May 30, 2018 by Geoff Manchester

How to Use VocalSynth 2 in a Rock Session

Follow along as we demonstrate using VocalSynth 2 in a rock session to add growl and tension to vocals, using the song "Funny Little Creatures" by Nothing More.

In this video, I share two ways to use  product-popover-icons-vocalsynth.png VocalSynth 2  in a rock session. The song we're using is called "Funny Little Creatures" by Nothing More. It opens with a lead vocal, which I thought could use a bit more growl and tension, so I came up with an effects chain that really suits the vocal. Here's how I got there.

Setup VocalSynth 2 in a rock session

First, I inserted VocalSynth 2 on the track, and set VocalSynth 2 to Auto Mode by choosing it in the Mode tab. The effect I settled on started from a preset that I chose from the Global Preset menu, which is a great way to get started quickly. Since we’re using Auto Mode, I went with one of the presets called Creepy Spirits from the "Monstrous" folder, and then I made some tweaks and titled it "Geoff’s Creepy Preset."

Let’s take a quick look at some of the modules and their key settings that helped mould this sound.

VocalSynth 2 modules and their sound

The key to this sound is in the Compuvox BATS setting that adds tons of growl to the vocal. Adding in some Biovox gives this overall effect chain depth and power that it didn’t have before. Adding Talkbox brings clarity and articulation to this vocal, especially in the upper mid and treble area. And finally, Polyvox adds a lot of presence to the vocal, making it pop out of the speakers, thanks in large part to the humanize parameter which, when increased to higher values, starts to introduce more extreme variations in pitch the vocal to the point of detuning. It’s a really powerful auditory sensation.  

By mixing all of these classic and modern vocal effects together, we can come up with a totally original sound that really serves the rock session.

VocalSynth 2 module intensities

If I wanted a custom blend of these effects, I could toggle their intensities by moving the sliders up and down in the animation itself. You can also pan these modules anywhere you like in the stereo field using the module specific panning options from the advanced options menus. 

The global mix slider allows me to mix in varying amounts of the overall effect. If I drop it all the way to the bottom, we are not going to hear anything except for the dry vocal. But if I bring it up we get the affected vocal.

You can draw-in the automation for this parameter if you like, or record the automation as you ride the parameter in real time. Either way, riding the mix slider creates energy and tension and adds a really cool effect when we get to the end of the vocal.

VocalSynth 2 Ring Mod effect

For the next tip, I used the new Ring Mod effect to slice up this background vocal, and automated the global panning parameter to create movement and energy. We’re in Auto Mode this time, just like in our last tip.

For this technique I didn’t start with a preset, I just turned on one module Polyvox, to push the vocal forward. I turned the Humanize parameter all the way to the max to help the vocal pop.

Now from here I used the new Ring Mod effect (which by the way you can drag and drop and rearrange like all the effects in VocalSynth 2), and I enabled the host tempo-sync function which means is effect will latch on to the BPM of the track. In our case it’s a speedy 160 BPM.

Global effects automation in VocalSynth 2

From here I chose the timing of the frequency modulation on this parameter to be 16th note triplets, it gives a nice perforated sound to the background vocals. You can move throughout all kinds of different tempo options all the way to 64th notes.

Moving on to the global effects side. I moved the width parameter almost to the max here to make this effect super wide. I’ve also automated the global panning to make this effect very dramatic.

Writing automation is different in different DAWS, but in Pro Tools, you’d want to go with the automate button in the output pan. To bring in any automatable effect, just click add and it’s added into the side and able to be affected by automation.