rubber band".

Step 4: Grab the orange line at the end of the object and drag it one octave down. The pitch will be displayed to the right on the keyboard.

Step 5: Finally, we grab the diagonal line at the position in the object where the slowing down of the tape stop effect should start and drag it back to the original pitch.

Experiment with the curve by making the braking process longer or shorter. If you are happy with the result, press "OK".

VI. Pitch correction with Elastic Audio

Step 1: Load the selected vocal object into the Elastic Audio Editor. Click on the "Elastic audio..." button in the object editor.

Step 2: Make sure that the "Direct" mode is set in Elastic Audio before conducting the base frequency analysis via "Pitch > Recognize" button.

After analysis, the vocal object will be displayed in separate slice objects according to recognized pitches.

Step 3: Select those slices, whose pitch you would like to change and select the "Monophone voice" algorithm.

Step 4: With the selection tool, drag on the selected slices to change these in pitch.

VII. Distortion – mix in parallel distortion

In order to add rawness to a vocal part and make it sound a bit dirtier, we will now work with distortion.

Step 1: First, we separate the object again at the desired location and duplicate it. To do so, we drag the object into a new track while holding Ctrl. By additionally holding down Shift, we can prevent the object from being moved horizontally.

Step 2: Now we add a distortion effect to the vocals double in the object editor. In this example, we work with the "eFX TubeStage".

Step 3: Find the "Rough Vocals" preset and customize the settings to fit your audio material.

Step 4: Finally, we mix the duplicated, distorted vocal object with the original vocal part.

Using this method, you can subtly distort vocals to give them more assertiveness.

VIII. Vocoder

The vocoder manipulates a carrier signal (e.g. a pad) to give the impression that the pad is singing. The manipulation takes place through a modulator, in our example, the vocal signal.

Step 1: Select the "Vocoder" plug-in in the object editor for the selected vocal object.

Step 2: Look for an appropriate preset in the list.

Step 3: Adjust the carrier signal that is created within the effect until you find a sound you like. Start with the standard sample and listen to all of the options in the list until you find the right effect sound.

Step 4: Using the "Sample" fader you can set the proportion of the carrier signal. With the "Noise" fader you add some white noise or even create whispering voices.

Step 5: The vocoder also allows you to modify the red curve of the FFT Filter by using the draw tool. Simply draw the frequency progression to optimize the vocoder output.

Step 6: Try interchanging the modulator and the carrier signal to hear how it sounds.

Of course, there are also countless other options to create special effects for your vocals using preset effects. Try out external flanger settings with the eFX ChorusFlanger or combine a vocal reverb from VariVerb with the eFX_Phaser.

Have fun experimenting!

The Samplitude Team