Yesterday Klevgrand released Pipa, in their words “a singing synth with a unique and different sound”, for Mac/PC and iOS.
The Technicalities Behind Pipa
Pipa’s special capabilities come from how it simulates the human voice. Instead of using ordinary samples or processing oscillators with formant filters, Pipa uses a large database of thousands of wavetables extracted from real vocal samples.
Pipa is a crossover between a wavetable- and a granulating synthesizer. In Pipa, Klevgrand uses a new synthesis that results in a very expressive and playable vocal instrument.
The advantage of the technique being used is that it’s possible to seamlessly morph between wavetables with proper phase alignment. This enables Pipa to continuously make transitions between pitch, formants and dynamics, which is very useful in a musical context.
According to Klevgrand, Pipa does not aim to cover all the aspects of an actual voice, but rather focusing on an organic and musical sound where the user have the possibility to control formants and dynamics seamlessly.
How Does It Sound?
I have a soft spot for vocal synths, vocoder, and the likes. I had a look at Pipa (there’s a demo available on the website), and I found it quite interesting and fun to play with.
I think it’s important not to come to this product with the wrong expectations. As stated by the developer, this is not meant to be a full, realistic vocal synth (a-la Vocaloid) or a replacement for exhaustive sample libraries (such as Hollywood Choirs or ERA II Vocal Codex).
To me, Pipa thanks to its digital-meets-organic sound and modulation options, is a great match for IDM or experimental electronic productions – I wouldn’t be surprised if people like Thom Yorke or Holly Herndon would end up using it in their records.
I think Pipa is one of those plugins that are handy to have in an electronic musician’s setup. Plus, being from Klevgrand, it’s also pretty affordable.
There are times when a standard vocal track, or a vocoder one, just doesn’t feel right. From now on, I know I can count on Pipa to try out a different flavor.
Bonus tip for the holiday season: how about processing a few MIDI Christmas carols with Pipa?
Anyway, check out this walkthrough (also to hear the fascinating pronunciation of Pipa in Swedish):
Pricing and Availability
macOS / Windows AU/VST3/AAX plug-in
Intro price: $24.99 Regular price: $49.99
iPad AUv3 plug-in
Intro price: $9.99 Regular price: $19.99
Learn more about Pipa and buy it here.
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