This is definitely the vocal performance plugin to contend with in terms of options, automation and flexibility. It will save hours of work manually matching audio together.
Pros: – Pro features and results (super doubler!) – Flexible
Cons: – Not intuitive setup – Costly. How about a ‘Lite’ version for small studios?
Even the best singers have off days, and sometimes there just isn’t time to get another take of that chorus. Or you may have spend an entire day recording a vocal ensemble, only to hear that the 2nd tenor was on another planet, and his track is all over the shop. Cue Revoice Pro 3.
Revoice Pro has built upon the success of their VocAlign plugin, which was created for engineers wanting good ADR processing software. As with VocAlign it is mainly a correction plugin; aimed at correcting and improving vocal performances within the spheres of music, voiceover work, ADR and other elements of film audio. However it has taken it a step further than VocAlign, and can address many more elements of the vocal take (pitch, timing, level, etc.). It can also be used to create natural sounding doubles from the original recording, or make a recorded double sit more tightly with the lead. It even moonlights as an instrumental audio processor.
The setup is slightly more complicated than your average plugin. Essentially, Revoice is a standalone plugin that links with your DAW via a link plugin, and a monitoring plugin. It’s a little complex and annoying to set up, much as I found the setup with other similar third party vocal processing software. Understandably it doesn’t do real-time processing. This is an unavoidable, yet slightly frustrating element to these types of software.
Once instantiated, by making sure the plugin is on each track you want to use – you then select the receiving track in the standalone software, and the link is made. Hit capture, a similar process to those who’ve used Melodyne, and it sends the audio from the tracks you’ve linked through, and displays them in a very clear colorful waveform display. You can add or subtract more tracks from the DAW into the same standalone Revoice application, with the potential to process as many tracks as you like at once.
Revoice Pro is a little unnerving to start with. I would recommend using the User Guide, and watching the tutorials (even though they’re from version 2) to fully understand the process, and learn all the neat tricks that speed up and deepen the usefulness of Revoice Pro. Each track is given two tracks in Revoice. A guide (original) track, and Dub (Output) track. The guide track is the reference, or completed track. Revoice takes the elements of this track that you like, and imprints them on an audio destination, or creates entirely new audio, maintaining the elements of the audio that you want to keep. If you’re not happy with the guide track, you can tweak it a little first, and then imprint it on further audio tracks. This leads me to…
APT APT stands for audio performance transfer. APT is a fully automated process by which the user can take the guide track, take the performance elements (Timing, pitch, levels) and apply them to a dub or target track, rendering the finished product back to the DAW, all with just 2 keystrokes. That is super efficient, and with a large amount of processing work to do, can be invaluable. The process can also be manually adjusted at any point. It is possible to see the different parameters being changed in separate tracks below the guide track, and is very obvious to understand what’s going on at a glance. When it comes to adjusting the ‘performance’ of the audio, there are several presets to get you started along the right lines. You just click New Process, and then a drop-down menu gives you a list of options such as ‘Vocal – slightly loose Time and Pitch’. The automation process then adjusts the dub track so that the resulting APT has those elements – a performance that has slightly less tight timing, and a slightly wandering tuning. This allows for the human element on vocals, as overly corrected audio can sound unnatural. If you create a setup that you like, you can save it as a preset, thus potentially speeding up the process of batch correction even further. Originally this was aimed at ADR – replacing an original voiceover with a different one. The timing and inflection of the new vocal would be identical to the original recording with two button clicks. Invaluable to film audio engineers. But transferring across to the music production world, this same process is invaluable for tightening up backing vocalists for example, to sing with exactly the same timing as the lead vocal, yet still retain their own uniqueness.
Doubling With Revoice Pro, not only can you adjust lead vocal doubles to sit tightly with the original – it’s also possible to create a doubled track from the guide original. To me, this process is perhaps the biggest strength of this plugin. Select the input track, and which track to send output to – as with APT you can then select a preset for doubling (such as – ‘Stereo vocal Mild’) -, adjust the parameters to get exactly what you want, and then press render. To my ears, with a little trial and error, the results were absolutely fantastic, and if you’re looking for a natural sounding double, this plugin is unbeatable. You can adjust timing, pitch and energy levels to create a double that sounds like a totally different take, with no discernible artefacts. Especially on vocals, but also instrumental takes, I found I kept coming back to this tool in Revoice over and over.
Manual adjustment If you’re wanting complete control, every element of the APT and doubling process can be adjusted manually. New to this version of Revoice is the Warp process, by which you can adjust pitch and time of takes manually. Select regions or entire tracks. Selecting ‘New Warp Region’ will get the software ready to make adjustments to those areas. This new process competes directly with a lot of in-house processes in DAWs such as Flex-time and Pitch in Logic, and third party software such as Ceremony’s Melodyne. The layout of Warp Process will look very familiar to those programs, with its lines overlaid on waveform showing the pitch and variance of the notes. All of this can be adjusted automatically, or shifted manually with a mouse. I liked how the algorithm determined what was pitched, and what wasn’t pitched, so you could ignore or move the unpitched elements out of the way. This isn’t the case in some pitch correction software, and when correction is implied, this generally has a negative effect on unpitched material, causing all kinds of weird sound. With Revoice, this was much less an issue. It’s possible to select areas and smooth out any wobble, such as vibrato, or drift. It’s also possible to select areas for their pitch values, and copy them to other areas. This could be very useful if you’ve nailed the correction on a chorus, for example and want to apply the same correction to the rest of the choruses in the song.
Here’s an in-depth overview of Revoice Pro 3:
Conclusion Revoice Pro (along with VocAlign) is very established in the film audio world, and is still excellent to use with ADR and film audio. It’s just set up so well for that – the way that you can automatically replace one vocal take with another, with the timing and other performance characteristics perfectly matched. It will save hours of work manually matching audio together. With version 3 of Revoice Pro, Synchro Arts have worked hard to introduce elements that align this plugin with others more well known in the music production world, with the new Warp Process.
I’ve always been a bit suspicious of vocal processing – it’s extremely useful in certain situations and genres, and completely obvious, plastic and artefact ridden in others. You have to pick and choose very carefully when to use this tool. Having said that, however – I really liked the extra elements that Revoice Pro 3 brings to the table.
I really liked the very simple way you could tighten up the timings on backing vocals. To me, this is more important almost than tuning. But it was nice having control over how tight both timing and pitch were on the tuned vocals. this gives a lot more natural scope than the overly-tightened phased sounds that you typically get.
I especially liked the doubling abilities. To me, this is by far the most natural-sounding doubler I’ve used. It works on loads of sources. I particularly liked using it on electric guitar parts. Doubling mono parts and panning them really sounded natural, and added a lot of weight to mixes, with little effort.
I think Synchro Arts have been very successful in bringing their flagship plugin to the attention of the Music Production world. This is definitely the vocal performance plugin to contend with in terms of options, automation and flexibility. However, I wonder if there might be a gap in their marketing structure for a middle ground plugin that would compete better with some of the cheaper vocal processing options out there. Revoice Pro 3 is a costly plugin. While it’s worth it, some studios that might not need all the elements this plugin provides, might opt for a slightly lighter version over competitors because of the sheer quality this plugin provides.
Revoice Pro 3 costs $599 Although until the 30th June all their products are 25% off!
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About The Author
Composer/Producer, and keyboard player. He has written and recorded soundtracks for a wide variety of media and co-owns DOsounds.com with Jake Owen, a music production company that gives him an excuse to buy more analog gear.
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