Pitch shifter for vocals.

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
owlmerlyn
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Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:49 am

Hi all

I am trying to do some subtle pitch shifting on the lead vocal to thicken it and bring it out of the mix, like they do in hip-hop / pop etc. I have tried to use the Ableton Frequency Shifter effect, but I am not getting the required results. I think a frequency shifter and pitch shifter operate differently.

Any ideas on how to get that vocal thickening effect? Preferably using an Ableton effect (I have Suite), but if not, what third party plug-ins would you recommend? Preferably free. But if not free, what is worth spending money on? It is a lead vocal so the quality needs to be spot on.

Any ideas welcome. Thanks.

dented42ford
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by dented42ford » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:03 am

owlmerlyn wrote:Hi all

I am trying to do some subtle pitch shifting on the lead vocal to thicken it and bring it out of the mix, like they do in hip-hop / pop etc. I have tried to use the Ableton Frequency Shifter effect, but I am not getting the required results. I think a frequency shifter and pitch shifter operate differently.

Any ideas on how to get that vocal thickening effect? Preferably using an Ableton effect (I have Suite), but if not, what third party plug-ins would you recommend? Preferably free. But if not free, what is worth spending money on? It is a lead vocal so the quality needs to be spot on.

Any ideas welcome. Thanks.
None of the built-in effects do that effect - though you could do it "manually" with micro-editing and the "tune" controls on clips, that would be very, very difficult and even more time consuming. Frequency Shifter is a different type of effect entirely.

The two most commonly used 3rd party tools for "tuning" vocals (either transparently or as an effect) are Antares Autotune and Celemony Melodyne. Some lesser-known ones are Waves Tune and iZotope Nectar. None of them are particularly cheap, I'm sorry to say. My personal recommendation is Melodyne - it is the most intuitive to use, once you get your head around it, and I feel it often sounds better than Autotune. That being said, there is no "auto" mode, so you always have to do the pitch-shifting manually, and that takes quite a bit of practice to get right.

The cheapest option is to get Cockos Reaper and use its built-in shifting (ReaTune) - but that means taking all your vocals out to another DAW, and that really puts a kink in your workflow. Logic, Cubase, Studio One PRO, DP, and Reason (using Neptune) all have that effect included, as well - it is a pity that Live doesn't, but that's the way it goes.

oddstep
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by oddstep » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:50 am


owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:12 pm

dented42ford wrote:The two most commonly used 3rd party tools for "tuning" vocals (either transparently or as an effect) are Antares Autotune and Celemony Melodyne. Some lesser-known ones are Waves Tune and iZotope Nectar. None of them are particularly cheap, I'm sorry to say. My personal recommendation is Melodyne - it is the most intuitive to use, once you get your head around it, and I feel it often sounds better than Autotune. That being said, there is no "auto" mode, so you always have to do the pitch-shifting manually, and that takes quite a bit of practice to get right.

The cheapest option is to get Cockos Reaper and use its built-in shifting (ReaTune) - but that means taking all your vocals out to another DAW, and that really puts a kink in your workflow. Logic, Cubase, Studio One PRO, DP, and Reason (using Neptune) all have that effect included, as well - it is a pity that Live doesn't, but that's the way it goes.
Thanks for the heads up. Appreciate it.

My understanding of Autotune and Melodyne is they correct tuning on the vocals, rather than act a subtle pitch shifter effect to thicken vocals? How would you use Autotune as an effect rather than pitch correcter?

Yeah, you are correct, taking vocals out to a different DAW wouldn't work for me.

Does the Ableton Chorus effect have a pitch shift option? I can't seem to find it, but just thinking out loud...

owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:15 pm

oddstep wrote:if you've got Suite.. https://www.ableton.com/en/packs/max-7- ... -machines/
Brilliant thank you! Downloading as we speak. Have you used it on vocals before?

oddstep
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by oddstep » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:24 pm

Yeah. Alright I reckon. Haven't compared it with the big boy software. My laptop isn't hefty enough to support the higher quality algorithms... so it's a bit coloured compared to some helicon hardware I've got access to.

owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:45 pm

oddstep wrote:Yeah. Alright I reckon. Haven't compared it with the big boy software. My laptop isn't hefty enough to support the higher quality algorithms... so it's a bit coloured compared to some helicon hardware I've got access to.
Thanks. Makes sense. To get the effect right requires some hefty processing and design skills. There is a reason the big boys use quality outbouard gear such as eventide harmonizer for this purpose. Was hoping to get close to that quality though. I will def try the M4L device in case

Angstrom
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by Angstrom » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:25 pm

I downloaded this pack and there is crackling and overloads everywhere.
My computer has plenty of resources and so I can only assume there is some issue with M4L in this case.

Image

I assume that Ableton's strategy to make everything 100% more amateurish is proceeding according to plan.

owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:45 pm

Angstrom wrote:I downloaded this pack and there is crackling and overloads everywhere.
My computer has plenty of resources and so I can only assume there is some issue with M4L in this case.
How are you using it? Looks like you have strapped it across a midi instrument. And are you doing large jumps in pitch? Not suggesting that you should be getting crackling and overloads. I just wanna what purpose you are using it for. Thanks

oddstep
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by oddstep » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:47 pm

Yeah the live set rinsed my laptop as well. I'm usually surprised when a demo set doesn't drive my computer to its knees. Also the poly vocoder couldn't find its own abstraction. The rest of the patches work alright though.

dented42ford
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by dented42ford » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:54 pm

My bad, I mis-read your original post. The easiest way to get the "widening effect" (usually referred to as "micro-tune") is with some sort of simple delay that can offset the pitch very slightly. This isn't actually all that processor-intensive, as long as you don't need it in real time - the reason the pros use things like the Eventide H8000 is because they can do it in real time, not because of some ineffable quality in their algos...

