If you’re wondering how to get wider, thicker vocal sounds (like the ones you hear in many of the songs you love) you need to get familiar with a popular trick, called micro-shifting.
For years, engineers have been using this pitch-shifting trick to make vocals sound wider in the stereo field, starting in the ’80s with the iconic Eventide’s H3000 Ultra Harmonizer.
The H3000 is a multifunctional, programmable digital audio signal processor that among several cool features included full stereo pitch change. Over the years, these groundbreaking innovations have been employed in hundreds of hardware and software products including most DAWs.
At ANR we’re big fans of the classic sounds of those vintage boxes though, and this is why we love plugins like Little Microshift by Soundtoys (FYI: the company was founded by one of the engineers behind the Eventide H3000!).
Little MicroShift emulates three popular settings from the classic H3000 and DMX 15-80 hardware pitch shifters to create rich stereo width in an incredibly simple interface. Little MicroShift can help with a number of mixing scenarios, like spicing up lead instruments or blending background vocals into a mix to make room for a centered lead vocal. Used fully wet (100% Mix), the stereo image is very wide. With lower Mix settings, the original signal is mixed in, which can create rich doubling effects and an even fuller sound. Hear it for yourself!
Extra Tip – Using It With Reverbs
Soundtoys has a cool video with some extra tips about using Little MicroShift with reverbs. While the plugin was built with vocals in mind, it can be used on other sources as well.
Check out this video to learn more:
Little MicroShift is available as part of the (highly recommended) Soundtoys bundle and as a single plugin. Little MicroShift is only $39 through the end of the year (reg. $79). Get it here.
About The Author
Founder & main editor here at ANR, 'non-musician' and music-tinkerer. His first keyboard was a cheesy Yamaha PSS-270. He still loves it.