Vocal Transformer

The Vocal Transformer can be used to transpose the pitch of a vocal line, to augment or diminish the range of the melody, or even to reduce it to a single note that mirrors the pitches of a melody. No matter how you change the pitches of the melody, the constituent parts of the signal (formants) remain the same.

You can shift the formants independently, which means that you can turn a vocal track into a Mickey Mouse voice, while maintaining the original pitch. Formants are characteristic emphases of certain frequency ranges. They are static and do not change with pitch. Formants are responsible for the specific timbre of a given human voice.

The Vocal Transformer is well suited to extreme vocal effects. The best results are achieved with monophonic signals, including monophonic instrument tracks. It is not designed for polyphonic voices—such as a choir on a single track—or other chordal tracks.

Vocal Transformer Parameters

The Vocal Transformer offers the following parameters.

Figure. Vocal Transformer window.
  • Pitch knob and field: Determines the amount of transposition applied to the input signal.
  • Robotize button: Enables Robotize mode, which is used to augment, diminish, or mirror the melody. See Using Vocal Transformer’s Robotize Mode.
  • Pitch Base slider and field (available only in Robotize mode): Use to transpose the note that the Tracking parameter (see below) is following.
  • Tracking slider and buttons (available only in Robotize mode): Control how the melody is changed in Robotize mode.
  • Mix slider and field: Defines the level ratio between the original (dry) and effect signals.
  • Formant knob and field: Shifts the formants of the input signal.

Setting Vocal Transformer Pitch and Formant Parameters

Use the Vocal Transformer’s Pitch parameter to transpose the pitch of the signal upward or downward. Adjustments are made in semitone steps. Incoming pitches are indicated by a vertical line below the Pitch Base field. Transpositions of a fifth upward (Pitch = +7), a fourth downward (Pitch = -5), or by an octave (Pitch = ±12) are the most useful harmonically.

Figure. Pitch and Formant parameters.

As you alter the Pitch parameter, you might notice that the formants don’t change. Formants are characteristic emphases of certain frequency ranges. They are static and do not change with pitch. Formants are responsible for the specific timbre of a given human voice.

The Pitch parameter is expressly used to change the pitch of a voice, not its character. If you set negative Pitch values for a female soprano voice, you can turn it into an alto voice without changing the specific character of the singer’s voice.

The Formant parameter shifts the formants, while maintaining—or independently altering—the pitch. If you set this parameter to positive values, the singer sounds like Mickey Mouse. By altering the parameter downward, you can achieve vocals reminiscent of Darth Vader.

Tip: If you set Pitch to 0 semitones, Mix to 50%, and Formant to +1 (with Robotize switched off), you can effectively place a singer (with a smaller head) next to the original singer. Both will sing with the same voice, in a choir of two. This doubling of voices is quite effective, with levels easily controlled by the Mix parameter.

Using Vocal Transformer’s Robotize Mode

When Robotize is enabled, the Vocal Transformer can augment or diminish the melody. You can control the intensity of this distortion with the Tracking parameter.

Figure. Robotize parameters.

The Tracking slider and field feature is enhanced by four buttons, which you can click to set the slider at the most useful values, as follows:

  • -1 (sets the slider to -100%): All intervals are mirrored.
  • 0 (sets the slider to 0%): Delivers interesting results, with every syllable of the vocal track being sung at the same pitch. Low values turn sung lines into spoken language.
  • 1 (sets the slider to 100%): The range of the melody is maintained. Higher values augment, and lower values diminish, the melody.
  • 2 (sets the slider to 200%): The intervals are doubled.

The Pitch Base parameter is used to transpose the note that the Tracking parameter is following, for example: the note that is spoken if Tracking is set to 0%.