[that being said, if you REALLY want the "Eventide thing", just get an H9 guitar pedal and use it as a piece of outboard - I have 2 for my live guitar rig, and I do use them that way from time to time. It sounds just as good - not the same, but just as good - as the "real" Eventide units, when used as a send effect, imho. Things have come a long way in the past 5 years...]

...the easiest way to do what you want - get thicker vocals through micro-tuning - is to just duplicate the track a couple of times, hard-pan the duplicates, and very slightly detune the panned tracks. 2-5 cents is more than enough! Then level them so that you can't really tell they're there, but you miss them when they aren't. It won't mess with stereo spread - look up "Haas effect" if you are curious why - but it will thicken up the sound the way you want. For a more extreme effect, offset the duplicates a little - once again, 1-5ms is more than enough - but be warned that you can have phasing and stereo issues if you do that carelessly!

There are also plugins to do that effect - including a number of free ones. Most good delay plugs can do it, though the Ableton Live devices aren't capable of pitch shifting. Another easy way to do it is to use hard-panned very slightly modulated delays...

There is no "free lunch" with this sort of processing, by the way - if your tracks are noisy, for instance, you will make the problem much worse. Just fair warning - it is often easier to simply double the vocal in the traditional way (recording multiple times) than it is to get micro-tuning to sound really good! But it is easy to mess with, so I heartily recommend doing so...

owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:24 pm

oddstep wrote:Yeah the live set rinsed my laptop as well. I'm usually surprised when a demo set doesn't drive my computer to its knees. Also the poly vocoder couldn't find its own abstraction. The rest of the patches work alright though.
Ok Cool. Mostly interested in the Simple Pitch Shifter. Hopefully it doesn't kill my set

owlmerlyn
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by owlmerlyn » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:33 pm

dented42ford wrote:...the easiest way to do what you want - get thicker vocals through micro-tuning - is to just duplicate the track a couple of times, hard-pan the duplicates, and very slightly detune the panned tracks. 2-5 cents is more than enough! Then level them so that you can't really tell they're there, but you miss them when they aren't. It won't mess with stereo spread - look up "Haas effect" if you are curious why - but it will thicken up the sound the way you want. For a more extreme effect, offset the duplicates a little - once again, 1-5ms is more than enough - but be warned that you can have phasing and stereo issues if you do that carelessly!

There are also plugins to do that effect - including a number of free ones. Most good delay plugs can do it, though the Ableton Live devices aren't capable of pitch shifting. Another easy way to do it is to use hard-panned very slightly modulated delays...
Thanks. Good tip on the track duplication. I was hoping to avoid a manual process, especially because I think some devices can modulate pitch and delay very subtly to add even more life to the vocal. However, laziness never conquered any mountains so I will try the manual version too.

Do you know any of the free plug-ins that will work with micro-tuning?

I thought that producers loved eventides not only because of the real-time capabilities, but because they did have really good algorithms. I do remember studio guys talking of them in hushed tones back in the day. And to be honest, when you listen to big productions, those guys are using something really good on the vocals. I am not sure what the modern equivalent on the H8000 is.

jlgrimes
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by jlgrimes » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:45 pm

owlmerlyn wrote:
dented42ford wrote:The two most commonly used 3rd party tools for "tuning" vocals (either transparently or as an effect) are Antares Autotune and Celemony Melodyne. Some lesser-known ones are Waves Tune and iZotope Nectar. None of them are particularly cheap, I'm sorry to say. My personal recommendation is Melodyne - it is the most intuitive to use, once you get your head around it, and I feel it often sounds better than Autotune. That being said, there is no "auto" mode, so you always have to do the pitch-shifting manually, and that takes quite a bit of practice to get right.

The cheapest option is to get Cockos Reaper and use its built-in shifting (ReaTune) - but that means taking all your vocals out to another DAW, and that really puts a kink in your workflow. Logic, Cubase, Studio One PRO, DP, and Reason (using Neptune) all have that effect included, as well - it is a pity that Live doesn't, but that's the way it goes.
Thanks for the heads up. Appreciate it.

My understanding of Autotune and Melodyne is they correct tuning on the vocals, rather than act a subtle pitch shifter effect to thicken vocals? How would you use Autotune as an effect rather than pitch correcter?

Yeah, you are correct, taking vocals out to a different DAW wouldn't work for me.

Does the Ableton Chorus effect have a pitch shift option? I can't seem to find it, but just thinking out loud...

You can use either Autotune or Melodyne to fully shift vocals as well. You would just need to automate the shifts to do that using either automation or an LFO Tool or something.


I believe Melda has the Melda Pitch plug-in which has a free version.


Ableton's Chorus is a pitch shifter as well (or at least it indirectly produces a pitch shifting effect). What it actually does is modulate the delay and when you do that it causes pitchshifts. You probably can experiment with that using a high modulation amount at 100% wet to see what it sounds like.

There is a way to get the Delay to behave this way by right clicking as well.

oddstep
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Re: Pitch shifter for vocals.

Post by oddstep » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:00 am

Another option is to use grain delay with 0 feedback and minimal delay time

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